Carvoeiro Portugal town and beach

Carvoeiro, Portugal – An Algarve Tourist Guide for 2024

Carvoeiro, nestled in the Algarve’s heart, seamlessly combines traditional Portuguese charm with modern flair. Once a quiet fishing village, it has evolved into a cherished destination on Portugal’s southern coast. Known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and dramatic cliffs, Carvoeiro offers a perfect escape for families, couples, and solo travelers. It provides both tranquil retreats and lively holiday options, welcoming visitors to explore its natural beauty and warm community. This transformation underscores Carvoeiro’s appeal, with its prime location on the Algarve coast showcasing spectacular beaches and lush landscapes, while mixing historic charm with contemporary conveniences.

Rock Formations Algar Seco
Rock Formations Algar Seco

Curent Waether Carvoeiro, Algarve

Location and Geography

Carvoeiro is situated approximately 5 kilometers south of Lagoa, in the western part of the Algarve, Portugal. It is located within the municipality of Lagoa. The town is perched on a steep hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, offering spectacular panoramic views. Its coastline is characterized by a series of sandy beaches and secluded coves, framed by limestone cliffs that have been sculpted by the sea over centuries. The geography of Carvoeiro makes it a perfect spot for exploring hidden gems and enjoying water-based activities.

Watch a Tour Of Carvoeiro In 4K

History of Carvoeiro

The history of Carvoeiro is rich with tales of maritime adventures, pirate attacks, and fishing traditions. Archaeological findings suggest human settlement dating back to Roman times, with Carvoeiro playing a significant role in the region’s naval defense and fishing industry. The town’s name, “Caboiere,” traces back to its Islamic-medieval period, denoting a small fishing hamlet. Over the years, Carvoeiro has witnessed various civilizations and cultures, each leaving a mark on its architectural and cultural landscape. The town’s evolution into a tourist haven began in the 1960s, as visitors from around the world discovered its idyllic shores and welcoming atmosphere.

Highlights of Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro is a mosaic of scenic beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultural scenes. The town’s main beach, Praia de Carvoeiro, is a picturesque bay encircled by cliffs, offering a perfect setting for sunbathing and swimming. Noteworthy attractions include the Algar Seco rock formations, the stunning Benagil Cave, and the Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, a historical fort with breathtaking views. The town’s lively center is dotted with shops, restaurants, and bars, where visitors can indulge in local cuisine and enjoy entertainment.

Things to Do in Carvoeiro / Top Attractions in Carvoeiro

1) Praia de Carvoeiro

At the heart of the town lies Praia de Carvoeiro, a stunning beach ensconced within a natural cove, flanked by towering cliffs. This beach is the epitome of Algarve’s coastal beauty, offering golden sands and azure waters. The accessibility of amenities and its picturesque setting make it a favorite among both locals and tourists. Its proximity to the town center means you’re never too far from a refreshing drink or a hearty meal.

Here is a live webcam from the beach which allows you to see how busy the beach is and what the water conditions are.

Before your visit you should be aware that a small portion of this beach is closed during July and August because of all the small boats leaving and arriving.

Praia do Carvoeiro
Praia de Carvoeiro

2) Praia da Marinha

Distance from Carvoeiro – 6.8km / 4.22 miles
Travel Times from Carvoeiro:

  • Car: 12mins
  • Bicycle: 28mins
  • Walking: 1h 33mins

Renowned for its breathtaking beauty, Praia da Marinha is often cited as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Famous for its clear waters and dramatic cliffs, it offers a perfect backdrop for snorkeling and photography. The beach is also the starting point for boat tours that explore the nearby caves, including the famous Benagil Cave.

3) Praia do Paraíso

Distance from Carvoeiro – 450m / 492.12yds
Travel Times from Carvoeiro:

  • Car: 1min
  • Bicycle: 5mins
  • Walking: 8mins

True to its name, Praia do Paraíso (Paradise Beach) is a hidden gem that offers tranquility away from the crowds. Accessible via a steep path, this secluded beach rewards visitors with serene waters and a sense of seclusion amidst nature’s beauty. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of more popular beaches.
Please be aware that this beach is only accessible at low tide

Praia Do Paraiso

4) Praia do Carvalho

Distance from Carvoeiro – 4.1km / 2.54 miles
Travel Times from Carvoeiro:

  • Car: 8mins
  • Bicycle: 17mins
  • Walking: 57mins

Praia do Carvalho is a secluded beach accessible through a tunnel carved out of the cliffs, offering a unique entrance that adds to its charm. Surrounded by steep cliffs, its clear waters make it an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling. The sense of discovery and adventure associated with Praia do Carvalho makes it a favorite for families and adventure seekers alike.

