Explore The Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk

Caroveiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk in Algarve Portugal

A Day Trip To Explore The Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk

We wandered the beach town and explored the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk on a day trip on our stay in the Algarve in Portugal.

On our cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon we had one day in Portimao on the Algarve Coast.  Day trips to the Benagil Caves were available as cruise ship excursions.  We passed on doing the trip from the cruise ship since we knew we would be back in the Algarve after we docked in Lisbon.  

One day we planned a day trip to the Carvoeiro area for a boat trip into the Benagil Caves.  While we did not get a boat trip, we saw the amazing cliffs and caves in that area.  We walked along the boardwalk to Algar Seco and explored the shoreline cliffs and views.  It was a great way to enjoy the caves and cliffs along the Algarve Coast.

Heading To Carvoeiro Beach

When we researched places for a tour of the Benagil Caves, we found several options from Carvoeiro Beach.  We checked out the tour schedules and saw the tours were not fully booked. So we decided to arrive very early and just book a boat tour when we arrived.

We left from our hotel and headed to Carvoeiro.  While we loved to travel on the smaller, local roads it quickly became clear that there was no road that ran all along the coast in the Algarve.   So we stayed off the A22 toll highway and travelled along the N125 road.  When we got close to Carvoeiro we headed towards the shore.  

We approached the town centre on the local coast road high above the town and found a parking lot at the top.  From that point we got our first view down over the small town of Carvoeiro and the beach.  As we walked down the steep road we stopped at the cute boat paintings on the wall.

Cliff View - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Beach From Above
Beach From Above - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Beach Town - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal

Wandering In The Beach Town

When we hit the beach we saw the tour boats all lined up on the beach.  The waters looked quite calm to us.  So we searched out the tour company we wanted to use.  When we talked to the operator, we were told that the sea was too rough for a tour to the Benagil Caves.  

Tour Boat - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Tours From Town

Disappointed and a bit surprised, we spent a little time enjoying the waves as they hit the beach.  From the sea level we looked down the shore and were teased by the steep cliffs. The limestone cliffs were all pockmarked. So it was easy to see how caves formed on this coast.

Beach - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Cliff View

When we arrived, the beach was deserted.  But by the time we left, we saw many more people had set up spots.  We were amused when we saw a sign with a chart for how busy the beach could get.


When we looked around we saw a typical tourist town with restaurants and stores at beach level.  It was still very early in the day and the small beachfront community was just starting to open up.  So we headed back to the car.

Our trip to Carvoeiro Beach for cliffs and caves along the Algarve Coast started with disappointment.

Cliffs And Caves From The Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk

We walked back up the steep road to our car.   At the top, we checked out what looked like a small chapel beside the parking lot.  We later learned that this was a re-constructed part of the Forte de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Fort of Our Lady of the Incarnation) that once served as a minor fortification on the coast.  Most of the fortification was destroyed during the 1755 earthquake that caused serious damage to much of Lisbon.  Only a small section of the original walls remained.

Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal

From that point we saw a wooden boardwalk that went along the top of the cliffs.  When we checked out the sign, we learned that the Carvoeiro cliff-top boardwalk went for about 570m to the Algar Seco rock formations.  We knew this was a chance to see some of the cliffs and caves along the Algarve Coast.


Heading Down The Cliff Side

We walked on the boardwalk and enjoyed the views out to see.  While our boat tour did not run, we still saw lots of other tour boats on the water. We wondered if a mid-week visit did not provide enough people to make the tour worthwhile from Carvoeiro.

Walkway - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Tour Boats
Tour Boats

About halfway along the boardwalk we saw a set of stairs that went down.  And more rock steps far below.  

Cave Walk
Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk in Algarve Portugal
Cave Walk

We slowly made our way down and clambered over the rocks.  The limestone rocks were fascinating. It was easy to see how the caves were hollowed out of the cliffs by pounding waters.

Cave Walk
Cave Walk
Cave Walk
Cave Walk - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Cave Walk

When we climbed back up to the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk, we continued towards Algar Seco. 

Exploring “A Boneca” At Algar Seco

At the end of the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk, the Algar Seco presented an interesting set of cliff formations carved out of the limestone bedrock.  We walked slowly along the top for a view and saw the top of the large limestone pinnacle.  This was known as “A Boneca” or “the doll” because it looks like a doll from the sea.  

A Boneca
A Boneca - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal

We found a steep set of stairs that went down.  On the left side on the bottom, we stopped and watched the water as it splashed into the sinkhole. While this was a tempting spot for a swim, the pounding waves made this spot quite dangerous.

