Carvoeiro, with its charming allure and scenic backdrop, paints the quintessential portrait of Algarve’s coastal magnificence. Nestled between rugged cliffs and overlooking the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, this former fishing village has gracefully evolved into a sought-after tourist destination. Characterised by whitewashed buildings, narrow cobbled streets, and the ever-present views of the beach, it isn’t surprising that Carvoeiro has become of the quintessential Algarve towns to visit.
The heart of Carvoeiro is its central beach, a crescent of golden sand sheltered between two headlands, where colourful fishing boats rest, bearing testament to the village’s maritime roots. Overlooking the beach, a plethora of restaurants, cafés, and shops line the seafront, offering both local and international flavours. As the sun sets, the horizon glows with myriad hues, and the town transforms into a vibrant hub with its local bars and entertainment venues.
Most people that come to Carvoeiro come for sun, sea, sand, and a couple of bars and restaurants nearby, and that’s exactly what Carvoeiro offers. A relaxing town in which to enjoy the sunshine, visit the beach, and sample Portuguese cuisine. If you’re looking for attractions besides the beach, you’ll probably have to venture outside of Carvoeiro. There are lots of things you can do nearby, such as exploring caves, kayaking, waterparks, and more, and Carvoeiro can serve as an excellent base from which to explore this part of the Algarve.
Useful Resources for Your Trip to Carvoeiro
Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Carvoeiro.
- Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Carvoeiro.
- Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental.
- Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Faro Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups.
- Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Carvoeiro and the surrounding Algarve region.
- Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal.
- Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal.
- Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. The nearest airport to Carvoeiro is Faro Airport.
What to See & Do
Praia de Carvoeiro (Carvoeiro Beach)
Nestled between imposing cliffs, Praia de Carvoeiro presents an idyllic portrait of the Algarve’s coastline. This sheltered beach boasts golden sands that gently slope into the crystalline waters, making it a favourite spot for both families and sun-seekers alike. The town’s backdrop, with its multicoloured buildings ascending the surrounding cliffs, adds a touch of charm and character, enhancing the overall ambiance.
While the beach itself is relatively compact, it doesn’t diminish its allure. Visitors can enjoy a variety of seafront restaurants and cafes, where the allure of fresh seafood and local delicacies perfectly complement the stunning ocean views. There are lifeguards during the bathing season (June – September), toilets and changing rooms, and the beach is wheelchair accessible. As the beach is right next to the town, you are always a stone’s throw from a supermarket or cafe if you need drinks or snacks.
Praia do Paraíso
Praia do Paraíso, aptly named “Paradise Beach”, is a quaint, less frequented hideaway in Carvoeiro that’s walking distance from the town centre. Getting to its shores requires descending a steep set of stairs from its small car park, making it a less accessible choice for those with mobility concerns. This seclusion, however, guarantees a tranquil environment, far removed from the bustling atmosphere of more busier beaches.
But beach-goers should be mindful of the tides; at high tide, the beach’s sandy expanse can become nearly submerged. Given the lack of facilities and its unique tidal nature, Praia do Paraíso might not be ideal for families or extended stays. Nevertheless, for those seeking a serene beach escape and a touch of raw coastal beauty, this little slice of paradise is worth a visit.
A natural wonder just a short walk from Carvoeiro’s heart, Algar Seco is a captivating testament to the raw power and artistic touch of the ocean. Over millennia, the relentless Atlantic waves have carved intricate tunnels, caves, and grottoes into the rugged limestone cliffs here, creating a maze-like landscape that begs to be explored. The series of boardwalks and pathways not only offer a safe means of navigating the terraced rock formations but also serve up some truly breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline. Whether you’re peering down into the naturally-formed pools known as “blow holes” or simply admiring the vast expanse of the azure sea, Algar Seco provides an awe-inspiring experience that vividly showcases the Algarve’s natural beauty.
