Festivals and Events of Portugal
Like many other European countries Portugal was trapped in dictatorship for a period of time of its history. During that period people’s lives were miserable and contained. Portuguese were not able to speak freely about their believes, their thoughts and their passions. It is believed that the principles Deus, Pátria e Familia – God, Nation and Family – used by dictator Salazar was an undeniable connection to the so-called “3 F’s”: Fátima (God), Futebol (Nation) and Fado (family). A people concentrated on these ideologies shall stay happy but essentially shut. Gladly these day are gone and Portugal has grown to a strong nation culturally as well as socially. Nevertheless, it has maintained the most ancient and charming traditions. These are the best festivals and events throughout the year!
New Year’s Eve in Madeira
According to Guinness World Records Madeira features the greatest fireworks in the world and is therefore considered the best place to celebrate the beginning of a brand new year! A massive curtain of fireworks is displayed along the island bay accompanied by synchronized music, vibrant atmosphere and a mild Atlantic climate.
St Anthony’s Festivities in Lisbon
Lisbon is the place to be in June! Throughout the whole month the city becomes a massive open air party place. However, during the main festivities of St Anthony’s day from 12 to 13 June and the city literally does not stop partying. Celebrating its patron St Anthony, Lisboetas invade the streets to parade, sing, dance and of course eat sardines or bifanas. The best neighborhoods to have an authentic experience are Graça, Alfama, Mouraria and Bica.
St John’s Festivities in Porto
In the end of June, when the festivities in Lisbon start to calm down, Porto begins the celebration of its patron St John. Considered one of the best and largest street festivals in Europe, everybody comes to the streets on 23 June to party, eat and celebrate. A funny old tradition consists of banging on people’s heads with massive plastic hammers and fresh leeks.
In general, it is possible to find smaller festivals or events all over the country, especially during spring and summer season. Medieval, food, culture, industrial and social fairs happen in almost every municipality. Music festivals such as Rock in Rio, Meo Sudoeste, NOS Alive, Paredes de Coura have become yearly events that bring masses to streets or parks in order to celebrate life, music, friendship and happiness.
Typical Portuguese: The Identity Card
Where is it? Westernmost part of Europe
Humberto Delgado Airport – Lisbon; Aeroporto Francisco Sá Carneiro – Porto; Faro Airport), by train (Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses), by bus (several companies offer international services, e.g. ALSA; Eurolines, Flixbus; Eva bus), by car (private or car sharing on BlaBlaCar)How to get there? By plane (
How to go around? By car, train or bus
What is it famous for? Food and wine, tiled houses, people, beaches and landscapes, Fado.
What is good to know? It’s a perfect tourist destination: very safe, locals speak good English and there is plenty of food options.
A funny Fact?
- There was once a young Portuguese king that left to a battle in the North of Africa and has never returned. The legend says that D. Sebastião will return one day in a foggy morning to protect its people. Portuguese still believe and wait for his return.
- Bacalhau (Cod) plays a big part in Portuguese cuisine and no nation has more dishes with this type of fish. Funny enough none of this is caught in Portugal but rather imported from colder countries.
- Portugal is one of the biggest nations in the world when counting water grounds. A recent study has revealed that 97% of Portugal is actually water.