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If you want to visit Carvoeiro Boardwalk in southern Portugal, this guide is for you. This coastal route is short, but very scenic indeed. Located on the Algarve, it offers sweeping ocean views, unique rock formations, beautiful beaches, concealed caves, and a charming village. 

You can discover this lovely area – and all you need to know about visiting it – in this article. Covered here is a brief introduction to the boardwalk, its location, how to get there by bus or car, where to park, accessibility, what to see and do there, local beaches, places to eat, and traveler tips to enhance your experience. 

Read on to find out all you should know about visiting Carvoeiro Boardwalk in the sun-kissed Algarve. 

Carvoeiro Boardwalk guide

About Carvoeiro Boardwalk

Carvoeiro Boardwalk is a wooden boardwalk on the southern coast of Portugal. It’s a popular day trip destination. Here you can take a short walk between the fort at Nossa Senhora da Encarnação and the Algar Seco rock formation.

The coastal walkway stretches for 570 meters, which is just over half a kilometer – or around a third of a mile. While it’s not long, the boardwalk holds plenty of appeal. You can access caves via steps leading down from the boardwalk, and see the stunning rock formations of the area. 

The boardwalk was constructed to showcase the natural coastal beauty of this part of the Algarve. Carvoeiro village, which the boardwalk lies close to, is also a peaceful, picture-perfect settlement featuring charming, cobbled streets lined with whitewashed homes, draped in colorful bougainvillea. 

Due to the short distance, it can take as little as 10 minutes to complete a brisk walk along the boardwalk. But in reality, most visitors linger for longer. It’s far too pretty for you not to want to stop and admire the view as often as possible – not to mention taking photographs. 

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Photo Credit – Algarve Tourism

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Location

The Carvoeiro Boardwalk starts at Nossa Senhora da Encarnação fort, and ends at the rock formations of Algar Seco. Though, of course, you could also complete the route in reverse. The fort sits atop a hill, and the boardwalk leads to the Algar Seco car park. 

Carvoeiro village, and the coastal boardwalk, is on the Algarve in southern Portugal. It’s around five kilometers (or three miles) south of Lagoa. Faro is the closest airport to the Algarve, and therefore Carvoeiro.

How to Get to Carvoeiro Boardwalk

The simplest way to get to Carvoeiro Boardwalk is to drive. Renting a car in the Algarve is recommended for exploring the area, in any case. While there are bus services between towns, sometimes you’ll need to change, or even complete your route by using an Uber or a taxi. 

There is a circular bus route connecting Portimão, Carvoeiro, and Marinha Beach. The hop-on-hop-off route runs hourly, between 9 am and 6 pm, and you can buy 24 or 48 hour tickets on board. 

The main stops are Portimão, Ferragudo, Carvoeiro, Benagil, and Marinha Beach. From Lagos, you’ll need to take a bus to Portimão before boarding a service to Carvoeiro

Parking at Carvoeiro Boardwalk

There are car parks at Nossa Senhora da Encarnação fort and Algar Seco. The Algar Seco car park is bigger, but also popular with motorhome and RV owners. These can get busy during the summer months, so arrive as early as you can if you’re driving to Carvoeiro Boardwalk.

Accessibility

As it’s made from flat wooden planks, Carvoeiro Boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller friendly, making it accessible to all. Rails to both sides ensure safety, too. 

There are two broad areas along the boardwalk with seating, which is perfect for those who need to take a break when walking. 

However, there are steep steps leading from the boardwalk to the base of the Algar Seco cliff. To view the fascinating rock formations close up, you would thus need to descend this staircase.

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Photo by Anthony R. on Unsplash

What to See and Do at Carvoeiro Boardwalk

Algar Seco

Algar Seco is a cliff featuring some unique and unusual rock formations at its base. These limestone shapes are clustered around a central pinnacle, and honeycomb pitting adds interest to the surrounding, multi-tonal rock strata. 

