The view from Palmela Castle during the Palmela Medieval festival and fair

23 Best Medieval & Historic Events in Portugal in 2024

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Colourful banners flutter above cheering crowds as knights on horseback clash in a tournament for the ages. The air is thick with the scents of roasting meat and red wine, and music from another era fills your ears. Vendors hawk their wares from stalls while theatrical performers bring every corner to life, dressed as noble ladies, peasants and jesters. The atmosphere of a medieval fair in Portugal is nothing short of magical. 

I do love a good medieval market, fair or festival, so I’ve scoured the country to find the best medieval events in Portugal in 2024. I’ve also included a few historic battle reenactments, some from the medieval era and others from Napoleonic times just for good fun.

Take a step back in time into these pop-up worlds that engulf small Portuguese cities and towns with ancient hearts.  These are the best medieval events you can chase across Portugal in 2024.

Music lover? Check out this article with best music festivals in 2024. Culture vulture? Check out these traditional events.. Food is life? It sure is in Portugal.

The Portuguese medieval events are listed in date order, and most fall during the summer months. At the couple I’ve been to you can hire costumes for a small fee to add to the atmosphere. Super fun!

Medieval Fairs in 2024

Festa da História

When: 28-30 June 2024
Where: Trancoso, Serra da Estrela area
In late June in 1282 Portugal’s King D. Dinis and Queen D. Isabel de Aragão were married in the remote mountain town of Trancoso. The town celebrates the union with a medical festival, taking over the ancient streets and well-maintained castle. Highlights include the parade and the royal wedding.
More information to come

Related blog: A complete guide to the best festivals in Portugal in 2024

Os Piratas

When: 11-14 July 2024
Where: Leça da Palmeira, Matosinhos, west of Porto
Pirates in Portugal? You bet. A fortification thought to be about 1,000 years old was recently found off the coast, thought to have protected the people from Viking attacks and pirates. The Matosinhos area of Porto has been linked to fishing, shipbuilding and salt production since the 12th century. Step back in time with this pirate-themed festival with markets, falcons, taverns and more.
More information

Related Blog: Best food festivals and events in Portugal in 2024

1664 Battle of Castelo Rodrigo — Historical Recreation

When: 8-10 July 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
This battle was one of the most important of the War of Restoration of Independence, fought on 7 July 1664. The Portuguese fleet, commanded by Pedro Jacques de Magalhães, defeated Spanish forces in an important victory. Watch a recreation of the final battle in the village of Mata de Lobos, parades through the streets of Castelo Rodrigo, and shows with 17th-century music and dance.
More information to come

Batalha do Vimeiro 1808 — Historic Reenactment

When: 19-21 July 2024
Where: Vimeiro, Lourinhã
In 1808 the battle of Vimeiro unfolded on these lands. On one side Napoleon’s French army had around 13,000 men and 23 artillery, and on the other side the Anglo-Portuguese army had 19,000 men and 18 artillery, It’s said this confrontation put an end to the first French invasion of Portugal. Go back in time with a historical reenactment complete with period costumes, gunfire, drums and all the good stuff. There will also be a 19th-century market.
More information

Leiria Medieval 

When: 18-21 July 2024
Where: Leiria, halfway between Lisbon and Porto
Each edition of Leiria Medieval is dedicated to a theme, in 2023 it was all about the year 1496 and the theme: “Sob um Céu de Peixes” (Under a Pisces Sky or Sky of Fish!). The 2024 theme is yet to be announced, but as always you can expect a medieval market atmosphere with plenty of entertainment and fun.
More information

Mercado Medieval de Óbidos

When: 18-28 July 2024
Where: Óbidos,  one hour north of Lisbon
The medieval walled village of Óbidos blasts back in time for 11 days. Music, taverns and period costumes transport the charming whitewashed village to the Middle Ages. Expect a different theme each year with grand banquets, tournaments, fairs, judgments, poetry, theatre and so much colour, fire and light.
More information

Viagem Medieval

When: 31 July – 11 August 2024
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 and you can book costumes.
More information

Aljubarrota Medieval Fair

When: 10-15 August 2024
Where: Alcobaça, 90 minutes north of Lisbon
August 14, 1385, is the date Portuguese troops, under command of King João I, won over the Castilian army. This battle took place between the towns of Leiria and Alcobaça and is celebrated in Aljubarrota with a medieval fair. From fortune tellers to tournaments, find all the fun and theatrics of the medieval age. Of course, there’s a reenactment Battle of Aljubarrota on one of the days too. Free entry.
More information

Related Blog: Festa dos Tabuleiros: Tomar’s colourful Festival of Trays

Silves Medieval Fair

When: 9-17 August 2024
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.
More information

Festas dos Povos

When: Third weekend of August – 17-19 August 2024
Where: Chaves, northern border of Portugal
Each year the small city of Chaves transforms back into Aquae Flaviae, the name with which the Romans baptised the city. This festival brings three days of a Galician-Roman market loaded with delicious food, feasts, gladiator fights, wrestling games, mythological recreations, music, ballet, circus and fun. 
More information

