Portugal knows how to throw a brilliant party, and in 2024 these will be the biggest and best festivals and events to attend. Each year cities, towns and villages across Portugal play host to traditional celebrations, food-focused events and huge music festivals.
From celebrations with sardines and world-class street theatre, to medieval fairs and international music stars, I’ve rounded up some of the top festivals and traditional events across Portugal worth attending in 2024.
Music lover? Check out this article with best music festivals in 2024. Medieval minstrel? Step this way. Food is life? It sure is in Portugal. I have included a few of the events in this festivals guide, but if you want to go deep, check out those articles.
MEO Pro Portugal
When: 6-16 March 2024
Where: Praia de Supertubos, Peniche, 70-minute drive north of Lisbon
Watch the world’s surfing elite battle it out at this top professional surfing competition. Part of the WSL – World Surf League Tour – this leg of the contest is held in Peniche at Praia de Supertubos, a beach famous for its large, tubular-shaped waves.
Lisbon Half Marathon
When: 10 March 2024
If you’ve always wanted to run across the iconic red 25 de Abril bridge, this is your chance. The Lisbon Half Maraton takes runners across the famous bridge, offering participates unique panoramic views over the city. Of course, to enjoy those views you have to complete the 21-kilometre race, starting at the toll booths, and ending in front of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém, or a shorter 7.2-kiloemtre course.
VI Festival Internacional de Balonismo (Hot Air Balloon Festival)
When: 21-24 March 2024
Where: Coruche, 70-minute drive from Lisbon
This hot air balloon festival in Coruche aims to raise awareness of the Montado territory, considered one of the 35 most important ecosystems in the world for the conservation of biodiversity (according to the WWF). Take a hot air balloon ride, watch the colourful balloons rise above the landscape, wander an artisan market, or enjoy street food, concerts and entertainment.
Pura Sede (Natural Wine Fair)
When: 23-24 March 2024
Each year this natural wine fair focuses on what nature provides, perfect for those with a thirst for purity. A ticket gains you access to a huge fair where you can taste wine directly from the producers themselves.
Talha à Mesa (Amphora Wine Festival)
When: 23-24 March 2024
Where: Vidigueira, Alentejo
This weekend is focused on talha wines – the huge clay amphora vessels that are still used to make some Alentejo wines. At the Adega Cooperativa de Vidigueira there will be a bar with only talha wines, invited chefs cooking up a feast, cooking demonstrations, entertainment and a masterclass. Book tickets for the various events ahead of time.
Millennium Estoril Open
When: 30 March – 7 April 2024
Where: Estoril, 30-minute drive west of Lisbon
The Estoril Open is Portugal’s biggest international tennistournament, and it takes place at the Tennis Club of Estorial, a short distance from Lisbon. It’s the only Portuguese tournament on the ATP circuit and bring big-names to the city.
XIII Grande Mostra Vinhos de Portugal (Portuguese Wine Show)
When: 12-14 April 2024
Where: Albufeira, Algarve coast
This huge wine fair will take over the Espaço Multiusos de Albufeira, bringing more than 100 exhibitors to the space. That makes the 13th edition one of Portugal’s largest wine shows, with more than 9,000 people expected. It’s put on by the Confraria do Bacchus de Albufeira with doors open from 3pm each day.
Ovar em Jazz
When: 17-20 April 2024
Where: Ovar, south of Porto
Learn, experiment, celebrate and listen to jazz for four days this April with concerts, improv workshops, conversations and more in this eclectic program.
Feira de São Marcos
When: 24-28 April 2024
Where: Alter Do Chão, Alto Alentejo
Combining traditions with modern Portuguese culture, this local fair brings horses, handicrafts, regional products and agriculture into the spotlight. There are also concerts featuring big Portuguese names in music, like Os Quatro e Meia.
