Festivals in Portugal

The Portuguese love throwing a party! Either to commemorate the feast day of a saint or to celebrate the harvest, sand sculpture, art, gay pride, and – yes – even sardines. Attending the festivals of Portugal is one of the best ways of experiencing this country’s colorful culture and way of life.

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Festivals in Portugal

Choose the right time to come to Portugal and you are guaranteed to have the best vacation of your life. Arrive during the peak summer months and have a blast with non-stop beach events and music festivals that allow you to dance in the streets and party until the wee hours of the morning.

Or experience some of the many traditional festivals that celebrate each village and town’s patron saint. And though these festivals – which the locals call festas – always start with a Mass followed by a procession, even non-Catholics can share and enjoy the fireworks, the music, the dancing and the alcohol-infused merrymaking that come afterward.

There is always a reason to celebrate in Portugal, and no matter what the festivities are about, whether they are country-wide jubilees or regional revelries, you can expect to have a great time.

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Top Festivals in Portugal

  • Carnaval. This is a festival you don't want to miss. Perfect if you are looking for Rio-style street festivities complete with floats in procession, colorful feather- and sequin-bedecked spandex and costumes and of course, Portuguese music and street dancing.
  • Spend Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Algarve and be dazzled by processions with magnificent lights and flowers during the Festa da Mãe Soberana. Join a spooky procession during the Senhor Ecce Homo, an Easter festival featuring barefoot penitents wearing hooded garments and bearing torches as they walk the streets of Braga. Or you can watch as Porto residents burn Judas effigies around the cathedral to celebrate Easter Sunday.
  • Just about anything and everything is a cause for merrymaking, and sand sculptures are no exception. From March to August, you can attend workshops and competitions on sand sculpture in Algarve, or you can simply just watch the sand sculpture exhibits of places, people and things made by artists.
  • Vacationing in June? Then head to Parque da Bela Vista and attend Rock in Rio-Lisboa, considered one of the world’s largest music festivals for an extravagant five-day musical event.
  • If you’re in Barcelos in May, don’t miss the Festa das Cruzes, or the Festival of the Crosses. Savor the sights and sounds of fireworks, colorful parades, circus performances and horse races.
  • Celebrate gay pride with food, music and wine late into the night. Enjoy the night market and lots of frivolous fun during Arraial Pride, Portugal’s annual celebration of the LGBT community.
  • Join Porto locals as they celebrate Festa de São João or St. John the Baptist day, with fireworks and street parties starting in the afternoon and lasting until the morning. Join Porto locals as they bash each other on the head with plastic hammers or watch folk dramas and join the dancing in Braga.
  • If you are a classical music and dance aficionado, you would not want to miss the Sintra Music Festival. Where not only Portuguese but also international musicians, singers and dancers perform in the parks and palaces throughout Sintra from June to July.

This is what guests are saying about our hosts

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Lea Bruno
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Historical Alfama & Scenic Viewpoints Tour

A tour with Bruno is like spending an afternoon with a good friend in his hometown.

Bruno adapted the tour to all our wishes and showed us so much more about Lisbon than we would have seen without him. We were almost overwhelmed from his knowledge of this beautiful city, there was no question that Bruno could not answer.

But especially Bruno's open character, his apparent love for his city and his friendly and courteous/obliging way of dealing with people made the tour so special for us. He did not only show us Lisbon, but we were able to develop a feeling for the city in a very short time.

If you really want to get to know Lisbon, we really recommend a tour with Bruno.

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Nandita Lisbon
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Lisbon's Favorite Food Tour: the 10 Tastings

Joao was fantastic! We had a last minute switch but he was on time and great. Very knowledgeable about local foods, history and culture, and kept the pace to our liking with lots of wine breaks! Would highly recommend hanging out with Joao when in Lisbon!

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Vitaly Lisbon
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Best of Lisbon Tour: Highlights & Hidden Gems

We met Isabel shortly after arriving with an overnight flight to Lisbon. Figuring the public transport and the street names took longer than I thought, so we were a bit late. Isabel gave us a call and patiently directed us to the meeting place. Isabel appeared to be a well prepared guide passionate about Lisbon and its history. She is also an affluent English speaker and pleasant to communicate with. It’s hard to cover a lot with just 3+ hours we walked the streets, but Isabel gave us some memorable historic details and quite a few good ideas to further exploration of this great town.