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- Moving To Portugal
Moving to Portugal means making a lot of big decisions, one of the biggest being where exactly to relocate and move to in Portugal. One option that has grown increasingly in popularity is to head for the hills and to move to an area such as Monchique in the Algarve.
Often people look only along the coastal regions of Portugal for the base for their new home but there are plenty of beautiful locations further inland and Monchique is an example of this.
Learn more about different places that you should consider when looking to moving to Portugal by browsing through our Moving to Portugal guides on the site.
Monchique is unlike many of the other destinations in the Algarve and this is mainly because real tourism is only a recent development in this area, leaving it largely unspoilt still.
There is the main town of Monchique itself but generally when talking about Monchique we are referring to the area in the hills of the Algarve known as the Serra da Monchique and these include several small villages and settlements as well as the main town itself.
Monchique is located in the central to western end of the Algarve and is inland. To get to Monchique it is easiest to first ravel towards Portimão either on the A22 motorway or on the En125 and then exit and follow signs for Monchique.
The road up to Monchique has seen improvements in recent years but it is still a drive that requires concentration as it is very narrow in places with some very sharp bends that lead you up to Monchique and beyond to the top of the mountain.
Monchique has no beaches because it is in the mountains!
From the top of the mountain at Foia you can look down across the entire Algarve on a clear day and see the beaches below, the nearest being in the Portimão area with Praia da Rocha being the biggest.
People who choose to live in Monchique are not usually overlly concerned about living within 15 minutes of a beach as this is not the main draw of the area.
that being said, a trip to the beach is well under an hour away for anyone who fancies a day out next to the sea.
Monchique is not the place to move to if you are looking for dancing until dawn, in fact there is barely even a touch of neon to be found around here and it is about as far removed from the bustling resorts such as Albufeira as you can imagine.
there are plenty of good restaurants in the area though and some exceptional ones too that are perfect for special nights out but generally this is a place that you come to relax and be peaceful which is probably why it is so popular with writers and artists who opt to live here.
One of the social highs has to be the Monchique sausage festival which is held annually and draws large crowds to the town from across the Algarve and even the world.
For full details about municipal events visit the Monchique Câmara website cm-monchique.pt.
You will not find any large supermarkets or shops in Monchique and instead you need to shop the old fashioned way going from butcher to baker and on again to get everything you need unless you visit the small supermarket in the town.
The market in Monchique is a good bet for many of the essentials but if you are looking for anything more then you will need to come down from the mountain and head for Portimão for the shopping centres and supermarkets.
Most people make the trip to Portimão once every couple of weeks.
There are some great things you can buy in Monchique though with plenty of handicrafts and local crafts available to buy while honey and the local liquor Medronho is a must to buy if you are in the area.
Monchique town itself has all of the basics that you could need including banks, a post office, pharmacy and schooling options for local children.
There is an art gallery in Monchique which holds exhibitions and is a strong part of the local community but generally things are kept simple here to allow those living here to be able to enjoy the peace and quite of the natural surroundings.
The building of the Longevity hotel and spa in the area has brought the amenities associated with a five star resort hotel including a spa, top class restaurant, swimming pools and other features and members of the local community are encouraged to go and see what they can use at the resort by the owners.
Monchique is away from the coast which makes property generally cheaper and the remote location of many properties makes it possible to get more for your money here.
Don’t expect to pick up a bargain property though as this is still a very desirable area of the Algarve to live in and has a specialist market looking to live among the trees and with nature that comes with a price tag to reflect this.
In the town of Monchique itself the properties are generally small and traditional with the larger villas and private properties being found on the outskirts and dotted about the mountain.
Find out more about the real estate market in Monchique by paying a visit to the town and speaking with local agents who specialise in the are and will be able to advise you on plots of land for sale, ruins for renovations, large villas or apartments to fit your budget.
Monchique is a very specially place because the houses and villages are nestled in the forests making it a far cry from the dry and hot lower lands of the Algarve.
The cobbled little streets of the main town of Monchique are home to some fantastic little boutiques and traditional shops and this is not only a great place to live but also a wonderful place to come on a day trip.
Take a trip up to Foia, the peak of the mountain for fantastic views but don’t expect much else up here as it hasn’t been developed to really accommodate the many tourists who come here everyday and is generally a place where you get out of the car, take a picture and then come back down again.
THE BEST AND THE WORST BITS
One of the worst aspects of living in Monchique is the treat of fire in the summer months.
In the past there have been very large fires int he area destroying acres of forest and damaging properties. Authorities have worked to make the situation better but it is still a very real threat in the summer and caution has to be taken at this time of year.
The distance from the rest of the world can be the best and the worst part of Monchique depending on your perspective. Monchique is very much away from the rest of the Algarve and there is a much slower pace of life here that you have to consider when thinking if Monchique is the place for you to live.