When: 30 April – 5 May 2024
Where: Beja, lower Alentejo
Agriculture is the focus at the 40th edition of this fair that attracts more than 150,000 people each year and features more than 1,000 exhibitors. Explore themed pavilions, admire livestock and tractors, learn about rural life and enjoy big concerts.
Festa das Cruzes
When: 30 April – 5 May 2024
Where: Barcelos, north of Porto
Expect a feast of colour, culture and Christ at the “Feast of the Crosses” in Barcelos. North of Porto, this festival is considered the first great romaria (basically a big outdoor party) of the northern Minho region and dates back to the 16th century. It’s linked to a legend: apparently in 1504 local shoemaker João Pires was returning from mass when he saw a black cross in the middle of Campo da Feira. While it still has religious roots, there is also traditional folk performances, carpets made of petals, concerts and a procession. It’s a party!
Madeira Festival of Flowers
When: 2-24 May 2024
Where: Funchal, Madeira Island
The best spring festival in Portugal isn’t on the mainland at all. The annual flower festival brings three weeks of celebrations to the island of Madeira, with the city of Funchal at the heart of all. Expect exuberant parades, old car shows, folk dance performances, a rare orchard house, pop-up markets and more.
When: 17-19 May 2024
Where: Vila Real de Santo Antonio, eastern Algarve
Go back in time to 18th-century life to mark the founding of the Algarve town of Vila Real de Santo António. Expect markets, banquets, parades, shows and historical recreations true to the years 1774-1776. The program ends with a grand masquerade ball in honour of D. José I, including a lesson in etiquette and dance. Free entry.
Read next: Where to stop between Lisbon and Lagos
Queima das Fitas – Burning of the Ribbons
When: 24-31 May 2024
Coimbra, Portugal’s ancient university city, throws a massive party each May for its new graduates. Old students also descend on the city for reunions and it’s a spectacle of parades, dances and serenades to celebrate the end of the academic year. It starts with a traditional serenade in front of the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), then rolls into a week of madness, cultural events and hangovers. The most important event to attend is the burning of the ribbons in Largo da Feira.
Imaginarius – International Street Theatre Festival
When: 23-26 May 2024
Where: Santa Maria da Feira, between Porto and Aveiro
Circus, theatre and music descend when Imaginarius arrives each May. Portugal’s largest street arts event attracts cabaret, theatre and comedy troupes from across Europe and the world to this Portuguese town. Best of all, it’s free.
When: 26-28 May 2024
Where: Beja, lower Alentejo
Step back 2,000 years to when Beja was Pax Iulia, thought to be the most important city in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Back then the city had not quite shaken off the Iron Age but was fast progressing. Learn about Portugal’s Roman heritage while enjoying street entertainment, music, markets and fun.
IX Cruzeiro Religioso e Cultural do Tejo
When: May/June 2024
Where: Rosmaninhal to Oeiras, along the Tejo River
Over a month this religious pilgrimage makes its way down the Tejo River, from the Spanish border town of Santiago de Alcántara to Oeiras (just west of Lisbon). This is a journey of almost 300 km, and makes many stops along the way.
Primavera Sound Music Festival
When: 6-8 June 2024
Where: Parque da Cidade, Porto
This major music festival takes over Porto each June, bringing a killer line-up of national and international artists to multiple stages within the Parque da Cidade (City Park). The year 2023 brought Kendrick Lamar, Pet Shop Boys, Rosalia, FKA Twigs and more to Portugal.
Good to know: As one of Porto’s biggest summer festivals, you want to plan ahead. If you need accommodation, book early. This music festival is held near the coast, so it would be better to stay in Matosinhos or Foz do Douro than the city centre (if you can).
Rock in Rio 2024
When: 15-16 & 22-23 June 2024
Where: Passeio do Tejo, Lisbon
Originally from Brazil, Rock in Rio is the largest music festival in the world – and for the past 20 years it’s held an edition in Lisbon every two years. It returns in 2024 with two weekends and a stellar lineup, with Ed Sheeran, Dojo Cat, Camila Cabello, Scorpions, and Evanescence on the bill.
