By Darren Griffiths

7 of the Best Festivals in Portugal

13th April 2024

Portugal is full of fun and colorful festivals all year round. From traditional music and dance to streets alive with parades and fireworks, these festivals really show what Portuguese culture is all about. Here’s a guide to some of the top festivals you shouldn’t miss in Portugal. 

But first, what is an eSIM and why should you use one while traveling?

Ever heard of eSIMs? They are digital SIMs that allow you to access data plans on your smartphone without the hassle of swapping physical SIM cards. With aloSIM, you can pick from regional or country-specific plans (available in over 170 countries) starting at just $4.50 a week. Simply download the app, choose your plan, and activate it. Grab a Portugal eSIM from aloSIM, and you’ll be ready to explore Portugal the moment you touch down—without the hassle of searching for Wi-Fi or facing steep roaming charges.

1. Carnaval

Portugal’s answer to Mardi Gras, Carnaval is celebrated across the country before Lent begins. While the Brazilian-influenced festivity in Madeira and the elaborate parades in the Algarve are well-known, for a truly local experience, head to Torres Vedras. Here, the celebration is famed for its satirical sculptures and the traditional groups of masked revelers known as “Matrafonas.”

2. Festa de São João

Held on the night of June 23rd, the Festa de São João is one of Portugal’s most fun-filled street festivals, particularly prominent in Porto. The city bursts into life with music, dancing, and barbecues. Don’t be surprised if you get hit on the head gently with a plastic hammer, a quirky tradition of the festival! The highlight is the spectacular firework display over the Douro River at midnight.

3. Festival Med

Loule’s Festival Med celebrates Mediterranean culture with a blend of music, dance, and food. Taking place in late June, this festival transforms the old town of Loule into a hub of creativity and culture, showcasing everything from traditional crafts to contemporary performances by international artists.

4. Festa dos Tabuleiros

Held every four years in Tomar, the Festa dos Tabuleiros features one of the most stunning spectacles in Portugal. Women carry tabuleiros on their heads, large trays decorated with bread and flowers, all towering up to 5 meters high. The procession through the city is a sight to behold, reflecting a tradition that spans centuries.

5. Festa de São Martinho

Celebrated across Portugal on November 11th, Festa de São Martinho honors St. Martin of Tours. Known for its “Magusto” tradition, locals gather to roast chestnuts and enjoy young wine. This festival is especially notable in the Douro Valley, where you can enjoy the scenic fall colors along with the festivities.

6. Vindimas

From late August to early October, the grape harvest takes place in the vineyards of Portugal, particularly in the Douro Valley and Alentejo regions. Many vineyards host their own festivals, or “vindimas,” where you can participate in the grape harvest, stomp grapes, and taste the vineyard’s wines. It’s a perfect way for wine enthusiasts to experience Portuguese culture firsthand.

7. Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Celebrating Christmas in Portugal is deeply rooted in family gatherings and religious traditions. However, the New Year is welcomed with open arms on Madeira Island with one of the world’s largest fireworks displays, recognized by the Guinness World Records. The combination of fireworks and the Madeira wine creates a memorable start to the year.

Using a Portugal eSIM while attending these festivals offers several advantages. You can share your experiences in real-time on social media, navigate unfamiliar areas with ease, and stay connected with friends and festival information without relying on potentially insecure public Wi-Fi networks. It’s also easy on your budget, so you can splurge on more festival fun instead of data charges and roaming fees.

Ready to dance, laugh, and soak up Portuguese culture at these fantastic festivals? Which one are you hitting up next? Let us know! 

Related Posts