You can jump from the cliffs into the sea at this beach but just be careful, a small barrier has been erected on the cliff jump on the right hand side of the beach to stop people using it. However when I visited people just went around it.

Carvalho Beach

Video Of Carvalho Beach and Cliff Jumping

5) Praia de Vale Covo

Distance from Carvoeiro -1.9km / 1.18 miles
Travel Times from Carvoeiro:

  • Car: 5mins
  • Bicycle: 9mins
  • Walking: 28mins

You could easily mistake this beach as a private beach belonging to the “Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort” and the resort would like you to this, since the resort has been built almost on top of the beach. However this is Public beach (all beaches are) and you’ll need to walk around the resort to get to the beach.

Praia Vale Covo From Above

Though smaller and less known than its counterparts, Praia de Vale Covo offers an intimate beach experience. The beach is flanked by dramatic cliffs, providing shelter and creating a cozy atmosphere. Its secluded nature makes it a peaceful retreat for those looking to enjoy the Algarve’s natural beauty in solitude.

Please note that this beach and cave are only accessible during low tide so it might be worth planning your visit in advance.

Video Of Vale Do Covo From the Skies

6) Praia de Vale Centeanes

Distance from Carvoeiro – 2.3km / 1.4 miles
Travel Times from Carvoeiro:

  • Car: 6mins
  • Bicycle: 9mins
  • Walking: 31mins
  • With some high tides this beach can be inaccessible (see the last bit of above video – Valves Do Covo)

Tucked away just a short drive east from the bustling streets of Carvoeiro, Centianes Beach offers a picturesque escape into the Algarve’s coastal charm. Though only 2.3 kilometers from the heart of Carvoeiro, arriving at this beach feels like uncovering a hidden gem, where the azure waters meet golden sands, framed by the rugged cliffs characteristic of the region.

Upon my visit, the challenge of parking was immediately apparent. Even arriving relatively early, the limited space in the actual car park was already taken, nudging me to find a makeshift spot along the crowded roadside. This minor inconvenience, however, was quickly overshadowed by the beach’s allure.

Vale de Centeanes Beach

Access to Centianes Beach was straightforward, with well-maintained ramps and steps leading down to the beach bar and viewing station. The path became slightly more challenging as I made my way onto the sand, but the stunning views of the coastline made every step worth it.

Despite not boasting a Blue Flag, the beach impressed me with its clear commitment to maintaining high environmental standards, from waste disposal to clean toilet facilities, and the water quality was indeed excellent. The presence of a lifeguard from June through September added a layer of reassurance for anyone looking to enjoy the water.

The beach bar, O Stop, was a delightful surprise, offering more than just refreshments but a cozy spot for a meal with a view. Enjoying a cold beer under the sun, with the sound of waves as a backdrop, was a moment of pure bliss.

Centianes Beach’s reputation as a local hideaway is well-founded, yet the irony of its popularity means you’re likely to encounter familiar faces. Despite this, the beach’s spacious layout, especially noticeable at low tide, provides enough room for everyone, with ample sunbeds available for those seeking a break from the sun.

Vale de Centeanes Beach from the cliffs

The beach’s close proximity to Carvoeiro makes it a fantastic alternative to the town’s central beach, especially for those looking for a bit more space and tranquility. While parking can be a challenge and high tide might limit the available sand, the clean water, excellent facilities, and stunning setting make Centianes Beach a must-visit for anyone exploring the Algarve.

7) Benagil Cave

The iconic Benagil Cave, accessible only by water, has become a must-visit attraction near Carvoeiro. The cave’s natural skylight and stunning rock formations create a magical atmosphere that has captivated visitors from around the globe. Boat tours, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) are popular ways to explore this natural wonder.

Just be aware that because of the popularity of this location a think tank has been set up by the government that has published a report on how best to preserve this attraction. One recommendation by the think tank is to limit the number of people visiting the caves.

Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave

Benagil Cave Safety

When visiting Benagil Cave, it’s essential to prioritize safety. The cave is best accessed by boat, kayak, or SUP under calm sea conditions and with proper safety gear. Swimming to the cave is not recommended due to strong currents and boat traffic.

