Visit Monchique Novas Direçoes (Open till Thursday 15th)

New resources for Monchique to encourage tourists to stay longer and invest locally

New maps: things to do, places to walk, where to sleep and who to meet to really get to know the gems of Monchique.


Monchique’s untapped potential for tourism

As all locals know, Monchique is an area of outstanding natural beauty:

  • The location has rare flora and fauna (orchids, one of the biggest cork trees in Europe, even, supposedly, a lynx!)
  • The water is pure and full of natural minerals (people come from miles around to fill water bottles)
  • The air is clean and fresh and blows the cobwebs away
  • The local food products (honey, pork…) are of the highest quality
  • The crafts (baskets, folding chairs, textiles and wooden spoons) are unique and still made in traditional rustic workshops by old people with many stories to tell

There is so much to offer tourists interested in the natural environment, in rural culture, in community, in adventure sports, in getting away from the stress of the big city and recharging the batteries.  However, many of these treasures remain hidden. There is incredible potential for ‘eco’, ‘rural’ or ‘sustainable’ tourism and yet it remains largely untapped.

The challenges for developing a sustainable tourism offer:

1. Noone knows what Monchique has to offer

  • The Council website has a tourist section but it is only in Portuguese
  • There is no other dedicated website promoting Monchique to tourists
  • The tourism office in Monchique, because it is run by the Algarve Tourism Board, does not have resources about Monchique, only the Algarve as a whole
  • The existing map of Monchique does not highlight what to see, where to eat, where to stay
  • There are no walking guides to Monchique that people can walk independently

2. People think that Monchique means Foia

  • Tourists come on buses from Portimao, stop for a coffee in the main square, walk a few metres up the back streets and then get on the coach to Foia

3. Tourists do not stay in Monchique

  • Adventure tourists come up from the coast for a day, bring food with them, use the Monchique countryside for their activities and go – they do not invest in local hotels, shops or restaurants

4. Unemployment is high, especially amongst young people

  • Young people go to university and do not return as there is no work
  • Many Monchique residents have to travel to other towns for work or are unemployed
  • Existing tourism grinds to a halt during the winter months, decreasing work options
  • There is a lack of entrepreneurialism or training around developing sustainable tourism businesses

There are small glimmers of change, however:

  • AlternativTour is a Monchique company offering guided walks, canoeing, climbing and cycling. A natural adventure park will open in 2013 with activities high wires and  paintballing
  • The Via Algarviana will bring tourists to the area as they hike across the Algarve from Silves to Alzejur and stay overnight in Monchique
  • The Camera of Monchique are proactive and dynamic and keen to proactively attract more tourists to the area
  • There is potential funding for people who want to offer rooms to visitors

Business Ideas for Monchique

Unfortunately the business ideas workshop on Wednesday did not happen. It feels like in Portugal people do not like to commit to something in advance, but rather like to just turn up. Anyway, here is the complete list which the visitors of the Novas Direcoes Exhibition have contributed to for business ideas for Monchique additionally to some of the ideas we had already:

  • Tea room (casa de chá)
  • Mushroom picking tour regular in autumn (colheita de cogumelos no Outono.)
  • Fruit picking tours (passeio apanta de fruta)
  • Portuguese cookery school (escola de hoteleria comida portuguese)
  • Monchique Pub Crawl (corrio de mosquitos de tudos os bared de Monchique)
  • Public wild boar hunting (caca jevali turistico)
  • Rent a dog (alugar um cão)
  • Guided tours around Monchique e.g. myths, ledgends, whost walks, secret places (ja existe un passeio de lua cheia, passeio guiado de lugares secretos)
  • Craft workshops for tourists (workshop artesanato)
  • Contemporary souvenirs of Monchique, like these from Lisbon ( loja de lembrancas fixe)
  • Traditional crafst made contemporary (artesanato tradicional contemporaneo)
  • Tour agency showing tourists around medronho producers / crafts people ( agencia de turismo artenal)
  • Ice cream shop (je existe)
  • Hostel (hostel!)
  • Horeriding (hiqutacao)
  • Bike horse place (alugar biciletas)
  • Youth projects (projectos de jovens)
  • Artist and workshop street in empty shop front along the main stair case road (Rua de artesanato)

An Alternative Products of Monchique

Developing a product brand for Monchique

The idea of a unified brand is not the right solution for an open marketplace unless the producers decide to sell under a collective name, which at present is not the plan.

