Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

by Central Magazine

Contrary to popular belief, snow is actually possible in the Algarve.

Article Cover Photo

You are not likely to find a flurry of snowfall near the beach or along the coast but it is possible for snow to settle in the mountains of Serra de Monchique.

Depending on the weather conditions, meteorologists confirm that snow can fall at a 600-metre altitude, which is very easy to reach in Monchique, particularly in Fóia which is 900 metres above sea level. These geological conditions make it easy for snow when the weather is colder than usual.

For some years the times that snow fell in Monchique has been recorded, a very atypical happening, as people from the Algarve are not so used to seeing their towns painted in white. When the snow falls in Monchique everyone’s curiosity is piqued and cars from every part of the Algarve all tend to head up to the highest point in the Algarve.

There are many tales of people in the past heading up to Monchique when it snows and then making snowmen on their cars or taking some of the snow and trying to bring it down the mountain to save in their freezers. What people were not expecting was that, just like ice, the snow would melt and turn into water, and at home, people would arrive with nothing, but a wet car.

Nevertheless, Monchique may not be the only place in the Algarve where snow can fall. According to several means of communication in the 20th century, snow has fallen across the whole of the Algarve territory.

On 2 February 1954, the people of the Algarve were surprised by a white blanket covering the land, which was not from the white flowers of the almond trees.

For that phenomenon, it is hard to find a place that was not covered by snow, as in every municipality there is a record of what happened on that day. In Portimão, the temperatures were low, registering 1º Celsius. There was so much snow, that in the streets the accumulated snow reached a height between 10 and 20 centimetres, something that nobody had seen before.

The medieval city of Silves was also hit by the snowfall, turning the city into a spectacular stage that wouldn’t be out of place in the Disney film Frozen, with snow all over the castle and the city. In the same municipality, in Algoz the snow reached 40 centimetres in height, something that has never been seen before, or since, in the Algarve.

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