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Carvoeiro, Algarve: Travel Guide

Last updated: October 2019* | 2 Comments

Situated in the centre of the Algarve, Carvoeiro is a small but popular beachside town with whitewashed buildings and golden sandy cliffs. It has a small beach, Praia de Carvoeiro, which was voted European Best Beach in 2018, and is within easy driving distance of some of the best beaches on the Algarve including Praia da Marinha (9 km).

Although Carvoeiro attracts people of all ages, it’s particularly popular with families. As resort towns go, it’s lower key than other towns on the Algarve (like Albufeira, and especially Albufeira’s Strip, as well as Praia da Rocha), and this makes it much more suited to families or those that aren’t looking to dance the night away while drinking cheap cocktails.

As well as the Praia de Carvoeiro beach, and the other great beaches nearby, Carvoeiro also has plenty of other family-friendly attractions nearby including Slide & Splash (6 km) and Zoomarine (17 km).

There are also plenty of local tour companies that offer boat tours of the caves (especially the nearby Benagil Caves), as well as other watersports like standup paddleboarding, kayaking, and dolphin watching.

It’s also just a short drive from towns lives Silves and Monchique, both of which make fantastic day trips. A little further afield, Faro, the Algarve’s capital, and Tavira, are also popular day trip locations on the Eastern Algarve.

The Western Algarve isn’t far either: Sagres and attractions like Cabo de São Vicente and the lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente are less than an hour from Carvoeiro by car.

Featured Accommodation in Carvoeiro

Is Carvoeiro right for me?

Carvoeiro is ideal for those that want a resort town, but not one that’s as big or popular as Albufeira or Praia da Rocha.

While Carvoeiro does have quite a few bars, including a few with karaoke and live music, it isn’t really a clubbing destination. If you’re looking to party until breakfast time, consider Albufeira (especially The Strip) or Praia da Rocha. Carvoeiro is much more of a pub town than a club town.

Carvoeiro has a nice beach, Praia de Carvoeiro, but it’s quite a small beach. During the summer months, especially August, it can get very crowded. While there are plenty of other beaches that are just a few minutes’ drive from Carvoeiro, you normally do need a car (unless the Rota das Falésias minibus is running).

Another downside to Carvoeiro is the lack of public transport options. If you’re planning to visit the Algarve without a car, and want to explore a lot of the other towns on the Algarve, it may not be the best town for you.

Of course, some people are just looking for a nice beach town where they can relax and maybe take the occasional day trip from. All they really need is a way to get to Carvoeiro (e.g. an airport transfer) and then either a taxi or tour bus to take them to any attractions that are outside of Carvoeiro town centre. If that sounds like you, then Carvoeiro is still somewhere worth considering.

If having access to public transport is important, you may want to consider another beach town like Ferragudo or Lagos: see the list of best towns for those visiting the Algarve without a car.

One other downside to Carvoeiro, again for those that don’t have a car, is the lack of a big supermarket close by. There are some medium-sized supermarkets in the town centre that are fine for the basics but, for a decent-sized supermarket like Jumbo or Lidl, you really have to go to nearby (~5 km away). If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to do this is to book a taxi.

Getting to Carvoeiro

From Faro Airport

  • Airport transfer: If you’re not renting a car, the easiest and fastest way to get from Faro Airport to Carvoeiro is to pre-book an airport transfer through a company like Welcome Pickups.
  • Rental car: While it is possible to get buses from Carvoeiro to other parts of the Algarve, having a car makes a lot of sense in Carvoeiro – especially if you want to explore nearby towns and beaches (see: renting a car at Faro Airport).
  • Shuttle bus: Because the public transport connections between Faro Airport and Carvoeiro are poor, many people choose to book a shuttle bus to their accommodation instead. Tickets can be booked through hoppa.com.
  • Taxi (or Uber): Taxis are available from outside of Faro Airport, and there are usually several Ubers nearby as well. Taking a taxi from Faro Airport to Carvoeiro is normally more expensive than an airport transfer, so book a transfer in advance if you can. 
  • Public transport: Getting from Faro Airport to Carvoeiro by public transport isn’t easy. You’ll need to take the airport bus (bus #16) into Faro, and then to take a bus or train to a town near Carvoeiro (see below).

From Faro

  • By bus: There isn’t a direct bus between Faro and Carvoeiro. The nearest bus station is in Lagoa (5.6 km). From Lagoa, you’ll be able to take another bus or a taxi onto Carvoeiro. Bus tickets can be booked on eva-bus.com.
  • By train: There isn’t a train station in Carvoeiro. The nearest train stations are the Estômbar-Lagoa (~ 6 km) or Parchal (7.7 km) railway stations. If you take the train from Faro to one of these stations, you’ll then need to get a taxi onto Carvoeiro. Of the two, Parchal is larger and where you’re more likely to be able to get a taxi. Train tickets can be booked on cp.pt, and discounts are available if you book in advance.

From Lisbon & the rest of Portugal

  • By bus: There aren’t usually direct buses to Carvoeiro. To get to Carvoeiro from other places in Portugal (for example Lisbon), you’ll need to take a bus to Lagoa and then a local bus to Carvoeiro. Tickets for long distance buses can be booked on rede-expressos.pt.
  • By train: There is a train line between the Algarve and Lisbon, which then connects to other towns and cities in the rest of Portugal. There isn’t a train station in Carvoeiro, as mentioned above, so you’ll need to take the train to either Estômbar-Lagoa (~ 6 km) or Parchal (7.7 km) and then take a taxi or bus onto Carvoeiro. Train tickets can be booked on cp.pt, and discounts are available if you book in advance.

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2 comments on “Carvoeiro, Algarve: Travel Guide”

  1. We come to Carvoeiro every year. Went to Albufeira one year but it really wasn’t for us. Much more of a club 18 to 30 vibe and we are a bit old for us. Carvoeiro definitely has its share of British and German tourists but its definitely tamer. We love it.