Portugal: sand, sun, sea and festivals! Portugal is one of the best holiday destination for families and couples. Not only is it close by to us in the UK, meaning a short and easy flight, it’s also a relatively cheap place to book flights to and accommodation in. If you’re trying to plan a summer holiday without spending thousands, Portugal is the place to go and Holiday Gems has some excellent deals to get you there.
Not only do you get sun, sea and sand without breaking the bank, Portugal also boasts a huge number popular festivals throughout the year! I’m talking music festivals, Pride and Carnival to pilgrimages and the best sand sculptures around. Here are my top 5 festivals in Portugal!
Who doesn’t love Carnival? The bright clothes, busy streets, amazing atmosphere and so much spandex. You’ll find Carnival’s taking place all over Portugal, from Lisbon to the small towns of Algarve. It’s the biggest event of the year! Carnival dates back to the huge festivals people held after Lent. They’d celebrate and feast on all the meat that was forbidden during the religious fasting. Back to the modern day, it now attracts people from all over the world who want to immerse themselves in some culture, fun and excellent street food. Traditionally, Carnival begins on the last Friday before Lent and ends on Shrove Tuesday. While an amazing, awe-inspiring experience for both children and adults alike, if you’re going to Carnival as a family, remember to stick close as it’s a very busy festival!
International Sand Sculpture Festival, Pera
If you’re after something the whole family can really enjoy, The International Sand Sculpture Festival, FIESA is a must. Held in the Algarve, artists use over 40,000 tonnes of sand and create impressive sand sculptures. These sculptures depict people, places and items in breath-taking detail. This festival, which has been running since 2003, hosts workshops, contests and demonstrations during the day. The incredible sculptures are then beautifully illuminated at night. Although it’s not an event that will take up a whole day’s adventuring, it’s a lovely stop off before visiting some of the other beautiful white sandy beaches in the Algarve.
Rock in Rio-Lisboa, Lisbon
One for the grown ups, the Rock In Rio-Lisboa is one of Europe’s largest rock festivals. Spanning over five days and taking place in Lisbon’s Bela Vista Park, the music festival attracts leading international artists and DJs, as well as up and coming talented musicians. This festival is one you definitely do no want to miss! The first ever Rock In Rio-Lisboa played host to the musical genius, Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen back in 1985, and since then, the line up has been equally as impressive.
Arraial Pride, Lisbon
Portugal’s annual gay pride festival has been taking place since 1997 and is the largest LGBTI event in Portugal. Bringing together people in equality and unity, the festival takes place in Lisbon’s main square, Terreiro do Paco. With free entry, this is one party invitation you can’t turn down! The date of this festival changes every year, but you can usually catch it at the end of June. Expect music, food, drinks, marketplaces and festivities long into the night!
São Martinho – St Martin’s Day
11th November marks St Martin’s Day in Portugal and boy do they celebrate him! St Martin was a Roman soldier who had the kindness and compassion to cut his cloak in half so he could give one half to a freezing beggar in a snow storm to help warm him up. Because of this legend, the warm days at the start of November are fondly referred to as St Martin’s Summer and are believed to be a gift from God. Also known as Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, St Martin of Tours Day is a huge festival of and is celebrated in style. It’s marked by drinking a lot of água-pé , a traditional weak wine (which is actually banned in Portugal, but still readily available in independent stores), partying and feasting on chestnuts, among other nibbles like walnuts and figs, cooked over a huge open bonfire.
This is a collection of just five of the amazing festivals that Portugal has to offer. Through the year, there are loads of events hosted all over the country, attracting families and adults from all over the world. As I mentioned earlier, Portugal is an excellent holiday location as it’s relatively cheap, so, if you’re planning next year’s holiday, don’t forget to check out any local events and festivals being held near your accommodation.
*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Holiday Gems