The chamber of A Boneca cave – or The Doll – can be reached via a short, rocky passage. From here you can look out past two arching holes in the rock to the azure waters of the ocean. These are the “eyes” of the “doll”. 

Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação

Built to protect the local coastline, the fort of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação is a reconstruction of the original building. The first was constructed in 1670, but fell victim to an earthquake in 1755. It was rebuilt in 1825. 

Though the building itself is rather plain and uninspiring, you can enjoy sweeping coastal views from the clifftop site. There’s also a kids’ playground in front of the fort. 

Carvoeiro Village

Taking a wander around pretty Carvoeiro village is always a pleasant pastime. In summer, the whitewashed buildings are adorned with brightly-colored bougainvillea, and the cobbled streets are packed with charm and character. 

There’s also a number of good places to eat in Carvoeiro, some of which are detailed below. 

Boat tours

To explore further, you can take boat trips from Carvoeiro. Options include a small group boat trip to Benagil Cave, departing from the Carvoeiro Caves ticket office on the beach. It lasts for around an hour-and-a-half, with no more than 10 passengers per boat. 

Arrive 30 minutes before departure, to meet your captain and don a lifejacket. The trip also takes you along the coast by the Seven Hanging Valleys trail, which is among the most scenic hiking routes in Europe. 

Click here to book this Benagil Cave tour from Carvoeiro

Another option is to take a paddle boarding tour from Carvoeiro to the Benagil Caves. This is suitable for beginners, and all includes all instruction and equipment. The duration is around two hours. 

Click here to book this paddle-boarding tour from Carvoeiro to Benagil Cave

Trails Beyond the Boardwalk

After the end of the boardwalk finishes, it’s possible to continue walking along the cliff top. This is much more challenging than the wooden boardwalk, though, so it’s not suitable for all. Wear suitable, sturdy footwear if you want to tackle this section of the coastline. 

As there are many hilly sections, you will need to be fit and steady on your feet, but it’s very much worth the effort. The cliff top walk takes you past some lovely hidden coves and beaches, and continues for miles. 

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail commences at Praia do Vale de Centianes, around two kilometers east of Carvoeiro boardwalk. This six kilometer (or four mile) coastal trail is the Algarve’s best-known hiking route. 

Heading in the opposite direction is the Trail of the Headlands, which also stretches for six kilometers (or four miles). This trail starts one kilometer (about two thirds of a mile) west of the boardwalk, at Praia do Paraiso.

You can of course connect all three routes, completing the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Carvoeiro boardwalk, and the Trail of the Headlands. In total, the entire walk is about 15 kilometers (or nine miles) long. 

Other Local Attractions

If you love seaside boardwalks, then the Algarve in Portugal also offers the Alvor Boardwalk at a wildlife-rich coastal estuary. There’s also the Ponta da Piedade Boardwalk, just south of Lagos. 

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Photo by 777 S on Unsplash

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Restaurants

Boneca Bar

Boneca Bar is set at the base of the Algar Seco cliffs, and serves meals and snacks as well as a refreshing range of drinks. You’ll have to climb down the steep cliffside staircase to reach it. 

The bar is famous locally, and surely offers the most scenic views in the Algarve. It usually opens from mid or late April to late October, between midday and 10 pm daily, except on Sundays. 

Gurkha Kitchen

This restaurant in Carvoeiro specializes in Indian and Nepalese cuisine. Both the service and the food are exceptional, which is why it’s often rated the area’s number one eatery. Prices are reasonable, and there are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. 

Le Crô Portugal

For Portuguese and European food and wine, head to Le Crô in Carvoeiro. The couple who run it are incredibly welcoming, and the wine pairings are very good indeed. Seafood, local-style stews, and ceviche are must-trys. 

Jota Lita

This winner of a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award is a family run restaurant in Carvoeiro. It’s particularly good for sampling Portuguese cuisine, whether you prefer meat or seafood. As it’s so popular, reservations are recommended. 

