The History of Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro is a small village in the western Algarve. According to historical sources, the name of the village derives from “Caboiere”, an old name for a fishing village of the Arab-medieval period.
There is evidence pointing to the Roman presence in the village, as well as an extensive maritime activity. The area where Vila do Carvoeiro is located has a long history of military and pirate attacks, having witnessed a series of naval combats, among which stands out the battle of 1544 between a fleet of ships commanded by Dom Pedro da Cunha and the Turkish corsair named Xarramet.
For most of its history, fishing was the mainstay of the local economy, however, nowadays the main economic sector of this picturesque village is tourism. A dry and warm climate and breath-taking beaches make it an ideal destination for golf and water sports, or simply for relaxing
Where to stay?
Centre – In the centre of Carvoeiro the accommodation is mostly apartments and in this area you can find rooms or even whole apartments for rent which have magnificent views over the sea. Like other villages in the Algarve, the village’s centre is filled with typical and charming whitewashed traditional regional houses with coloured bars framing the doors and windows.
Suburbs of Carvoeiro – On the outskirts of Carvoeiro, towards Lagoa and Benagil, there are large number of high quality villas that you can rent. These villas are ideal for large families or groups of friends looking for a quiet location but not far from the beach or the bars and restaurants found in the centre. You also find some larger hotels here including the recently renovated Tivoli.
Benagil – The village of Benagil, where the stunning and famous Praia de Benagil with its cave, is also a great place to stay with some great views of the beach and countryside. As it’s a small village it’s a quieter location however there are a few nice restaurants there to ensure you won’t go hungry.
Vale de Centeanes – Vale de Centeanes, situated on top of one of the cliffs that surround Carvoeiro, is also an option in terms of accommodation. It is here that the beach of Vale do Centeanes is located, meaning you can easily wake up in the morning and go for a swim in the sea even before breakfast.
What are the beaches like near Carvoeiro?
Praia do Carvoeiro – Literally attached to the village of Carvoeiro (where one ends the other starts), Praia do Carvoeiro is the most popular beach in the county of Lagoa. Traditionally a fishermen’s beach, Praia do Carvoeiro has become one of the most popular beaches for the many beach lovers that visit the Algarve every year.
Praia de Benagil – Praia de Benagil is located at the bottom of a valley, next to a picturesque fishing village. From this beach it is possible to rent boats or kayaks to visit some of the secluded beaches and nearby caves. It is near this beach that there are the famous caves of Benagil including the Algar de Benagil, the largest of the caves with a circular opening in the ceiling (‘the eye’) through which light enters and which hides a small beach inside and you can go on a boat trip to see it.
Praia de Vale de Centeanes – This small and delightful beach is surrounded by steep cliffs. The intimate and cosy aspect of the beach contrasts with most of the beaches in the Algarve full of tourists. The sea of transparent colour allows you to open your eyes under water.
Praia da Marinha – Praia da Marinha is considered one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and one of the 100 most beautiful in the world by the Michelin Guide, having even been awarded the “Praia Dourada” prize by the Ministry of the Environment in 1998. With water so transparent that the seabed becomes visible and breath taking rock formations, Praia da Marinha has been used by international advertising agencies and television stations around the world.
Which beaches next to Carvoeiro have a Blue Flag?
Praia do Carvoeiro and Praia do Vale de Centenanes have a Blue Flag, but Praia de Benagil and Praia da Marinha do not. As you can see from the map below there are other beaches located close to Carvoeiro with a Blue Flag.
Blue Flag means that the beach has been assessed based on environmental standards, water quality and beach cleanliness, and also on important facilities including toilets and lifeguards.
In the Algarve, lifeguards usually work from July 1st to September 30.
What is there to do in Carvoeiro?
Carvoeiro Boardwalk – Walk along the boardwalk of Carvoeiro at the top of the cliffs that surround the village and enjoy a unique view over some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Halfway you will be able to see some of the many caves in the area. The path is particularly pleasant on sunny days with not much heat.
Algar Seco (caves) – Algar Seco is one of the most beautiful natural monuments in Carvoeiro. Rock formations sculpted by the wind make this a magical place without equal. In this place there are natural pools and rock holes, created by the winds and sea water for several thousands of years, which look like authentic windows and balconies.
Alfanzina Lighthouse – The Alfanzina Lighthouse was built in 1920 on a rocky outcrop in the place of Alfanzina, on Praia do Carvoeiro. The light of this beautiful building served to guide the ships along the coast, but also to assist the local fishermen who used the light to catch squids at night. It is possible to visit the interior of the lighthouse on Wednesdays in the afternoon between 2 pm and 5 pm.
Boat trips – A very popular activity to do in the village of Carvoeiro is to take a boat trip through the surrounding beaches and to visit the many caves that exist in the area including the famous Algar Seco and Benagil caves.
Black & White Night – During this popular festival, which is already a Carvoeiro tradition, visitors wear black and white and it’s a huge party atmosphere throughout the town. This year Largo da Praia and the streets of downtown Carvoeiro will have 9 different stages that will host more than a dozen music and dance shows throughout the night. You cannot miss this event if you are in Carvoeiro when it is on (normally around 16th June) and entrance is free.
