5 Day Itinerary in the Algarve: Serra de Monchique, Lagos, Ponta da Piedade and Silves

Roteiro de 5 dias no Algarve : Serra de Monchique

Some weeks ago I showed you part of my 5 day itinerary in the Algarve (visit to Cape Saint Vincent and to Beliche beach). In this article I’m going to show you the second part of the same itinerary, where you’ll get to know Serra de Monchique, Lagos and its beautiful Ponta da Piedade and the city of Silves.

Day 3 : Serra de Monchique

To be different, this day started with a visit to Serra de Monchique, at an altitude of 902 metres.

The route from Luz beach to Fóia, the tallest peak in the Algarve, took us about an hour (50 km). Our GPS wanted us to fully discover the mountains because we drove through some winding paths and forest roads.

Sometimes I thought that the GPS was wrong… along the way there were parts where two cars wouldn’t fit the road and when I looked downwards I only prayed that the road would be clear so I didn’t have to do any dangerous manoeuvres – it was a narrow path without any protection and with a ravine of a few hundred metres.

After 5 km we were back to the national road – what a relief. A few metres ahead we stopped at the first viewpoint.

Just 2 km away we could find the highest peak of Serra de Monchique, Fóia. There, we came across the small chapel of Santo António, a café/restaurant, a souvenir shop, some radio aerials (if I’m not mistaken) and an amazing view over the Algarve and the sea.

To be honest, I wasn’t dazzled by this place. I believe that it was in part because of the marvelous landscapes I saw in the north of Portugal that set the bar high. Once in paradise, all that follows is not the same.

I have this problem – whenever I get to a viewpoint, I hope to see something special, unfortunately it seldom happens. Probably I’m getting too demanding and maybe, just maybe, I can’t admire things as they are…

If you have already visited this place please tell me what you think about it.

The GPS was kinder when I wanted to return to Luz beach – we drove through the national road until towards Portimão; there, we stopped to grab something to eat and to go shopping in Aqua Portimão.

As it happened on the other afternoons we took sometime to sunbathe, go to the beach and enjoy the hotel’s Estrela da Luz pool (affiliate link).

Day 4 : Lagos and Ponta da Piedade

On the fourth day, we visited Lagos and Ponte da Piedade located 5 km from where we were staying. We began our visit by going to the city market – it’s been there since 1924. It is a place you should go to if you want to buy fresh meat, sish and fruit.

After a break to drink a cup of coffee and to eat a pastel de nata, we strolled through the streets of Lagos.

I was delighted with this city – it kept its true identity and Portuguese soul. Unfortunately that is not the case for several cities in the Algarve where you see many apartment buildings with no personality.

Just 4 km from the city centre you’ll find Ponta da Piedade, the place that impressed me the most during my time in the Algarve.

When I got to Ponta da Piedade, I was speechless – I was astonished with such a marvelous natural beauty.

As soon as I went down the steps to get to the rocks the beauty became more and more obvious. The sound of the waves hitting the rocks became more clear and, of course, I felt more excited and, at the same time I got a little scared.

Once I got to the sea level, the show was amazing. This time, the sound of the waves was accompanied by marvelous and beautiful images.

Day 5 : Silves

We ended our trip in the beautiful city of Silves, located 40 km from where we were staying. It’s a city with lots of stories to tell – first it was in the hands of the Romans, than the Moors until it finally became a Portuguese city in 1242, after several months of battle.

We began our stroll in narrow streets of this city until we got to the historic centre. There, we found Silves cathedral (Sé), built over an old mosque.

If you want to visit Silves cathedral you must pay 1€. Opening hours are from 9h to 13h and from 14h to 18h on weekdays and from 9h to 13h on Saturdays.

Our tour ended at Silves castle, built by the Moors in the 9th century. The exterior wals are all that’s left from the original castle due to the huge earthquake in 1755.

If you want to visit the castle you must pay 2.80€. You can visit it everyday from 9h to 17h30 in the winter and from 9h to 19h in the summer.

You must visit this city, it’ll be worth it! You’ll get another glimpse of the Algarve. As you can see, the Algarve is much more than apartment buildings for tourists.

If August is the only time for you to visit the Algarve, then you should get up early in the morning and visit the amazing places it has to offer while tourists are still asleep and, in the afternoon, enjoy the beach.

Are you going to visit the Algarve? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!

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About Tiago

Tiago, 27 years old, Parisian since 12, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dream come true: get to know our country from one end to the other. I believe that if we don’t know our origins we don’t truly know ourselves. Read more here