Portugal // The Algarve //

Caldas de Monchique

Set in a beautifully wooded ravine, CALDAS DE MONCHIQUE was a spa even in Roman times and was once popular with Portuguese royalty. It was sympathetically restored in 2000, transforming a somewhat ramshackle spa resort into a tourist village – and the results have been fairly successful. The cobbled, tree-shaded main square, fronted by the pseudo-Moorish windows of the former casino (now an exhibition hall), is surrounded by lovely nineteenth-century buildings and the wooded setting is a delight. At the foot of the village, the modern thermal spa (whttp://www.monchiquetermas.com) offers specialist treatments – including water massage, jet-showers and a steam room – and you can stay here too, in various renovated buildings around the village (from €140; book though the spa website), which all have use of an outdoor pool and kids’ club.