Beaches – Viewed from the sea, the coast is a series of brightly coloured cliffs, strangely shaped outcrops and caves, whose almost unreal beauty is set off by the clarity of the waters. Between the rocks, long stretches of sand alternate with tiny coves that can only be reached by boat.
Angrinha & Praia Grande – Two beaches next to Ferragudo separated by the Fort of São João de Arade. On Angrinha beach there are facilities for windsurfing and canoeing.
Pintadinho – A small beach where the water is calm.
Caneiros – Situated between cliffs of great beauty. Opposite, the colourful rock of Leixão das Gaivotas. Very tranquil.
Mato – Little visited. Access difficult.
Carvoeiro – The charm of a fishermen’s beach and a small bay with crystal clear water. A cosmopolitan tourist centre. Boats can be hired to visit caves and isolated beaches.
Vale Centeanes – Scenic location between rocks and cliffs. Good conditions for surfing.
Benagil – Charming beach next to a pretty fishing village. It is possible to hire boats to get to isolated beaches.
Carvalho – Stretch of sand between ochre cliff’s. Peaceful. Tourist facilities.
Marinha, Barranquinho, Albandeira & Barranco – A series of small beaches which can be reached along the coast by nay of rocks and natural tunnels. Little visited and quiet.
Praia Nova & Senhora da Rocha – Two beaches separated by the spur of rock on which stands the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha… but connected by a tunnel. It is possible to hire boats to explore the coast or get to isolated beaches.
Cova Redonda – Small and charming beach between cliffs. Tourist facilities.
Tennis – Carvoeiro Tennis Club * The Australian Blue courts are new. Lessons for all ages. Also, children love the playground and trampoline. Pilates, Zumba, Yoga…
Gym – Vale d’Oliveiras * complete gym with optional personal trainer, Pilates, etc. Sauna, Jacuzzi, heated pool and pool classes, bicycles, etc.
Golf – Pestana Group Golf Courses *
This is golf heaven. Nearby is Gramacho golf course (18 holes) – ask us about booking and 30% green fees discounts!
About 15min. drive are Alto Golf (18 holes) and Silves Golf. Le Méridien Penina Golf & Resort, considered one of the best golf courses in Portugal, with the 18-hole Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course has, besides the main course, two 9-hole courses to indulge in, and a golf academy with 12 covered bays. Boa Vista Golf (18 holes), home of the Henry Cooper Classic, is about 20min. away. Also, Vale da Pinta – a championship course situated in an old olive grove, Vale do Milho – a short nine hole course which ideal for practising with short irons, Oceânico O’Connor Jr. and Faldo courses!
September is prime golf time – the weather is usually very pleasant. If you’re interested in golf, ask us more details.
Other activities available in the area: water-slide parks,windsurfing, surf, para-gliding, skydiving, kite-surfing, horseback riding, cycling, hiking, dolphin watching, kayaking, jet skiing, diving, snorkeling, paragliding, coastal tours, sailing, fishing.
There are a significant number of restaurants located in the area, many of which remain open throughout the year and they cater for all tastes and costs.
Bon Bon in Sesmarias – intimate ambiance. Open daily for dinner. Closed Wednesdays. +351 282 341 496
Carvoeiro Tennis Club* café and restaurant – +351 358 236. Great to take the children to: playground and trampoline! Free Wi-Fi, occasional live music in the summer evenings.
Fim do Mundo in Ferragudo – owners Jo and Vasco treat you to huge portions. Reserve in advance.
L’Orange in Carvoeiro – international and French-inspired cuisine. Belgian chef, Jan Mortier and wife Karin. Open daily for dinner. Closed Sundays. +351 282 357 297
O Barradas – located on the old road from Lagoa to silves, this is one of the best restaurants in the area for traditional Portuguese food with an international twist. Lacally caught fish, certified Mirandesa steaks (from northern Portugal). Excellent wine list (try their own wine!). Open for dinner only. Closed on Wednesdays. +351 282 443 308. *Recommended by/business partner of Marks & Morelli, Property Management. Discount offered with client card.
O Pescador in Benagil – open for lunch and dinner. +351 282 354 017 / 965654395
Pimenta Preta in Carvoeiro – fine dining, excellent wine list. Owner Nuno Diogo. Vale Centeanes – open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. +351 282 350 281
Rei das Praias, Caneiros +351 282 491 416 reserve in advance.
