Praia do Carvoeiro is beautiful, especially when viewed from the hills on either side of the town, which we did every night to observe the beautiful sunsets. It is layered with white-washed villas and buildings, which seem to undulate in harmony with the natural rocky landscape. The beach is small but ample and is fringed with seaside cafes and restaurants and still home to local fishermen whose boats complete the picture postcard scene.
Praia do Carvoeiro is quite a commercialised town but you have to expect that anywhere on mainland Europe these days, especially if it's by the sea and anywhere near the Mediterranean (although the Algarve's shoreline is actually on the Atlantic).
The best local beach that we found was Praia Vale de Centianes. Not noticeable from the roadside you need to take a taxi from Carvoeiro for about £2 or walk there in about 20 minutes. The taxi drops you by some steps, which wind endlessly down through rocks until you reach an enclave ensconced on all sides by towering rocks. There you can enjoy a secluded beach ideal for sunbathing and in the Spring, Autumn and Winter almost entirely to yourself.
Praia do Carvoeiro is an excellent resort to use as a base for touring and exploring the region. You can travel by bus, which is the cheapest but the services aren't too reliable or frequent especially out of season. We chose to travel by taxi as the fares seemed very reasonable to us coming from London where prices can be extortionate.
But probably the best method is to hire a car as it is very inexpensive and because of the competition, there's a lot of good deals to be had.
A good day trip out is to the nearby historic town of Silves where you can enjoy the Moorish castle perched on a hill at the top of the town next to the church. They usually have displays on there and we enjoyed the gruesome mediaeval torture exhibits. We were pleasantly surprised when we made a stop at a local café down a narrow alleyway, which seemed to be patronised solely by Portuguese people. The price of a glass of Port and a half bottle of wine was a staggeringly cheap 200 Escudos (the Portuguese currency) which is about one pound sterling. Portugal is a very economical destination and still one of the best value places to be enjoyed anywhere in Europe.
A travel description written by Adrian Caffery