8) Praia Do Cao Raivoso (Beach Of The Mad Dog / Rabid Dog)

Praia do Cão Raivoso is a secluded paradise accessible only by water, promising adventure and tranquility. The journey, whether by kayak, SUP, or boat, is an exhilarating prelude to the beach’s serene beauty, characterized by turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs. Upon arrival, the beach’s stunning visuals captivate, with the warm sea inviting a peaceful swim or paddleboard session.

However, this hidden gem harbors a peculiar scent— a blend of natural elements, including bat presence, adding a rustic touch to the experience. Despite this, the beach remains a tranquil escape for those seeking solitude amidst nature’s raw beauty.

Navigating the waves to reach Praia do Cão Raivoso adds an element of challenge, emphasizing the need for caution due to strong currents. Yet, the clarity of the water and the opportunity to explore magnificent cave formations make the effort worthwhile.

Watch the Arial Video of Praia Do Cao Raivoso

Boat Tours and Caves

Exploring the coastline by boat offers a unique perspective on Carvoeiro’s stunning cliffs and sea caves. Several local operators offer tours that navigate the intricate cave systems and hidden beaches, providing an unforgettable adventure.

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Coastal Walks

Carvoeiro’s coastline is a hiker’s paradise, with several trails offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic and the rugged landscape. The Carvoeiro Boardwalk and the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail are two of the most scenic routes, providing ample opportunities for photography and nature appreciation.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Eating Out in Carvoeiro Restaurants

Carvoeiro’s dining scene is as diverse as its landscapes, offering a rich palette of flavors ranging from traditional Portuguese cuisine to international dishes. Here’s a glimpse into where and what to eat when in Carvoeiro. Just bear in mind this this is a seaside town and prices here are higher than they would be inland.

Local Food and Drink

Seafood is the star of the local cuisine, with fresh catches featured prominently in the menus of many restaurants. Sardines, octopus, and clams, often grilled to perfection, are must-try dishes. For a truly local experience, pair your meal with a glass of Vinho Verde, a light and slightly fizzy wine that’s perfect for the Algarve’s warm climate.

Carvoeiro Restaurants: These are all located in Carvoeiro

1) Döner KebabR. do Barranco Lote 9 Loja A, 8400-508 Carvoeiro

Visiting Döner Kebab in Carvoeiro is like stumbling upon a culinary secret. This place may seem modest at first glance, but the flavors are bold and memorable. The owner’s promise that you’ll love his food is not an idle boast—especially when it comes to his renowned garlic sauce. The kebabs are juicy and well-seasoned, served piping hot with a selection of irresistible sauces that enhance every bite. The outdoor patio adds a charming touch, offering a breezy refuge to enjoy your meal under the Algarve sun. The clean and contemporary decor complements the vibrant food, making Döner Kebab a standout casual dining spot in Carvoeiro.

2) O Forno do FraserR. do Casino 4, 8400-515 Carvoeiro

O Forno do Fraser captures the essence of authentic Italian pizza with a unique Portuguese twist. The owner, João, not only bakes pizzas but also creates an engaging atmosphere where every guest feels like a friend. The curried chicken pizza is a revelation—bold and unexpected, yet perfectly balanced. João’s homemade chili sauce is a must-try, offering a spicy complement to the fresh, crispy pizzas. Situated close to the beach, this quaint pizzeria is the perfect spot to unwind after a day in the sun, offering both incredible pizzas and memorable interactions.

3) Chef’s Kitchen – R. dos Pescadores 104, 8400-508 Carvoeiro

Chef’s Kitchen Carvoeiro offers a delightful twist on the traditional dining experience with its globally inspired tapas menu. The ambiance is welcoming, with modern decor that creates a cozy yet refined dining space. Each dish, from the pulled pork tacos to the satay chicken skewers, is a masterpiece of flavor and creativity. The ribs might rival any home-cooked version with their melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich barbecue glaze. The staff is attentive and friendly, always ready to share a laugh while ensuring your meal is memorable. Chef’s Kitchen is not the cheapest option in town, but the exceptional quality of the food makes it worth every cent. It’s a culinary gem that promises an unforgettable dining experience with every visit.

