Newsletter August / September 2019

Margarida Sampaio @

So it has been a busy few weeks over here in sunny Carvoeiro and I can’t believe that summer is nearly over already!  Well, I mean it doesn’t exactly feel like summer is coming to an end at all but we do have our end of summer party coming up so I guess it must be!

Keep calm…it’s August

I generally try t whisper the word “August” when out and about in Carvoeiro, speaking it any louder usually results in moans, groans and general displeasure among those who live and work here.

At this time of the year many of the residents who have places outside the Algarve tend to disappear to find a quieter, less busy place to enjoy during August and sometimes it is easy to see why.  Well the parking for a start is a bit of a nightmare, I personally witnessed one woman losing her mind after a car pulled into a space she had been waiting for in Carvoeiro for some ten minutes the other week.  Yes she probably was in the right and the person who pulled in to the space certainly deserved a dressing down – I am not sure however that a parking space dispute required the involvement of eight family members (including a newborn thrown in to the mix) and a 45 minute tirade of abuse.  Parking is always a problem in Carvoeiro but if you are happy to wait it out a bit or perhaps even consider walking a little way (although it is usually up a hill to be fair) then yu can find a space, even in August.

And yes, at this time of the year the restaurants and bars are all busy but again if you turn up ab little earlier for your meal, or book a table in advance then you will find then you can generally get into any restaurant of your choosing and as long as you are smiling the staff generally are too.  I went out for a meal in a very busy restaurant just last week and while the place was packed, the staff were fantastic, fast moving and served up great food – so there really is no need to avoid Carvoeiro – even in August.

Why I also love August is because there is generally so much to do at this time of the year.  We have already had the fantastic sardine festival – which had massive crowds this year, and the Silves medieval festival too – which to be honest was very hot and sticky but that it part of the fun – trying to avoid landing on your bum as you tentatively head down the slippery calcada hills and slide off the thousands of people who march past on their way up or down in search of a piggy sandwich.

We have also had a great performance from the Algarve Jazz Orchestra in Carvoeiro, complete with Elvis on stage and backed up with some pretty cool fireworks in time (mostly) to the music.  This was a great evening for all the family to enjoy, with lots of people tapping their feet along to the music before leaping in the air as the fireworks surprised everyone who was quietly singing along.  What was even nicer though was leaving the square and then being met with an impromptu performance by a street band of brass instruments.  The guys from the band, many of whom used to attend school in Lagoa, put on a show that literally stopped traffic and not event the police (who did drive down to see what was going on) stopped the show.  Their rendition of Stand by Me had the whole crowd singing along, with a lot of help from the guy at the front was about the most enthusiastic person in a brass band I have ever seen!

We also have the Fatacil on again, which this year is bigger than ever but also includes a huge amount of car parks to cut down on the exceptionally dangerous parking situations that have been in the past.  I am a big fan of the Fatacil, mainly because I like to eat smelly cheese sandwiches swished down with a caipirinha or two.  I personally am not a fan of the music each evening but for €4 head you are able to see some of the very top performers in Portugal while also being able to get out and see some tractors for sale, horse shows, handicrafts and of course, everyones very favourite, the man who whittles the spoons as you wait – who said we don’t have it all here in the Algarve!

End of summer party

The soaring temperatures, packed beaches and crazy driving means that it really doesn’t feel much like the end of summer at all as far as I am concerned, however because this is the last week of the month then we have the traditional end of the season summer beach party coming to Carvoeiro.  The event takes place on the beach in Carvoeiro from 8pm until 3am for all those who are able to stay out that late!

I always think that this is actually the best beach party of the year because while there are still lots and lots of people at the event it is nowhere near as busy as the Black and White night party so there is a different type of atmosphere during the evening which really is an event for all of the family.  You will see people of all ages out on the beach dancing away so it really doesn’t matter if you are eight or 80 – this one is for you!

The end of summer party came about because it is always the Saturday before the final Sunday of the month which sees the religious celebrations of the town.  Look out for a procession through the streets on Sunday from around 4pm, it starts up at the church and then passes down the steep hill by the GNR before doing a lap around the town and then off again.  This is a very solemn affair but I always find it very beautiful and enjoy going out to see the event, mainly because it harks back to a more traditional Carvoeiro, before the tourists, the restaurants and the parking complaints, when these processions took place to remember those lost at sea when fishing was how people made their living in a simple time, it really is rather beautiful and lovely to see that traditions still remain today and many of the local residents take part.

After the procession we have music back in the square then it is all down to the beach for midnight to watch the fireworks as they are let off from the cliff edges.  If you take a towel to sit on then this is a great way to finish off the weekend.  There are usually fewer people around o this night mainly due to those who were out until 3am the previous nights are nursing their hangovers!


Any regular readers of my newsletter will know that I have a slight obsession with traffic, roads and parking so I am sorry but you will have to endure a little more from me this month!

I was very excited to see this month that finally, and I mean it really has been years, the roundabout in Lagaa near to the petrol stations has been finished!  We have a shiny red wine pres gracing the centre of the roundabout which will forever be known as the one with the petrol stations on event though it is clearly now the wine press roundabout.

The finishing off of this roundabout I am sure is in no small part due to the fact that we now have a new mayor in Lagoa.

The old major, Francisco Martins, stood down at the start of the month stating health reasons behind why he has decided to take a back seat from politics for a while. I don’t like to get in to party politics but I think that in general the old major did a pretty good job while he was in office and I know he will be missed by a lot of people locally – so best of luck to him with the future.

Our new mayor, was the former vice in the council and now Luis Encarnação is at the helm.  I am pretty sure that he must drive mast that roundabout every day on his way to work – hence the swift development of the roundabout from strange concrete block, to pretty wine press in a matter of days after he took office.


Taking of petrol stations, anyone who was over here this past month may have noticed that we have been having problems with strikes in the country, with the one causing the greatest impact being the strike of driver of dangerous heavy goods vehicles – the guys who deliver the petrol to the stations for us all to use.

We once again had a fair amount of panic buying which was then followed by fuel rationing.

I would like to say that I do need my car for work on a daily basis, however I did not wait for more than 3 minutes to fuel up during the crisis.  I simply waited until the panic was over and drove calmly into the Cepsa garage outside Carvoeiro and filled up and went on my way.  Even though the strike went on for a week there really were no other problems mainly because people who use a tank a month of petrol had all filled up and nobody needed any more!

There really is no need to panic, and yes we do have another strike planned for between September 7 and 22, but this one will only mean that drivers will not be working at the weekends or doing any over time – so once again no need to panic buy and queue up for hours -  it is all going to be fine!

Well I’m off now to put some fuel in the car and to get ready to dance until dawn on the beach

See you next month