Carvoeiro tourism guide, how to get there and where to stay

Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal

Carvoeiro was once a typical Algarvian fishing village but has become a relaxed resort town and is home to a sizable British community. It preserves much of the natural scenery and some of the charm of a traditional village, but the fishing boats on its main beach are now used to take tourists around the coast. It’s a very small town but the perfect base to visit the splendid beaches of the Lagoa region. It appeals to all kinds of travelers, from families to couples on a romantic getaway. Families are the majority in July and August, but it’s mostly couples of all ages that visit at other times of the year (especially in June and September). In autumn and winter it’s very quiet, but still attracts mature visitors from northern Europe, looking for sunnier weather.

Carvoeiro, Algarve

The focus point is the small but very picturesque beach right in the center. It’s surrounded by white villas and low-rise apartment buildings perched on sandstone cliffs, and there are many restaurants, cafés, bars and shops in the vicinity. It’s lively in the summer, but not a “party town” like Albufeira. People come here to relax and to explore some of the best beaches and most stunning rock formations and caves in Algarve, like the Benagil Cave. Within walking distance of the center is also the region’s most scenic hiking trail, known as the Seven Hanging Valleys. In fact, Carvoeiro is a walker’s paradise, and there’s even a coastal boardwalk in the center, leading to the fascinating rock formations of Algar Seco.

View over Carvoeiro, Algarve

Nearby are the Slide & Splash and Aqualand water parks, with their slides, pools, and entertainment for the whole family.

Things to See and Do in Carvoeiro

Algar Seco, Carvoeiro, Algarve

  • Algar Seco
  • The winds and waves joined forces over thousands of years and created a curious rocky landscape in Carvoeiro that looks like the surface of the moon. There are fantastic rock formations and rock pools, and a cave with “windows” opening to a picture-perfect view of the sea. The fascinating site can be reached from the center of town via a boardwalk, which offers sweeping views of the coast. Sit on one of the benches and take it all in. It’s the best sunset spot in town.

    See the Algar Seco Guide.

    Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve

  • Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
  • You don’t have to be a keen walker to enjoy this trail over the cliffs by Carvoeiro. It starts at the beach of Vale Centeanes (see below) and ends at Praia da Marinha, which many will tell you is the must-see beach in Algarve. In between, you pass by the beaches of Carvalho and Benagil. In total, it covers close to 6km (just over 3.5 miles), and offers some truly breathtaking views.

    See the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Guide.

    Benagil Sea Cave, Algarve

  • Benagil Sea Cave
  • This spectacular cave has become the most popular tourist attraction in Algarve. It’s best accessed from Benagil Beach, which is 15 minutes by car from Carvoeiro. Boat tours also depart from Vale Centeanes Beach, which is within walking distance of the center of town. Sometimes there are also boats departing from Praia do Carvoeiro. The only way to reach it is by boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Technically, you can also go swimming from Benagil Beach, but that’s not recommended.

    See the Benagil Cave Guide.

    Praia do Carvoeiro, Algarve

  • Praia do Carvoeiro
  • With its fishing boats on the sand and white houses perched on the cliff, this is one of Algarve’s most picturesque and photographed beaches. It’s quite small, but perfect to relax after a day around the coast, exploring the famous caves and bigger beaches. Its central location, with a number of restaurants and shops behind it, give it a lively atmosphere at any time of day.

    See the Praia do Carvoeiro Guide.

    Praia do Paraíso, Carvoeiro, Algarve

  • Praia do Paraíso
  • This small, sheltered beach is hidden down a long staircase. Very few people come here, and it almost disappears at high tide. However, when Praia do Carvoeiro is just too crowded, it’s a peaceful alternative.

    See the Praia do Paraíso Guide.

    Praia de Vale Centeanes, Carvoeiro, Algarve

  • Praia de Vale Centeanes
  • It takes 20 to 25 minutes to walk to this beach from the center of town, but all you have to do is follow the main road (by car, you’re there in just 5 minutes). It’s one of the main departure points of the boat tours to the Benagil Cave, as well as the starting point of the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. It can get crowded in the summer, as there are many apartments above it. It’s sheltered from the wind by the tall, golden cliffs surrounding it.

    See the Praia de Vale Centeanes Guide.

    Carvoeiro coast, Algarve

  • Carvoeiro Coast
  • In addition to the three beaches in central Carvoeiro listed above, you can explore the wonderful beaches of the Lagoa region. If you like to walk, you can follow the trail from Vale Centeanes to three of Algarve’s top beaches, and in just a few minutes by car (or Uber) you can discover others that remain relatively secret.

    See the Carvoeiro Beaches Guide.

