Carvoeiro newsletter March 2018

Margarida Sampaio @

So you may have heard that Portugal needed some rain.  If you have driven by any of the reservoirs around these parts recently you would have seen that water levels were horribly low, and while other areas of Portugal have been on water restrictions for some time – the Algarve was soon to be on the way too.

We needed rain. And a lot of it.

And it appears that our rain dances have worked because while the UK ground to a halt under the weight of all that snow with the Beast from the East, over here in the Algarve we have had biblical proportions of rain… the boat pared up in the square in Carvoeiro was surely some sort of reference to this perhaps.


At the time of writing this we have already had a month’s worth of rain in a few days thanks to Storm Emma.  We have had tornados in Faro, crazy high winds, thunder storms and huge amounts of rain.

The weather conditions caused some seriously stormy seas all along the Algarve coast which meant some serious damage to beaches, cliffs and also beach restaurants and businesses.  In Carvoeiro the waves came right up beyond the square – hence the need to remove the boats from the sand.  While the waves might not have been all that big as they crept up the town but they still posed a threat – sadly people felt the need to get very close to the water which meant in the end the police had to cordon off the square for safety.

Luckily O Barco made the most of the sand everywhere to make sandbags to protect the restaurant and the wall at along the top of the beach did a pretty good job of minimizing the impact of the waves to stop too much damage.  After the deluge of water, came the rather strange foam along the beach which made it look like it was snowing as the wind whipped it up – you can see lots of the pictures on Facebook and across social media.  Now we just have a lot of sand all over the place – but being as we have another storm predicted for the next couple of day, there seems little point in clearing up just yet.

Carvoeiro itself got away pretty lightly during storm Emma, however other places were not so lucky.  Just up the road at Centeannes beach, there has been some serious damage done to the infrastructure on the beach but not nearly as much as over at Nosolo Agua over on the marina in Portimão.  The beach club has been pretty much destroyed in the storm and all that is left is a broken wooden structure – you can see the picture here 

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All of the huge waves have also left the cliffs along the coast very weakened and people are being warned to keep away from cliff tops or from walking underneath the cliffs because of the risk of collapse.  Already there have been several rock falls on beaches, with the biggest being on Praia do Vau near to Portimão where tonnes of rocks have fallen – and with more bad weather on the way it is a good idea to keep your distance until the cliffs can be assessed for their safety.

Now we have what is expected to be termed storm Felix on its way.  Spain and Portugal are predicted to be hit with more high winds, heavy rain and massive waves – not a great weekend weather forecast but hopefully this will be the end of the wet weather and then we can get on with spring properly and see those blue skies again that we all love so much!


Before the skies turned grey we had some excellent weather over here – I promise!  And luckily the skies were clear when the television cameras came to town – we wanted to look our very best after all!

Once again Carvoeiro saw cycling stars race through the town as part of the Volta ao Algarve cycle race and we were part of a pretty important time trial stage which began and finished in Lagoa but snaked through Carvoeiro and the local countryside.

We had a helicopter filming and cameras all about the place with the race really helping to highlight the beauty of not only the coastline – which always looks incredible – but also showing a little of the rural beauty of the area.

While the race caused some serious traffic disruption (which resulted in me driving around the countryside for about an hour in a bid to get into the town from Lagoa as I thought I knew better and would be able to dodge the bikes, roadblocks and GNR – turns out I couldn’t) it was good to see so many people come out to watch and also to see the footage as it was broadcast on Eurosport, which made watching the race from the civility of the bar all the more enjoyable.

Even if you are not a fan of cycling, it was good to see some life in the town again, especially as by this time of the year it can feel like there hasn’t been a new face in the town forever.


February was actually a rather eventful month thanks to carnival falling early this year and for once it wasn’t painfully cold to watch the parade through the town.

Once again the theme of the carnival was local heritage, however the floats that came out managed to bring a burst of colour and fun to this uninspired theme which seems to crop up every single year.

There didn’t seem to be as many floats this year as in previous years, however some great effort had gone into them, with floats including an old school tavern, the beach complete with that iconic Nivea ball and a brilliant casino float with 1920s flappers.

It was great to see all ages and nationalities taking part in the parade with children in pushchairs joining some of the most senior members of the community, it was a great show of the Carvoeiro community and one everyone should be proud of.

We had the compulsory spit roasted pig on hand for plenty of piggy sandwiches, the beer shack in the centre, delicious, sickly sweet farturas and of course a good amount of hard boiled sweets being launched through the air from the people on the floats.

There was a really great atmosphere in the town for carnival which was held on the Sunday and then again on the main day of Tuesday and I always love to watch the dancing to the accordion music after the parade in the centre!

Well done to everyone involved in the carnival and to those who put in all the hard work to make the costumes, props and impressive floats – can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with next year!


It was a good choice for there to be a float marking the casino in Carvoeiro this year because now it really is no more.  The building, which was on Rua do Casino just near to Ma-Jas is slowly being demolished at the moment (so look out for the road down being periodically closed as they take away the rubble).

The council ordered the demolition of the building because it was considered to be dangerous and if you ever walked by then you would see the crumbing walls and falling arches – probably the most concrete part of the building was actually the fig trees growing inside it.

It is sad to see the casino come down, an important part of Carvoeiro history, but hopefully whatever replaces this building will be something with some character that will add to the value of the town as a whole – although who is laying bets on it being some more apartments…

I found a great quote about the Casino on Algarve Daily News: “Among the earliest foreigners who settled in Carvoeiro was the Irish painter Patrick Swift.

“Swift writes in 'Algarve: A Portrait and a Guide (1965),' (Patrick Swift and David Wright) “The Casino with its arches and fancy entrance still stands unused for nearly 30 years and it has seen many a heavy night’s gambling and even a few bankruptcies.””

I guess it is the end of an era for Carvoeiro.


After all of the excitement of carnival, we are all ready here to start welcoming people back into the town again before we all go stir crazy!

Luckily March is traditionally the month when things start to reopen again and we have many of the bars and restaurants opening up their doors again in time for International Women’s Day on march 8and for St Patricks Day on March 17th.

If you are unsure if your favourite place is open then take to the Carvoeiro forum to ask – the friendly folk on there are always happy to help out and you can find plenty of other information about the comings and goings in Carvoeiro.


If you want to see all the crazy weather going on here at the moment then have a look at our webcam for a perfect view across the square and down to the beach.  If you are in Carvoeiro at the moment or are on your way then make sure to dig out your boots and rain jacket – or do as I do and hunker down with some wine and television until the storm passes!

Until next month