Jo’s Monday walk : Algar Seco

Algar Seco

Algar Seco

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.

The boardwalk, heading towards Carvoeira

The boardwalk, heading towards Carvoeira

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.

You can see the frailty of the rocks

You can see the frailty of the rocks

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?

The scenery was worth it!

I thought the scenery was worth it!

Especially from inside the caves

Especially from inside the caves

Amazing to be so close to nature

Amazing to be so close to nature

Even if a little scary

Safer on the boardwalk!

But much safer up on the boardwalk!

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.

The church square

The church square

With a pretty roof

With a pretty roof

Affording calm views to sea

Affording calm views to sea

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.

Determined to bloom in the salt air

Determined to bloom in the salt air!

Just a hint at the beach below you

Just a hint at the beach below you

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.

Happy to be stranded!

Happy to be stranded!

How about this for 'beachfront'?

How about this for ‘beachfront’?

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!

Too close, sometimes!

Too close, sometimes!

But water like this is hard to resist!

But water like this is hard to resist!

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!

walking logo

First we’re off to Otatara Beach in New Zealand, with Jill  :

All Soul’s Day wander at Otatara PA

Then flying straight on to the States and the Hudson River :

Fort Lee Historic Park

A truly delightful Halloween walk next, with Colline.  I found some little ‘trick or treaters’ in the Algarve too.  Must show you sometime!

A Halloween Walk

Lamb burger anybody?  Then you can walk it off, with Yvette  :

Burger, Bach and a walk

Lovely Noe showed me another little piece of village life in South Sulawesi.  Don’t miss it!

The old village of Bitombang

Tobias is here from Hamburg!  A place I know little of, and am enjoying through his eyes  :

The steep approach to Baumwall

Of course, there’d be no Monday walk without Drake!  He always manages to stir nostalgia in me  :

Whistle down the Wind

And when there’s a walk from Tish Farrell, you know you’re in for a treat  :

Rambling Tales, My Little Pony, windmills, Olympian dreams

If Pauline ever invites you for a walk in her garden, say ‘yes’ immediately.  It’s fabulous!  :

Come walk with me in the garden

Nurturing and looking after swans sounds like a grand job, doesn’t it?  Sherri is at a swannery this week  :

A walk with swans

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!


  1. Jo, I love that boardwalk. I have to say your pictures of this place are really amazing. The boardwalk, the caves, the water, the beach and the pretty town; all are fantastic and beckon the viewer right in to visit. I think this may be my favorite of your walks so far. 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot, Cathy! I’ll stop by on a visit a bit later. Just trying to get warmed back up. I went to zumba and was plenty warm but then I loitered in the park taking photos of the gorgeous colours on my way back and I’m freezing 🙂

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Jo. I have fun putting these together and interacting with other people. 🙂 I’m sure we’ll be scurrying around your neighborhood, again, before all is said and done. 🙂

  2. sono andata solo una volta in Algarve, per una gita quando soggiornavo a Merbeilla…ho sempre pensato che una volta o l’altra sarei tornata , ed ora queste tue foto stupende me ne fanno tornare forte il desiderio…

  3. Gorgeous images, Jo. I would say that Carvoeira has a very special landscape. Those cliffs and caves must be any photographer’s dream. By the way I often find it worthwhile to return to a place to photograph it again.

    1. Thanks, Otto. 🙂 Couldn’t be more photogenic if it tried, could it?
      I know that you can always return and see things in a different light, or from a different angle. So many factors, really, but the restlessness always means I want to look at the next cove, and the one after that 🙂

  4. It’s lovely to look at your images of beautiful scenery bathed in sunshine and overhung by blue skies as it’s cold and damp here today. The broad-walk blends in so well with the landscape and as you say it’s such a good idea as it prevents further costal erosion. 😉

    1. Smidge! Hello 🙂 Fantastic to have you visit! I’m determined to return visits to everyone before I write another post. Believe me- a visit to yours is always a pleasure. Look forward to seeing you there. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for joining me again, Tobias. It’s very much appreciated. When I get ‘caught up’ I’ll hopefully be able to spend more time seeing what you do. 🙂

  5. Oh wow Jo! That must have been so amazing! Through your beautiful shots I felt as if I was there with you hon. I love those beautiful and colourful houses and I am so glad you had a lovely time. Thanks for sharing and for the exciting trip. 😀 ♥

      1. Now that sounds like fun and well, then you’re doing it wrong. The number should go down. I thought you were 30 with a few years experience added. 😆

  6. hey from guayaquil! i finished writing the post while traveling on minibus, so i hurriedly scribbled the last and hit ‘send’ before we lost the cell-phone/usb signal! whew.

    i enjoyed seeing all of the images, and the landscape reminds me – in places – of ecuador’s coast, down to the agave plants that thrive in barren conditions. they make fibers from the agave here….

    it’s great to be in the city where the internet is fast, but sigh, i’m here to meet a friend at the airport then return to the ‘outback.’

    there’s hope for faster internet on the horizon… until then, i’ll be visiting during rare moments when that magic carpet takes me across the pond to say hi!!