An alternative solution is to first create a quality mark that identifies the high quality products from the Monchique area. The mark will demonstrate Monchique as a place that is serious about their products. It will establish a sense of pride and commardary amongst Monchique people. Managed properly this will act as a beacon for the area driving visitor numbers as well as sales once people are in Monchique, whilst allowing each producer to stand as an individual and present their products to suit them.

Secondly for the Medronho producers the proposed solution is to create categories or group the medronhos by type. This will mean in-store buyers will quickly be able to identify the medrohno that is most suited to their tastes. As a development outside Novas Direcoes all the content is not included on this site but you can follow the alternative Products of Monchique journey here.

Leave your comments!

Viele kleine Leute, die viele kleine Dinge tun, verändern die Welt.

Love the label idea for Monchique products and the postcards, new views. Please tell the E.C. to allow local coordinators too! Well done!

Eu Gosto!

Grande maquina!

I enjoyed this exhibition. Really good ideas. Love the maps and products of Monchique. 🙂 Well done guys!

Well done – some really good ideas.

Excellent work. Maps extremely useful for Monchique. Great ideas. Good show guys!

Excellent ideas. Just what Monchique needs. Well done! So come on ‘camera’ don’t let this hard work go to waste.

Good example of Monchique Architecture.

You´ve done a great contribution to Monchique. A beautiful refreshment!

Business ideas and workshop


Monchique is rich with potential! Since we have been here, we have spent time with local people and asked them what they think Monchique needs in order for it to become a tourist destination in its own right. We have also had many ideas of our own as we have experienced Monchique with new eyes – as tourists and also as residents. We know what tourists want, what Monchique currently provides and can see where the gaps are.

In this space, we have written the ideas that we have come up with for new businesses / enterprises for Monchique. We hope that these ideas spark someone from Monchique to turn these ideas into reality and transform these little seeds into successful businesses.This is also the place to add your own ideas for Monchique. Please don´t be scared – write anything you think would make a good business, anything you think can be developed. Also come to our enterprise workshop, Wednesday 14th December from 6-8pm in this space to explore these ideas further.

Let´s see what comes out of this….


NOVOS NEGÓCIOS para o turismo de Monchique

Monchique é rico em potencial! Desde que cá chegamos, passamos muito tempo com pessoas da terra e questionamos o que é que eles acham que Monchique necessita para se transformar num destino turístico por si próprio. Também tivemos algumas ideias nossas á medida que fomos conhecendo Monchique com um novo olhar – como turistas, como residentes. Sabemos o que o turista quer, e o que Monchique actualmente providência, e descobrimos algumas falhas neste parâmetro.

Neste espaço de tempo, escrevemos as ideias que nos surgiram para novos negócios/ empresas para Monchique. Esperamos que estas ideias possam iluminar alguém de Monchique para transforma-las numa realidade e que estas pequenas sementes se colham para criar um negocio de sucesso.

Este é também o local para contribuir as suas próprias ideias para Monchique. Nada tenha receio- escreva tudo o que possa contribuir para um novo negocio , tudo que considere que
possa ser desenvolvido.

Vamos ponderar as possibilidades….


Venha ao nosso workshop empresarial na quarta-feira dia 14 de Dezembro a partir das 18.00h até ás 20.00h neste espaço para
explorar estas ideias a fundo. Inscreva-se na recepção no résdo-chão.

Contamos consigo!!

Individual journeys

Here some examples: Janki, Cola, Max, Ryan, Fee, Julia, Zoe, Jamie, Jack, Veronika

What have we achieved?