O Tapete Está na Rua
When: 7-11 June 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Arraiolos, 80-minute drive from Lisbon
Arraiolos is a village in the Alentejo that’s famous for its beautiful carpets or rugs. “The Rug is on the Street” brings the artisans and their work out from behind closed doors, transforming the town into a gallery. Expect to see many examples of the local tapestry spread across the streets and squares, and hung on doors, windows and balconies with women working away. Naturally, there will also be concerts in the evening and plenty of food.
When: June 12, but really all of June
Where: Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods
Every June the smell of sardines and sound of pimba music ricochets through the narrow cobbled streets of the city’s most traditional neighbourhoods during a month-long party. The Santos Populares Festival, sometimes called the Festival of Sardines, peaks with the so-called longest night of the year in Lisbon on June 12. That night we celebrate Santo António with an all-night street party – think drinking, dancing and grilled sardines. I’ve written a guide covering everything you need to know if you find yourself in Lisbon in June during the Santos Populares or Santo António Festival.
More information – read my guide to Santos in Lisbon
When: June, TBC
Where: Praça do Comercio in Lisbon
Since 1997 the Arraial Pride has been Portugal’s largest LGBTI+ community and gay pride event – more than 75,000 attended in 2019! June is already a party in Lisbon, and the Arraial Pride steps it up another notch with even more music, food, drink and dancing towards the end of June. The date for 2024 is still TBC, but it’s usually held in the main square, Praça do Comercio.
Festa de São João
When: June 23 every year
For more than 600 years the people of Porto have been celebrating the “Feast of Saint John” on June 23 and 24. Similar to Lisbon’s celebration of St Anthony, in Porto expect a massive street party with traditional music, drinking, dancing and grilled sardines. But Porto’s festivities have a few differences. People walk around hitting each other on the head with plastic hammers (originally leeks), they jump over bonfires, release lanterns into the sky, and there’s a fireworks show at midnight. But the party doesn’t stop there – they go until the sun comes up, with some even walking some 6km Ribeira to Foz do Douro to watch the sunrise from the beach.
Porto isn’t the only place to celebrate São João – the nearby city of Braga also parties on.
When: 28, 29 & 30 June 2024
Where: Jardim Keil do Amaral, Monsanto, Lisboa
LISB-ON falls somewhere between chill-out and techno, with a touch of disco, house, jazz, soul, funk, and electronic pop too. Bringing DJs and concerts to Lisbon’s largest park, the urban festival “brings the party into the daylight” with a focus on diversity and quality sounds from national and international artists.
Festa do Colete Encarnado
When: 30 June – 2 July (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Vila Franca de Xira, north of Lisbon
About 20 minutes north of Lisbon, the biggest event in Vila Franca de Xira feels a world away from city life. Festa do Colete Encarnado (or Festival of the Red Waistcoat) is a three-day festival that takes its name from the traditional red waistcoats worn by campinos or cowboys/bull fighters. Day one features a parade celebrating the campino, then the bulls are let loose on the streets and silly young men try to avoid the carnage – there have been casualties in the past.
Festas Populares São Pedro, Montijo
When: 27 June – 3 July 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Montijo, south of Lisbon
Eat, drink and be merry late into the night is the vibe of Portugal’s popular saints festivals – and the same happens in Montijo. Here the streets are decorated with balloons, flowers and basil with a number of events during the festivities. On June 29 there’s a religious procession on the river with decorated fishing boats, and another at night.
EDP Cool Jazz
When: 1-31 July 2024
Where: Cascais, west of Lisbon
Summer nights in gorgeous gardens with the sweet, sweet sound of jazz – that’s Cool Jazz. This festival brings big name artists, contemporary singers and instrumentalists to open-air venues in Cascais. You can already buy 2024 tickets for concerts with Diana Krall, Fat Freddy’s Drop, and Jamie Cullum.
