Newsletter February 2012

Margarida Sampaio @

This month has reminded me why I love living in the Algarve. With only a couple of days of rain the weather has been amazing and despite there still being a lot of doom and gloom going round you can't help but feel jolly when you are sat on the beach eating a picnic and feeling the sand between your toes in January.

January is a notoriously quiet month in Carvoeiro with a good few of the restaurants and bars being shut up for winter but there are still people out and about and life looks like coming back to Carveiro.

Already we have Smilers and O Barco (in the square by the beach) back open during the daytime for a spot of sunshine with your coffee or beer. Many bars have also stayed open all through the winter and have seen better trade than I think anyone expected in most cases with some being rammed to the rafters on many nights!


As always there are changes taking place with one of them being that Restaurant Tasco (on the O Farol opposite Black Stove) is now under new management.

The restaurant is now being run by Sanders and he has decided to take the restaurant in the direction of fine dining.

Those who have already sampled the menu have given some glowing reports with the general consensus being that it is a very different style of food in comparison to before and worth trying out.

There is also work going on in what used to be the glasses shop on Rua dos Pescadores (near to the Chinese Shop on the in road). A new sign has been put up and we have been told that it will be opening soon as a shop specialising in selling cork products – we will have to wait and see what happens here.


After all the excitement of New Years Eve, January sees us all groaning back to normality and trying to get into some sort of shape after all those Iceland party platters (I don't think I can face another strawberry triffle cheesecake for at least a whole year!).

The girls who play netball on a Thursday evening from 7pm at the municipal courts, are now doing a spot of circuit training at 6.30pm thanks to Sam Black.

I witnessed a session and can safely say that I have never laughed so much in my life as a group of girls attempted to jump over a pole, do sit ups and some sort of jumping jack movement while the hula hooping was pure comedy but that aside this is a great chance for anyone wanting to give exercise a go without having to spend lots of money or join a gym.

Anyone is welcome to join in on a Thursday and all that is asked is a donation of one euro for taking part in the netball. The money is being used to pay for some netball posts so its all for a good cause.

I can also assure you that the girls themselves were laughing themselves into exhaustion and nobody felt the least bit silly (really).


For those of you who prefer to watch others get into a sweat (in a non creepy way) then this month we have a couple of pretty impressive sporting events going on.

Over at the Algarve Stadium this month we have the Atlantic Cup, a football competition with six teams from the north and east of Europe who have come over to the Algarve to take part in this tournament. I am sure the good weather has nothing to do with them coming over.

The teams this year are FC Midtjylland from Denmark, Dinamo Zagreb from Croatia, Odense BK from Denmark, Helsingborg IF from Sweden, Wisla Krakow from Poland, and Rapid Vienna from Austria.

Matches are being played at the stadium until February 7 when the final will take place with kick off at 5pm.

Tickets for the matches are reasonable and are priced at €5 for some games and €10 for other while children under 16 enter for free.

These games are rarely well attended so you can be almost certain of getting a great seat and for anyone who has never been to the stadium or a live football match then this is a very reasonable option.

If you want to see a full schedule of all the matches and details of tickets and where to buy them from, then just visit the website for the tournament at for further information.


Closer to home, we will have some world class athletes coming to Carvoeiro this month with the return of the Volta ao Algarve cycle race (not that the netball girls aren't way up there with the greats of course).

This is the Algarve equivalent of the Tour de France and is taking place between February 15 and 19 across the region.

This year the region will be welcoming teams from America, Belgium, Holland, France and Luxemburg as well as local Portuguese teams and the Brtish Sky team.

On the second day of the race the stage finishes in Lagoa with the racers coming along the EN125 from the direction of Portimão so you can cheer on the racers from the road side if you want to get up close.

On Sunday February 19 the racers will be starting from the Fatacil in Lagoa at 11.20am, they will then travel along the back roads to Benagil, up past Poço Partido where they cross the road and head for Sesmarias, Ferragudo and finally on to Portimão to the riverside to finish by around 1pm.

Watching the race is actually really good fun and it is well worth heading out for the morning to look out for the cyclists as they go by.

This year the time trial world champion Alberto Contador has confirmed that he will be taking part in the race again so if you want to see the best of the best then it is on our doorstep this month!

To have a look at the maps of the routes then visit and click on Etapas to see the route plans and timings.


We are not all into sport though and if you want a spot of culture darling then there is new exhibition of art work at Atre Algarve in Lagoa. The gallery is located in the old Adega winery (behind the pingo Doce supermarket in Lagoa) and you can park your car outside by going trough the large gates on the EN125 opposite the bus station.

This is the largest private gallery in the Algarve and entry to the exhibition is free. It may not take all day to look round but if the sun does go in for a bit then this coud fill a couple of hours.


Back in Carvoeiro the biggest thing set to happen this month has to be the Carnival which will be taking place on Shrove Tuesday, February 21.

I love pancakes but you have to admit that the celebrations are a little more exciting here than a bottle of lemon juice and a frying pan back in the UK.

This year the children of the local school, crèche and nursery will be doing a parade through the streets on the Friday 17th from around 10.30am (weather allowing).

The main celebrations though will be taking place on the Sunday February 19 and Tuesday February 21.

On these days the children will be back out again but will be joined by the grown (and not so grown) ups in the festivities.

Expect the usual men dressed as babies, men dressed as tarty ladies and men with their bottoms out mixed with a fair amount of beer, lots of ancient tractors pulling floats and over excited residents dancing away to the music that blasts out along the streets.

At the moment the parades are due to take place from around 3pm but be prepared for the usual delays!

The floats will all start from the market place then will travel down the hill and along Rua do Baranco, down Rua dos Pescadores and then back again.

If you want to see the carnival in all its glory then park yourself up at one of the cafes or bars along the route and have your camera at the ready to take pictures of the local characters in all their glory.

I will be pouring myself into something suitably embarrassing for the occasion and hope to see as many of you as possible looking equally ridiculous – don't let me down now!

UPDATE 10/02/2012: The official Carnival parade for this year has been cancelled.

Various members of the community are still working to try and do something for Tuesday, February 21 but there has still not been anything finalised.

The local school children will still parade through the town on Friday, February 17 at around 10.30am

We will update this page should there be further changes.


Finally, it may be a little short notice but the end of the festive season means it must be time for the annual pantomime from the Algarveans (oh no it isn't – oh yes it is!).

This year the experimental theatre group will be putting on a performance of Aladdin (the Disney version) with shows taking place on February 2, 3 and 4 at 8pm and on February 4 there will also be a matinée performance from 3pm.

Tickets for the show cost €10 for adults and €5 for children with all tickets costing €10 for the final show on February 4.

If you fancy warming up for carnival by watching men dressed as women, girls dressed as boys and a lots of booing, hissing and he's behind you, then you can't go far wrong with the Algarveans panto - look out for some familiarCarvoeiro faces taking to the stage!

If you want further details, please email

Well that's it from me for this month- I am off to stick some sequins onto a leotard for carnival.