Monchique is a small town placed between 2 mountains (Fóia and Picota), it is the highest town in the Algarve at 485 metres, there can be found the highest place in the Faro District, Fóia, 902 metres hight. Monchique is surrounded by Odemira in the North, Portimão in the South, Lagos in the Southwest and Aljezur in the West. Monchique is the capital of the county and is divided into 3 parishs: Monchique, Alferce and Marmelete.
The first historical information about Monchique, started with the Romans, which named this place “Mons cicus” meaning “Sacred Mountain”, referring to Caldas de Monchique and the medicinal properties of its waters, there they built a thermal house. Although the human presence in the area is much older, in the Neolithic (V bC), confirmed by the historical artefacts found there. The area also was occupied by the Moorish during the first half of the IX century, they named it after the Romans “Munt Saqir” (Sacred Mountain).
Little is known about Monchique during the Middle Age and the New Age, the earthquake of 1755 caused significant damage to buildings and probably destroyed some of the historical archives. Some castles around Monchique area are mentioned when the King Sancho I conquered Silves to the Moors in 1189, at the time it belonged to Silves county.
During the XV century, 1495, the king, John II, chose the thermae, Caldas de Monchique, to recover from his health problems and during the XVI century, the King Sebastião visited Monchique, evidencing the importance of the area. Economically, activities such as weaving (wool and linen), basketry and chestnut wood, were important for the development of the area. In1773, Monchique was elevated to town status by King José and was detached from Silves County.
The area of Monchique is part of a microclimate and the weather conditions are different from the rest of the Algarve (more humid and cooler) which makes possible to find some flora, typical from northern areas. Despite the wildfires which destroyed part of the natural environment, it is still a place that is worth discovering, with typical buildings, dishes, and wildlife.