When: 27-30 June 2024
Where: Loulé, Algarve
This world music festival takes over the historic centre of Loulé, bringing the sound and vibe of several countries to Portugal. Expect well-known world music names plus street theatre, artisan markets, dance and an international street food market.
When: 11-13 July 2024
Where: Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Lisbon
NOS Alive always brings a brilliant and varied line-up to Lisbon, and artists have been announced for 2024 – Dua Lipa, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nothing But Thieves, Pearl Jam, Sum 41, Michel Kiwanuka, T-Rex, and many more. I find NOS Alive is always super well organised and great to attend (Ladies, I’m talking next to no bathroom queues at a really, really big summer music festival. Awesome).
Good to know: You can easily stay in Lisbon and take a short train, tram or taxi to the festival grounds on the riverbank west of the city. To be closer to the action, stay in Alges – but know that the music doesn’t really start until 5pm.
Festival dos Canais
When: 12-16 July 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Aveiro, one-hour south of Porto
In 2022, this festival welcomed about 400 artists from 16 countries to 25 locations across Aveiro. This community and culture event will return for five days this July, bringing the coastal university city to life.
Super Bock Super Rock
When: 18-20 July 2024
Where: Meco Beach, south of Lisbon
In 2024, Italian rock band Måneskin are headlining along with Royal Blood, with more to be announced. In 2023 we saw 1975, Franz Ferdinand, Steve Lacy and more descend on Meco, south of Lisbon and close to the beach. Choose to camp or take direct transport to Lisbon and enjoy this major Portuguese music festival. Super Bock Super Rock always delivers a brilliant international line-up and is one of the best music festivals in Portugal.
Feira de Sant’Iago
When: 21 July – 6 August 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Parque Sant’Iago, Setúbal, 45 minutes south of Lisbon
Apparently the annual fair in Setúbal has been held for more than 400 years and attracts some 400,000 people each edition, making it one of the largest feiras or fairgrounds in the country. Expect a line-up of concerts, street entertainment, artisan markets, food stalls, and plenty of fun.
When: 13-14 July 2024
Where: Praia do Relógio, na Figueira da Foz
This is Portugal’s biggest beach festival dedicated to Brazilian music and culture. Back for a second year in 2024, this festivals will bring the best vibes to this side of the Atlantic. Expect to dance with your feet in the sand, celebrating people, music, cultural diversity and inclusion of everyone, regardless of age, gender or origin. “A festival with open arms to the world, where the vibe is pure joy and harmony.”
When: 2-13 August 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Santa Maria da Feira, between Porto and Aveiro
Viagem Medieval (Medieval Journey) is Europe’s largest medieval recreation event, held annually in Santa Maria da Feira. More than 1,600 performers bring the Middle Ages to life over 12 days of festivities. Each year has a different theme and tells a new story of Portugal’s history. There is a small entry fee, plus you can book costumes.
More Medieval Fun? Best medieval and historic events in Portugal in 2023
When: first weekend of August, 2-4 August 2024
Where: Guimarães, north of Porto
This grand fair in celebration of São Gualter (St. Walter) has taken place in the “birthplace of Portugal” since 1906. The most unusual event on the line-up of parades, markets, dancing, music and entertainment is the “Battle of Flowers”.
Meo Monte Verde
When: 9-11 August 2024
Where: Praia do Monte Verde, Ribeira Grande, São Miguel Island, Açores
This music festival is bringing its 10th edition to the idyllic Azorean island of São Miguel in 2024. With the line-up still to come, I’ll let you know 2023 featured Steve Aoki, Delfins, Hybrid Theory, Lukas Graham, Rui Veloso, T-Rex and more.
