Newsletter January 2013

Margarida Sampaio @

It is only right and proper that first I being by wishing a Happy New Year to all readers, I am not sure if 2013 will bring in all the changes for the better that we may be hoping for but with the New Year comes new hope for Carvoeiro and the Algarve as a whole.

Here in Carvoeiro the New Year was brought in with more of a fizz than a bang thanks to the light drizzle that continued throughout the evening and also in no small part to the number of Champagne corks that were popping at midnight (plenty of Carvoeiro champagne of the Cristal variety was also going down quite nicely too).

I sit here now in the glorious sunshine feeling very smug without even the slightest inkling of a hangover thanks to being kidnapped by my Portuguese relatives for a feast that meant I was physically then unable to drink due to a lack of space.

The rain of New Year’s Eve has turned into warm sunshine and I am sure there is an old wives tale somewhere that will endorse the fact that sunshine on the first on January is bound to guarantee sunshine for the rest of the year – although if it comes from the same source that says you will die if you so much as put a toe in the swimming pool less than six hours after eating then I am not sure if I will be subscribing.


When it came to weather in December, any of you who put off a trip to Carvoeiro missed out some amazing weather with the majority of the month seeing beautiful warm sunshine during the days – so much so that people were spotted in shorts and t-shirts around Christmas time and others were even found sunbathing on the beach!

Come nightfall it has been a very different story and thanks to Baltic cold tiling and a general lack of central heating it has for most of the month been warmer out than in during the evenings.

I have done the sums and it is officially cheaper to sit in the bar all night than it is to heat my humble home – the warmth from the effects of the wine also help to make the freezing home conditions less noticeable when you return.

So if you are planning a trip over in the coming weeks be sure to pack your shorts and flip flops for the days and your thick wooly hats, scarfs and those furry boots for the evenings, if anything at least it will confuse them at the airport as they go through your case at security.


As is traditional at this time of year there really isn’t a whole lot of exciting news going on but instead of resorting to a year review (I am sure you have all had enough of all those mandatory New Year top ten lists) I will instead focus on the few events that have taken place this last month, the biggest of which had to be the Christmas fair that took place in Carvoeiro.

For the third year there was a Christmas fair held in Carvoeiro and this time it was held in the main square in front of the beach, unlike the fairs earlier in the year.

This seemed to be an odd decision given that only days later the beloved olive trees that sit in planters in front of the Soares shop were mysteriously removed once again but the positioning of the fair in the main square meant there was a lot more space for everyone and there wasn’t the constant fear of you being hit by a car as you walk away from a stall.

The event was once again organized by Vozes Intensas, the local business group, and saw a number of stalls lining the square selling mulled wine, local produce, photos, jewelry, cakes and the Avon lady even made an appearance!

The main attraction each day for the fair had to be the live music which included the usual suspects and a rousing performance from Beto Kalulu – made especially poignant due to the very sad loss of band member Carlos Jorge, known by many as Tchombé, who sadly died on December 2 – my thoughts are with his family and friends.

Beto managed to get the crowd dancing in the winter sunshine and the fair was deemed to be such a success that it continued on for a further three days.

One of the best moments of the fair had to be watching the number of people who were trying to capture the amazing sunset behind the cliffs as enormous waves crashed on to the beach – nobody lost their tripod but there were a fair few pairs of wet feet around and there was a moment of panic as the waves nearly reached the bouncy castle full of children and parents watched on in horror as they imagined their little ones heading out into the Atlantic!

It seems that the entire Algarve went Christmas fair crazy in 2012 – so much so that children that I dragged along for the experience eventually gave up begging for cupcakes after the fifth of sixth fair of the week!

Not only did Carvoeiro host its one version for a Christmas market there was also a very successful fair held in Ferragudo at the start of December and another held at the Fatacil in Lagoa the weekend before the Carvoeiro fair.

Hopefully the fair in Ferragudo will take place again next year because this really was a great one to visit and took place along the water front and in front of and in the municipal market in the town.

Again we had live music with a brilliant performance from Black Puzzle and entertainment from the chocolate statues and clowns and jugglers.  Outside there were a number of tents with local goods on sale and this continued into the market with more stalls and paintings on display.

It may have felt like Christmas overload with so many fairs taking place but it was great to see some Christmas spirit in the Algarve in place of the traditional Christmas lights which have actually been away for so long now that I suppose it is now a tradition now to have them.

Christmas day itself in Carvoeiro was another lovely and sunny day leading to me working up quite a sweat in my Christmas wooly jumper while trying to consume my own body weight in turkey.  This wouldn’t have been so uncomfortable if I hadn’t gorged myself on duck rice the night before during my Portuguese family celebrations but I suppose it isn’t Christmas if you don’t feel like an inflatable ball at some point.


After all the fun of Christmas we had the lull before New Year and we saw a number of bars and restaurants getting ready for the big night.

We haven’t had fireworks from the beach in a number of years but there were displays that took place at the Monte Santo resort and at the Bon Bon while many bars and restaurants put on entertainment.

A wander through Carvoeiro at 2am confirmed that a good night had been had by all with the bar rocking in Harrys thanks to live music from the Mad Cats.  There were also good crowds in Hemingways and in Sullys and Carvoeiro bar while Mungos was open until the sun rose with many local residents and visitors of all nationalities walking the celebratory red carpet for the night!

Thanks to the efforts of local businesses New Year in Carvoeiro was a great success and although it isn’t on the same scale as Praia da Rocha, Olhão or Albufeira there was a great atmosphere on the streets and in the bars so congratulations to everyone who made it a night to remember (or not, thanks to one too many glasses of champagne) for so many this year.

INTO 2013

At this time of year there is not a lot planned and many places will be closing for a month or two to give staff and management a chance to recover before the summer season starts again.  This does not however mean that Carvoeiro is closed at this time of year and there are still plenty of places open for food, drink and shopping and if the weather continues as it has then the sun will be enough to make most visitors feel happy!

The Hotel Carvoeiro Sol will be reopening its doors at the start of February and hopefully this will encourage some weekend visitors back into the town again for the year.

The hotel is currently looking to involve itself more in the local community and has plans for new events and forms of entertainment to take place throughout the year, and especially in the low season, not only for residents of the hotel but also for anyone interested in taking a look so watch out for news.

The retail park on the way to Lagoa is also making progress and one of the buildings is almost complete so we could see things moving quickly during 2013 for this.


After a year of ups and downs for Carvoeiro and the Algarve as a whole I am looking forward to spending another year enjoying the best that Carvoeiro has to offer.

Whatever the year you can be sure of a warm welcome here and despite the goings on around the country Carvoeiro remains a haven for many and I hope it remains so.

I will now head off to polish my halo and speak of my New Year sobriety in the pub – well it is warmer there after all!