    How to Get to Carvoeiro

    From Faro Airport: If you’re going to Carvoeiro straight from the airport in Faro, a pre-booked transfer is the most convenient option. The driver waits for you at the arrivals hall and you don’t have to worry about final costs. The cost of a taxi varies, but could be over 85 euros, depending on the time and day (it’s more expensive at night, weekends, and public holidays). Uber should be slightly cheaper (between 50 and 65 euros). The journey by public transportation requires three different buses with poor connections, so that’s not really a viable alternative. These are the best transfer services from/to the airport to/from Carvoeiro:
    - From Faro Airport to Carvoeiro
    - From Carvoeiro to Faro Airport

    By Car: Carvoeiro is 50 minutes from Faro and 35 minutes from Albufeira, heading west on highway A22. The closest major town is Portimão, about 20 minutes away. From Lisbon, the journey takes 2 hours and 30 minutes.

    By Bus: There’s no direct public transportation to Carvoeiro from Faro or Albufeira, but there’s a bus from Portimão (there are no trains). That’s Vamus bus 107, which goes to Lagoa and stops in Carvoeiro in about 30 minutes. However, this is a very infrequent service, with just half a dozen departures on weekdays and only a couple on weekends. There’s also bus 52 from Alvor, Praia da Rocha (Portimão) and Armação de Pêra. This route operates between May and October, seven days a week, departing every two hours.

    Transportation from Lisbon: If you’re not driving, take an express bus, departing from Sete Rios or Oriente, to Lagoa, then a taxi or Uber to Carvoeiro. An Uber from Lagoa should cost around 7 euros, and takes just 10 minutes. The aforementioned Vamus bus 107 goes from Lagoa to Portimão, stopping in Carvoeiro, but keep in mind that it’s very infrequent, especially on weekends.

    Hotels in Carvoeiro

    Tivoli Carvoeiro, Algarve

    Tivoli Carvoeiro

    Located about a 15-minute walk up the road from the center of Carvoeiro and its beach, this is a highly-recommended hotel if you want to explore the region. It offers a splendid view of the ocean from its rooftop bar, from the pools and many of the rooms which have an elegant contemporary design. Other facilities include two restaurants and a wonderful spa.


    Hotel Carvoeiro Plaza, Algarve

    Hotel Carvoeiro Plaza

    The town’s most central hotel stands above Praia do Carvoeiro. There are rooms with balconies and sea views, while others face the swimming pool. Tile panels and black-and-white photographs on the walls show what Carvoeiro looked like when it was a fishing village. It has a parking lot, but you have to be very lucky to find a spot available.


    Castelo Guest House, Algarve

    Castelo Guest House

    From outside it looks like a castle, but inside it’s a contemporary guest house. All rooms are clean and comfortable, but the décor and the views vary. You can see the ocean and Praia do Carvoeiro from most of them. Book early to get one with a terrace or balcony.


    Monte Santo Resort, Algarve

    Monte Santo Resort

    This romantic and award-winning resort is 5 minutes by car from the center of Carvoeiro. It’s beautifully landscaped and consists of townhouses, a large swimming pool, a spa, a fitness room, and a restaurant.


    Monte Dourado, Algarve

    Monte Dourado

    You can overlook almost all of Carvoeiro from this hilltop property. It has a total of 109 fully-equipped apartments, and there’s the choice of five swimming pools and two tennis courts. The apartments have two or three bedrooms, and some offer a sea view.


    Carvoeiro Hotel, Algarve

    Carvoeiro Hotel

    It’s within walking distance of the center of town, but in a quiet location. It has studios and apartments with balconies, overlooking the garden or the swimming pool, and a restaurant. The free parking is very convenient.


    Hello Villas, Algarve

    Hello Villas

    These contemporary villas are next to Carvoeiro Hotel, so also a short walk from the center. They have one or two bedrooms and are fully equipped. All guests have access to the huge outdoor swimming pool. It’s quite a good value, especially if you’re traveling as a family.


    Vale de Milho Village, Algarve

    Vale de Milho Village

    In just six minutes by car from Carvoeiro, you can be at this peaceful resort. Each of its 2- or 3-bedroom townhouses has its own private swimming pool, and from some you can see the ocean in the distance. It doesn’t have a restaurant, so if you don’t want to prepare meals in the fully-equipped kitchen, you can always head to town.


    Pestana Palm Gardens, Algarve

    Pestana Palm Gardens

    Located close to Vale Centeanes Beach and within walking distance of the center of Carvoeiro, this property has apartments and townhouses accommodating 3 to 6 people. They surround a large swimming pool and some offer a sea view. Facilities include a restaurant, a spa, a gym, and a tennis court.


    Vale d’Oliveiras Quinta Resort & Spa, Algarve

    Vale d’Oliveiras Quinta Resort & Spa

    This quiet retreat in the Carvoeiro countryside is made up of townhouses surrounded by palm trees. It offers a relaxing spa, a swimming pool indoors and outside, and two restaurants serving Mediterranean and healthy meals using the fresh ingredients from the organic garden.

    SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Vale d’Oliveiras Quinta Resort & Spa