Romaria de Nossa Senhora da Agonia
When: 14-22 August 2024
Where: Viana do Castelo, north of Porto
If you’re a fan of filigree jewellery, fishermen and feasts don’t miss the biggest event of the year in Viana do Castelo. There are stacks of events, parades, concerts and celebrations to choose from with everything focused around August 20, a religious day. In 2023 I’m planning to venture up on the Thursday to catch the Mordomia Parade where thousands of local women wear beautiful folklore costumes (trajes) and march down the streets with huge quantities of gold around their necks. These are mostly heirlooms dating back centuries, but together it makes the largest outdoor showcase of gold in the world.
Silves Medieval Fair
When: 10-20 August 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Silves, west Algarve
Step back into the Middle Ages with this medieval fair that returns Silves to its golden age. Over nine days see how the Moors and Christians lived in this old city, once the capital of the Algarve during the Arab occupation. We attended pre-pandemic and I was so impressed by the dedication to detail – no plastic cups or plates, all locally made terracotta ceramics – plus there was loads of entertainment including jousting, jugglers, acrobats, dancers and snake charmers.
Cerco de Almeida (Seige reenactment)
When: 25-27 August 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Almeida, near Serra da Estrela
Located on the border with Spain, Almeida is an ancient fortified town with a long history. Venture back to 1810 during the third French invasion and the Siege of Almeida (Cerco de Almeida). This historical recreation takes place each August with three days of battles, combat and military activities between the Allied Troops and Napoleon’s Army. Plus expect entertainment, workshops and a 19th-century ball.
When: 29-31 August 2024
Where: Parque da Bela Vista, Lisbon
In 2024, LCD Soundsystem, Massive Attack, Sam Smith, Jungle, Peggy Gou, and many more are on the line-up for this major three-day festival in Lisbon, taking place at a massive park within the city limits.
Good to know: This festival happens in the heart of Lisbon, so you can book accommodation in the city.
Chefs on Fire
When: 20-22 September 2024
Where: FIARTIL, Estoril, about 30 minutes west from Lisbon
Chefs on Fire is the jewel in the crown of Portugal’s food festivals. Set in a beautiful park, beneath towering pine trees, some of Portugal’s most highly regarded and Michelin-starred chefs cook up a feast using only fire. Each day chefs and food changes, along with a line-up of great bands and musicians too. Unmissable.
Related blog: Best food festivals and events in Portugal in 2024
Feira de São Mateus – Viseu
When: 10 August – 21 September 2023 (2024 to come)
In 2024 it will be the 632nd edition of Viseu’s main festival. Yes, the 632nd annual fair! Wild. This year the feira features 43 days packed with big concerts, delicious food, carnival rides and folk culture.
Feira de São Mateus – Elvas
When: 20 September – 1 October 2023 (2024 dates to come)
Where: Parque da Piedade, Elvas
When festivals have a religious core, more than one town celebrates. Elvas, an Alentejo town on the border with Spain, hosts a grand feira with music, markets and more. The largest in the Alentejo region, this fairground attracts around 200,000 people annually.
Terras da Transumância
When: Various dates between June – September 2024
Where: Castro Daira, Fundão, Gouveia & Seia – four mountain towns near Serra da Estrela
This series of events celebrates the seasonal pastoral traditions and heritage of these four towns. Essentially shepherds move their flocks to the higher pastures in summer, then back to the valleys for winter. This is a big deal and a big celebration with sheep and goats dressed up. You will need to dive into the details, but on some days you can follow the herd to the sound of marching drums and cowbells. On others expect workshops, markets, food and even bonfires.
Feira de Santa Iria
When: Mid-late October 2023 (2024 TBC)
Where: Faro, central Algarve
In the Algarve, the city of Faro celebrates St Irene every October with a brilliant fair. It’s thought to have been around since 1596 and the fun lasts nine days with a spectacle of food, artisan crafts and fairground rides.
Festival Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomic Festival)
When: 25 October – 3 November 2024
The smaller city of Santarém tries to represent all of Portugal’s rich regional cuisines in one big showcase. Held for more than 40 years, you’ll find a bit of everything at this food festival, with cuisine from the north to south to the islands of Azores and Madeira. Expect food stalls, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and more, plus confrarias from across Portugal.
