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 heading down to Gelados and Companhia for breakfast (crepes if you were wondering – I had ham, S had ham and cheese – his was better. It turns out that avoiding cheese because you want to stuff your face with ice-cream but also don’t want to consume too much dairy, means that you will still end up a few lb’s heavier, just with a cheese-less crepe and a face that stares at S’ cheese-filled breakfast enviously).

Any-who, after heading down for breakfast we were full of ham and on the hunt for something to do, so we began walking to Carvoeiro beach whilst we pondered what that something would be. I was just starting to come out of my burnout funk and didn’t want to venture too far and so as we reached the beach we decided that an uphill walk along the coast would be best.
Because yano, uphill walks are exactly what you want after breakfast…

If you stand at Carvoeiro’s main beach staring out to sea and look left, that’s the way we walked. Halfway up there’s a viewpoint (where we 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, moving harmoniously with the edge of the cliff. And along that wooden walkway, you will see a lot of sweaty people.

Like, a lot.
We can say that because we were two of them.

 

*pictured* The face of happiness and confusion as to why he goes on adventures with me when he knows I want to (and will) explore every nook and cranny.

Turns out that 28’c heat with no shade and an uphill walk does not make for supermodel looks.
Who knew.

But whilst there isn’t any shade, there is an abundance of jagged cliff edges and an open ocean stretching out for as far as the eye can see to remind you that actually, you’re quite thirsty now and could really do with a drink. But if you persist past the first bout of thirst, and venture past the groups of sweaty people 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 when we went 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 we 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, 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. Desperate not to slip to my death I climbed back up and walked along the outer edge of the rock face to find S who had abandoned me whilst I sat pondering life, with my feet in the water.

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 us and so we began the climb back up to civilisation to find a beverage. When we got to the top we remembered that there was a cafe to the side of where we were just exploring, and so after climbing back up the millions of stairs we had just climbed down, we did so again and walked into Boneca Bar Restaurante for a beverage.

Whilst our bodies returned to a normal temperature we 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. We were tempted to grab a bite as the restaurant freshly BBQ’s their catch of the day, but we were due to go out for dinner a bit later so held off. 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.

And if you perch on the edge and look through it, you will have this view.

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. Whilst S and I climbed back up the millions of stairs, we agreed we were going to walk to Benagil Caves as we have only seen it from a distance on the boat trip we took back in 2015. But as we made it to the top we realised that it was 5.5km away and according to good ol’ Google maps, it would have taken us an hour and twelve minutes to walk.

And to be honest after all of those steps I couldn’t have thought of anything I wanted to do less.

So instead we walked back to Carveoiro town, found a gin bar and settled in with some calamari and cocktails instead. Which, in my opinion, was a much better decision!

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Have you ever seen anything like Algar Seco?
Let me know in the comments!