4) BurguêsR. do Barranco 52 Loja 1, 8400-508 Carvoeiro

Burguês masters the art of burger making, turning simple ingredients into gourmet delights. The Duque burger, with its perfectly cooked patty topped with a fried egg, is particularly noteworthy for its juiciness and flavor. The setting is relaxed and friendly, ideal for enjoying a meal outdoors in the pleasant Carvoeiro weather. The attentive service and thoughtful touches, like extra appetizers, ensure a pleasant visit. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic burger or something a bit more adventurous, Burguês delivers quality and satisfaction in every bite.

5) Tony’sR. dos Pescadores, Carvoeiro

Tony’s is a staple in Carvoeiro for anyone seeking hearty meals and a warm atmosphere. The burgers are particularly impressive, with generous toppings and expertly cooked patties. While the pizza may occasionally disappoint, the burgers consistently delight with their flavor and quality. The service is personable and efficient, making Tony’s a reliable choice for casual dining. The ambiance is laid-back and friendly, perfect for family meals or relaxed dining after a day exploring Carvoeiro.

6) Fábrica Velha – R. dos Pescadores 7, 8400-512 Carvoeiro

Fábrica Velha is a beloved local bakery where each pastry tells a story of traditional Portuguese baking. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with aromas of freshly baked goods filling the air. The pastries, especially the toasted croissants and the decadent red velvet cupcakes, are crafted with care and skill. It’s a fantastic spot to enjoy a casual breakfast or a sweet treat throughout the day, with prices that make it easy to indulge in a little bit of everything. The friendly staff and the cozy cafe vibe make every visit a pleasure.

7) Earth Shop & CaféR. das Flores Nº1, 8400-510 Carvoeiro

Earth Shop & Café is a sanctuary for food lovers and eco-conscious shoppers. The café serves up dishes that are as nutritious as they are delicious, with standout options like the veggie burrito and eggs Benedict. The ingredients are always fresh, elevating simple dishes into something extraordinary. The attached shop offers a variety of local products, from handmade arts to organic foods, making it easy to take a piece of Carvoeiro home with you. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, enhancing the dining experience with their attentive service.

8) Black SaltUrbanização monte carvoeiro Lote 4, 8400-518 Carvoeiro

Black Salt is an exquisite fine dining establishment that combines sophisticated menu options with impeccable service. The atmosphere is elegant yet welcoming, perfect for a special evening out. The dishes, such as the prawn with black garlic risotto and the rib eye steak, are prepared with a level of precision and passion that is palpable. While the restaurant may be on the pricier side, the quality of the ingredients and the skill in preparation make it a worthwhile indulgence for those seeking a top-tier dining experience in Carvoeiro.

9) Mar d’ForaR. do Paraíso, 8400-518 Carvoeiro

Mar d’Fora offers an exceptional dining experience, blending stunning ocean views with equally impressive cuisine. The ambiance is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special family meal, with the sound of the waves adding to the serene setting. The seafood is fresh, often caught daily, and prepared with a respect for Portuguese culinary traditions yet with innovative touches. The service is professional and courteous, ensuring that every aspect of your meal is enjoyable. While prices reflect the premium experience, the quality of the food and the breathtaking views offer value that is hard to match.

10) LevelsLargo da Praia 8, 8400-517 Carvoeiro

Levels is a vibrant beachside bar and restaurant that provides a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience with spectacular views of the Carvoeiro beach. The menu is diverse, offering everything from light snacks to hearty meals, all prepared with fresh ingredients and a touch of creativity. The Angus mini burgers and tempura battered prawns are must-tries. The service is prompt and friendly, and the atmosphere is lively, making it a great spot to unwind after a day at the beach or for a casual evening out. Levels strikes a perfect balance between quality, atmosphere, and location, making it a top choice in Carvoeiro.

11) Cocktail GardenUrbanização Monte Carvoeiro Lt. 54 R/C, 8400-562 Carvoeiro

This ones not a restaurant but had to be on this list.

The Cocktail Garden is a standout cocktail destination in Carvoeiro, offering a mix of excellent drinks and engaging service. Owners Katya and Victor ensure every guest feels special, crafting unforgettable cocktails like the Purple Lady adorned with real violets and the theatrical Smokey Manhattan. Whether you’re inside the cozy bar or enjoying the lively outdoor area, their attention to detail shines through in every sip. The bar’s unique touches, such as puzzles to entertain you while you drink and a variety of fun bar games, add to the overall enjoyment. The staff’s willingness to mix custom requests like a Japanese ice tea demonstrates their dedication to satisfaction. From the warm welcome to the expertly made cocktails and the vibrant atmosphere with great music and quizzes, Cocktail Garden is a must-visit for anyone looking for a memorable night out in Carvoeiro

Boneca Bar
Boneca Bar

Boneca Bar: Nestled within the Algar Seco rock formations at the end of the Carvoeiro broadwalk, this restaurant offers stunning views and a menu that highlights the best of Portuguese seafood. In my opinion this place great but overpriced for example a bica (expresso shot) here is €1.50 whereas in my village its just €0.70. A small bottle of water will set you back €2

There are many more restaurants available in Carvoeiro and it’s surrounding areas, so I am sure that you will be able to find a somewhere that suits your needs.

