a complete change of scenery, take a drive up the narrow winding
road to the mountain village of Monchique. This excursion will make
you believe that you are no longer in the Algarve, but instead in
a tropical jungle amidst flourishing mountain valleys. Half the
fun is soaking in the scenery along the way. The mountain sides
are covered with lush vegetation and terraces of orange and lemon
groves. You may see a farmer busy at work picking oranges or selling
them at his roadside stand. Stop in and check out the variety! Notice
the scent of the towering lean eucalyptus trees that grace your
route in abundance.
Little villages dot the roadside and we have ventured into a few
interesting shops selling pottery and cork crafts. Slow down around
the many hairpin turns and be ready for the oncoming cars that don't.
has some great little cafés with tasty pastries and snacks,
some of which are only found here. Try the chicken piri-piri (BBQ
chicken with a flavourful slightly spicy sauce), a specialty of
this area served up in the little restaurants. On a Sunday afternoon
you can observe families strolling down the paths of the beautifully
manicured and terraced public garden. What a great place for a little
picnic or to sit quietly and take in the surreal beauty of surrounding
This excursion made for one very special and spiritual Christmas
day for us.
couple of good sized shops in the town of Monchique have a great
selection of cork and leather goods in addition to the pottery.
These shops are nestled within the tiny streets, so take a good
walk through the town and you will surely stumble upon them. Take
a moment to stop into the old church, one of our favourite spots,
as you roam up and down the hills of this old town.
If it is a clear day, drive up past the town of Monchique for about
10 minutes and you will reach the top of the mountain for some unbelievable
views all the way to the coast. The terrain at the top is rugged,
so bring comfy walking shoes.
From Lagos, drive east on the A22 Faro/Lisboa 4-lane motorway and take Exit
5 Monchique to a roundabout. From the roundabout take the Monchique exit and follow the signs to Monchique. Look for signs for the N124 and
take the N124 north to a split in the road, then go left and your
ascent to Monchique begins. You will pass Omega Park Zoo enroute. Drive past "Caldas de Monchique",
which is a small town that many people confuse with the town of
Monchique. Keep driving and until you reach Monchique a few minutes
Driving time from Lagos: 45 min.
In Monchique there are many parking spots in the main square. If
you cannot find a place there, just drive up towards the top of
the mountain and there will be spots where you can park and walk
back down to the town centre.
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