This wall shows the journey the 14 participants on the Leonardo project have been on during the last 12 weeks. Each participant has their own space to represent their time in Monchique in their own way. As well as the creation of the maps and resources for Monchique that you see in the rest of the exhibition, there have been a number of surprising and exciting developments that happened during our time here. These include:

  • Fee, Nicola, Julia, Janki and Max gave business and design advice to the newspaper Algarve 123 and were featured in the paper
  • Janki, Julia and Max assisted Arte Algarve curate an exhibition of Algarve artists in Lagoa
  • Jack has spent time coaching Joventude Desportiva Monchiquense Under 13’s and Under 17’s
  • Veronika has gained work experience in the Monchique tourist office
  • Everyone has helped Quinta das Relvinhas prepare the land for a permaculture garden
  • Tom has built some beautiful stone steps in the garden
  • Nicola, Julia, Fee and Veronika helped Quinta das Relvinhas with their business plan, brand identity, website and financial management
  • Jamie gained work experience in Loja de Chocolate and the estate agent
  • Julia and Nicola have worked with Americo Telo, giving business advice to the medronho producer around promotion and developing their product offering
  • Zoe, Cola and Jack gained work experience in hospitality at Estalagem hotel and restaurant
  • Gary, Max, Jack, Janki, Zoe and Ryan gained work experience at Rouxinal restaurant
  • Ryan, Janki, Jamie, Jack, Cola and Veronika gained work experience at Caldes hotel
  • Jack and Veronika have gained work experience in Longevity in the spa and in the sales department
  • Everyone worked with AlternativTours to build platforms at the Adventure Park (or something along those lines)
We would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who have made our time in Monchique so special.

What’s next? As a result of being in Monchique:

  • Fee is going to explore the connection between service design and crafts, potentially working abroad in the future.
  • Nicola is closing her brand design agency to travel between Africa and London working to develop two emerging social not-for-profit businesses whilst exploring community development opportunities.
  • Julia has given up her job in London and is going to South America to work in creative international development.
  • Cola, Zoe, Max and Gary are thinking of coming back to Monchique in the high season to work in the local restaurants.
  • Cola has discovered a passion for working abroad and is currently applying for jobs internationally.
  • Veronika would like to stay in Portugal as she has fallen in love with the country, language and culture and has discovered the area of tourism she would like to work in.
  • Jack is considering applying for jobs in Monchique and the Algarve in general in the field of sport and fitness.
  • Janki has found a passion (and talent for!) cooking and a desire to explore the world.
  • Ryan has found a new perspective on the world and is going to travel for 6 months to explore new pastures.
  • Max really wants to see more of the world and is looking forward to returning to visit his new friends in Monchique!
  • Gary is thinking of becoming a chef after working in local restaurants in Monchique and is considering doing a TEFL course to see more of the world.

This experience has had a deep and positive experience on many of our lives.


O que nós alcançamos?

Esta parede demonstra como foi o percurso de 14 participantes do projecto Leonardo durante as últimas 12 semanas. Cada participante tem seu próprio espaço para representar como passou o seu tempo em Monchique. Além da criação dos mapas e recursos para Monchique que você vê no resto da exposição, houve uma série de desenvolvimentos surpreendentes e emocionantes que aconteceram durante o nosso tempo aqui. Estes incluem:

