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Monchique

Attractively nestled on the verdant east side of Pico da Fóia, (alt 902m) this small town possesses a church known for its Manueline doorway. From the belvedere situated on the fair ground, there is an interesting view of the terraced quarters facing Alto da Picota (alt 773m).

With a few exceptions, Monchique has been happily untouched by the invasion of tourism in the last decades. It is located in a saddle formed by the two highest hills of the Algarve, Picota (774 m) and Foia (902 ml). The inhabitants of this town have maintained the rustic atmosphere, and the small dark doorways contain various artisan trades.

The 17th Century Franciscan monastery overlooking the town offers a panoramic view over the peaceful countryside. The surrounding area produces cattle, pigs, cork and wood. It is also the place where the famous Medronho , an excellent strong schnapps is distilled from the fruit of arbutus bushes.

The two hills dominating the landscape offer dramatic views to the southern and western coast of the Algarve. Hidden in the valley south of Picota there is a hot spring site named Fonte Santa that is rumoured to have special healing effects. Already the Romans estimated the sulphuric warm spring water emerging at a constant temperature of 32ºC and developed the village of Caldas de Monchique as a Spa.

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