Feira Nacional do Cavalo Golegã (National Horse Fair)
When: Early November 2024
Where: Golegã, north of Lisbon
Each November the Feira de São Martinho (or the Feira Nacional do Cavalo slash National Horse Fair) brings bullfighting, horse parades and traditional fun to the town of Golegã. Located in the Ribatejo north of Lisbon, the town is known as the horse capital of Portugal and is famous for the renowned Lusitano breed. Each year around Saint Martin’s Day (11 November) people descend on the town for fun, food and wine (and to buy horses).
Festival Internacional Balões de Ar Quente (Hot Air Balloon Festival)
When: Early November 2024
Where: Alentejo town, east of Lisbon
A spectacle of hot air balloons takes over about eight towns each November for this nine-day festival. Beyond being visually magical to see all the balloons go up, the Festival Internacional Balões de Ar Quente (FIBAQ) usually offers free mini flights (with a charity donation) and attracts balloons from Portugal, Spain, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and more.
São Martinho or Magusto
When: 11 November 2024
Speaking of Saint Martin (or São Martinho), November 11 is a favourite day to celebrate in Portugal. Saint Martin was a Roman soldier who cut his cloak in half to share with a cold beggar. Afterwards the sun came out – and it’s why warm winter days in early November are called Saint Martin’s Summer. This time of year the Portuguese enjoy Magusto, a celebration that involves bonfires, wine and chestnuts, especially in the Trás-os-Montes and Beira Baixa areas.
When: 9-10 November 2024
Where: Hard Club, Porto
One of Europe’s top underground music, art and culture festivals, this might be the final call for this independent event – so don’t miss it. It’s put on by a Portuguese music promotor, Amplificasom, who will be pouring their heart and soul into the 10th edition of this festival.
Super Bock em Stock
When: 24 & 25 November 2023 (2024 TBC)
This is one of my favourite alternative music festivals in Lisbon. Over two nights around 50 artists perform at a dozen venues scattered across Avenida da Liberdade. You get a wristband and then bounce between theatres, cinemas, music rooms and pop-up venues to catch sets from up-and-coming local and international artists. Brilliant couple of nights out.
Vinhos de Altitude, Serra de São Mamede
When: 1-2 December 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Portalegre, 2.5 hours east of Lisbon
A wine fair in a huge church? Naturally. Vinhos de Altitude celebrates winemaking in the higher Alentejo region, specifically in the Serra de São Mamede park on the border with Spain. Taste your way through a dozen or so producers in the Convent of São Francisco.
More information to come
Óbidos Vila Natal
When: 30 November – 31 December 2024
Where: Óbidos, 1 hour north of Lisbon
Óbidos, a small medieval walled village north of Lisbon, loves to throw big festivals and events throughout the year. At Christmas it turns the charming cobblestone streets into a world of light, colour and fantasy. Step through the village walls to find Christmas-themed attractions and amusements, from performances and games to an ice rink.
Christmas & New Year’s Eve in Lisbon
When: 1 December 2024 until 6 January 2025
The Portuguese capital is alive with Christmas spirit. The main Christmas tree and lights of downtown were lit up on December 6, and you can find Christmas markets scattered throughout the city along with concerts, ballet and other Christmas events. In Parque Eduardo VII there’ Wonderland, a huge festive takeover with an ice rink.
For New Year’s Eve, the main party is in Praça do Comércio where free concerts with famous Portuguese musicians start at 10pm. There’s a huge fireworks display at midnight, and a 12 bell countdown.
Christmas & New Year’s Eve in Porto
When: 1 December 2024 until 6 January 2025
If you’re in Porto at Christmastime, expect to find plenty of festive fun. There’s ice rinks, music concerts, light shows and markets popping up across the city.
For New Year’s Eve in Porto, most people will go to Baixa do Porto (Porto downtown) to watch the fireworks.
