The best independent guide to Carvoeiro
The best independent guide to Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro is a picturesque and traditional Portuguese resort town, which is situated along a stunning coastline of golden beaches and dramatic natural scenery.
Carvoeiro is a fantastic destination if you are seeking a calm and relaxed holiday, which is based within a characterful and charming town. The peaceful and welcoming ambience of Carvoeiro makes it an ideal location for families during the summer, or for couples and retirees outside of the peak season.
The majority of tourists visit Carvoeiro purely for a relaxed beach holiday, but there is a surprising amount to see and do within the surrounding region.
This includes historic towns to discover, challenging hiking trails, exciting boat tours or the thrill of the Algarve’s theme and water parks. Carvoeiro has so much to offer, and is the perfect blend of Portuguese heritage with modern holiday facilities and services.
The Carvoeiro region will appeal to outdoor types, with activities including; sea kayaking, hiking, cycle or a round of golf on the region’s famed courses. If you want beautiful natural, then there are unspoilt cliffs heading both east and west, the Praia da Marinha beach, or the Praia dos Caneiros headland.
The one group of tourists Carvoeiro is not really suited for are groups looking to party and have a drink-fuelled holiday, for this head to the Strip in Albufeira or Praia da Rocha.
Carvoeiro is expecting a sell-out summer season for 2021, as more visitors seek holidays to safe and established destinations within Europe.
As with many other tourism destinations, the Algarve was severely hit by the events of 2020, but by the time you visit the difficulties of 2020 will be a distant memory.
As Carvoeiro is expecting a sell-out 2021, we strongly advise you to get your flights and accommodation as soon possible before they increase and sell out.
Use the map below to discover the best accommodation in Carvoeiro, if you adjust the dates to your holiday it will display current prices and availability.
Carvoeiro is ideal for families, the beach is safe and calm, while the town’s restaurants and hotels are welcoming of children. Carvoeiro is a favourite with families, as there is a wide selection of sensibly priced self-catering accommodation and this makes the town popular with returning visitors.
For older children and teenagers, the best waterpark of the Algarve, Slide and Splash, is close by, in the town of Lagoa.
The next significant beach is 2km to the east of Carvoeiro, and is the beautiful Praia do Vale de Centeanes. The stunning setting of Centeanes is at the base of massive sandstone cliffs that tower around the golden sands and turquoise waters. Centeanes beach is a long walk from Carvoeiro but the picturesque location is worthy of the effort.
Related articles: The beaches of Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro boasts numerous hiking routes that follow the steep hills and sheer cliffs of the coastline. One of the most famous trails is the O Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos, which navigates the cliff tops from the Praia da Centeanes beach to the Praia da Marinha, and passes the Benagil Cave.
A more leisurely route is the Carvoeiro Boardwalk, which leads from Carvoeiro town to the fascinating Algar Seco rock formations.
Related articles: The Carvoeiro Boardwalk to Algar Seco - The Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos hike
Our opinion: We so highly rate the Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos, that we placed it at number 1 in our “Top 10 of the Algarve.”
Related articles: Top 10 Algarve
One of the most popular activities while on holiday in Carvoeiro is to join one of the boat tours, as they weave through the caves, arches and large swells of the dramatic Carvoeiro coastline.
The tour boats that depart from Carvoeiro tend to be much smaller, so can navigate through the highly-weathered cliffs, and this includes the outstanding Grutas de Benagil cave.
The Algarve sea waters are the migratory route for dolphins heading from the warm Mediterranean to the food-rich Atlantic Ocean. There are daily sightings of dolphins in their natural environment, and they can be seen via the boat tours.
Benagil cave is a spectacular domed cave that has three arch openings and a vaulted holed roof. The cave walls are lined with beautiful sandstone strata, while at the base of the cave is a small beach; it is easy to see why this is the most photographed natural feature in the Algarve.
The small boat tours from Carvoeiro are able to enter the cave, and depending on the tides, are able to land on the small beach. Benagil Cave is a popular destination for kayak tours. Some people even swim from the nearby beach of Praia de Benagil, but this could never be recommended for obvious safety reasons.
The Algarve has long hot summers, pleasant springs and autumns, and unpredictable winters that have an equal number of grey days as sunny days. The height of the summer season aligns with the school holidays of July and August.
June and September are as equally busy with holidaymakers who do not have children – if visiting during the peak season it is essential to pre-book accommodation and flights as they will sell out.
The autumn and spring months provide an excellent time to discover the Algarve; the weather is bright and sunny, but without the summertime crowds.
During the winter months Carvoeiro closes down and will feel very quiet, but a small selection of restaurants and bars will remain open. In the winter it is better to visit the larger resort towns, which have a permanent population, such as Albufeira or Lagos.
Related articles: Albufeira guide – Lagos guide
From Carvoeiro there is a number of interesting day trips which include; Silves, Ferragudo and Portimão. Silves is the ancient capital of the Algarve and this glorious past is reflected by the numerous impressive historical monuments, which include the imposing castle, town walls and gothic cathedral.
Ferragudo is a traditional fishing village that overlooks the busy Portimão estuary, while to the south of Ferragudo are glorious sandy beaches.
Portimão is a largely residential city, which has a surprisingly pleasant urban centre, filled with great shopping venues and the characteristic Portuguese charm. During the summer a small ferry connects Portimão to Ferragudo.
Related articles: Carvoeiro day trips - Ferragudo day trip – Introduction to Silves – Portimão introduction
The main airport of southern Portugal is Faro airport, and is located 64 km to the east of Carvoeiro.
There is very poor public transport from the airport to Carvoeiro, and the time-consuming journey requires three different buses. To travel from the airport to Carvoeiro, we would always recommend either pre-booking a private transfer (€50) or taking a shared minibus transfer (€25) on arriving in Portugal. A taxi hired directly from the airport will be very expensive (€85+), while demand for Uber in the summer is very high.
The most respected transfer company of the Algarve is Yellow Fish, which is routinely used by all expats and long term residents; their transfer costs €49 and a link to their site can be found here.
Here our suggestions for resort towns which are similar to Carvoeiro (a medium sized town, which main focus is tourism and is close to a great beach). Our recommendations are:
In the Algarve – Alvor, Praia da Luz, Olhos de Agua and Monte Gordo
Around the rest of Portugal – Sesimbra, Cascais, Nazaré, Ericeira, Espinho
Yet to be fully discovered by foreign tourists - Vila Nova de Milfontes, Costa Nova (Aveiro) and Vila do Conde
(links to destination guide and open a new tabs)
Warning, please read
There have been a number of sham residential letting websites, which have appeared on the internet, with bogus or copied listings (often of real apartments). These websites look professional (with guarantees and refund policies) and the prices are significantly cheaper.
Only ever book an apartment through a trusted website (booking.com, homeaway.co.uk etc) and never pay for accommodation by bank transfer. For more details please see the TripAdvisor forum post:
(link opens new link)
Note: This type of scam is not just limited to the Algarve but is found in all major tourist destinations. The Algarve is just ripe for it, as demand for accommodation outstrips supply.
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