Carvoeiro and Ferragudo were once traditional, small fishing villages surviving on the sardine and tuna catches but more recently become an incredibly popular resort with overseas visitors and has subsequently developed to keep pace. They are relatively small beach resorts set in a cleft of cliffs, surrounded by a mix of traditional white washed houses and narrow cobbled streets (especially Ferragudo). The towns are very picturesque, offering great snapshots of many people’s ideal of the Algarve. The cliffs and hilly pathways offer the most amazing views along the coastline with its many caves, grottoes and cove beaches. The area is very popular for family holidays and there is a large choice of self-catering accommodation from apartments and townhouses to luxurious private villas.
The centre of Carvoeiro isn't very big, consisting basically of three streets leading down into the town where they meet in a small square behind the beach. There is no parking in the square since it was modernised in 2009, so be prepared to find parking up one of the side streets away from the centre. There are plenty of shops in the town for your everyday needs.
The town beach, Praia do Carvoeiro is a beautifully sheltered sandy bay and spreads out just in front of the square with cliffs protecting it on either side. There are bars and cafés ideally placed around the square to still enjoy the view when you leave the beach! The local fishermen also make use of their colourfully decorated boats during the day to offer visitors the chance to take trips around the coastline and to see the fascinating caves.
The attractive fishing village of Ferragudo has done a good job of avoiding the wholesale development that has affected much of this part of the Algarve. This is even more impressive considering its location at the mouth of the Rio Arade estuary, right across the water from the tourist hotspots of Portimão and Praia da Rocha. It is something of a wonder how the village has retained much of its traditional charm given its sprawling neighbours and prime location.
Praia Grande is Ferragudo's main beach and has plenty of facilities such as restaurants and cafes. It is a popular spot and can become quite busy in the summer months. Being sheltered by big sea breakers the beach here is fairly safe for swimming and water sports. There is also a seasonal lifeguard service and a children's playground by the beachside making this a great family beach.
There are several golf courses near Carvoeiro and Ferragudo, the closest being Gramacho and Vale de Pinta 18-hole courses, and slightly further away Alvor, Silves and Morgado courses. There is also a reputable Tennis centre in Carvoeiro with tennis and paddle courts, a gym and an outdoor pool. Vale d'Oliveiras resort next to Gramacho Golf also has a Spa, indoor pool and a gym that you can visit with a day pass even if not staying at the hotel. You can also find a couple of diving schools in Carvoeiro if you prefer to be under the surface.
There are two water parks within easy reach - the closest being Slide&Splash at Lagoa and Aqualand just slightly further away at Alcantarilha. If water parks are not for you then there is Zoomarine park in Guia, Krazy World in Algoz, Sand Sculptures in Pera and Lagos Zoo, to mention a few.
If you have something a little more relaxing in mind, then a trip to a historic town of Silves is a lovely day out with its Moorish castle and riverside walks. A walk around the castle walls allows you to have a bird's eye view of the town and surrounding countryside and there are lots of pavement cafés to stop for a cool drink afterwards.
For the shoppers either Portimão (small speciality shops plus a mall), Algarve Shopping centre at Guia (near Albufeira) or the new Mar Shopping near Faro with an Outlet section offer plenty of chances to spend some money.