Carvoeiro Boardwalk offers visitors a scenic route to truly immerse themselves in the stunning coastal beauty of the Algarve region. Winding atop the cliffs, this wooden walkway provides panoramic vistas of the azure Atlantic Ocean and the rugged cliff formations for which this coastline is celebrated. Beginning close to the centre of Carvoeiro town and stretching towards the Algar Seco cliffs, the boardwalk is an easy and pleasant stroll, making it suitable for all ages.
As you meander, the rhythmic sound of waves crashing below and the refreshing sea breeze combine to create a tranquil and rejuvenating experience. It’s an absolute must-do when in Carvoeiro, whether you’re a photographer seeking the perfect shot or simply looking to enjoy a peaceful moment with nature.
Perched atop a rugged cliff, the Alfanzina Lighthouse stands as a testament to its rich history, having been established in 1920. Originally erected to guide ships during the night, this lighthouse played an unexpected role in the livelihoods of local fishermen. Its bright artificial beam made it possible for them to pursue squid catches during the nocturnal hours. Now open to the public every Wednesday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, it offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time and enjoy a panoramic view of the Algarve coast. On a day with clear skies, the vistas from the lighthouse are truly breathtaking and not to be missed by anyone touring the area.
Carvoeiro offers a unique opportunity to explore the Algarve’s breathtaking coastline through boat tours, showcasing the region’s famous sea caves and grottoes. These natural wonders, shaped by centuries of ocean waves and winds, are a testament to nature’s artistry. Venturing out from the town, visitors can embark on these tours, allowing them to sail close to the rocky cliffs and enter the echoing chambers of these mysterious caves. Among the most renowned is the Benagil Cave, an iconic sea cavern with a sunlit dome that’s become emblematic of the Algarve. As the boat glides through these ethereal spaces, the play of light on water and the serene ambiance make for an unforgettable experience. Many tour operators also offer tales of local folklore and geology, enhancing the journey with stories that intertwine man, nature, and history.
Slide & Splash
Slide & Splash, located a short drive from Carvoeiro, stands as one of the largest and most popular water parks in the Algarve. Spanning over a vast area, the park is a hub of excitement and fun, boasting a wide array of slides, rides, and water-based attractions suited for both adrenaline seekers and those looking for a more relaxed experience. From towering, thrilling slides that plunge you into cool waters to the more serene lazy river where one can just float and soak up the sun, there’s something for everyone.
For families, the children’s area is a delightful playground with mini slides and splash zones, ensuring that the little ones are entertained and safe. Alongside the water rides, Slide & Splash also hosts live falconry, reptile, and tropical bird shows, offering a diverse day out for visitors. It’s an ideal spot to beat the summer heat, immerse in exhilarating fun, and create lasting memories.
Carvoeiro doesn’t have great public transport connections and so it’s best suited to those that are either renting a car or getting dropped off by taxi or airport transfer.
- Flying: The nearest airport to Carvoeiro is Faro Airport, which is situated around 55 minutes by car from the seaside town. The easiest way to get to Carvoeiro is by airport transfer or taxi, which you can pre-book or get when you arrive at the airport. If you want to travel by public transport, you’ll need to take a bus into Faro and then get a connecting bus.
- Train: There is no train station at Carvoeiro. The nearest station is Estombar, which is around 15 minutes by car. There are normally taxis outside the train station, but this isn’t always guaranteed. For tickets and timetables, see cp.pt.
- Bus: It can be difficult to get a bus to Carvoeiro, especially a long distance coach from somewhere like Lisbon or Porto. Normally, you’ll need to take the bus to a nearby town like Lagoa and then get a taxi or bus onto Carvoeiro. There is normally a local bus that runs between Portimão and Carvoeiro, stopping in Lagoa on the way, which is operated by Vamus.pt. Longer distance coach tickets to destinations like Lagoa can be found on Rede Expressos or Flixbus.pt.
- Car: Driving from Carvoeiro from Faro Airport takes around 55 minutes and around 2 hours 40 minutes from Lisbon.