Carvoeiro is one of the most enchanting towns in the Algarve and it’s situated right next to some of the most impressive natural Algarve attractions that you can imagine.
Besides strolling through the vibrant fishing town, drinking coffee in a street café, or having local treats at a restaurant, there are a ton of fun things to do in Carvoeiro.
This is truly an underrated town for anyone wanting a relaxing atmosphere combined with adventure and it has nothing to do with any of the other coastal towns in southern Portugal.
While most travelers go there on day trips from Lagos, Albufeira, or Faro, Carvoeiro definitely deserves a few days, especially for outdoor lovers.
In this post, I’ll go through what to do in Carvoeiro, Algarve, so that you can fill your Algarve itinerary with epic experiences in this captivating part of Portugal.
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Things to do in Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
Laze at Carvoeiro beach
Carvoeiro beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in the Algarve with traditional houses spilling onto the beach. For this reason, it’s also the most accessible beach from Carvoeiro town.
It makes the perfect place for a lazy day soaking in the warm Algarve sun. With all the necessary facilities of a beach and bars and restaurants easily accessible in the town, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.
One of the top things to do in Carvoeiro, Algarve, is to walk the scenic Carvoeiro boardwalk all the way to Algar Seco.
The boardwalk is jam-packed with breathtaking sights and you can walk off the boardwalk at one point to get lost on the cliffs, through tunnels, natural arches, gateways, and different paths.
The boardwalk is also popular for birdwatchers. The cliffs are a popular nesting area for different bird species, as it’s a free space from predators.
Explore the coast by kayak or SUP
For activities like standup paddleboarding and kayaking, Carvoeiro is fabulous. This way, you can explore the mesmerizing coastline of hidden coves, sea caves, and secret beaches up close.
Even visiting Algarve in winter, you can head out on a calm, sunny day and you might even have some of these incredible places by yourself.
Carvoeiro is also close to the Benagil sea Cave, which is one of the most astonishing natural phenomena in the Algarve. Going by kayak or SUP, you can enter the cave. Head out early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Algar Seco is no arguing one of the most dazzling places in Carvoeiro. Things to do there are many. Wander the cliffs through tunnels and walkways, and enter the famous Algar Seco cave with the two natural windows opening up to a splendid Mediterranean sea view.
Grab a bite at the Boneco Restaurant to enjoy the spectacular views in the shade on a hot day before checking out the natural pool and more passageways.
See Alfanzina Lighthouse
If you’re wondering what to see in Carvoeiro other than natural landmarks, head to the Alfanzina Lighthouse. It’s one of the most recognized landmarks in the Algarve.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the Algarvean cliffs it has guided boats at sea since 1920. The annex building was used as a place to live for the lighthouse keeper.
These days, it’s open for the public on Wednesdays from 14:00-17:00. It’s well worth a visit and you can do it as part of The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.
Explore Fort of Our Lady of the Incarnation
The remains of the Fort of Our Lady of the Incarnation sit elegantly on top of the hill overlooking Carvoeiro beach. The fortress was built in the first half of the 1670s to defend the little fisherman’s village from pirate attacks.
In the 1755 earthquake, the fortress was damaged and the only surviving thing from the chapel was the image of the patron saint, Our Lady of the Incarnation.
Go dolphin watching
One of the absolute most rewarding activities in Carvoeiro is to go dolphin watching. Seeing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is so rewarding.
Though they are free and there’s no guarantee of seeing them, most days you can spot them and the tour guides know where to look for them.
In the case you don’t see dolphins, take advantage of an unforgettable boat trip. Carvoeiro’s coastline is mesmerizing and boats will usually show you the best of the coast while you’re out.
Learn how to surf
There’s no way you can leave the Algarve without trying to surf – it’s simply one of the must things to do. Carvoeiro is no exception. Right on Carvoeiro beach, there’s a surf school where you can book surf lessons for all levels.
This is one of the coolest activities you can do in Carvoeiro and it can easily be done all year round with a wetsuit.
If you’re already a seasoned surfer, you can rent boards and other equipment there and go chase the best waves on the coast.
Explore Benagil Cave
If you’re still not sure about things to do, Carvoeiro, Portugal hides one of the most staggering natural attractions in the country!
Benagil Cave is surely one of the most majestic sea caves you’ll ever enter. You can see it from the outside by taking a boat tour. They leave from Benagil beach throughout the day, but you can also book a boat tour straight from Carvoeiro.
If you want to actually get inside the cave and walk on the beach, however, you’ll have to visit by kayak or standup paddleboard. If you have the chance, I highly recommend it as one of the most magical experiences you’ll have during your holidays to Carvoeiro.
To avoid the worst crowds, go off-season and early in the morning because this is one of the most popular sights in the Algarve.
Take pictures from the lookout points
Carvoeiro with its beach looks like an amphitheater made up of the cliffs on each side and the cascading houses spilling onto the beach. No arguing, this makes out one of the most picturesque town views in the entire Algarve.
On each side of the fisherman’s town, you can walk to stunning views of the beach and town to take astounding pictures. No trip to Carvoeiro without seeing the iconic view!
Where are you headed next?
Hike the Seven Hanging Valley’s Trail
When in Carvoeiro, hiking is a great way to explore the coastline. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is not only the best hike in Carvoeiro but one of the best hikes in the Algarve.
Spanning from Algar Seco to Marinha beach, the 6-hour return hike takes you across golden cliffs, lets you peek into large sinkholes while it winds past mesmerizing beaches, and gives you views of sea carved arches, and unique rock formations.
Make sure you bring proper footwear and a hat or cap to cover from the scorching sun. You must also bring enough water, though there are places to buy along the way, it’s better to carry extra than to run out on this stretch.
Take a boat tour
Going on a boat tour is truly one of the best things to do in Carvoeiro. Discover the seaside, cliffs, natural arches, sea-carved caves, and secluded beaches of the staggering coastline.
Boats typically take you into hidden caves where you nearly can touch the ceiling, through naturally carved passageways in the cliffs where you can admire rock formations and the sunlight light up the boat as a spotlight from above.
Some boat trips take you to secluded beaches for a barbeque or take you snorkeling in the crystalline water.
Soak up the sun at Marinha beach
No visit to Carvoeiro, Portugal, is complete without a visit to the mesmerizing Marinha beach. Nominated the most pretty beach in Europe several times, you will not get disappointed.
Marinha beach sits elegantly at the foot of steep cliffs curtaining down to the golden sand and boasts a splendid set of rock formations towering out of the water.
There is parking at the top and a restaurant with toilets on the beach. However, for the best beach views, walk a little towards the west on top of the cliffs to see the rock formations that surround that part of the beach.
Reflections on what to do in Carvoeiro
With so many amazing things to do in Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal, there is no questioning you’ll have a wonderful vacation. There are so many incredible natural wonders just within walking distance of the quaint town.
Whether you want a relaxing vacation on the beach or an active stay with plenty of activities in nature, Carvoeiro will have you covered. Yet, you can retreat to a calm environment after a long day of exploring compared to other resort towns that never sleep, like Albufeira and Portimão.
With these things to do, I’m sure your holidays to Carvoeiro will turn out magnificent!
Read next: How to spend a weekend in Algarve