The weather looked good so today was the day to drive into the Serra de Monchique which acts as the northern boundary of the western Algarve. Taking the winding road through the hills covered with cork, chestnut and eucalyptus our first stop was Caldas de Monchique a very small spa town since Roman times. There were very few people around but the town sits in a pretty ravine and there was a small walk through the old gardens which we enjoyed.
Moving further on, we drove through the town of Monchique making our way up to the highest peak of Foia. The road up was beautiful with several good lookouts. Getting to the top was a little disappointing as the top was scattered with radio masts and there was only one good lookout. It was very very windy! There were some good vistas down towards the coast and across the Serra inland. The views were not absolutely clear but they were good enough.
Tony also interested in man-made objects look down in the valley below and was trying to work out why there was a circuit of roads in the middle of nowhere. Was it the start of an industrial estate?
On leaving Foia we took a lesser road heading back to Lagos. The road again went through forests of cork, chestnut and eucalyptus and whitewashed small villages. However as we got nearer to the A22 we came across the huge entrance of the Algarve international racing circuit. This was what Tony had seen from the top. It was a huge complex and although we couldn’t go inside the actual circuit there was one vantage point where we could see the track. Hearing a large vroom we realised there was a car hurtling around the circuit. W learnt later that the track had been built completed in 2008 but the developers had gone bust and was now owned by the government.
Leaving the circuit we took the brand new road (not on any of our maps) to the A22 and back to base.