With visible roots as a sleepy fishing village, Carvoeiro is now a desirable holiday resort just 5km to the south of Lagoa. The town is built up onto the rugged golden cliffs that spring from a small sandy beach. Its postcard-perfect whitewashed and pastel buildings include four-star resorts and quaint bed-and-breakfasts alike, as well as plenty of self-catering holiday villas. If you’re seeking a beach holiday in 2017, Carvoeiro offers a close proximity to many of the Algarve region’s top attractions. Yet there’s a slower pace of life here than larger resort towns, tailor-made for soaking in the sun or admiring the panoramic views. The atmosphere remains fairly traditional in this rustic village, with the majestic cliffs casting an imposing shadow below. The town centre has recently been remodelled, with two main roads providing access into Carvoeiro. Secluded and charming, it’s popular with couples as well as families and individuals simply looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Most popular hotels in Carvoeiro
Agua Hotels Vale Da Lapa
Rocha Brava Apartments
Vale D'Oliveiras Quinta Resort and Spa
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Portuguese
- Time Zone: GMT +0
- Average flight time: 2h 55m
When to go
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Carvoeiro is well-situated near many of the Algarve’s top attractions, from water parks in Lagos to the Moorish castle in Silves. There’s plenty to see and do within the town limits as well. You can spend your holidays in Carvoeiro on its sandy beaches, or walking along its craggy clifftops. Be sure to watch out for “algares”, natural holes in the cliffs formed by erosion from the sea. These are fenced off for your safety, but offer dramatic natural viewpoints. An unusual way to explore the area is via the Carvoeiro tourist train, which departs every 40 minutes on a scenic journey to and from Rocha Prava or Ferragudo. You can also see the Lighthouse of Alfanzina, with its tile-clad interior and spiral staircase. Shopping is a popular attraction in Carvoeiro’s town centre. Its main street is lined with tourist stalls and a vibrant marketplace draws locals and visitors alike to purchase a rainbow of fresh produce. The town’s shops are well known for their exotic perfumes, handmade leather goods and fashionable clothing.
Wine and Dine
Carvoeiro is home to a wealth of restaurants, cafes and bars to suit all tastes. You’ll find these located conveniently within the resort’s hotels, or side by side along its main street. Crowds spill over onto the pavements, and many restaurants offer cliff-side terraces where you can enjoy a sea view with your meal. The centre of town is quite compact, meaning you’ll never have to walk far to see what’s on offer. From full-English breakfasts to ice cream shops and pizzerias, there’s plenty of variety. Don’t miss the chance to sample authentic Algarve cuisine on your Carvoeiro holidays. This coastal resort features many typical cafes, serving freshly grilled seafood, oxtail stew and spicy chicken piri-piri. Meals come accompanied with a carafe of fresh, local wine from the Lagoa region. Cap your meal with a traditional dessert. These usually involve some delectable combination of ground almonds, eggs, figs and sponge cake. You’ll also find marzipan sweets and chocolates to take home with you for a lasting taste of Portugal.
Carvoeiro holidays are ideal for children of all ages, and you’ll find plenty of distractions during your stay. Whether travelling with toddlers or teens, the beach is always the first attraction on any family’s to-do list. Praia Grande beach is best for families, with placid, shallow waters, a play park, and a selection of beach bars. For more waterside fun, visit The Fontes outside of Estombar, where you’ll find clear lakes and natural springs for al fresco swimming. There are also picnic areas and walking trails, so you can make a day of it. Venture a bit further afield to Krazy World, just a half hour’s drive from Carvoeiro, to visit its petting zoo and mini golf course. Slide and Splash is a popular water park, positioned between Lagoa and Estombar. It offers attractions ranging from relaxing areas to float all the way to thrilling, near-vertical slides. Finally, don’t miss a trip to Zoomarine, one of the Algarve’s top attractions for all ages. This Guia-based water park offers sea lion and dolphin shows, carnival rides, and a 4D cinema.
