The picturesque fishing village of Carvoeiro, Portugal is located just 5km south of Lagoa. The small beautiful city is great to walk around and photograph, but the city is really internationally known for its breathtaking beaches, grottos and caves along its endless limestone cliffs. To best experience Carvoeiro you need to be ready to hike, swim and explore.
Seven Hanging Valley Trail
The best way to enjoy the view of the endless cliffs and rock formations in the Carvoerio area is by hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. The trail follows the edges of the cliffs down the coastline, offering the best views to the hikers. There are some of the beaches are not accessible from land, but you can still look down on them and photograph from the trail.
The Seven Hanging Valleys trail starts at the Praia de Vale Centianes and finishes in Praia de Marihna. You can start the hike at any point and finish it where you please, while stopping at many beaches along the way. It is a linear hike and a total of 11.4km round trip. It can take you approximately 3 hours each way, unless you take more time going down the beaches, swimming and relaxing along the way.
For more information about the hike, check out page 34 of the Guide to Walking Trails in the Algarve by the local tourism board.
Exploring the caves of Carvoeiro by boat
When visiting Carvoeiro we highly suggest taking a boat tour of the grottos, caves and secluded beaches. You enter many caves, some not much bigger than the boat itself, and admire the beautiful rock formations.
We took a boat tour with Taruga Benagil Tours. We chose them based on their price and the number of caves the tour visits. We looked for the best tour option and decided this was the best, and we were not wrong. We enjoyed it and took beautiful pictures and videos. We visited 20 caves from Carvoeiro to Armacao Pera.
There are two different options for the boat tour; the first one is to enjoy the ride from the boat and the second one includes to stay at the Benagil Cave for half an hour. You could also get a beach transfer, closer to the city or your hotel, if needed, for an extra fee.
Praia do Paraiso
Praia do Paraiso is a gorgeous beach with the best spots to take panoramic landscape photos. This secluded bay is just north of the town beach, giving an amazing beach at the foot of the city.
Farol de Alfanzina (Lighthouse)
Even though the Alfanzina Lighthouse is closed to the public, the lighthouse and its beautiful red house make a great photo on the edge of the cliffs. The lighthouse was built in the 1920’s and is still lighting the way to this day.
Carvoerio Beach is the main beach of the city and closest to the downtown area. You can access it by going down Lagoa Road, until the beach is right at your feet. It is the only beach in the area with wheelchair access. It is also a starting point of many of the boat cave tours.
Vale de Covo
Vale de Covo a small but gorgeous beach located between Carvoreiro and Centianes Beach. This secluded spot is located behind the Almansor Hotel is great for a photo alone.
Centianes Beach is the second closest beach to downtown. Being so close to downtown this large beach can fill up fast in the mornings. If you spend the day there, there is also a bar and restaurant right on the beach for some food and drinks.
Benagil Beach is famous for its breathtaking cave, Benagil Cave. You can visit the cave by boat even though it is not far from the beach itself, swimming is not recommended due the amount of tour boats that go to the cave. It can be dangerous.
If you are looking to visit one of the most famous beach caves in the world, look no further than the Benagil Sea Cave. This breathtaking location is best accessed via a boat tour, where you have the added option to be dropped of at this small beach and enjoy for a short time.
Carvalho Beach is one of the more secluded and unique beaches that we visited. To get to the beach you must walk through the carved out rock. On the right side of the beach, there are steps carved out to a small room halfway up the cliff, where you can see the whole beach and even jump into the waters if you are daring. On the left side of the beach there is a beautiful small cave that looks like a frame.
Albandeira Beach is a great beach if you are looking to spend your day enjoying tide pools. On the edges of the beach there are small caves you can walk through, during low tide, to get to some smaller and more rocky beaches.
Marinha Beach is classified as one of the best destinations in Europe by European Best Destinations and is a top 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe by Michelin Guide. If those awards do not convince you, take our word, it is worth visiting. It has the most beautiful views, water and sand!