A Boneca Stairs
A Boneca Sinkhole - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal

The Boneca Bar was at this level but it was not open when we visited.  We kept going to the cave at the bottom of “A Boneca”.  We walked through the cave passage into a small chamber.  Inside the cave we found two eroded arches with views out over the ocean.  From the water side the two openings looked like the eyes of “the doll”.

A Boneca Entrance - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
A Boneca Entrance
A Boneca Cave - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
A Boneca Cave

It was definitely worth the climb back up the stairs for this view of the cliffs and caves along the Algarve Coast.

A Boneca Stairs -Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal

A Snack At Algar Seco

At the end of the boardwalk, we found a restaurant at the Algar Seco Parque Residencial that was open to the public.  The resort view over the multiple pools to the sea beyond was stunning.  We ordered a snack and relaxed after our trek along the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk.

Seco Parque Residencial - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Seco Parque Residencial - Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk In Algarve in Portugal
Seco Parque Residencial

When we finished, we walked back along the boardwalk and got our car.  The windy roads took us down into the town and then back up on the cliffs on the other side.  We pulled into a spot and got out for one final view of Carvoeiro and the boardwalk that went along the cliffside.

Beach From Above

But we were not finished with the cliffs and caves of the Algarve Coast on our day trip.  From Carvoeiro we moved along the shore to Lagos.  After we enjoyed some time in this harbour town, we headed for the stunning cliffs at Ponta da Piedade.   

A Great Day To Enjoy The Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk

We were so glad we started our day at Carvoeiro.  We loved this small beach town so much we wanted to return on another visit.  It might even be a base for a long stay in Portugal for us.

The views along the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk were stunning.  We were happy we climbed down the cliff and got views from the bottom.  The cave at A Boneca was a real treat. 

Carvoeiro was definitely a great spot for cliffs and caves along the Algarve Coast.  

Did you explore the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk?  Did you find get to tour the Benagil Caves?

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  1. Wow, fantastic views! We missed the Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk when we were at the Algarve. We spent quite a time in the Algarve hiking the Via Algarviana in the backland. But the hike you did has much better views – so it is on the list for next time!

  2. I love a long coastal walk and have done plenty in the UK and abroad. This one in Portugal looks amazing and your pictures certainly do it justice. I like the fact it is a mix of surfaces to walk on and not all craggy rocks as is sometimes the case. I can only imagine the restaurant at the end of the walk was a welcome sight.

    • The walk along the Carvoeiro Algar Seco boardwalk did offer a little bit for everyone. Accessible along the boardwalk. But with great opportunities to head down the cliffs.

  3. That’s one exotic walk. I always wonder how Nature offers us such beautiful vistas. The limestone caves look amazing. Maybe, I would get a chance to experience this boardwalk one day. I love the blue skies and the seas and the jutting cliffs form such a beautiful contrast to this.

  4. It seems worthwhile to take a quick stroll along the raised wooden boardwalk of the Carvoeiro Boardwalk, which provides amazing views of the breathtaking coastline, which is what I adore the most! I’m glad you shared this adventure because visiting the caverns is something I’ve always wanted to do. The golden limestone cliffs also strike a chord with me. The fact that there is a restaurant is also a plus after a long day of touring this great place.

  5. I actually love the concept of boardwalk and wherever I go, if I find one, I make sure to include it in the itinerary. Thanks for introducing Carvoerio Algar Seco Cliff boardwalk to me. I will add this on my next trip to Portugal. Too bad the sea was rough the day you went for the tour to the caves. It is very disappointing; I felt it in Malta when I couldn’t go to Blue Grotto. The cliff walk is awesome. Love the way the limestone has gotten eroded and made some beautiful creations.

  6. Wow yet another Portugal beauty Carvoeiro. I wonder why we missed out during our trip to Algarve. We were based in Olhao and equally loved the place. There was a small chapel there as well very similar in looks to the one here. The beach looks so clean and the limestone Algar Seco cliff formations.look just fabulous and really worth the climb.

    • When we get back to Portugal we definitely want to head back to the Carvoeiro area and enjoy the beaches. And maybe even get a boat ride to see the caves from the water.

  7. Those cliffs look just amazing and the views are truly majestic. However, I’d be hesitant hiking those trails as they look quite bumpy. The beaches in those cozy bays look so inviting – and I cannot believe how clean they are. After having read this post, I feel like going back to Portugal as soon as I can.

  8. The Carvoeiro Algar Seco Cliff Boardwalk offers spectacular views and photo opportunities! Carvoeiro Beach is also a charming place to relax, and it’s great to know that it is possible to tour the Benagil Caves from this spot. Also, the town is so colorful and adorable. I like this small chapel and houses. On my bucket list is climbing the cliffs, as they are spectacular.