Restaurants and bars – Carvoeiro also has a number of restaurants, bars and ice-cream parlours in easy reach of one another, making it a great place to try international or local cuisine, sip cocktails or sit on a terrace drinking a refreshing Superbock or Sagres beer while watching one of the live music events or bands that occur throughout the summer.
Carvoeiro is also an excellent place to practice golf, tennis, cycling, canoeing, sailing, kitesurfing or wind surfing. Spend a day at the beach, stroll along the seafront or stay by the pool on a lounger.
What is the best time of the year to visit Carvoeiro?
Summer – The days are sunny, the temperature is hot and the sea water calls for a swim. The Algarve’s paradisiacal summer has a special charm in the small village of Carvoeiro. Sheltered by its cliffs for a long time, Carvoeiro is now being discovered by tourists from all over the world who insist on visiting the area’s famous caves. During the hottest months of the year, the village of Carvoeiro is filled with tourists and for that reason bars and restaurants stay open all night long.
Winter – Cheaper prices, but also accompanied by a cold weather, the village of Carvoeiro retains all its beauty and splendour at this time of the year, which is why many tourists choose it to escape the hostile cold weather that is felt throughout the rest of Europe.
Autumn/Spring – The seasons of the year Autumn and Spring are perfect times to visit Carvoeiro. The weather is warm and pleasant without you ever getting to experience the excruciating heat of summer. Most people are still working and the children are at school, which leaves the village of Carvoeiro almost deserted to be enjoyed by only a handful of lucky people.
What is the weather like in Carvoeiro?
Carvoeiro has a warm and temperate climate.
The average annual temperature is 17.0ºC. The hottest month of the year is August with an average temperature of 23.2ºC and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 11.8ºC.
July is the driest month of the year with the amount of precipitation being close to 1 mm and January is the month with the most amount of rain with an average of 82 mm of precipitation.
The following graph shows the monthly average temperatures and the monthly rainfall average for 2017:
What are the best places to eat in Carvoeiro?
Onze Restaurant – The Onze Restaurant is an excellent example of the delicious Mediterranean food practiced in this corner of the Algarve. Try the Polvo à Lagareiro and you will not be disappointed. Please note that because it is a luxury restaurant this is reflected in the price.
Restaurante Hexagone – With a magnificent and pleasant space and a superb wine list, the Hexagone Restaurant is one of the most sought after in Carvoeiro. Please note that you should book as early as possible, otherwise it will be very difficult to find a table.
A Boneca – A Boneca is a restaurant located in the middle of the rocks and caves of Algar Seco. In a privileged location, this restaurant has delicious food, a professional service and one of the most unique views in the world. It is definitely worth visiting this restaurant.
Le Crô Portugal – Le Crô Portugal is a delicious tapas restaurant. The snacks and the good wine served make this establishment a must stop in Carvoeiro.
What are the best places to go out at night in Carvoeiro?
Families – The centre of the village or the restaurants’ hill filled with cafes and ice-cream parlours are very pleasant places for a family evening out.
Couples – The best place for couples looking for a romantic place in Carvoeiro is certainly the Sky Bar Carvoeiro. With an absolutely magnificent view, this is one of the best places in the Algarve to watch a sunset.
Groups of friends – The parties in Carvoeiro are well known among the community of tourists that visit the village every year. The nightclub O Bote, one of the first nightclubs in the Algarve region, still attracts some of great DJs to perform each night. The Jailhouse Bar or Manoel’s Jazz Club are equally good options for a fun night out with friends.
How far is Carvoeiro from…?
Faro’s Airport – 65 km (aproxx. 50 min drive)
Albufeira – 30 km (aproxx. 30 min drive)
Lagos – 35 km (aproxx. 35 min drive)
Portimão – 10 km (aproxx. 20 min drive)
Sagres – 65 km (aproxx. 1 hora drive)
Vilamoura – 50 km (aproxx. 40 min drive)
Tavira – 90 km (aproxx. 1 hora drive)
Lisbon – 275 km (aproxx. 2hr40 drive)
Seville – 250 km (aproxx. 2hr30 drive)
Spanish Border – 110 km (aproxx. 1hr10 drive)
All distances have been rounded up.
Where are the bus and train stations?
Carvoeiro does not have a bus station, and the nearest stations is in Lagoa, about 10 minutes from the centre of Carvoeiro by bus or taxi. There is, however, a bus stop on Estrada do Farol, next to the taxi rank, direction Vale Centeanes/Lagoa.
Carvoeiro also has no train stations and the nearest stations are Portimão, Ferragudo or Estombar-Lagoa.
How much does a taxi from Faro’s Airport to Carvoeiro cost?
The price of a 4-person taxi or uber from Faro’s Airport to Carvoeiro is usually around 55€ each way (110€ return).
If it is a private taxi or a van the price will tend to be higher, however, depending on the number of people it carries it might end up being cheaper per person.
Please note that if the trip takes place during the night, the price will be higher because a special night rate is charged.
In case you are alone or just two people it might be cheaper to take a taxi from the airport to Faro’s train station (around 10€), take a train from Faro’s train station to Portimão, Ferragudo or Estombar-Lagoa’s train station (around 10€) and then, if you need, a taxi from the station to your address (around 10€). This whole trip should cost you around 30/35€.
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