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High above the coast, in the forested Serra de Monchique mountain range, the hamlet of Monchique makes a scenic base for exploring the surrounding area, with some excellent options for walking, biking and canoeing.

Caldas de Monchique is 6km to the south – it has been a popular spa town for over two millennia: the Romans loved its 32°C, slightly sulphurous waters, which are said to be good for respiratory and digestive ailments and rheumatism. Dom João II came here for years in an unsuccessful attempt to cure his dropsy. Floods in 1997 led to the closure of the spa hospital, after which it was redeveloped into a spa resort

Fires regularly affect this area during summer, causing widespread damage and ongoing frustration at the lack of preventative measures, though the countryside regenerates quickly.

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