Going back to places isn’t always such a good idea, but in this instance it definitely paid off. It must be 10 years since I first set foot in Carvoeira. The location, possessively hugging a small cove, fishing boats pulled up on shore for safety, was always idyllic. Unfortunately too many people had discovered its charms. Parking was something of a nightmare, and the overall impression was definitely ‘tacky’.
I’m not one to give up on a place so easily, and I felt I owed it a second chance. As it happened, it provided the perfect location for my November birthday. Crowds weren’t an issue and some of the parking problems appeared to have been solved. The ‘tacky’ aspect is still there, but the spectacular scenery of the surrounding coast is justifiably a magnet. ‘High end’ villas and smart restaurants have moved in. Best of all, a beautiful new boardwalk has been installed along the cliff top east of town, making a walk to Algar Seco pure exhilaration.
Magnificent, isn’t it? I was totally unprepared for the sight, but so often it seems to me that the Algarve ‘gets it right’. The cliff tops are subject to erosion and the boardwalk helps to protect them from the curious, while enabling safe and easy access to their dramatic beauty.
Algar Seco is the name given to a rock formation carved into the cliffs by erosion and the action of the waves. Steps lead down into a natural amphitheatre, where the fit and sure-footed can view at close quarters how the sea seductively sculpts the shore.
I am not known for my affinity with goats, and wearing smart sandals was perhaps a mistake. A squidgy yellow puddle wasn’t exactly what they were designed for, but they survived. Wet wipes are a wonderful invention, aren’t they?
Now let’s follow the boardwalk towards Carvoeira. It isn’t very far and the views will keep you enthralled. There are benches set in at intervals if you want to simply sit and feast your eyes. Looking back you have the beach of Marinha, with Benagil’s tiny cove beyond. Ahead , an extravaganza of coast! Soon you arrive at Capela da Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao’s so pretty chapel.
Beyond this, the road starts to dip into the cove which is Praia da Carvoeira. The sea wall is planted with hardy flowers but the chances are you won’t be able to take your eyes off the bay.
Invariably there will be a couple of boats, drawn up well away from the clutches of the sea. And a burst of colour in the houses at shoreline.
But you know that what will always lure me on is the thrash of the waves on the shore. I cannot wait to get close! Just a quick paddle!
After a play on the beach (yes, the wet bum incident, but the camera was safe!) and a few more shell shots, I opted to climb Rua da Paraiso. I just had to see what ‘Paradise Beach’ offered. The views down into the bay are equally lovely and you can complete a circuit which brings you back into the centre. There are only two main streets, side by side, leading to the beach (and away, if you’re a driver). Algar Seco is clearly signed, along the coast road and within the town, if you have left your car at the eastern end, as we did.
Thank you all for your patience. I’ve struggled mightily this weekend but, in the week ahead, hope to get ‘back on track’. As always I have some wonderful shares for you, so let’s get that kettle on and go armchair walking!
First we’re off to Otatara Beach in New Zealand, with Jill :
Then flying straight on to the States and the Hudson River :
A truly delightful Halloween walk next, with Colline. I found some little ‘trick or treaters’ in the Algarve too. Must show you sometime!
Lamb burger anybody? Then you can walk it off, with Yvette :
Lovely Noe showed me another little piece of village life in South Sulawesi. Don’t miss it!
Tobias is here from Hamburg! A place I know little of, and am enjoying through his eyes :
Of course, there’d be no Monday walk without Drake! He always manages to stir nostalgia in me :
And when there’s a walk from Tish Farrell, you know you’re in for a treat :
If Pauline ever invites you for a walk in her garden, say ‘yes’ immediately. It’s fabulous! :
Nurturing and looking after swans sounds like a grand job, doesn’t it? Sherri is at a swannery this week :
No Jude, you might have noticed? She has her hands full of grandson in Australia. Happy days! I owe so many thanks to my contributors. You have made my Mondays very special. I hope I haven’t missed anybody this week? Happy walking!