Related Blog: Best music festivals in Portugal in 2024

Dias Medievais

When: 23-27 August 2024
Where: Castro Marim, east Algarve
This year is the 25th edition of one of Portugal’s best known medieval festivals, held mostly in the magnificent Castro Marim Castle. The fortification overlooks the surrounding town and salt fields. Expect top quality entertainment, battles, dancing, food and fun.
More information

20th Cerco de Almeida (Seige reenactment)

When: 30 August – 1 September 2024
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 late August with three days of battles, combat and military activities between the allied troops and Napoleon’s army. You’ll also find entertainment, workshops and a 19th-century ball.
More information to come

Terras Templárias 

When: Late September 2024 (dates TBC)
Where: Castelo Branco
This medieval fair takes Castelo Branco’s Templar Castle back to the Middle Ages. Expect a sword show, castle assault, Templar exhibition, medieval supper, artisan market and more.
More information

VIII Quinhentista de Aldeia Galega

When: 8-10 September 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Montijo, south of Lisbon
Tournaments, lively music, street theatre and medieval parades take over the streets of Montijo, south of Lisbon, for three special days. Travel back to the 16th century with this medieval fair that brings food, fun, poetry and plenty of wine to the streets for one big weekend.
More information

Muralhas Com História 

When: 15-17 September 2023 (2024 dates TBC)
Where: Sortelha, about three hours from Lisbon or Porto
Sortelha is one of Portugal’s great historic villages, so it would be a delight to see the ancient streets draped in medieval decoration and filled with jesters, dancing, jousting and merriment.
More information to come

Feira Medieval de Palmela

When: 27-29 September 2024
Where: Palmela, about 30-minutes south of Lisbon
In late September the walls of Palmela’s ancient castle transform into a roaring medieval fair. It’s the perfect setting for a market, entertainment and all the usual fanfare you might expect. I’ve been to this one, and there’s a parade that runs through the town, then a huge number of food and drink stalls, and a stage set up for jousting and more.
More information

Festival Al Mossassa

When: 4-6 October 2024
Where: Marvão, on the Spanish border
Venture back to the ninth century when Portugal was not yet Portugal, and the village of Marvão was founded by Ibn Maruan. During this time the Moorish people lived and ruled these lands. You can expect an animated fair with merchants, artisans, knights, musicians, dancers, acrobats, fire-breathers, snake charmers, falcons and circus performers.
More information

Mercado Medieval de Pero Escouche

When: 26-27 October 2024
Where: Castelo de Pirescouxe, on the Spanish border
Just north of Lisbon’s airport lies this ancient castle, in October a festival and medieval market will bring the walls to life with entertainment, taverns, and artisans.
More information to come

Medieval Fairs in 2025

Feira Medieval de Castelo Mendo

When: 6-7 April 2024 (dates for 2025 TBC)
Where: Castelo Mendo, about 2-hours east of Porto
This medieval fair in inland Portugal promises the smells, sounds and stories of the past will come alive with a real village atmosphere. Witness the mischief of the minstrels, the gallantry of the swordsmen and the beauty of the noble ladies while popping in and out of local taverns in this medieval town.
More information

Feira Medieval Ibéria d’Avis

When: 9-11 May 2025
Where: Avis, Alto Alentejo – about 2-hours east of Lisbon
For more than 20 years this medieval fair has fallen on the second weekend in May. Deep in the Alentejo, close to Portalegre, the small town of Avis steps back to medieval times for three days. Expect an immersive fair with costumes, traditional games, role playing, taverns, artisans and more. Everything is made better with local wine from the region! 
More information

Marialva Medieval

When: 10-12 May 2024 (dates for 2025 TBC)
Where: Marialva
I believe the tiny village and castle of Marialva itself is almost just a stone ruin, making the perfect stage drop for a medieval fair. Expect all the fanfare from music and markets to taverns and entertainment.
More information 

Feira Setecentista

When: 17-19 May 2024 (dates for 2025 TBC)
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.
More information 

Beja Romana

When: 26-28 May 2024 (dates for 2025 TBC)
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. 
More information

Feira Medieval Castelo de Montemor-o-Novo

When: 14-16 June 2024
Where: Montemor-o-Novo, one-hour south of Lisbon, west of Porto
The castle of Montemor-o-Novo will return to life with the first medieval festival in almost 20 years. For three days the Alentejo town will turn into a medieval fair as the beating of drums and sound of lutes set the scene where artisans, nobles and members of the clergy will mingle. The town is pulling out all stops, and you can expect theatrical performances, artisan demonstrations, knight tournaments, and traditional dances.
More information

Leave a comment if you’ve been to any of these festivals! I’d love to hear what they were like in person.

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Daniela Sunde-Brown

I'm an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics
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Headshot of Daniela Sunde-Brown in a tiled dress with a straw hat on

Olá, I'm Daniela

I’m an Australian travel and food writer who has called Lisbon home since 2018. To help others explore Portugal, I write deep stories about Portuguese traditions, regional dishes, local artisans, and sustainable fashion and ceramics 🙂

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