Happys

Happys in Carvoeiro stands out for several reasons. It has a Dutch owner, and accordingly, serves up fare such as Dutch apple cake. The fish and chips is also very good. This one’s great for vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian diets, too. 

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Photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Beaches

Photo by Frank Nürnberger on Unsplash

Carvoeiro Beach

Carvoeiro Beach – or Praia de Carvoeiro – is a lovely, golden sandy beach set among limestone cliffs. It’s around 600 meters (or 650 yards) from the boardwalk. You can rent sun loungers and parasols here in summer, when there’s also a lifeguard service.

You can also hire a SUP or kayak at the beach to paddle to Benagil Cave, or take a boat trip. When the water is calm, it’s also good for taking a dip, though it can be a little chilly here for longer swims. 

Marinha Beach

Praia da Marinha, aka Marinha Beach, is under seven kilometers (or just over four miles) from Carvoeiro. So it can make a good alternative if you’re traveling by car. Don’t bother unless you arrive early, though: as parking is limited, it can be a nightmare!

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Sunsets

It’s a very family-friendly beach with calm waters and soft sand. The beach is very picturesque, and flanked by the sandstone cliffs typical of this area. You can find the famous double coastal arches here, one of the Algarve’s most iconic sights. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail can also be accessed from here.  

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Seeing the sun sink over the horizon is one of the reasons people flock to Carvoeiro Boardwalk. There are places to stop along the half-kilometer route, so you can make the most of the spectacular views. 

Even if you’ve already seen and done the boardwalk by day, it’s worth returning during the evening for this unmissable experience!

Locals’ Tips for Visiting Carvoeiro Boardwalk

Best Time to Visit 

Carvoeiro Boardwalk is very popular in summer, making early morning the best time to visit. The peak season is in July and August, but if you arrive before 9 am it will still be very peaceful, with plenty of parking. It’s also cooler at this time of the day, and thus better for walking and climbing down the steep steps on the cliffside.

If you arrive very early, you can also see the sunrise from the boardwalk. Summer evenings are busy, but outside of peak season it will be quieter at sunset. Winter is good if you don’t mind cooler weather, but do bear in mind that local amenities – like Boneca Bar – will be shut for the season.

Safety 

Even for those afraid of heights, Carvoeiro Boardwalk feels safe. It helps that super strong railings divide walkers from the cliffside. The steps leading downwards, meanwhile, are  steep, yet also feel safe. 

As watching the sunset is popular here, there are plenty of people around during the evening. This makes the area feel safe even as dusk sets in, even if you’re a solo traveler. 

112 is the national emergency number in Portugal. This covers all situations requiring urgent help, from medical or criminal emergencies to critical maritime issues. 

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Reviews and Recommendations

Here’s what people are saying about Carvoeiro Boardwalk.

“Great walk for the family.” 

“Nice gentle walk along the cliffs with amazing views and interesting information boards at intervals…. The boardwalk is buggy and wheelchair friendly. It is also a great place to see the sunset from Carvoeiro.”

“The boardwalk in Carvoeiro is spectacular, very picturesque cliffs and the sea, an easy walk to the center of the village to the beach and restaurants. There is parking on top of the hill near Algar Seco.”

“This boardwalk is absolutely beautiful and offers amazing views of the sunset and the rugged coastline of the Algarve. A beautiful restaurant is nestled right below the boardwalk.”

“A gentle stroll along the boardwalk is a popular pastime for all ages. Fantastic views of the cliffs, you can sometimes see people fishing from the rocks. Several places where you can sit down and just soak it all in.”

“After the boardwalk finishes, you can continue on the cliff top which is not as much of an easy walk. You need to be stable on your feet and be relatively fit as there are a lot of hills and dips, but this is worth it if you can manage it. The cliff top walk goes on for miles, past some beautiful beaches and coves.”

“Boneca Bar at the end of the boardwalk (via more steps!) is also worth visiting for dinner or lunch.”

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