Holidays | Carvoeiro: Carvoeiro is a lovely sight. This charming small town lies at the head of a lengthy coastal valley located south of Lagoa. Here, the tawny and golden cliffs are neatly crowned with low-rise white apartments and perched houses. These cliffs wrap around Carvoeiro’s cosy beach, the focal area of the present-day resort and the reason why this old fishing spot was first settled eons ago.
The town is centred around a petite triangular square with an abundance of bars, restaurants, comfy bistros and touristy shops. The tourist office is also located there. Today, Carvoeiro is one of the main self-catering areas in the Algarve, and one of the best destinations for families in the western half of the region. However, its tiny size also means that the town is always choke-full during high season in July and August – indeed, the best times to visit this coastal gem are early June and late September. For the more energetic there are plenty of year-round water sports to choose from, and also small boats that will let you explore the amazing coastline surrounding Carvoeiro. Visiting other beaches by boat from Carvoeiro is both very enjoyable and practical, since it will solve the nuisance of parking your car. Image: Nicolai Schäfer
Holidays | Carvoeiro | Things To Do In Carvoeiro, Algarve
Praia do Carvoeiro: A sense of intimacy and friendliness suffuses summer sunsets at Carvoeiro Beach. Its fine sands are fringed by bars, cheerful families and colorful cafés. This beach is easily accessible, with no steep steps to deal with. There is a car park nearby but, unfortunately, summer crowds make it almost impossible to get vacant spots to park. There are also a few traditional boats marooned on the sand, waiting to ferry visitors to and from the string of idyllic coves, grottoes and caves lining the coast west and east – do not miss a visit to truly spectacular Algar de Benagil and do not settle for Carvoeiro Beach alone. All of the beaches near Carvoeiro are beautiful and worthy of a visit, especially Praia do Carvalho, Praia de Vale de Centeanes, Praia de Benagil and Praia da Marinha (please check map above).
Algar Seco: Located on the east side of the promontory bordering Carvoeiro, Algar Seco (smaller image above) is a curious natural creation adorned with a rocky spire. Nibbled out of the sandstone by millennia of winds and waves, the weird and wonderful shapes invite you to explore the water pools populated by starfish, urchins, colorful anemones, barnacles and small fish. There is no sandy strip in Algar Seco – instead, a set of steps leads into a green and turquoise lagoon.
Praia do Paraíso: Adjoining Carvoeiro there is a long thread of exquisite coves and bays chiseled out of golden rock faces. Just around the corner from Carvoeiro Beach there is one such sheltered cove. Appropriately named ‘Paradise Beach’, its friendly inlet is enclosed by tall cliffs that harbour a roughly shaped beach full of nooks and crannies. Bathed in deep turquoise waters, Praia do Paraíso is much more private than Carvoeiro and it is often (well, nearly) empty in June and September. The Trail of Headlands starts at Praia do Paraíso.
Carvoeiro Boardwalk: Spanning the cliff-tops between Algar Seco and the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, this wooden walkway takes you out across the cliffs in a safe, easy and distinctively pleasurable manner. The all-encompassing panorama and gentle sea breeze are delightful to the senses, especially as the sun goes down. There are seating areas to stop and to take in the delightful scenery, or to just climb down onto the rocky surface below. If you want a bit more than a short stroll, you can always carry on after the boardwalk ends: you’ll experience both a bumpy walk and breathtakingly beautiful views to take in. However, do not venture close to the edge of the cliffs. Try to visit the Carvoeiro Boardwalk at sunset – or try to get there very early to avoid crowds in summer – and do not forget your camera.
Carvoeiro | Recommended Activities
Do not miss a boat trip to the wonderful caves and rock formations along the coast (the Benagil Cave, in particular, is a very special place but please read the post on the cave before choosing a touristic operator, as not all boats/operators offer the same possibilities). Enjoy!