  • A Fee, a Nicola, a Julia, a Janki e o Max deram aconselhamento empresarial e design para o jornal Algarve 123 e do qual saiu um artigo no próprio.
  • A Janki,a Julia e o Max auxiliaram a Arte Algarve na criação de uma exposição de artistas em Lagoa, Algarve.
  • O Jack passou um tempo treinando os jovens futebolistas da Juventude desportiva Monchiquense menores de 13 anos e Sub-17.
  • Veronika ganhou experiência de trabalho no posto de turismo de Monchique, nas Termas de Monchique e no Longivity.
  • Todos ajudaram na Quinta das Relvinhas a preparar a terra para um jardim de permacultura.
  • O Tom construiu alguns degraus de pedra bonitos no jardim.
  • A Nicola, a Julia e a Veronika ajudaram a Quinta das Relvinhas com seu plano de egócios, identidade da marca, website e gestão financeira.
  • O Jamie ganhou experiência de trabalho com agentes de mobiliaria, com a Turifoia e com a Loja de Chocolate.
  • A Julia e a Nicola trabalharam com o Sr. Américo Telo, dando conselhos de negócios para os produtores do medronho, promoção, desenvolvimento e a oferta de produtos.
  • A Zoe, a Cola e o Jack ganharam experiência de trabalho em hotelaria na Estalagem Abrigo da montanha, tanto no hotel como no restaurante.
  • O Gary, o Max, o,Jack, a Janki, a Zoe e o Ryan ganharam experiência de trabalho no restaurante o Rouxinol, nas Caldas de Monchique.
  • O Ryan, a Janki, o Jamie, o Jack, aVeronika e a Cola ganharam experiência de trabalho nas Termas de Monchique.
  • O Jack e a Veronika ganharam experiência de trabalho em longivity nas Caldas de Monchique, no spa e no departamento de vendas.
  • Todos trabalharam com a AlternativTours para ajudar a construir plataformas no futuro Parque Aventura.

Gostaríamos de agradecer a todas as organizações e indivíduos que fizeram o nosso tempo em Monchique tão especial.

E o futuro? Como resultado de estar em Monchique:

  • A Fee vai explorar a ligação entre a concepção de serviços e artesanato, potencialmente trabalhando no estrangeiro no futuro.
  • A Nicola vai fechar a sua agência de design de marcas, para viajar entre África e Londres trabalhando para desenvolver duas empresas sociais emergentes, sem fins lucrativos, enquanto procura oportunidades de desenvolvimento para a comunidade.
  • A Julia despediu-se do seu trabalho em Londres e vai à América do Sul para trabalhar no desenvolvimento de um projecto criativo internacional.
  • A Cola, a Zoe,o Max e o Gary estão pensando em voltar a Monchique na época alta para trabalhar nos restaurantes locais.
  • A Cola descobriu uma paixão por trabalhar no estrangeiro e está à procura de emprego internacionalmente.
  • A Veronika gostaria de ficar em Portugal, apaixonou-se com o país, língua e cultura e descobriu a área do turismo em que gostaria de trabalhar.
  • O Jack está considerando candidatar-se para empregos em Monchique e no Algarve em geral, no domínio do desporto e fitness.
  • A Janki encontrou uma paixão (e talento para!) Cozinha e o desejo de explorar o mundo.
  • O Ryan encontrou uma nova perspectiva sobre o mundo e vai viajar por 6 meses para explorar novas pastagens.
  • O Max realmente quer ver mais do mundo e está ansioso para voltar a visitar os seus novos amigos em Monchique!
  • O Gary está pensando em se tornar num chef, depois de trabalhar em restaurantes locais em Monchique e está pensando em fazer um curso TEFL para ver mais do mundo.

Esta experiência, foi uma experiência profunda e positiva em muitas de nossas vidas.

At the two partnering organisations, Quinta das Relvinhas and Alternativtour the group achieved the following:


-Clear and reorganize the outbuildings and gardens
-take off the roof of the old goat house
-repair the walls of old goat house
-prepare vegetable garden / terraces
-build a river with stone bed
-make old water pipe system run again
-build donkey house and bought a donkey!
-write business plan and planned for a new website
-lists and plans for further investments and tasks
-loads of garden work
-fix the house wall and gravel the drive
-shopping, cooking and organise guest feeding
-organising cooking and cleaning rotas
-make a stream and steps to the lake
-planned the interior renovation
-researched other hostels and presented them
-come up with new visions and plans for the Quinta


– Help with the guided walks to Foia and Picota
– Assist the development of the Adventure Park
– Build a platform for the paintball arena
– Build platform for main entrance area
– Build main fixing nets
– Clear the land
– Build dry stone walls
– Help develop new walking maps (presented here)
– Help promote his business to clients in Longevity