  9. The Carvoerio Algar Second Cliff boardwalk looks so fascinating besides the quaint beach town with colorful houses in the view and boats lined up at the shore. Portugal’s Algarve coast is amazing with broad spectrum of limestone cliffs and waves pounding on them. The rock formations like A Boneca looks interesting so does the sink hole and the “eyes of the doll” arches. Snacking with such a view in the distance is amazing!

  10. You’re definitely inspiring me to return to Portugal this year! I’ve not visited this part of the country and the cliff and views are absolutely gorgeous! I can’t believe there’s a bar there, it’s a shame it was closed. This is now on my Portugal list 😀

    • I hope you do get to visit the Algarve and see the cliffs and caves along the Algarve. Our day trip to the Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk was definitely a great find.

    • I can highly recommend you visit the Algarve on your next trip to Portugal. Stunning coastal views with cliffs and caves. Carvoeiro was a great new discover for us.

  11. The coastline of Portugal is purely magical. Shame you only had a day, but it looked like an action packed day of exploring this fabulous part of Portugal.

  12. What a stunning stretch of coastline, the blow hole and limestone just looks so inviting, I bet this was a really enjoyable walk.

    • It really was a great walk along the shoreline with the cliffs and caves below us at Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk. We were glad we got to head down and get a close look.

  13. We attempted to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail last year but it was too hot! We did a similar area you went to. So beautiful 😍

  14. WOW!! The view in person must have been breathtaking! I would love to spend the day on the rocks and boardwalk. I love just sitting and watching the water and listening to the natural beauty as it splashes on the rocks.

  15. I just booked a trip to Portugal and plan to explore this area, so I’ll definitely be revisiting this later! The A Boneca looks especially beautiful, did you find the pathways safe/easy to walk on? Thanks 🙂

    • If you stay on the boardwalk, it was very easy. Heading down the stairs to the rocks is a little less safe and easy and will not be for everyone. If you can handle a lot of stairs, they are wash to go down to A Bonica and see the caves.

  16. The Algarve has so much to offer! Sad that you couldn’t make the boat trip that day, but it seems that exploring the cliffs and caves by feet was a great idea and an amazing experience! Let’s hope you’ll get to make that boat trip on your way back 🙂

    • We definitely still have the boat trip on our plans for a return visit. We do love to see things from different perspectives. But we were not disappointed by the hike at all!

  17. Sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the boat trip but the walk looks like you got to still see this amazing coastline and enjoy the limestone. I’d love to be by that beautiful coast right now. Adding this one to our list.

  18. Bummer about the Benagil Caves but I’m glad you got to see some cool formations along the boardwalk. The colour of the water is stunning, too.

  19. Beautiful, stunning photos! I will have to do this walk next. I’m planning a return trip to the Algarve coast, and not just because the water was too rough for my Benagil Cave tour last March. : )

    • We were very disappointed we did not get to see the Benagil caves. But the walk in Carvoeiro along the boardwalk was a great consolation prize! Maybe you will see it when you visit.

  20. Ah this brings back great memories as we visited here early on in our travels. The Algarve is a place I think I could stay for several months…I do hope to get back there.

  21. We are going to the Algarve this February, so this was a great article to read. I hope to get on one of the boat tours to the Benagil Caves. We’ll see.

  22. I haven’t been to those particular caves, but have visited some of the others along the Algarve coast. All those boardwalks are wonderful – we found them at several resorts along the coast. They were built in the last ten years or so with European Union grant funds on the basis of protecting the coast from erosion by too many visitors, and also keeping most of those visitors safely away from cliff edges. I hope they will be properly maintained.

    • It was great to see the boardwalks in Carvoeiro. When we went to Lagos we were surprised at being able to walk right to the edge with no safety or environmental protection.

  23. This is a place in Portugal I didn’t get to. Love the photos and I can imagine it’s disappointing to not be able to go someplace when the sea seems calm. Beautiful visit nonetheless.

  24. Trying to remember if I did this. I know I was in the area, but can’t believe I didn’t do the walk. Going through my photos, did I? Didn’t I? Looks beautiful and if I didn’t, I wish I had, lol.

  25. I’ve never heard of Carverio before. Your pictures are absolutely incredible. It definitely makes me want to see it all for myself. This sounds like an amazing trip. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. I have always wanted to visit Portugal and your site is giving me inspiration! The Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk looks so beautiful! I will refer back to this article when I visit one day.

  27. Wow! Just wow! This looks like an incredible way to spend the day. The Carvoeiro Algar Seco cliff boardwalk is officially on my list. Thank you for sharing this great guide. I am definitely saving for later.

  28. What a beautiful place to wander and explore. Probably felt good to stretch your legs and wander off the ship for a bit. I love all the bright colors on the buildings and the texture of the limestone cliffs!

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