A weekend in Monchique, a mountain town in Portugal’s Algarve

The kids looking out over Monchique from our terrace at Monchique Resort.

This past weekend, our family took a short weekend trip to Monchique, a sleepy mountain town located inland from Portugal’s famous Algarve beaches. While we’ve been to the area plenty of times, especially to hike around Fóia, the largest mountain in the area, this weekend was all about the chill. It was also about celebrating my husband’s and my ten-year wedding anniversary.

Cheers to ten years! We spent our ten-year anniversary hitting the easy button at a resort.

We started our Friday normally, with me working in the morning and then three—yes, three—doctors’ appointments. Our family has been a hot medical mess the past couple of months, with literally everyone in our family requiring some sort of medical care, including our cats.

I arrived home that evening around 8:15 p.m., and my husband had our suitcases ready to go, house prepared, and the kids fed. On a normal night, the kids would have been in bed at 8 p.m., so this late adventure was especially exciting to them. Luckily, our destination was only about thirty minutes away. Not long after completing our final “get out of the house” activities and piling into the car, we arrived at Monchique Resort and Spa.

The kids got a ride on a “golden carriage” upon arrival, and they weren’t mad about it.

We had a great time at the resort, and while our time there wasn’t perfect, it was amazing to get time together and, let’s be honest, not have to cook or clean for an entire weekend.

Water is her happy place.

The resort is nice, though not quite as luxurious as we were hoping for. But I will say the staff was amazing, the kids had a blast, and we enjoyed pushing the easy button for the weekend.

Importantly, too, we got out of the house. Here in Portugal, the economy is not as “recovered” as other areas of the world, namely the United States. New restrictions were recently introduced, including a new and strange requirement to produce a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine certificate to dine indoors or participate in tourism activities . . . but only on the weekends. Because apparently COVID-19 doesn’t spread during the weekdays. I feel for local restaurant owners, who are already struggling and now need to add another roadblock to their ability to make money. One local proprietor is including free COVID-19 tests to attract customers.

So that’s all to say, things are still not great. And I’m really ready for normal-ish life, including travel.

As much as I love our section of the Algarve, I’ve been getting restless. I can’t help but reflect on our travels while living in Thailand: an amazing island getaway, a weekend trip to Vietnam, a trip to Singapore. I want to get out and see the world again. I miss the experience of landing in a foreign country and getting to experience the sights, sounds, and smells for the first time. Thirty minutes from our house isn’t exactly a grand adventure, but it’s a start.

My guy, at the end of the weekend getaway and “over it” with travel, sat down on the sidewalk and waited for my husband to retrieve the car. Love him.

Here are a few travel recommendations in Monchique:

  • Visit Mount Fóia for a soul-replenishing view; during high season (April through October), there are restaurants, shops, and a bathroom open at the top, but if you go during low season (November through March), be sure to check before you go and plan accordingly.
  • Hike some of the incredible trails near the summit; we’ve had amazing family adventures exploring the area by foot.
  • On the way up to the mountain, stop at one of the water spigots on the side of the road to drink the world famous spring water, one of the most naturally alkaline waters in the world.
  • Enjoy lunch in Monchique town at Velochique, a cyclist- and vegetarian-friendly café with great coffee, delicious food, and a friendly staff.
  • Shop local! You’ll get much better prices in Monchique than in shops closer to the beaches and find unique items to commemorate your travels.

What about you? Have you traveled or do you plan to? Tell me all about it in the comments—I love hearing from you!

2 Comments

  • Steve Reply

    Nice! My wife and i are on holiday currently … we’ve started in the south of France and will head to Paris tomorrow. We were invited to join some friends on a boat, so have had quite an adventure bopping between ports and enjoying so many great experiences. One of the highlights was in Saint Tropez at Club 55 … wow, what a great lunch experience. The salad is a collection of fresh vegies (all raw and uncut in the middle of the table). People grab what they want, cut what they want on their plate, add a little oil, vinegar, salt and wala … an incredible madly of flavors! I’m sure the key is the quality of the vegies. Add a nice grilled fish a variety of sides, a little music and some friends and you have the recipe for a great afternoon! Anyway, I hope everyone is able to get away this summer … I know I needed it and I’m sure you all do too!

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      Wow, this sounds like an amazing trip and a phenomenal food experience! While I don’t think we’ll be quite as adventurous as you this summer, you’re inspiring me to do a bit more research and planning so we can make more memories this summer. Have a wonderful rest of your vacation!

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