Discovering Carvoeiro: Portugal’s Hidden Gem
Looking for a destination to get some winter sun? Portugal is a top choice as the weather can reach highs of 19°C in the colder months with a decent amount of sunshine hours too.
After researching Portugal holiday resorts and consulting a few travel websites, I stumbled upon Carvoeiro which looked ideal and as we were travelling in December I thought it would be pretty quiet... and boy was I right!
- How to Get to Carvoeiro
- Where to Stay in Carvoeiro
- Things to Do in Carvoeiro
- Best restaurants in Carvoeiro
- Carvoeiro Travel Tips
- Final Thoughts
Getting to Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro is a small town in the Algarve which is very close to Lagoa and just a 50 minute drive from Faro Airport.
We flew into Faro and booked a return journey with Yellowfish Transfers to take us to our hotel which would be home for the next 4 nights. The roundtrip cost €87 (discounted for off season) and was worth it as we had free WiFi and friendly, knowledgable drivers.
Where to Stay in Carvoeiro
The Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort is not your average 5-star Hotel, this Carvoeiro hotel has a location that is unbeatable; nested up high within the most stunning ochre coloured cliffs, with a private sandy beach, surrounded by turquoise and blue ocean waters.
We were extremely impressed with the hotel; the simplistic room decor and outstanding service received made it a truly excellent place to stay.
Walking into the lobby and looking unimpeded to the sea and the horizon beyond lets you know you somewhere truly special. The grounds are breathtaking and very well maintained so it’s worth exploring the area. There are rough pathways in both surrounding cliffs which you can climb up to see some epic views. The cliff opposite the pool was the perfect patch to take in the sunset.
Breakfast was flawless, it was an impressive spread, some may say a feast! We were treated to fresh fruits, cured meats, cheese, smoked salmon, eggs made to order, hot buffet options, cereals, pastries, cakes and much more. The waiters were highly attentive, they even remembered our food choices from the previous day and were on hand to provide anything we requested.
Things to Do in Carvoeiro
The location of the Tivoli Carvoeiro hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the town centre. The town is small but lovely, it has restaurants, cafes, local shops and leads to Carvoeiro beach (Praia de Carvoeiro). We visited 2 main beaches on our trip and both were fairly small but charming with gold sandy beaches, surrounded by picturesque cliffs and caves.
The boardwalk looks like it goes on forever but it’s not bad at all once you're on it - so don’t be put off by the length of it as you see it twisting and turning in the distance! It’s a pleasant, short stroll along the ocean and leads to the town centre by the beach.
About mid-way through the boardwalk you’ll notice some stairs tailing off, follow this and you'll find the Carvoeiro caves. There are steps cut into the rock formations that are perfectly fine to use, but be warned it does look scary and is unsuitable for small children and those wobbly on their feet. When you reach the Carvoeiro caves, you'll see it's the optimal place to watch the sunset... just make sure to get back up to the boardwalk before its dark as there are no lights!
Favourite Restaurants in Carvoeiro
We ate out in the town every day for dinner and Villa Medici was our favourite restaurant, they served up delicious Italian cuisine and generous portions (just look at that pizza!). We also ate at The Wolf Bar & Grill which was a nice option with a small menu, I highly recommend the tempura prawns to start with. On our last day we visited Casa Algarvia to try some authentic Portuguese dishes. We tried the pork and clam Cataplana which was like a cross between a stew and a paella, it was tasty but a bit gritty due to the clams. Drinks were especially cheap here, with a glass of wine costing only €3.50 so a very good option for those on a budget.
My Top Tips
- Buy now, save later - book transfers in advance to avoid being ripped off! Ask your hotel what companies they recommend
- Venture out - if you get bored in Carvoeiro you may be tempted to visit Portimão... don’t! It’s rundown and we didn't enjoy it there
- Sunset sky - the caves and boardwalk are definitely the prime spots to watch the sun go down and to get some spectacular pictures
- Watch your step - stairs are carved into the rocks at the caves but some have eroded away, so take care when making your way down!
I recommend a trip to Carvoeiro if you’re in need of a rest or just love to be surrounded by natural beauty. It offers cliffs, caves and scenic oceanic views and is the best place to visit in the off-peak season. The weather in Carvoeiro in December was just lovely in the day with highs of 18 degrees (surprisingly hot in the sun), cooling down to about 7 degrees in the evening. The hotels, town, restaurants and beaches are pretty vacant so you can have a truly relaxing experience!