The coastal town of Carvoeiro in the Portuguese Algarve has a unique walking trail that revolves around those iconic red rock cliffs that the Algarve coast is so famous for. It is called the Carvoeiro Boardwalk, a short walk via boardwalks bringing you up close with those Algarve cliffs and the impressive Algar Seco Caves. We will tell you all about this Algarve highlight, hoping to inspire you to add this beautiful place in Portugal to your travel bucket list.
The best things to do in Carvoeiro
The Algar Seco is a beautiful stretch of rocky coast on the eastern edge of the town of Carvoeiro in the Portuguese Algarve. That makes Carvoeiro the perfect base to visit this attraction. The charming fishing village of Carvoeiro is one of the most popular spots on the Portuguese coast and the Alcar Seco Caves are one of the main reasons.
The coastal town is also known for Carvoeiro Beach, offering a beautiful sandy beach, cliff views, restaurants and accommodation. The town is the starting – or finishing point, depending on which direction you’ll walk – of one of the best hikes of the Algarve. It is called the Trail of the Headlands, running for 6 kilometres along the cliffs from Carvoeiro to the equally picturesque town of Ferragudo. Visiting Ferragudo is one of the best day trips from Carvoeiro, as is the castle town of Silves. Make sure to plan in enough time for these amazing things to do in Carvoeiro, starting with a visit to the Carvoeiro Boardwalk and its Algar Seco Caves.
The 600 meter long Carvoeiro Boardwalk
We already mentioned the Carvoeiro Boardwalk as a short walk, but we didn’t tell you exactly how short: it’s only 600 meters of boardwalks. That doesn’t sound impressive at all, but it is not those boardwalks that you’re visiting this attraction for. We actually almost skipped visiting the Carvoeiro Boardwalk – also known as the Caminho do Algar Seco – after reading it was only 600 meters. We only visited because we were in Carvoeiro anyways and we were very glad we did.
So if it’s not the boardwalk that attracts all those visitors, what is? The spectacular coastal views! The wooden boardwalk leads along the most impressive cliffs of the Algarve. And especially the Algar Seco viewpoint is one of the best places to visit and experience the Portuguese cliffs.
The start and finish of the boardwalk
The wooden path lead from Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação to the Algar Seco rocks. The name of this fortress is a lot more impressive than the building actually is. You’d probably walk straight past the white building, if you wouldn’t know it used to be a fortress. And you wouldn’t even miss a thing. We recommend you head straight to the Carvoeiro Boardwalk and start your walk along the Algarve coast.
To get the best view of that coast and that beautiful Algar Seco, there are two places with stairs leading down the cliffs. You’ll to get descend the cliffs, walking on and even through them. The first point is about halfway down the trail and the second point is at the very end. That last point is called Algar Seco, so you’re saving the best for last. Information boards along the wooden path tell you more about the eroding golden cliffs, illustrated with pictures of how this rocky coast was created and worn out by the sea for centuries.
Climbing the Carvoeiro cliffs and taking a dip
Those stairs descending down the cliffs are the attraction of this walk. They allow you to experience the rocky coast of the Algarve in a unique way. There is no other place at the Algarve where you’ll get to climb the orange cliffs like here in Carvoeiro! There are stairs, paths and tunnels carved out the golden rocks. You’ll enjoy viewpoints overlooking the sea, you’ll see the waves rushing between the rocks and you’ll climb on and through the rocks to get to the best views. You’ll go into tunnels, through arches and down and up the rocks to get to the most beautiful parts. There are multiple nooks and crannies to explore, creating an adventurous experience between the Algarve cliffs.
As if that isn’t enough, you can also take a dip in a natural rock pool. This waterhole is at the Algar Seco, the cliffs at the end of the boardwalk. The sea has carved out a pool between the rocks for centuries. The sea was very rough when we visited in winter, offering a great spectacle with waves crashing in. But during the summer months, this is actually a great spot for a refreshing dip.
Another highlight of the Algar Seco cliffs is the Algar Seco Boneco, a viewpoint close to the natural rock pool. It doesn’t just offer you a beautiful view of the sea and the Algarve cliffs, but it frames this view with its window-like rock arches.
Practical tips for visiting the Algar Seco Caves
- Bring swimwear for a dip in the Algar Seco Natural Pool
- Wear sturdy shoes for some grip and leave your flip flops at your hotel
- In the warm months, try to avoid the mid-afternoon as there is only little shade and temperatures can get hot
- There are parking spaces next to the Carvoeiro Boardwalk, but there are only a few, so you might want to walk up here from Carvoeiro
- The wooden boardwalk are great to visit with a stroller or wheelchair, but you won’t be able to go down the stairs
- At the Algar Seco cliffs, you can buy a drink or snack at the Boneco bar (closed in low season)