Where to Stay in Carvoeiro, Portugal

Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget-friendly options, Carvoeiro has a wide range of accommodations to suit every type of traveler.

Carvoeiro Hotels and B+Bs

  • Top Pick: Castelo Guest House: With stunning views over Carvoeiro Beach, this guesthouse offers beautifully decorated rooms and a prime location.
  • Top Pick: Quinta do Ourives: A luxury B&B offering an intimate experience with beautifully designed rooms and a serene pool area.
  • Casa Carioca Carvoeiro: A charming B&B that combines comfort with convenience, located just a short walk from the beach.
  • Hotel Carvoeiro Plaza: Situated in the heart of the town, this hotel provides easy access to the beach and local dining options.

Carvoeiro Resorts

  • Tivoli Carvoeiro: For those seeking a touch of luxury, the 5-Star Tivoli offers elegant rooms, a spa, and breathtaking cliff-top views.
  • Monte Santo Resort: A family-friendly resort featuring a range of activities, from swimming pools to sports facilities.
  • Algar Seco Parque: Ideal for longer stays, offering apartments and bungalows with access to private pools and stunning sea views.

Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

  • Airbnb: A great platform to find a wide range of private rentals, from cozy apartments to luxurious villas.

Day Trips in the Area

Carvoeiro’s central location in the Algarve makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area and family-friendly attractions:

  • Silves: This historic town is home to a well-preserved Moorish castle and a Gothic cathedral, offering a glimpse into the Algarve’s rich past.
  • Portimão and Praia da Rocha: Known for its lively atmosphere and stunning beach, Portimão is perfect for those looking for entertainment and water sports.
  • Albufeira: Offers a blend of traditional charm and modern tourist facilities, with beautiful beaches and a vibrant nightlife.
  • Monchique: Escape to the mountains for cooler temperatures, natural beauty, and the famous thermal baths.
  • Ferragudo: A picturesque fishing village, Ferragudo offers quaint streets, a beautiful beach, and authentic Portuguese dining experiences.
  • Zoo Marine: 22mins away by car offers fun, educational experience, water park and dolphin shows.
  • Slide & Splash: 10mins away by car, perfect for a day of excitement and water activities.

Best Time to Visit Carvoeiro, Portugal

Choosing the right time to visit Carvoeiro depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities.

  • Summer (June to August): Peak tourist season with hot weather and bustling beaches. Ideal for beach-goers and those looking to enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
  • Fall (September to November) and Spring (March to May): Mild weather and fewer crowds make these seasons perfect for exploring the outdoors and enjoying the natural beauty of Carvoeiro.
  • Winter (December to February): Offers a quieter experience with cooler temperatures, ideal for hiking and exploring local culture without the crowds.

Getting to Carvoeiro, Portugal

From Faro Airport To Carvoeiro = 66.1km / 41miles

  • Car Rental: The most flexible way to explore Carvoeiro and the Algarve. Numerous rental agencies are available at the airport.
  • Private Transfer: A convenient option directly to your accommodation. Book in advance for the best rates.
  • Public Transport: While more budget-friendly, it requires transfers and may not be as convenient.

From Lisbon Airport To Carvoeiro = 274km / 170.2miles

  • Car Rental: Offers the freedom to explore at your own pace, with the drive taking approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
  • Public Transport: Buses and trains connect Lisbon to the Algarve, but you’ll need to transfer to reach Carvoeiro.

FAQs about Traveling to Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal

Should I stay in Carvoeiro, Portugal? Absolutely! Carvoeiro is perfect for those seeking a blend of natural beauty, Portuguese culture, and a relaxed holiday vibe.

Is Carvoeiro Portugal worth visiting? Definitely. Whether you’re interested in exploring caves and cliffs, enjoying the local cuisine, or simply relaxing on the beach, Carvoeiro offers a memorable experience for all types of travelers.

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