Caldas De Monchique, Algarve, Portugal! Tel: 01983 852555 Mobile: 07817 270 343

QUINTA DA MIMOSA - ALGARVE

Local Information

The villa is in the foothills of the beautiful Monchique mountains but being only about 350 feet above sea level, it is not miles out in "the sticks", up steep mountain roads that go on up to nearly 3000 feet. Instead, it has the benefit of being between the mountains and the coast where the weather is normally less fierce in summer, but not spoiled by clouds that often hang around higher up. It is also in one of the prettiest areas of the Algarve. Only a few minutes drive south will take you to some spectacular beaches, the big town and fishing port of Portimao or to the busy resorts of Praia da Rocha and Alvor. If you go north towards the mountain for about 2km, you will come to the popular beauty spot of Caldas de Monchique, which is often featured in TV documentaries about the Algarve and is well known for it`s spa waters, its unusual houses and sub-tropical appearance. There are some excellent restaurants there and a giant wood fired oven in the village centre is used in the mornings when the smell of fresh bread rolls with choritzo sausages baked into them make it irresistable to buy a sample.

About 7km from the villa is Monchique, a sleepy hilltop town where you can relax in the square on a hot day with a cool beer. If you have the energy, walk up the narrow winding roads and you may find the gift and handmade chocolate shop that is run by a couple from Wales. Then go on up to the old convent building high above the town where the gardener there may let you look around the ruins (especially if you buy a bag of fruit or herbs from him!).

Take the scenic road on up to Foia to reach the summit of the mountain where you get a fantastic view from this, the highest point in the Algarve. There is a large gift shop there where you can buy local crafts and souvenirs of your visit.

Just a short distance from Quinta da Mimosa are two nice pottery shops, one each side of the road which are also good for souvenirs as they sell all sorts of traditional Portuguese pottery at reasonable prices and it costs nothing to look around. Near these is Parque da Minha, a museum of country life centred on an old manor house.

At the villa, you can enjoy being in the countryside without being isolated. Two good restaurants are right across the road from the driveway and others within walking distance. Within about 20 km (15 to 20 minutes drive) on good main roads are the fabulous beaches of Praia da Rocha, Praia da Vau and Alvor, or historic Silves with its magnificent Castle and Cathedral, or the large shops and fishing port of Portimao. Lagos, Silves and Portimao all hold huge country markets each month which are well worth a visit. In fact, markets are held regularly in most towns so if you miss one, you can always get to another. There are many good golf courses within easy reach to suit all levels of skill and the superb facilities at Penina are only about a 20 minute drive away while the relatively new course at Morgado is very nearby.

Bread oven

The outdoor bread oven at Caldas de Monchique

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Caldas de Monchique - The Square

Caldasd square

Caldas de Monchique - The Square

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Sailing trips on traditional boats

Restaurants are plentiful in the area and three are literally within a stones throw of our driveway. Casa Cinzas is directly opposite and O`Recanto just 50 metres down the hill. Both do a very good chicken piri-piri (a local dish of barbecued chicken which originated in this area) as well as a good range of other delicious local dishes. A few yards up the hill is retaurante O’Maximo and a little further up another called Foz da Bahno is also very popular. In Caldas de Monchique you will find the rather more elegant and expensive restaurante 1692 which offers a selection of more international dishes. Just above the village is the Rouxinol which has a good reputation or consider a stop at O`Castelo which has views from its terrace right down to the coast. Further afield, take a 20 minute drive to the Portimao waterfront and enjoy sardines or other seafood grilled in the modern restaurants on the quayside or in the more traditional ones such as Dona Barca under the nearby archways. If you prefer cooking at home, the oven and hob are electric with a rotisserie in the oven and there is also a microwave. However, if the weather is as good as it usually is, then a BBQ by the pool is hard to beat.

PLACES TO VISIT: Just under 2km towards Portimao on the left is Parque de Minas. This is a museum in the grounds of an old manor house with many exhibits of rural life in the past. The riverside town of Silves with its castle and cathedral is a must and it has a nice indoor market for fresh produce daily and a massive outdoor one each month. You can also take a riverboat cruise down to Portimao. A visit to Silves Barragem is nice. This is a huge man made lake which is a lovely spot for a picnic. In Portimao, you will find the "Continente" hypermarket on the main road to Praia da Rocha and a Lidl supermarket is just opposite it and there are several other big shopping centres not far away. There is also a gigantic indoor fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market nearby. On the waterfront there are sailing trips on a replica sailing ship while towards Praia da Rocha you will find the new marina. Lagos is another interesting town and it too has a fabulous Marina with cafes and restaurants overlooking the boats and it is possible here to book fishing and sailing trips. The trips to the caves are good value at about 12 Euros and the sights are amazing. Alte is an inland village that is quite pretty by day and by night there are feasts and folklore evenings which can be quite entertaining.

BEACHES: There are plenty of them! We like the ones at Alvor, Praia da Rocha with its weird rock formations, Praia da Vau, Ferragudo, Carvoeiro and Lagos. Also Armacao da Pera at the old part where the fishing boats are kept on the beach. A little further afield is the spectacular west coast, where during and after storms, the Atlantic breakers thunder ashore following an unhindered journey from The Americas.

SHOPPING: The huge AQUA shopping mall with its three floors of free underground parking is only a 15 minute drive from the villa and is hard to beat for modern shopping with many names you will know from home. There is a large food court on the roof terrace with free entertainment most nights and it stays open until midnight in summer months. There are lots of other shopping centres and malls within easy driving distance as well as good supermarkets and for those who miss the old C & A stores that used to be in the UK, there is one open very near Aqua. In all the bigger towns you will find Chinese shops which sell a huge range of products at very low prices, but Portugal still has a good number of traditional shops and these are worth supporting or they will not survive much longer.

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Watersports for the adventurous

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There are weird rock formations

all along the Algarve coast

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Boatmen will take you right into the caves

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