Fóia is the highest mountain of Algarve

Fóia, 8km west of Monchique, is – at nearly 900m – the highest of the serra’s peaks, though you’ll need your own transport to get here: it’s a beautiful winding drive.


Bristling with antennae, and capped by an ungainly modern complex sheltering a café-restaurant and shop, the summit itself can be an anticlimax, especially if clouds obscure the views or you have to share the experience with the midsummer crowds. Get here early if you can. On a clear day, the panoramic view of the Algarve takes in Portimão, Lagos, the foothills stretching to the Barragem da Bravura, and west across to Cabo de São Vicente

You may also want to spend the night on the wooded slopes leading up to it. The Estalagem Abrigo da Montanha, a couple of kilometres from the centre of Monchique (Tel 282 912 131, www.abrigodamontanha.com; 4), has a lovely garden, a pool and views, as well as a fine dining room; while 4.5km from Monchique on the same road, the Quinta de São Bento (Tel – Fax 282 912 700; 4) has just five rooms stuffed with period antiques in a home owned by the Bragança family, the former monarchs of Portugal. It is also one of the best places in this part of the Algarve for high-quality, but reasonably priced Portuguese cooking, featuring traditional recipes (restaurant closed Mon).