Walking Along Algar Seco

Algar Seco was one of those walks where you have no idea where you’re heading, but you choose a direction and wander anyway, only to find yourself in a rather beautiful spot.

After devouring a breakfast crepe (ham and cheese if you were wondering) and exploring what else there was to do in Carvoeiro, I was on the hunt for something new to explore—I just wasn’t sure what. So I walked to Carvoeiro beach whilst I pondered. You see, I was just starting to come out of my burnout funk and didn’t want to venture too far just in case an inability to do anything crept back. So in the end I decided a stroll along the coast would be best—because, let’s face it, the cure for everything is sun and vitamin sea.

If you stand at Carvoeiro’s main beach staring out to sea and look left, that’s the way I walked. Halfway up there’s a viewpoint (where I took the above photos) and if you walk up the hill past the viewpoint, you’ll find a wooden walkway which stretches along Carvoeiro’s coastline—that was the route I decided upon.

Moving harmoniously with the edge of the cliff, the wooden walkway hugs the side of the ocean providing a nice cooling breeze—a welcome respite from the sun! And if you keep walking along it, eventually you’ll find Algar Seco.

Algar Seco is a rock formation which stretches along the coastline with stairs that are built into the rocks which lead down to caves, tunnels, sculptures and pools which quite literally shimmer as the sun casts over them.

I had flip flops on whilst exploring Algar Seco, because apparently they’re my standard walking attire now. I’ve hiked three waterfalls, two hills and coastal cliff caves in them so if you’re wondering what the best footwear is for spending the day traipsing about on Algar Seco’s unforgiving terrain… Then I am definitely not the one to advise, because I quite literally live in Havaianas when in a sun-soaked country and I’m pretty sure my ankles will protest about the lack of support I’ve given them on my expeditions when I’m older. So you should probably choose better footwear than I did.

But I digress.

The stairs from the road transitioned from the perfectly formed steps I walked down, into well-worn stair like formations which became more worn and porous with each step towards the water. Crabs scuttled, the sound of water echoed through the tunnels, and as I reached the bottom of the formation I found a shallow pool of water with jagged rocks lining the ocean floor just a few inches below the surface. It looked more like a death invite than an open invitation for a swim but I can imagine when the tide is in and the water less aggressive, it makes for quite the little swimming spot.

I sat on the step at the base of Algar Seco and paddled my feet for a bit, enjoying the sharp cooling sensation which came from the rocky water and the break from the sun. As I sat there pondering life with my feet dipping in the water, waves crashed through the cliff face and rushed forward, forcefully swirling against the edges of the pool before moving back out to sea and doing it again. IT’s always refreshing to realise how unforgiving the sea is, but desperate not to slip to my death I climbed back up and walked along the outer edge of the rock face to continue exploring the coastline.

Years of erosion have created pathways which meander up, around and through the cliff face and as a result Algar Seco has multiple paths that are wide enough to walk along safely, yet close enough to a sheer drop that you feel like you shouldn’t be.

Eventually thirst got the better of me and so I began the climb back up to civilisation to find a beverage. Fortunately, there was a cafe to the side of where I was exploring so I didn’t have to go far! And so after climbing back up the millions of stairs I had just climbed down, I did so again and walked into Boneca Bar Restaurante for a beverage.

Whilst my body returned to a normal temperature I sat admiring the view, watching as boats, standup paddle-boarders and what looked like a Pirate Ship, all passed through the opening in the rocks below.

Rehydrated and restless, I wandered down to explore Boneca’s branded rock formation below.

The opening is wider than it looks and if you’re into unofficial measurements it was “I could stretch my arms out and touch either side of the walls, if my arms were cut off at my elbows” wide. But if you walk inside, about fifteen steps (depending how big your stride is) or so, there’s a circular opening at the end with two holes carved out which could almost be mistaken for windows.

I could have sat there for hours and dazed out, but more people came in and I’m socially awkward and hate big groups so decided to make a run for it! The plan was to continue walking along to the Benagil Caves as I had only seen it from a distance on the boat trip I took back in 2015. But then I realised that it was 5.5km away and according to good ol’ Google maps, it would have taken an hour and twelve minutes to walk—and to be honest after climbing all of those steps in 30°c of those steps I couldn’t have thought of anything I wanted to do less!

over and out,
Amy Morgan