Newsletter December 2015

Margarida Sampaio @


It is difficult to feel like Christmas is just around the corner when it is in the mid-twenties each day but I guess this is just a cross we will have to bear here in Carvoeiro!

After all the rain we have had the sunshine was needed to dry us all out again and thankfully the temperatures have kept high meaning that you can still catch a few rays on the beach during the day before the sun goes down and temperatures seem to plummet – although I am told that night temperatures above 10 degrees are actually pretty reasonable all things considered.

The town is of course quiet at this time of the year and it feels like a lot of places have closed earlier than usual for the winter season which does give Carvoeiro a slightly ghostly feel to it – especially at night but I can assure you that there is life in this old town yet, it just might take you longer to find it that’s all!


In recent years there has been a distinct lack of Christmas lights and decorations in Carvoeiro, something that has led to many business owners bemoaning the fact, as it really doesn’t feel like the festive season here at all, while over in our municipal capital in the city of Lagoa there are usually enough lights to illuminate a small planet.

Well this year things have changed – and none of us will be getting any lights at all!

The council have decided that in the grand scheme of things, when we have people living in the area who cannot even afford to feed themselves and rely on food bank donations and charity to survive, that it really is not in the spirit of the season to splash out thousands of euros on Christmas lights for Carvoeiro or Lagoa.

Instead, the council are asking shops, businesses and home owners to decorate their windows with more traditional style nativity scenes and candles to bring back some old school Christmas to the area.

I personally adore this idea, OK some Christmas lights are tastefully and look very pretty twinkling away but if you think about it, the idea of putting up sparkling snowflakes and neon flashing bulbs everywhere in a region where we may get a slight frost once a year, is ridiculous.

Yes, it would be lovely to push the Christmas celebrations in Carvoeiro a little more to help to encourage visitors to the town but is it not better to actually shun the consumerism and retail led lights and tat and stop wasting money on things we actually don’t really want and definitely don’t need?

If you hate the sound of piped Christmas music wherever you go, recoil at the chuckling santa’s at every turn and associate tinsel with the devil then you will love coming to Carvoeiro at Christmas time because basically all you get here are a few people out on Christmas eve having a drink and then a few places open on Christmas day serving up some lunch or dinner – everyone else is with their families at home, sat in their coat because the house is freezing, and eating cod fish by the fire.

If you are a fan of sparkle and twinkle then don’t worry because you only have to jump into the car and drive to the nearest shopping centre where you will find it impossible to avoid Christmas and can dance around the fake snow covered trees until your heart is content – bah humbug!

In order to plan for next season offer Early Bird Rates: For bookings made in December 2015 online prices for the mid and high season 2016 are reduced by 15% automatically - likewise peak season prices has not yet been enforced - therefore please book ASAP and before 31/12-15 in order to save.


So we don’t have the Christmas decorations and I am over my Christmas rant so on to what is going on at this time of the year in Carvoeiro!

We will be welcoming back the mini Christmas market to Carvoeiro in the square which this year will be held on December 18, 19 and 20th ad will feature the usual selection of stalls selling handicrafts and entertainment to keep everyone happy as the pic up bits and pieces as gifts from local businesses.

Lagoa are also hosting their own Christmas fair that will be taking place on December 11, 12 and 13 at the Fatacil.  This one will be indoors so there is no worry about the weather spoiling the day and will include a life sized nativity scene, games and fun for children , street entertainers and of course lots of stalls to buy treats from.

There are loads of Christmas fairs being held all over the Algarve at this time of the year and they can be a great place to pick up items while supporting local businesses so be sure to try and head down to one of them if you are about in Carvoeiro at this time of the year.


You may have noticed over the recent months that lots of Carvoeiro has been tidied up to make the place look a little more appealing both for those of us who live here and for all of the visitors who to choose to come to the town to spend their holidays.

We have had old buildings receiving a lick of paint to make them look better, new art works painted at the view point (another lovely addition to the town) and the stunning mural as you enter Carvoeiro on Rua dos Pescadores.

Now we have another new art initiative that not only looks great, but is hoped to help put Carvoeiro on the map as having something a little bit different.

The #carvoeiroboxes project has seen a local resident team up with a professional graffiti artist to paint more than 50 of the electricity boxes that run up and down Rua do Barrance and Rua dos Pescadores (the in and the out road).

The project has been sponsored by the local council and already lots of the boxes have been completed on Rua dos Pescadores.

Transforming boring grey electricity boxes into works of art, while also covering up an old and illegal graffiti that may have been on them before, has made a lovely difference to the street with each of the boxes depicting something relating to Carvoeiro and its history or to Algarvian culture.  So we have sardines, almond blossom, traditional tile designs, chimneys and even one with the Nivea ball that used to be on the beach – a favourite of mine!

Once they are all done it will be great to walk the streets of Carvoeiro and find them all and if you do take a picture of one of the boxes and post it up on your Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter feed, then please tag it with the hashtag #carvoeiroboxes to help boost the profile of this project – well done to all involved!


And the good news for the town continues with one of the local restaurants in the area being elevated to restaurant superstar status with a Michelin Star.

The Bon Bon in Sesmarias is the latest restaurant to join the elite Michelin Guide and one of only 14 in the country to be in this special club – and it is right on the doorstep!

The guide has rewarded the talents of Chef Rui Silvestre, stating in the press release that they were “surprised by the technical level,” and gave the award “based on selected raw materials and cutting-edge dishes, with distinctive flavours and careful presentation.”

Well done to all at the Bon Bon, no doubt they will be doing very well in the future and the award helps to really put Carvoeiro on the culinary map.


There appears to be a theme building here this month as we move on to talk about wine now but I guess this is the season to eat and drink too much so there is no better time.

This month we have found out that the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA) has awarded Lagoa the title of The City of Wine 2016.  What this actually means I am not really sure – perhaps it has something to do with the amount of wine that we drink in these parts?? – but what we do know is that Lagoa will be able to fly the City of Wine flag ad will also be the location for numerous wine tastings and initiatives to take place throughout the year – and that can never be a bad thing!


If you are keen to find more than one person sat in a bar when you go out over the next couple of months then plan your night out in Carvoeiro to match the darts nights which are generally played every Friday evening from 10pm (ish). 

Pop into Harrys Bar, Six, Hemmingways or one of the participating bars to find out who is playing where and when but if you fancy joining in yourself then look out for the open competitions which take place through the season with the first coming up this month.

The singles darts competition will be held first in Hemmingways and Charlys on 11th December, this is then followed by doubles on 8th January in Sullys and J Bar, then there is the next singles competition on March 25th in Acordeao and Six.  All you need to take part is to sign up, bring your own darts and pay the small registration fee – good luck!


Every year I am asked by people what is going on for New year in Carvoeiro and my answer for this year will be the same as every other year more or less – not much!

There will be restaurants and bars open for the night – have a search about for your favourite ones and the menus are generally out and be sure to book in advance if you want a table – but generally there is not a lot going on in Carvoeiro if you are looking for a bustling party atmosphere.

If you want fireworks then your best bet is to go to one of the resorts nearby or to head wither towards Portimão or to Albufeira – these are the two places that do New Year’s Eve best in the Algarve as a public event.


I have put together a Top 10 things to do over Christmas and New Year in Carvoeiro for you to have a look at and to give you a little inspiration for this time of the year.  I will be doing another list next month so if there is any subject that you would like me to look at – then just let us know!

Wishing all of the readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,