  7. thank you for this wonderful beach stroll – I just told Noe that you and she are quite lucky to be soaking up all this gorgeous water and blue sky life – but thanks for sharing it with us – I say this as I put on the heat and go grab a sweater – but going to the beach with you was a treat – via blog world that is – and wow – is this a gorgeous part of the world – enjoyed every pic ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. It’s past tense for me and the heater clicked on here just after 7 too, Yvette. The mornings are dark and make me a slouch and I hate that! There isn’t enough day in any case. There- make you feel better? It’s why I love that I’ve captured these lovely memories. Thanks for strolling with me. 🙂 Stay warm!

  8. The best beaches are the ones that offer nothing but sea and shore. Who needs anything else? The fact that Algar Seco has a theatrical setting in which to endlessly watch the drama of the ocean makes up for all the tackiness.

  9. Hi Jo, I’m so glad you came to see me. I’ve relinked with you, so hope from here on out I’ll get notifications when you post new photos. I am envious of the fact that some of us only enjoy such sights in photos, but I do appreciated the shares. Oliva and Oscar could have a field day in your photo collections. (hint, hint.) Let us know if you want some hitchhikers hiking along. Check us out. Hope to see you soon, Marcy

      1. Oh, Joe. Olivia is jumping for joy! You’d better watch out, she’ll be heading your way soon. 🙂 I’ll add you to the list. See you soon.

  10. A spectacular coast-walk Jo, and spectacularly photographed. Thanks for showing me other coasts. The rocks look like a worn-away fortress – what kind of rock, do you know? The paint jobs on boats and building are beautiful, and the coves inviting. Your turn of phrase is a pleasure too – “possessively hugging a small cove” is a phrase I wish I’d thought of for Smugglers Cove.

    Off to process Sunday’s river walk, so I can join in next Monday.

  11. Thanks for the lovely walk. I left my smart sandals at home. 🙂 Love the view out from the cave. That water is the most beautiful blue, but do you see that scary face on the left of you?! Lovely views from the church roof. Hope you’re soon feeling A1 again. xx

    1. I have to say they weren’t very smart, Ad, but definitely none too sensible. I made it through though 🙂 I think there were a few scary faces around. I was blaming Halloween 🙂 Sorry I haven’t made it to yours lately. Today/tomorrow, I hope 🙂

  12. Now isn’t that brilliant Jo .. a safe accessible board walk for everyone to enjoy that stunning scenery . I think it might take me some time to finish that walk … what with Picnic 🙂 benches along the way . Imagine how the rocks and cliffs would glow at sunset … fabulous .
    Hope you can say goodbye to the cold bug soon x

    1. Not bad at all, Gilly. 🙂 The buses are great, and there’s a railway line running along the coast, almost end to end. The railway stations are often on the edge of town but if you’re based at Faro you can go in either direction. Shout up if you’re ever thinking of it. 🙂

  13. How miserable to spoil your birthday trip with a cold, Jo. We’ll console you with oohs and aahs at this magnificent sea side landscape and the stunning pictures that capture it. This was a place worth going back to, especially with the new boardwalk. Get well,soon. 🙂

    1. I took the morning off from walking, Lynne, because I have chores at home to catch up and the weather was miserable. You’re right- the admiration does help me to feel better. Many thanks for the boost. 🙂

  14. Jo, these photos are stunning. I love the caves, but they are all amazing shots. Good eye, birthday girl. I hope it was a happy one. It would appear to have been. No struggling! Breathe. ❤️ I have an owl photo so show you that is just amazingly fun! When I get a chance.. Gotta run…

    1. If I knew that nifty trick where you insert a photo in your comments, Colline, I’d show you right now! I meant to include it in my 6WS and forgot 😦 Your walk was a real treat- no tricks! Thank you 🙂

  15. So glad it paid off for you to go back and how perfect for your birthday Jo. 🙂 Oh what I wouldn’t give to walk along that boardwalk right now….what an absolutely beautiful walk, captured as always by your gorgeous, blue-sky photographs. So glad your camera survived your wet bum incident…phew! I’ve had a few of those myself 😉 Love the caves too. And I totally agree, my philosophy in life is to never leave home without a pack of tissues and wet wipes. What would we do without them indeed? Thanks so much for adding my ‘movie’ Jo…you’re a star 🙂 xx

    1. Hi Sherri 🙂 I love your walk! I was quite looking forward to trying Instagram with the new phone, but without a SIM card I’m still temporarily ‘stuck’. All good things come to those who wait. Should I ask Santa for a SIM card? 🙂

    1. I always hate it when I’m home, full of cold, and looking back at these lovely images, Tish. But I know how lucky I am to have been there. You’re very welcome, and thanks 🙂

    1. It was a ‘grand day out’, Jill, thanks! I was very tempted to carry the post on up the other cliff but you have to stop somewhere! 🙂
      I should be out walking but the weather is miserable, I’m full of cold, and waiting in for the new phone, so hopefully I’ll get to visit your blog very soon.

    1. Thanks, Viv! 🙂 🙂
      It was, wasn’t it? We were out at a ‘do’ for Alzheimers on Saturday night but I stayed up to watch it when we got back. Shame about Aly! Should have been Judy, of course, but somebody’s got to go.

      1. no, I don’t tweet or fb (I have accounts but only for reading other people’s stuff)
        no-one’s ever asked to tweet my posts before, I’ll have to look into that.

      2. I’m not a huge fan of either but I do use social media to promote other people’s posts. It’s only polite, isn’t it? 🙂 And if I ever have the time I like a browse. 🙂

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