Action and Adventure
With prime access to the Atlantic Ocean, Carvoeiro holidays are ideal for fans of water-based adventure. Hire a sea kayak or pedalo and get out into the waves. You’ll be able to explore all of the hidden coves and caves along this rocky coast. Guided boat tours are also available, stopping off at secluded beaches to allow you to bathe in the open sea. Away from the water, mountain biking and walking trails skirt along the limestone cliffs. You’ll benefit from unparalleled views and can go as fast or slow as you please. Lagos is a stone’s throw up the coast, and is one of Europe’s top surfing destinations. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just looking to get out into the waves, you can visit the Lagos Surf Centre for courses at all levels and equipment rentals. Harness the wind’s power and have a go at kite-surfing for something different.
Life's a Beach
Carvoeiro’s beach is conveniently located smack dab in the centre of the resort. It’s just steps away from the major hotels. It provides an idyllic location for gentle walks or lounging in the sun, surrounded by the rocky cliffs. Boat trips depart from here, and there are free toilet and shower facilities for your convenience. A lifeguard is on duty, making it a safe spot to swim for families. The beach gets quite busy during the high season in summer, but is large enough for you to find your own perfect area to park your lounger and umbrella. While the main beach is the most convenient, there are plenty of other options in the area to explore. Centianes Beach is within walking distance from Carvoeiro’s town centre, or just a short drive. It offers excellent water quality, along with a beach bar and restaurant. Larger than Carvoeiro Beach, Centianes provides visitors with additional facilities and plenty of sun beds for hire.
You can easily while away the better part of an evening in Carvoeiro’s cafes and restaurants, but there’s also a full selection of bars and discos should you wish to keep the party going into the wee hours. Karaoke is a very popular pastime here, and many bars will offer some variation of this attraction with friendly crowds to cheer you on. Chill out with a summery cocktail on a seaside terrace, or linger over tapas with friends. Irish bars, sports bars and restaurant-bar hybrids are just a few examples of the types of nightlife options you’ll find on Carevoeiro’s main street, with hidden gems tucked into the side avenues. If you’re looking for entertainment, visit Manoel’s Jazz Club. You’ll find live music throughout the week, drawing jazz fanatics from all over the region. The nightlife in Carvoeiro is cheerful and laid-back, free from any pretension. However, if you’re looking for a glitzier clubbing experience you’ll find a number of glamorous nightclubs in Albufeira, just a few minutes up the road.
With gorgeous scenery at every turn, Carvoeiro naturally inspires romantic feelings. It’s set back from some of the rowdier resorts, making it ideal for a quiet time away. The traditional architecture and relatively isolated atmosphere makes this a perfect place for a stroll. Walk hand in hand on the clifftop trails, where you can bring a picnic and watch the sun go down over the Atlantic together. The small yet perfectly formed beach is another top spot for romance during your Carvoeiro holidays. Take a boat ride for two to find your own deserted beach, or book a table at one of the village’s authentically charming seafood restaurants to be wined and dined to your hearts content. You can linger well into the late hours, enjoying top notch entertainment. There are plentiful hotels and holiday villas to choose from. Opt for the ones with private swimming pools and spa treatments to unwind completely. Relaxed, you’ll be able to return from your couples’ getaway with long-lasting memories.
Carvoeiro’s culture is linked to its strategic position as a military lookout point and you can see many remnants of this intriguing heritage. The Fort of Nossa Senhora is perched imposingly on the cliffs above the resort, dating back to the 17th century. Another military lookout point is the Fort de Sao Joao do Arade in nearby Ferragudo, which was constructed in the 15th century. It was more recently converted into a stately home, and although it is not open to the public you can admire it from the exterior. Art galleries, museums and churches dot Carvoeiro and neighbouring towns Visit the Galeria Mare d’Arte in Carvoeiro, or venture to larger Lagos for more options. You may view everything from landscape paintings to modernist sculptures. Local churches are simple yet serene. Enjoy a moment of reflection in the Shrine of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which is a tranquil chapel giving way to sea views.