The Olive Tree* in Vale d’Oliveiras resort, Gramacho area – open daily. Closed Wednesdays. +351 282 341 496. *Recommended by/business partner of Marks & Morelli, Property Management. Discount offered with client card.
Vila Nova – family-run restaurant, international/traditional cuisine, fresh fish. Child-friendly (playground on-site). Owners: Anibal and Isabel. Open from 11am. Closed on Sunday. +351 282 356 011
A hill rises above flat lands where in days gone by, as tradition has it, there was a lagoon. At the top, the tower of a church is visible, above a labyrinth of whitewashed houses. This is Lagoa, where Manueline doorways, windows edged in blue and the imposing turret of the monastery create a feeling that time has stopped and suggest ways of life now long forgotten. Lagoa was elevated to the status of a town only after 1773; Historical centre
The town grew up around its main church. There is still a feeling of the past in the streets of white houses where, here and there, it is possible to spy a chimney trimmed with the delicate decorative filigree typical of the Algarve. The winding streets are dotted with altars marking the stations of the cross used in the old Holy Week ceremonies, and more) than a dozen Manueline doorways and windows (16th century).
Main Church (Igreja Matriz)
All that remains of the place of worship built in the 16th century is a Manueline doorway to the bell tower. The current building dates from the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, and has an attractive baroque facade with neo-classical elements. Beneath its three naves, the chief point of interest inside the church is the retable on the main altar, with a perfect 18th century representation of Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of Light), the church’s patroness, attributed to the sculptor Machado de Castro, and a São Sebastião (St. Sebastian).
On the other altars, and in the upper choir and the registry office are to be found a large number of icons and reliquaries from the 17th and 18th centuries, including an interesting Baby Jesus lying on a wooden bed in the “rocaille” style (end of the 18th century). The sacristy houses a magnificent chest in Brazil wood; valuable religious objects (an 18th century silver incense boat and other items) and stones from the original Manueline building found in the church.
Misericórdia (Mercy) Church
Plain fronted and small in size, this church has a carved main altar dating from the 18th century, with a statue of the crucifixion and two other art works from the 18th century. The walls are covered in patterned tiles dating from the end of the 17th century.
Monastery of São José (St. Joseph)
Built at the beginning of the 18th century in a sober, rural style, it has been rebuilt and repaired on many occasions since. It boasts a chapel with carved altars from the former Chapel of the Compromisso Maritimo (Maritime Agreement), in Lagoa, and an 18th century depiction of São José (St. Joseph) with the infant Jesus. There is an interesting belvedere with an arch over the street. At the entrance to the monastery there is an “outcast hatch”, which was once used for receiving abandoned children. The cloister is plain, with four arcade and a cistern in the centre. In the garden there is a menhir from Porches (5;000 to 4,000 BC)
A fishing village since time immemorial – there were Roman salting tanks next to the Fort of São João de Arade, it had defensive walls in the Middle Ages, vestiges of which are still visible today. It has preserved its original character, with rows of houses cascading down to the river, crowned by the outline of the church high on the hill, and pretty streets of whitewashed walls and roofs intersected by decorated chimneys.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our lady of the Conception) – The architecture of this building is typical of a country church.
Fort of São João de Arade
With the facing fortress of Santa Catarina, this foil constituted the main defence of the Arade estuary. It began life as a lookout tower in the 15th century and was extended in the 17th and 18th centuries. A great deal of work was done at the beginning of the 20th century to turn it into a home, at the initiative of the poet Coelho Carvalho; and it is to this that it owes its current romantic appearance. It is now private property. Along the coast, where tiny beaches of great beauty are tucked away between looming cliffs, the remains of two medieval watchtowers, which were once used to give warning of attacks by pirates and corsairs, can be seen at Ponte da Atalaia and Quinta da Torre.
An urban centre defended by a castle during the Arab period, it had a thriving economy based on salt production and trade along the Arade river. It was the birthplace of the luloslem poet Ibne-Amman (11th century) and also the homeland of the warrior guerrilla leader (1796-1838) who for many years struck fear into the heart of all in the Algarve. The historical centre retains the charm of a typical Algarve town, and has some interesting chimneys.
Church of Sant’ Iago (St. James) – Built in the 16th century, it was extensively rebuilt in the 18th century. Its facade shows the influence of the ‘rocaille’ style, with two towers and a Manueline doorway (16th century).
Misericórdia (Mercy) – One of the first founded in Portugal, it had a working hospital as early as 1531. Its facade and interior are plain. 18th century main altar and statues.
