Some even believed the waters to be magical, and legend has it that if you drink from the "fountain of love", an ancient source in the forest, you will fall in love for life. Pine, oak and eucalyptus trees cover the hill-sides of Mount Fóia, the Algarve’s highest mountain, and with spectacular panoramic views to the coast it’s a popular place for walkers. It is the lush landscape, mountain air, and picturesque surroundings, as well as the waters which have undoubtedly been a draw for visitors including royalty and celebrities to frequent Monchique ever since the Romans established bathing facilities here. The thermal village of Caldas de Monchique is set in a valley on the winding road to Monchique itself, 6km away.
The entire village of Caldas de Monchqiue was carefully restored in 2000 and the cobbled main square, surrounded by nineteenth century buildings and the Moorish-influenced Casino building is a delightful place to stop and rest and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the place. As for the spa facilities, floods in 1997 had led to the closure of the spa hospital, after which it was redeveloped into a spa resort.
The Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique Resort Spa now comprises four hotels, restaurants, pools, wellness suites, hiking and cycling trails, and has helped to transform Monchique into a luxurious modern health and wellness destination . Monchique Cosmetics has developed to sell products and treatments made from the natural thermal waters.
The waters of Caldas de Monchique are some of the most alkaline waters in the world, and certainly in Portugal, with a ph. Of 9.5. They are rich in bicarbonate, sodium and fluoride, and have traditionally be used for a wide range of respiratory diseases and musculoskeletal problems. They are used for relaxation as well as the prevention of osteoporosis, and are known to restore vitality and well-being, as well as delay the signs of ageing.
Monchique is also famous for its Aguardente de Medronho, distilled from the berries of the strawberry tree (arbutus), as well as cultural events such as the traditional sausage fair, the Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais held in March.