The Serra de Monchique is situated in the extreme southwest of Portugal to the northwest of the Algarve reaching 902 metres at Fóia, its highest point. Due to its geographical location within close proximity to the Atlantic and the heat of the North African sun, it has a subtropical maritime mountain climate.
The geology, which is of volcanic origin, is made up of two distinct formations. Schist up to 300-400 m and sienite up to 902 m, from which Foiaite a type of granite with specific characteristics can be extracted. Water springs from Caldas de Monchique in the Serra, the therapeutic qualities of which have long been appreciated since Roman times.
These conditions have turned the Serra into a genuine botanical garden with over 1000 plant species. Despite changes that have occurred as a result of the introduction of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulos) and Tall Pine (Pinus silvestris) monocultures, forests of Mediterranean Oak (Quercus suber), Chestnut (Castanea sativa) and Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) still flourish. Less common yet still to be found are Italian Stone Pine (Pinus pinea), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Monchique Oak (Quercus canariensis) and the renowned but rare Rhododendron (Rhododendron pontium) among many others. Other species, although not indigenous to the area, have found the conditions in the Serra de Monchique to develop to such an extent that they are now classified, such as the Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora k) that is over 300 years old, two Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) a Shadow tree (Platanus hybrida brot), and two Monchique Oaks (Quercus canariensis).