Perched on the sea cliffs with traditional whitewashed buildings and a small cove beach, Carvoeiro in Portugal is a seaside resort just over a half hour’s drive away from Lagos. What was once a quiet fishing village now has a range of shops, bars and restaurants as well as hillsides full of holiday villas. The cliffs and rocks of this coastline have been shaped into a network of caves, caverns and coves, where you’ll see fishermen running boat trips to view them from the beach. With plenty to do and scenic sights to see, holidays to Carvoeiro will keep all the family happy. There are impressive rock formations to be seen at Algar Seco, two sandy cove beaches just waiting to be explored, and several of the Algarve’s renowned golf courses nearby.
The summers are long and hot, but the mild weather throughout the rest of the year is still perfect for sightseeing.
2 hours 45 minutes
About 64km east of Carvoeiro is Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport.
Carvoeiro may be smaller than other resorts nearby, but that doesn’t mean it lacks when it comes to things to do. Soak up the Mediterranean sun on the sandy beach, or explore the area’s history with a visit to the 17th century clifftop fort. Take a walk down the steps leading to the Algar Seco rock formations, where you’ll hear the waves crashing against them at high tide. When it comes to shopping, you can browse for souvenirs at the unique Lagoa flea market, or drive the 15 minutes to shop at the Algarve Mall in Guia. For you golf lovers, the Quinta do Gramacho course is nearby, so you have a chance to tee off on the course that hosts the Portuguese Ladies Open. After a long day of sightseeing and sunbathing, pull up a seat in a local restaurant and tuck into some delicious seafood like the signature Portuguese dish of grilled sardines.
When you think of holidays to Carvoeiro, its beautiful beaches are usually the first thing that springs to mind. Tucked in a little bay, the idyllic Praia do Carvoeiro has soft golden sand, clear Atlantic waters, and fishing boats bobbing on the horizon. Break up your sunbathing with a trip on one, which will take you for a closer look at the coastline’s hidden caves and secluded beaches. The beach is overlooked by the red-roofed fishermen’s houses up on the cliff, as well as bars, restaurants, and shops in the nearby square.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking here. Jam-packed with food places, one street has even been dubbed ‘Restaurant Hill’. Set on the coastline, it’s no surprise that the Algarve is known for its delicious seafood dishes. Fresh fish that’s been newly caught by local fisherman is cooked up in a variety of ways, including Portuguese specialities like grilled sardines and dried salt cod. Enjoy the local favourite of cataplana, a fish stew cooked in a clam-shaped dish, or spicy piri-piri chicken. The wine region of Lagoa is close to Carvoeira, making it the perfect excuse to try some of the best red and white wines produced in the Algarve. For dessert, expect pastries and cakes filled with locally produced figs, honey and almonds.
One of the most popular attractions for Carvoeiro holidays is the Quinta do Gramacho golf course, which has played host to the Portuguese Ladies Open several times. Playing a round here is a highlight of any trip. With its spectacular landscape, warm weather and lakes, it makes for an epic golfing challenge. There are 18 holes and 27 greens, and a clubhouse where you can enjoy lunch with a view of the fairway. For more great courses, head to Quinta de Boavista in Lagos, which has glorious sea views, and Golfe do Morgado in Portimão that’s about 15km away.
Golfers: Tee off where the pros play at Quinta do Gramacho golf course. It’s an 18-hole course that’s played host to the Portuguese Ladies Open.
Foodies: From tucking into traditional Portuguese dishes on ‘Restaurant Hill’ to exploring one of the local food festivals, Carvoeiro holidays have plenty to sink your teeth into.
Shoppers: For locally produced souvenirs like traditional Lagoa ceramics and handmade crafts, browse the town’s shops and market stalls.
Language: The language spoken in Carvoeiro is Portuguese.
Currency: The currency used here is the Euro (€).
Local time: Carvoeiro is the same time as GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Faro Airport. The transfer time to Carvoeiro is 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Carvoeiro is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at www.visitportugal.com.
Visa & health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday
Temperature: 12-24 (°C)
A great time to travel is between mid-June and mid-September, when you can enjoy highs of 24°C and 14 hours of sunshine a day. You can visit the sandy beaches in early spring, with temperatures in the mid-teens. Both autumn and winter are mild, so you can see all the sights without worrying about avoiding the crowds.
By bus: Hop on a bus for a quick way to see Carvoeiro’s sandy beaches. Save some euros and spend more time sunbathing with a tourist pass the 'Passe Turístic', which gives you unlimited journeys over a three-day period.
By car: A full tank of petrol, your own set of wheels and Algarve’s scenic roads ahead of you; it’s easy to see why renting a hire car is a popular way to see nearby views and authentic villages.
By taxi: Popping to one of the neighbouring beach resorts in a taxi is the simplest option. If you want experience nightlife in Albufeira or Portimão, it’s worth knowing that taxi fares go up by 20% between midnight and 6am.
Fairs: Held in nearby Lagoa every June, the International Algarve Fair promises two full days of fun. Just over 10 minutes away, the fair has plenty of Portuguese food as well family-friendly entertainment like dog shows, exhibitions, and live performances.
For foodies: For more adventurous eaters, there’s the annual Snail Festival in the town of Porches, 10km away. Held in the first three days in July, you’ll find other tasty food served up alongside the culinary delicacy.
Local celebrations: Join the locals on the last Sunday in August as they honour the patron saint of Carvoeiro. There are more celebrations across the Lagoa district with the Festa da Nossa Senhora da Luz, with parades celebrating the Virgin Mary.