A white-washed former fishing village nestled into sea cliffs, the small resort of CARVOEIRO must once have been very attractive, but now its small cove beach has to support the prostrate bodies of hundreds of tourists shipped in to what has become an overblown resort. The beach is pleasant enough though, with fishermen running boat trips from here to nearby caves for around €20. You can also visit the impressive rock formations of Algar Seco, 1km east of town, where steps lead down low cliffs to a series of dramatic overhangs above blow holes and grottoes. They are accessible via the coast road, or by a road train that trundles out from Carvoeiro every forty minutes or so.
There are two superb cove beaches a few kilometres to the west of Carvoeiro, though you’ll need your own transport to reach them. First up is Praia da Caneiros, with a rock stack jutting from the sea off its lovely beach and a superb beachside restaurant, Rei das Praias (see below). A couple of kilometres further on, Praia Pintadinho is almost as appealing, with a simpler café-restaurant.