Carvoeiro (Feb. 24, 2018 / Cliff hike: 11.3 km / 310 m / Link to Cliff Hike Route)
We arrived in Carvoeiro in the mid afternoon and once again lucked out in finding a Lonely Planet recommended guest house “O Castelo” by simply showing up. After we settled in, there was just enough time to walk back down to the handkerchief-sized sandy beach, which is the focus of the town, and hang out against the rock face catching the last rays of sun for the day.
We thought we were only going to stay one night which we told the owner the night before but changed our mind after experiencing the most amazing breakfast spot on the terrace and realizing that the predicted sunny warm day ahead of us would be the perfect opportunity to hike the “Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos” . This hike is recognized as one of the Algarve’s most memorable coastal walks and we could not pass it up. Unfortunately, we were too late, the guest house had booked up between when we arrived and after we had finished our breakfast . Plan B then went into action! A quick scour on booking.com found us another place just outside of town, we packed up and were able to store our gear in the guest house for the day and leave our bikes locked up on the window grates outside the guest house and off we went.
The hike was absolutely glorious, with spectacular coast line scenery including the most incredible geographic sink hole formations. Sink holes are cavities or voids beneath the earth which have developed vertically and occur in limestone regions. Rain water which is acidic causes the limestone to dissolve and deepen the large cracks in the rock, eventually creating underground rivers. Over time the rock is worn away and a complex network of wells or sink holes, rivers and caves is formed. We didn’t quite make it to Praia Marinha the beach at the end of the walk because we were always finding spots that we wanted to hang out in for a bit. For example, our snack spot on the edge of a cliff was a table and chairs donated by a local hotel for all too enjoy. We just HAD TO STOP! The beach we did finally reach was called Praia Carvalho and involved walking through a tunnel to reach the sand and water (check out our video: DESCENDING TO THE BEACH). I also could not resist a nail biting side of the cliff walk only dared by myself. Gerald figured his being was just to big to venture on this narrow path hovering over the ocean waters. I was not the only one hanging out one cliff edges, we also happened to catch some local fishermen casting their fishing rods off ridiculously high cliffs. We couldn’t figure out how they would reel in a fish from that distance but guess they probably had a lifetime of experience to draw on.
After we got back into town, we packed up our bikes and rolled down the steep cobble stone road towards “Quinta da Adnorhinhas”. As much as we would have loved to stay at O Castelo, we were also glad to give some of our tourist dollars to a local family run guest house. The farm house was owned by Arturo (see photo below), and his granddaughter and daughter had taken on the project of remodelling the home to be a guest house. In fact, Arturo, had been there earlier in the day to check things out and make sure that everything was “tickety-boo” for the up and coming tourist season.
With a good dose of Vitamin D, and a break from cycling to hiking, we were so glad to have changed our minds and stayed the extra day in Carvoeira!
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