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Carvoeiro (Lagoa)

Coordinates: 37°06′N 08°28′W / 37.100°N 8.467°W / 37.100; -8.467
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Coat of arms of Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro is located in Portugal
Location in Portugal
Coordinates: 37°06′N 08°28′W / 37.100°N 8.467°W / 37.100; -8.467
Country Portugal
Intermunic. comm.Algarve
 • Total11.66 km2 (4.50 sq mi)
 • Total2,721
 • Density230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Postal code
Area code282
PatronNossa Senhora da Encarnação

Carvoeiro is a town and a former civil parish in the municipality (concelho) of Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal. In 2013, the parish merged into the new parish Lagoa e Carvoeiro.[1] The population in 2011 was 2,721,[2] in an area of 11.66 km².[3] It is located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Lagoa.

As a traditional fishing village, Carvoeiro has maintained its authenticity while adapting to the needs of the increasing number of tourists. Despite its popularity, the town remains relatively underserved by public transport, with the closest train station being Estombar-Lagoa.[4]

There are two beaches at Carvoeiro, including Carvoeiro Beach (Praia de Carvoeiro) and Paradise Beach (Praia do Paraíso).


View of Carvoeiro (from the west)
View of Carvoeiro (from the east)

Formed from a picturesque fishing village, with a long history of settlement, the parish slowly developed into a tourist area in the municipality of Lagoa, owing to its number of sand beaches protected by cliffs. There are vestiges of human settlement dating to the Roman occupation of the peninsula, as well as early naval activity in the area.[5]

The region was historically unspared from frequent pirate and military assaults along the coast, with a number of naval battles occurring off the coast. Most notably, in 1544, a squadron of ships under D. Pedro da Cunha, battled the Turkish barbary coast pirate, Xarramet.[5] From historical records, the earliest settlement originated in the name Caboiere, an old name for a hamlet of fishermen from the Islamic-medieval period. For most of its history, fishing was the mainstay of the local economy.[5]

However, from the 1960s onward, tourism gradually became the economic base of the area, with many new hotels, apartment complexes, shops, roads, and significant improvements to infrastructures completed to attract visitors to the metropole.[5] An insight into the effects of mass tourism on the Algarve, centred on Carvoeiro, was written by Patrick Swift, detailing the community before the arrival of mass tourism.[5][6] Swift was an artist and long-time resident of Carvoeiro who founded Porches Pottery.

Carvoeiro became a separate/independent parish in 1985 and raised to the status of town on 19 April 2001.[5]


Algar Seco, a few hundred meters along the coast east of the main square and beach, is a popular nature site where ocean wave erosion has carved out grottoes, islets and water-spouts. It is also renowned in the vicinity for prime marine life spotting. In 2011, a blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) was sighted off the coastline by local fishermen, but more commonly, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) are seen in pods of up to 12.

Panorama of the rock formations of Algar Seco near Carvoeiro


To the west of the town is the site of an old ruined fort, ordered built in 1670 as part of the coastal defenses of the Algarve. Only a gate survives. At the same site is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Incarnation, a chapel overlooking the sea, whose construction is said to have antedated the fort.


Lighthouse of Alfanzina (Carvoeiro).


  • Fort of Our Lady of the Incarnation (Forte de Carvoeiro/Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação), little remains of the fortress, but the eastern wall, where the hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação and the older buildings of the Fiscal Guard.[8] The fort was constructed in 1670 under the direction of Governor of Algarve, D. Nuno de Mendonça, Count of Val dos Reis, but began to serve as a fiscal outpost after 1870, before becoming a cultural attraction in the middle of the 20th century.[8]
Evening on Carvoeiro Beach

Public Transport[edit]

Carvoeiro lacks direct access to train services, the nearest train station is the Estombar-Lagoa station, which is approximately 8 km away. From there, regional train services connect to Lisbon, Porto, and Faro. Local buses are available in Carvoeiro, but the network may not sufficiently cover all the popular tourist sites. Public transport is an affordable option for travellers on a budget. Tourists can also rent a car or use taxi services in Carvoeiro and the surrounding Algarve area.[4]


Praia de Carvoeiro[edit]

Praia de Carvoeiro is searched for the craggy cliffs, calm waters and location in the centre of Carvoeiro. There is also the opportunity to take a boat trip around the caves from the beach or to take part in water sports during the high season. This beach can get very busy during the summer months.[9]

Praia do Vale de Centeanes[edit]

Praia do Vale de Centeanes is surrounded by big cliffs. There is a shallow valley leading down to the beach at the eastern end making access fairly easy (even by wheelchair). There are plenty of facilities for all the family including a seasonal lifeguard service. There i also bar right on the beach. It is popular spot to watch the sunset.[4][10]

Praia da Marinha[edit]

Praia da Marinha is the archetypal Algarve cove. It is located between Portimão and Carvoeiro and 4 km far by the Algarve International School. Main characteristics of the beach are clear turquoise waters lap up against the orange limestone that forms the cliffs and iconic rock formations. Praia da Marinha is small and sandy. Boat trips (including paddle boat hire) are available from the beach.[10] In the summer, it can get quite crowded.[4]

Praia do Paraíso[edit]

Praia do Paraíso is a small, hidden cove that offers visitors a more intimate beach experience. It is surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush vegetation. The cove is a secluded oasis perfect for those seeking tranquillity and picturesque views.[4]


There are various water sports available in Carvoeiro. Kayaking is a popular activity, allowing people to explore the sea caves and beaches up close. Some tours offer a 2-hour kayak adventure through the caves of Benagil, providing a unique experience amidst the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is also land-based activity. The golf courses in and around Carvoeiro are suitable to all skill levels.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 59" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  2. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  3. ^ Eurostat Archived October 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e f "[2023] Carvoeiro, Algarve: 18 Best Things to Do and See". 2023-10-22. Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Apresentação (in Portuguese), Lagoa (Algarve), Portugal, 2012, archived from the original on 3 September 2013, retrieved 6 August 2013{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ Swift, Patrick (1965), Algarve: A Portrait And a Guide, London, England: Barrie & Rockliff
  7. ^ a b Giebels, Daniel (2005), SIPA (ed.), Farol da Alfanzina (IPA.00024990/PT050806050024) (in Portuguese), Lisbon: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, archived from the original on 10 November 2013, retrieved 6 August 2013
  8. ^ a b Giebels, Daniel (2005), SIPA (ed.), Forte do Carvoeiro/Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (IPA.00011754/PT050806050008) (in Portuguese), Lisbon: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, archived from the original on 6 April 2015, retrieved 6 August 2013
  9. ^ "Carvoeiro Beach | www.carvoeiro.com". www.carvoeiro.com. Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  10. ^ a b "Praia do Vale de Centeanes - Portugal Beaches". Portugal Travel Guide. Retrieved 2024-01-08.

External links[edit]