Monchique history and climate

The Romans gave to Monchique it's name (Mons Cicus) and built the spa in Caldas de Monchique, but there is evidence that the area was populated as far back as the stone age; Prehistoric tools and several dolmen prove an early settlement by man of this region. Little is known about the history of Monchique until the town was elevated to the rank of city by king José II in 1773. Most of the archives were lost in the earthquake of 1755 that destroyed Lisbon, but it is known that several early kings and queens of Portugal visited Monchique to use the medicinal waters. It is also known that during the Moorish occupation of the Algarve, Monchique played part in the defense of their capital Silves (Xelb). There are reports from the crusaders of a fort in Monchique (Castelo de Nave) but the exact location of this fort has also been lost.

At the beginning of the century, Monchique could be considered as an important center, with it's own court, university, newspapers, a convent, etc. and even a casino in Caldas! Since then, the population has declined and aged due to the economic pressure and the attraction of coastal tourism, but this tendency seems to be reversing slowly thanks to a new generation of residents seeking the unspoilt environment that Monchique can still offer.


The Weather


Temperature: Although at the highest point of the Monchique mountain range (Foia 902m.) small amounts of snow can fall from time to time, the temperatures are normally mild, with the minimum around 12ºC in Winter and 25ºC in Summer. On average Monchique records in a year 74 days when the maximum temperature is over 25ºC.


Rain: Most of the rain (84%) falls between November and April, with a maximum in January (250mm). In counterpart, only 2% of the total rain fall during the Summer months (June to September).


Wind: The wind is generally moderate, predominantly from the Northwest, and sometimes from the South.