Christmas & New Year’s Eve on Madeira
When: 1 December 2024 until 7 January 2025
Where: Funchal, Madeira Island
Madeira takes events very seriously, so unsurprisingly the island capital Funchal is the centre of an extensive Christmas programme with cultural, ethnographic and artistic events. The city is lit with thousands of lights snaking up the steep streets.
Then for the New Year, a massive 10-minute fireworks display lights up the skies above Funchal. Given its location closer to Africa, Madeira is a warmer escape in the depths of winter too.
Reino de Natal – Sintra
When: 1 -30 December 2024
Where: Sintra, Greater Lisbon
Sintra always has a magic feeling in the air, with its history of kings and queens and palaces, and a microclimate that often leaves it shouded in mist. This Christmas you’ll find a program of concerts and markets and festive theming.
Penamacor – Vila Madeiro
When: 7-25 December 2023 (2024 TBC)
Where: Penamacor, 3-hour drive from Lisbon
This small and remote inland village celebrates Christmas with a market, regional food and sweets, Christmas lighting, music and the largest bonfire in Portugal. The highlight is this big bonfire in the Matriz churchyard, which is lit at the stroke of midnight on December 23.
More Medieval Fun? Best medieval and historic events in Portugal in 2024
Festa das Fogaceiras
When: 20 January
Where: Santa Maria da Feira, between Porto and Aveiro
A vow made five centuries ago to São Sebastião (Saint Sebastian) to rid the region of plague continues on January 20 each year. Apparently for four years the tradition stopped and the plague returned – so the locals continue this ancient tradition. Children dressed entirely in white with coloured belts carry a cake/loaf of bread on their head, crowned with paper cut in castle shapes, in a procession. There is also a mass, and the modern version has concerts and cultural events all January long.
XXXIII Feira do Fumeiro (Smoked Sausage Festival)
When: 18-21 January 2024
Where: Montealegre, on the northern border with Spain
The Portuguese take few things more seriously than a good sausage fest. The 33rd edition of this food festival takes place in Montealegre, a small border city deep in the north. Smoked sausages – chouriços, morcela (blood sausage), alheira (smoked bird) – and good ham are a few things I associate with the far north of Portugal. If you can make it, you won’t be disappointed.
When: 10-13 February 2024
Where: Across Portugal
Carnaval is celebrated with bright and colourful parades all over Portugal, from the north to the south. Most locals tend to gravitate towards the Rio-style carnivals and celebrations that are all spandex and sequins, but there are rich carnaval traditions in Portugal that go back to pagan roots. I prefer to chase the strange, quirky pagan carnivals across Portugal. The best falls in the village of Podence where caretos channel the devil in the name of spring fertility. You could also try Lamego or the Xiste Villages. For modern carnivals with floats, feathers and a touch of Disney, look up Torres Vedras, Sesimbra, Ovar, and Loulé to name a few.
Feira do Fumeiro de Vinhais (Smoked Meats Fair)
When: 8-11 February 2024
Where: Vinhais, Trás-os-Montes – two hours east of Porto
Vinhais is a tiny town in the far north-east of Portugal. Having tried the smoked chorizos and meats from Trás-os-Montes, I won’t argue with their self-declared title as the “capital of smoked meats”. They just do it better up there! Expect to find a fair with a huge range of artisanal charcuterie, cold cuts and smoked sausages.
Feira do Queijo Serra da Estrela – Seia (Cheese Fair)
When: 16-18 February 2024
Where: Seia, Serra de Estrela Mountain
Love cheese? So do the Portuguese. Search “Feira do Queijo” in Google and you’ll find dozens of cheese fairs popping up across the country, usually in the cooler months. One of Portugal’s most famous cheeses is the gooey, pungent and buttery Serra da Estrela cheese. As you’d expect, this food festival in Portugal will be full of them.
Portugal has so many cool events that showcase the country’s vibrant culture, music and food. Have I missed something worth talking about? Let me know in the comments….