After exploring the coastal cliffs of Algar Seco, I wanted to explore further afoot, so hopped on Carvoeiro’s Land Train to see what lay waiting in the nearby town of Ferragudo.
Carvoeiro’s Land Train departs from the main square by the beach at 11 am before taking you along the coast and stopping off in Ferragudo for a few hours. This was perfect as I basically travel for food anyway, so the timeframe left me with a brand new destination to find lunch in!
My ticket to Ferragudo was €12.50 for a return ticket. After paying the driver, I nestled into the seats at the back and settled in for what can only be described as one of the bumpiest rides of my life. Literally. That little land train does not have suspension. But it did get me to Ferragudo in one piece via an incredibly scenic route, so I guess I’ll stop moaning now.
The route the train takes to Ferragudo varies depending on the driver, but typically the land train goes from Carvoeiro to Sesmarias water tower, before heading to Quinta da Boa Nova to pick up the next batch of people. It then drives past the new bridge to Portimão, to Praia do Molhe and onto Ferragudo, where the train stops for a few hours before dropping everyone back in Carvoeiro at around 2 pm.
The route the land train took this day, weaved up the hill along the coast of Carvoeiro before meandering through one of the most gorgeous villa developments I’ve seen. Tall villas overlooking the coast with landscaped gardens, infinity pools and the prettiest of flowers growing up and over the walls and buildings. I didn’t take any pictures because I was too busy taking it all in and thinking to myself “One day”, but yeah. They were incredible to look at.
After doing a loop of the pretty houses, the train travelled along some rather unpretty roads, passing numerous unfinished developments with rubble strewn across the edge, before it returned to colourful villas with manicured lawns and the first stop: Praia do Molhe.
The land train stopped in the car park, which overlooked the beach below. As everyone peered over the edge, I could see a runway on top of the water, ending in a lighthouse.
And I wanted a picture of that lighthouse…
I looked at the lighthouse.
I looked at my travel pals.
They looked at me.
“Amy… The man said we had ten minutes before we departed again. You’ll never make it.”
Never make it. Pssh.
I looked at the lighthouse and then back to my friends.
“Amy, there’s hundreds of stairs, you honestly won’t make it.”
I looked at the stairs leading down to the beach.
I furrowed my brow, and a smirk grew across my face.
“Amy, NO, you won’t make it!”
I took two steps to turn before skipping off towards the stairs with the coastal breeze carrying my words back to them “Maybe not, buuuuut I can try!”
I began my descent down what felt like three hundred steps.
I went down another million stairs.
I stopped to snap a photo.
My friends appeared behind me.
“You’re a bloody nightmare, woman”
I snapped another.
I crossed the beach onto the runway.
I took some photos.
I stared at the lighthouse ahead and realised that I wasn’t even a quarter of the way along the runway.
I contemplated carrying on.
Seven minutes ten.
I realised that it’s considerably harder to go upstairs than it is to go down them
Seven minutes twenty.
I decided it would be better for my thighs if I turned around.
I decided to walk back and then got distracted watching a group of elderly men who were trying to fix a seagull’s wing before releasing it back onto the sea, before realising I needed to haul ass, as there were hundreds of stairs to go.
At around 9 minutes 30, I realised I absolutely should not have attempted this whilst wearing flip-flops.
I wasn’t sure I could make it.
Nine minutes forty-five.
But at ten minutes fifteen, I made it to the top, lacking breath but full of surprise that I actually managed to make it in the short amount of time I had allocated myself. Turns out that yes, the friends were right and no. I absolutely could not make it to the lighthouse and back in 10 minutes. But what’s life without a little challenge, eh?
As I stood up in an attempt to look less dishevelled, I looked around and people were still standing around chatting. So really, I could have taken those stairs a hell of a lot slower—you live and you learn!
With my lesson learned, I sunk back into my seat and made a mental note to run upstairs more and with that, I continued on my journey. The train rode along Ferragudo, through the town, past the cruise ships and up to a roundabout before going back on itself. Turns out trains are super long so sometimes journeys are longer because turning can be difficult. But after a slight detour, we all hopped out ready to see what Ferragudo had to offer.
I walked along the back alley, peering into abandoned houses and admiring the tiling that so many of the buildings were decorated with. Elderly locals hung their washing out of windows and the sound of civilization and sizzling from the kitchens echoed through the alleyways.
I walked to the end of the path and spotted the world’s smallest beach, before turning back to watch local fishermen unload the catch of the day, with many gutting and filleting them right there and then.
Birds and people alike stood watching and the smell took me straight back to my childhood when I would sit on the edge of my dad’s boat as he’d load up the catch of the day to take home with us.
Eventually, I moved on (because, well, the smell of fish is gross) and ended up outside Salsa E Sapori. Plastic chairs and wobbly tables were outside, but everyone was filled with people. Families, couples and single diners all sat in the shade, and so as soon as a table became free, I slid right in.
The menu was cheap and cheerful, so I ordered a caprese salad. It was delicious. After sitting and enjoying a few drinks in the sun, I made my way back through the streets, stopping to admire trinkets and antique shops as I went. Before heading straight into a pastry shop. Because overindulging on Pasteis de Nata (egg custard tarts) was a daily occurrence this trip and I’m not even a little bit sorry.
Once the train ride was over, it was time to head back to explore Carvoeiro and explore a secluded beach I stumbled upon…