A short way away from this typical Algarve village sitting atop a hill, there stood an old Roman and medieval settlement known as Porches Velhos which possibly gave rise to the present community. In one of its narrow streets a chimney of monumental proportions, two storeys high is to be found, and this has become a symbol of the village as a whole.
Main Church – The church was built in the 19th century on the site of a previous edifice dating from the 16th century, of which the main chapel remains.
Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Rocha (Our Lady of the Rock) – Built on a narrow tongue of rock extending into the sea, its origins are lost in time. The hermitage used to be surrounded by an old coastal defence fort (built in the 15th century) which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.Carvoeiro
Great scenery, beautiful soft sand, with plenty of sea-facing restaurants behind and above the beach, many with live music, especially at night.
It is a long time since the fishermen readied their nets for the fray and set off from Carvoeiro beach in their boats to hunt for tuna. But the houses still curve around over the port where the colourful fishing boats chug back and forth and the fishermen continue to eke out a living as they have done since time immemorial. But toady’s Carvoeiro is also an international tourist resort. Perched on the top of a cliff are the vestiges of the walls of the fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Conception) (17th century). Inside the fort lies the hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Our Lady of the Incarnation), revered by fishermen.
Nearby are the rock formations of Algar Seco; strange shapes and profiles sculpted by the wind and sea; and the romantic Lovers’ Balcony. On days when the tide is high, the sea turns the many fissures and hollows into booming organ pipes. A naval battle took place off Cape Carvoeiro in 1574. A Portuguese flotilla attacked the Turkish corsair Karamet, who was ravaging the Algarve coast, and destroyed his fleet.
Exploring the Algarve – going East
Albufeira – In Roman times, Albufeira was called Baltum and fine examples of Roman bridges can be seen in Paderne and Guia.
The Moors, who occupied the town in the 8th century, renamed it Al-Buhera, which means ‘The Castle on the Sea’, which is how the town derived its name.
During five centuries of Arabian rule, Al-Buhera built up a busy trade with nearby North Africa, and together with Faro it was one of the last Moorish strongholds to be conquered by the Portuguese in 1250.
Visiting today’s Albufeira is a delight with much more to enjoy than the long sandy beaches right through the year. The Church of São Sebastião on Praça Miguel Bombarda has an impressive doorway built in the Manueline style of Portugal’s heyday in the early 16th century.
From Praça Miguel Bombarda, take Rua 5 de Outubro which leads you temptingly through a tunnel to one of the town’s most popular beaches where bars and restaurants line the promenade.
At Praia dos Barcos you can see Albufeira’s colourful fishing boats and hardened fishermen unloading fish and/or mending their nets.
Faro – Faro’s capture on 12 March, 1249 marked the end of Moorish rule in the Algarve, the last Muslim province in Portugal. Under the Moors it was a large port and a vital link to Portugal’s interior. The Romans made it an important centre and called it Ossónoba. Today Faro serves as a gateway to the south for millions of holidaymakers, mainly Europeans, who flock to the Algarve for a few days of rest and relaxation in the sun.
At the heart of the old part of the city, the Largo da Sé is a peaceful square lined with orange trees and flanked by the bishops’ palace, which is still in use. Just outside the city’s ancient walls through a Moorish archway, the 18th-century curch of São Francisco is impressively decorated with tiled scenes of the life of St Francis. Further north is the 17th-century chapel of Pé da Cruz with interesting oil panels of stories from Genesis, such as the creation of the sun and stars. The town’s maritime museum housed in the harbour master’s building on the waterfront, has an extensive collection of oceanographic instruments and model ships.
Within easy striking distance of Faro is the Ria Formosa Natural Park where numerous wildfowl and waders, snakes, chameleons and various other species can be seen in their natural environment.
Just 8 km north of Faro, the peaceful village of Estoi boasts an exquisite pink-coloured Rococo palace and a Roman complex dating from the 1st century.
Dentist: Dr. Marcus Letsch 914 028 115 / 282 356 877
Doctors: Dr. Torsten Habeck 917 742 927 / 282 357 720 .
Dr. R. Popken 282 356 034 / emergency: 282 358 135 (house calls 24hrs)
Lagoa Fire Station: 282 352 888
Lagoa Health Centre: 282 340 370
Police – address: Rampa da Sra. da Encarnação, 8400 Carvoeiro. Phone. 282 356 440