Travel just 30 minutes from Faro airport and you’ll be shocked at the contrasting peace and serenity on offer in the quiet, friendly Praia do Carvoeiro.
This pretty and picturesque resort found in the Algarve region of Portugal is an old fishing village, which has retained its charming roots and love of seafood fare.
Rainfall is a seldom occurrence in the Algarve region – just 1mm per month drops in the summer months of June, July and August. Couple this with a temperature that is almost constantly in the warm and pleasant 15°C – 28°C range year-round, meaning it’s rarely uncomfortably hot, or too chilly, and the appeal with this area to tourists becomes apparent.
Fan of taking things slow? The 5-day Snail Festival (yes, 5-days – we’re still not sure if that’s just some ingenious in-joke) could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Set in Porches, it focusses on snails as an edible delicacy rather than their import to the animal kingdom, and the entry fee includes a free plate of imaginatively prepared dishes.
Down on the beach, the daily cruises to Benagil and Albufeira are a simply fantastic way to see the white-sand beaches, coves and coastline of the Algarve.
With literally hundreds of spots to choose from that wouldn’t look out of place on the postcards you won’t remember to send home, and the sandstone cliffs that provide the backdrop to the beautiful Praia do Carvoeiro beach, there’s plenty of reason to spend the entirety of your holiday simply soaking up the sun.
The traditional dishes found in the restaurants around the local square present delicious dishes with coastal views and old-style charm. As is common in the Algrave, seafood features prominently on most menus – make sure you try the local seafood stew, cataplana.
Delivering the best Italian cuisine in the area, the romantic Villa Medici can be found among the whitewashed buildings that sit atop the cliffs and you won’t regret the small jaunt uphill.
Laid back beats, tasty and reasonably priced cocktails, and colourful surroundings can be found on the main road’s Bar Havana.
The local bars you’ll find are within easy walking distance from one another and provide a great environment for enjoying some local red. The 20-minute drive to Praia de Rocha is your best bet if you’re looking for a livelier night.
The landscape formed by cliff erosions known as Algar Seco, remains of a 17th Century fort, the cliff-top white buildings, lighthouse and compact town centre all add to the charm and culture of this pintsize resort which has history that dates back hundreds of years.
The beach offers a variety of water sports, snorkelling and boat trips if you find the energy to peel yourself from the warm sand. Heading 10 minutes away to Praia Grande beach will allow you to choose from even more options, including diving, jet skis, pedalos and even beach volleyball.
Away from the beach completely, the Algarve is renowned for its many golf courses and with good reason.
With parking being difficult in the summer, given its small-size and tendency to overcrowding at peak times, it’s more advisable to walk. If you don’t mind risking it, there are plenty of places to hire a vehicle.
The Algarve region of Portugal is the sunniest, driest, and warmest part of the country, although it is rarely unpleasantly hot. Sea temperatures here are also warm. The region has a typical Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild, and have higher rainfall, although this is still very low - the maximum is 70mm in the month of Jan, June - Aug have the lowest rainfall with just 1mm per month!