Newsletter August 2014
Margarida Sampaio @
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the sea is still freezing but the sand is hot so I guess that must mean it really is summer then!
If you have never visited Carvoeiro or the Algarve during the month of August then you are in for a surprise because the quiet little streets and sleepy towns go from moderately busy on July 31 to absolutely packed on August 1 as the rest of Portugal migrates to the coast for the month and are joined by tourists from the rest of western Europe.
This is a time of year that you either love or you hate but if you live here then it doesn’t matter what your feelings are on the matter because you will be faced with the crowds whether you like it or not – I only hope for your sake that you have a garage or you may be parking in Lagoa for the next few weeks.
I sound like I hate the summer and August but I really don’t, I love to see the town busy and filed with life as it should be at this time of year and the square is as usual the main draw for most people as there is live music here every night (apart from a couple of exceptions which I will come to later) from 8pm until midnight and it is free to dance about to your hearts delight.
Now we are well into the summer the square by the beach is really, really busy with people mooching about and having an ice cream and a drink. The beach also has a bouncy castle and inflatables in the evenings now making it the perfect place to drag the children to after the sun has gone down.
The only nights in August that don’t follow the usual schedule are when it is the Carvoeiro party on August 31 (see below), and then when we have the Italian Orchestra coming to play on August 5 and finally on August 9 we have an open air cinema session where the film “Last Vegas” will be shown on a massive screen by the beach from 10pm for free (although I am not exactly sure if this one is suitable for all the members of the family!)
I say that the square remains the most popular place for families to visit while in Carvoeiro but I was astonished to meet one family that surrounded my table as I tried to enjoy my Portuguese steak the other night to ask the usual questions of how long have I lived here, do I like it (always a favourite of mine), where is my favourite beach, where can they take the children etc. When I suggested a walk down to the square the seemed shocked to find out that there was even a beach in Carvoeiro, never mind daily entertainment and all the rest of it! I guess despite our hard work here at carvoeiro.com the message isn’t getting through to everyone – and we were only sat near the Mirachoro hotel! Needless to say I have vowed not to eat out in a restaurant until September as I can’t handle the questions and drunken parent falling into my table as they leave me to watch their children (only I am allowed to do that!).
If you are looking for entertainment in the Algarve then August is by far the best month to visit as there is something going on absolutely everywhere and something for every taste. One of the most popular attractions in the summer has to be the regular beach parties that take place up and down the coast.
You don’t have to be young, tanned and toned to enjoy these events (although it does help sometimes) and some of the parties take place during the day, others in the evening and others still well into the night.
One of the most popular regular beach parties takes place regularly throughout August at Caneiros beach (on the way to Ferragudo from Carvoeiro). These parties are held at night so there is no need to parade around in a bikini and there is a Champagne party there on August 1 for all those who want see and be seen. This is not a group of hippies on a beach and you are encouraged to dress up for the event but it can be a great night out and often there are a few celebs to be seen there and a good few local faces too.
If you would rather your beach party was during the day then NoSoloAgua in Praia da Rocha is probably for you. They have different parties taking place all month with various themes and you get to lie on those amazing beach beds around the pool and pretend to be someone you would see on E! Entertainment news.
For a more relaxed feel then Praia Grande (after Caneiros beach but before Ferragudo if coming from Carvoeiro) is the place for you as you have a choice of different beach bars, some with live music and others with just a chilled party feeling pretty much every day. This beach is also big enough to avoid anyone you are keen to hide from and you can chuck the kids into the play park while you take selfies drinking cocktails in the sun on the beach to make your friends in colder countries feel jealous.
While we don’t have beach parties every week in Carvoeiro – I do not count falling onto the beach at 4am with half a bottle of wine as any sort of party at my age – we do have the annual Carveiro Blessing of the Sea celebration taking place as always on the final Sunday of August which this year lands on August 31.
Full details about the event are of course not yet available but we can assume that it will follow the usual format which includes a lovely parade through the town by members of the church followed by a marching band –far better than it actually sounds – which usually draws hundreds and hundreds of people onto the streets.
After the procession then it is down to the square for some more live entertainment and finally we have fireworks to finish off the event at midnight.
If you have never seen this in Carvoeiro then it is well worth making sure you are around and the fireworks are usually pretty good and lovely to watch wile sat on the beach.
If you are coming to Carvoeiro that night by car then it is a good idea to get down early as this is notoriously the busiest night of the year in the town and parking is an issue at the best of times in August.
BIG SUMMER EVENTS
Carvoeiro is a fantastic place to be in August but some of the biggest events in the region take place in other locations and it can be worth venturing out of the town sometimes to go and see what is going on elsewhere!
There are far too many events to mention all of them and if you want a bit o a guide to some of the events in the Algarve over August then I suggest you visit www.visitalgarve.pt and have a look at the events guide for further details.
Locally we have the Fatacil fair coming back to Lagoa with all the usual favourites of smelly farm animals, tractor displays and air conditioning units mixed in with horse shows, handicrafts and rock music. Don’t go with any great expectations because although it is the biggest event of its kind for miles around it really is a very strange event that is best enjoyed after a few cheap caipirinhas and a massive cheese and presunto sandwich.
The Fatacil will be taking place between 15 and 24th August and there are a few good live acts performing as well as the usual suspects.
Another slightly smelly event has to be the sardine festival which takes place in Portimão between 13 and 17 August along by the riverside. Again we have live music of varying standards accompanied by thousands of sardines grilling away. This one is a real Algarvian experience and even if you don’t like sardines then it is worth a visit to soak up the atmosphere (which is mainly filled with sardine smoke).
Finally we have my personal favourite of the Silves Medieval festival which is taking place between 8 and 17th of August and sees the streets of Silves transformed into a Medieval city filled with little stalls selling food, drink, handicrafts, nuts and almost anything else you can think of. Look out for children wielding wooden swards (they hurt a lot when you get hit with them) and make sure you pay the couple of euros extra to go and watch the jousting competition which is always exciting, mainly because you are waiting for some sort of accident to take place which it almost always does.
We have the lovely Leona Lewis gracing us with her presence at the Sheraton Algarve Pinecliffs Summer Concert on August 8. This one was usually reserved for the very rich or the exceptionally dedicated but they have dropped the prices to just €45 (?!) for a ticket only to the event to watch her perform – if you want to eat and have the full experience it is going to cost you a little more with the platinum ticket costing €595
I am off to realign my bow and arrow – for the Medieval fair and not to shoot random annoying tourists with I promise.