The Top Ten Festivals throughout the year in Portugal
Portugal has a festival to suit everyone all year round. Nearly every town has some sort of celebration from harvest and entertainment festivals to more stately processions! See the top 10 festivals throughout the year:
Easter Holy Week – March or April (Braga)
During the Holy Week, there are plenty of religious processions all around the country. The most unique is in Braga as the city is decorated with motifs and street alters are filled with flowers and lights. The Archbishop washes the feet of twelve people who represent the twelve apostles.
Obidos International Chocolate Festival – March or April
This quaint medieval town of Obidos, on the coast north of Lisbon, turns literally into a Willy Wonka wonderland with anything relating to chocolate including chocolate sculptures, chocolate competitions and even a chocolate house to keep the children entertained – so bring plenty of wipes!
Lisbon Fish & Flavours – April
Lisbon is well known as a foodie capital, so what better place to hold a gourmet seafood festival! You will enjoy beautiful dishes created from fish and seafood, in a relaxed atmosphere. You can also take part in the demonstrations of gourmet food and get to meet some of the region’s best restaurants and chefs. Live music and entertainment is provided.
Lisbon International Independent Film Festival – Late April
This festival lasts 11 days and highlights the very best of independent film from around Portugal and the globe. Lots of the films are in English and there are a good deal of features, documentaries and short films - that you definitely won’t see in the local Cinema!
Santo Cristo festival - April – May (Sao Miguel – Azores)
Five weeks after Easter Sunday, this splendid festival of the Azores is celebrated on the island of Sao Miguel. It attracts thousands of visitors from around the world to honour the Lord Holy Christ of the Miracles with flowers, dance, music and food during a six-day-long festival party.
Festa da Coca – End of May (Monção)
Well if you fancy a spot of dragon-slaying? – then visit this very unusual festival – which starts with a parade and procession to the local church and the Souto amphitheatre. Afterwards the knighted St. George battles Coca the dragon, which is in fact, a painted canvas pushed along on hidden wheels.
Festival de Sintra – May or June
Held in the mountain town of Sintra – you will experience classical music and dancing. Sintra was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its amazing Romantic-era architecture. This magical festival lasts two-weeks and has taken place here for more than 50 years and to this day is still going strong.
Porto’s Festa de São Joao – June
Porto has a double holiday on 23 and 24 June and this when the party starts with one of the biggest street parties in Europe dedicated to St. John. As the evening progresses, live music blares out from the loudspeakers—and people walk around and begin hitting anyone they fancy with plastic hammers and fresh leeks!
Festa dos Tabuleiro – July (Tomar)
The town attracts visitors from all around the globe for the massive Festa dos Tabuleiro every four years in July. There is a procession of girls in tall crowns of bread and flowers topped by a dove, symbolizing the patron of the celebration, the Holy Spirit.
Festa dos Rapazes Celtic Christmas – December (northern Trás-os-Montes region)
In Portugal’s northern Trás-os-Montes region, you see some very special Celtic influences; especially on December 25 and December 26, at the Festa dos Rapazes. The festal is essentially a two-day party to celebrate the winter you will enjoy dancing, music, masks costumes, and of course, amazing food.