“Carvoeiro Living: Reflections of a life in the Algarve”

Inside Magazine’s Publisher, Bruce Hawker reflects on over 40 Years of Living in Praia Do Carvoeiro


– April 7, 2022

My first memory of Carvoeiro is of arriving here at the age of seven with my parents, in the summer of 1974 for a family holiday, at a time when few foreign tourists visited the Algarve, considering that the country was only just emerging as a democracy after the bloodless “Carnation” revolution a few months before. Needless to say, my folks fell in love with the place, and by 1978 we were already living here with my dad still spending some time in the UK running his business.

Carvoeiro Living

Bruce Hawker

I wonder these days how he managed to run his business from afar, without e-mail and Zoom or even a fax machine. I’ve seen so much change over the years, some for the better and some for the worst, but I have to say, mostly for the better.

From my teenage years, I have fond memories of what we used to call the “unfinished hotel”, the shell of what is now the Tivoli Carvoeiro where we used to get up to all sorts of mischief. And right next door to the hotel there was a small settlement of shanty buildings occupied by creative sorts from around the world; there were artists, artisans and musicians and I remember many nights enjoying jam sessions and generally getting up to more mischief.

If there is one thing that Carvoeiro had better back then than it does now, it had to be the nightlife. By the time I was in my midteens and sneaking into nightclubs, there was just the Sobe e Desce disco (now the Jailhouse bar) and O Bote on the beach, the latter at the time being a very swish little place. By the mid-80s, a further three nightclubs had opened and Carvoeiro had turned into something of a nightspot. Today, only O Bote on the beach still exists but no longer as a nightclub. In 1984, we threw an engagement party at the Scoobydoo disco. The old photo on this page shows my wife Zoie and me on the dance floor with my late father John up in the DJ box.

I met Zoie at the International School of the Algarve (now the Nobel International School), where we were both students and we went on to raise three kids here ourselves. As they were growing up, one of my memories from their teenage years is of drenched clothes scattered around the house from when they had come home in the early hours after the infamous foam parties at O Bote. But it was not all about partying, our kids got an excellent education from the International School and all of them went on to universities in the UK.

Over the years, I have seen Carvoeiro grow, but unlike many coastal resort towns, Carvoeiro has grown outwards rather than upwards. High-rise buildings have never been permitted and if we stand up by the church and look down over the village today, it still has most of the authentic charm that got my parents hooked all those years ago. We have built our lives here, as part of both the international and the local communities, myself working in the publishing business and my wife Zoie in property. We have travelled widely over the years and I feel proud to say that there is nowhere in the world we would rather live than Praia do Carvoeiro.

Text by Bruce Hawker


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Author: Inside Magazines

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