Carvoeiro was a traditional, small fishing village surviving on the tuna catches but has, not surprisingly, become an incredibly popular resort with visitors and has developed to keep pace.
It's one claim to fame, historically speaking, is that in 1554 a naval battle took place off Cape Carvoeiro when a Portuguese flotilla attacked the Turkish corsair, Xaramet, and destroyed his fleet. Today the most activity you are likely to see is people enjoying the beach and the local fishermen bringing in their catches!
Carvoeiro is very popular for family holidays as there is such a large choice of self-catering accommodation and has all the things you are likely to want in quite a compact area around the town centre. A lot of the accommodation is in new residential areas on the outskirts as the developments have spread, but it is all in keeping - this isn't an area of high rise hotels and apartment blocks.
The centre of Carvoeiro isn't very big and there are just two roads 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 given a re-vamp 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 and because they are used to catering for British visitors you will be able to find most of your normal groceries. There is also a big Intermarché on the Lagoa road on the outskirts of Carvoeiro for even more choice.
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!
Watersports like jetskis and pedaloes are available at the beach for those who like messing about on the water and there are a couple of diving schools based in Carvoeiro if you prefer to be under the water. The local fishermen also make use of their boats during the day to offer visitors the chance to take boat trips around the coastline and to see the caves.
One thing you won't be short of in Carvoeiro is somewhere to eat and drink! There is a huge selection of bars, restaurants and cafés all within easy walking distance of the centre and with a wide choice of food. At a guess most visitors give up on the idea of self-catering when they see what's on offer!
The cliff tops around Carvoeiro offer plenty of scope for walking and some great views. You may also come across some 'algares' which are holes in the cliff where the sea has eaten it away from underneath - there are some near the lighthouse at Cabo de Carvoeiro - luckily they are fenced around and it just shows how fragile the cliffs can be. Also on the cliff above Carvoeiro are the remains of the walls of the Fort of Senhora da Conceição dating from the 17th century, inside which is the hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Our Lady of the Incarnation).
The town beach is quite small when it comes to accommodating the numbers of visitors in Carvoeiro during the summer, but there are also some other lovely beaches within easy reach of the town, such as Praia da Marinha and Praia de Vale de Centianes.
Carvoeiro is also ideally situated for family fun days out. There are two water parks within easy reach - the closest being Slide and Splash at Lagoa and Aqualand just slightly further away at Alcantarilha. If water parks aren't for you then there is Zoomarine Sealife park at Guia and Krazy World at Algoz to choose from.
If you have something a little more relaxing in mind, then a trip to Silves is a lovely day out with it's 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! There are also boat trips to Silves up the Arade river from Portimão river front which give you about an hour to see a bit of Silves (before the tide is too low to return) for a different view of the countryside.
For the shoppers amongst you then either Portimão to the west of Carvoeiro or Algarve Shopping mall at Guia (near Albufeira) to the east (both about 15 minutes away) offer plenty of chances to spend some money! Even the non-shoppers can enjoy Algarve Shopping - there are plenty of seats in the sunshine and lots of restaurants and cafés in the food hall! It's open until late in the evening, so no need to miss out on beach time either!
If you are venturing to Portimão from Carvoeiro by car, there are plenty of car parks, but the best advice is to use the first one you come to - it has a very confusing road system and much of it is along narrow, one-way streets with cars parked on both sides and a distinct lack of signs! The shopping is particularly good for leather goods, clothes and perfumes.
Twice a week the tourist train that runs around Carvoeiro ventures a little further afield to Ferragudo which is just along the coast on the opposite bank of the Arade estuary to Portimão. It gives you a couple of hours to explore the town before bringing you back.
Of course, there is absolutely no need to leave Carvoeiro at all as there is plenty to do and to see right on the doorstep - it really is a lovely spot and well deserves it's reputation as a top Algarve holiday destination.