We're (Mum, Dad and 2 boys 13 & 9) coming out to Portugal for the first time this August to the Buganvilia Appartments in Monte Dourado and would appreciate anything locals and past visitors can share with us.
We'd like to know more about:
* Access to the main beach by foot
* Parking if we need to take the car to the beach
* Other beaches in easy driving distance (I can't stand sand in my trunks on the way home )
* Places to visit inland of interest to young boys
* Family eating places for lunch and dinner (we're not chicken and chips people - like so sample some local dishes)
I think that's all
I'll try and help as much as I can!!
From Buganvillea apartments there is a bit of a hill to walk down, but assuming you don't have any mobility problems you should be fine. Once at the bottom of the hill the beach is only 2 or 3 minutes walk on the level so you shouldn't need to take the car to the beach.
There are many other beaches within 10-15 minutes drive, Paraiso, Caneiros, Praia Grande, Centeanes, Carvalho and Benagil - there is information on most (if not all) of these on this site. Click on 'beaches' on the home page.
We don't have kids so can't comment too much apart from the two water parks Slide and Splash is only 10-15 minutes drive, The Big One is a little further, maybe 15-20.
As for places to eat, we love O Cantinho and always go there on our first and last nights. They serve typical Portuguese food and the staff are very friendly. We have never been to a restaurant in Carvoeiro that we wouldn't return to and I'm sure everyone will be quick to let you know their favourites too.
I'm sure you'll have a great time
I don't want to repeat too much of what can already be found on the site or that Kteee has told you, but can add that The Big One Waterpark is preferred by our children than Slide and Splash, although Slide and Splash has more for younger children. A word of advice though, there is very little shade available at the waterpark and you need to be there early in high season to get any at all, the paths also become unbearably hot underfoot - worth knowing particularly if you are fairskinned.
Caneiros is our favourite beach, and you can swim around a small rocky outcrop to another beach area with a swim in cave, adds some interest when your children are not little anymore (Ours are 11 & 14).
Re-iterate what Kteee has said that from MD you do not need a car to go to the local beach, shops, bars and restaurants. There are so many excellent restaurants in Carvoeiro, that you could be innundated with recommendations, enough for a month at least let alone a fortnight. My personal favourite being A Gale. Obviously for really, really authentic with very few concessions to the tourist head inland.
Food wise, for evening meals we love Casa Algarvia (very popular all year round so we usually try and get there before 7pm or maybe reserve)
As mentioned before, everyones tastes are different and there is so much to see and do around Cvo, always think 2 weeks holiday is never enough
Place to avoid seems to be Praia da Rocha - another guest just got back and said they were hassled with drug dealers and we have heard the same so its not a place that I would want to go to - dont know whether anyone else has heard of the reputation its got?????