Carvoeiro – Portugal

This week’s journey takes us back to where it all began: the beautiful beaches of Praia do Carvoeiro, Portugal. It was on this jaw-dropping stretch of rocky coastline in the Algarve that we went on our very first date (after 14 years of friendship!) in May 2011.

A quiet seaside enclave located 5 miles south of Lagoa, Carvoeiro is comprised of attractive whitewashed buildings set atop tawny, gold and green cliffs, rising steeply from the sandy arc of beach at its center. The town – formed from a picturesque fishing village with a history of human settlement dating back to Roman occupation of the peninsula – has long intrigued outsiders, both good- and ill-intentioned. The Algarve coast was the site of frequent pirate and military assaults throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, with a number of naval engagements – most notably the 1544 battle between a Portuguese flotilla and the Turkish corsair Xarramet – fought just off the cape of Carvoeiro. While tuna fishing served as the town’s primary economic driver for hundreds of years (the name Carboiere is derived from an Islamic-medieval term meaning “hamlet of fishermen”), tourism gradually became the economic base of the area in the 1960s. While sprawling villas, hotels, restaurants and shops have replaced the town’s humble fishing huts, Carvoeiro remains a laid-back – and arguably prettier – alternative to many of the Algarve’s larger resort communities.

Our adventures in the region centered around the beautiful Tivoli Carvoeiro resort, perched on a clifftop above the secluded Praia do Vale Covo. From here we spent our days wandering up and down the coast from Praia do Vale Centianes to Praia do Paraíso, stopping in between to explore the spectacular caves and grottoes of Algar Seco.

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Thank you for joining us on this adventure in the Algarve! – T. & B. June

Next week’s journey: Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia

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