Convento Nossa Senhora do Desterro

Convento Nossa Senhora do Desterro
© Peter Broster / CC BY-SA 3.0
Nossa Senhora do Desterro ruins
© muffinn / CC BY-SA 3.0
Nossa Senhora do Desterro
© muffinn / CC BY-SA 3.0

A fifteen-minute uphill walk from the cobbled streets of central Monchique is the Convento Nossa Senhora do Desterro. This ruined seventeenth century monastery had been used by the Franciscan order of monks until one day in 1755 when it was shaken to its foundations by the same earthquake that destroyed much of Lisbon.

Since then, it was first partially rebuilt and then eventually abandoned for a second time, creating a unique, eerie atmosphere that has seen the natural surroundings slowly creep among the ancient stones, including what is reputed to be Europe's largest magnolia tree.

Well-worth the climb for the views back towards Monchique alone, the monastery stands on private land, but for years the owners have been happily welcoming the inquisitive in to explore what remains.

Other attractions near Convento Nossa Senhora do Desterro


Monchique travel guide »

Rising up between the Algarve and neighbouring Alentejo region is the Serra de Monchique, a range of rolling mountains clad in heavy forest. Here you will find the highest point on the Algarve; standing at 902m (2,959ft) is the peak of Fóia...