Whether you like the beach or the mountains more, holidaying in Portugal also means a generous offer of summer events. Music festivals are a must, popular parties are unavoidable and some unique events place locations on the world map, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the globe annually for their celebrations' charisma. If some are of a religious nature, others are not, but almost all of them celebrate Portuguese traditions and knowledge, always with some flavor in the mix. Still don't know what to do in the summer? All About Portugal gives you 12 ideas.
São João in Porto
If you're going on holiday in Portugal, you can't miss the night of June 23: it's the longest and liveliest night in the city of Porto. There is lots of music, grilled sardines and thousands of people who spread out around Invicta, holding leeks and plastic hammer covering kilometers, from party to party, until – if their legs and energy allow – reaching the beach, with the sunrise! It is always an unforgettable night, with unexpected moments, lots of fun and the smell of summer.
Senhora da Agonia Festivities - Viana do Castelo
It is one of the most emblematic and grandiose popular festivities in Portugal and one of the most anticipated summer events in the region. For several days, Viana do Castelo receives thousands of people who attend the veneration of the Virgin of Agonia, patroness of local fishermen. With a program that extends over several days, where there is "concertinas" (musical instrument), fireworks, handicrafts and processions, one of its highlights is the Mordomia Parade. Here, hundreds of women wear beautiful traditional costumes and kilos (and kilos and kilos!) of gold on their chests, fulfilling all the details inherited from previous generations.
Feiras Novas - Ponte de Lima
It is a showcase of the region's culture and is also the oldest Minho pilgrimage in Portugal. With a date set in September, it takes place in the oldest village in the country: Ponte de Lima. The program includes, during the day, ethnographic and historical parades, but the nights are a spontaneous and popular open-air festival, where "concertina" music and "cantares ao desafio " (a kind of popular duel singing) can be heard on every corner. A festival of popular culture that attracts thousands of people every year and that closes the calendar of summer events with a golden key.
AgitÁgueda - Águeda
Confused about what to do in the summer? We leave you a tip: in July, and for about three weeks, Águeda becomes the most colorful city in Portugal, through street art. From garden benches to buildings or staircases, everything is available for a chromatic note. There is no shortage of street shows and music, but its ex-libris are the multicolored umbrellas that occupy one of the streets in the city center, and that put Águeda, and this event, on everyone's lips.
Caramulo Motorfestival - Caramulo
September is the month to see classic and sports vehicles on the roads of Serra do Caramulo. But you don't have to be an engine buff to attend the event, as it's so much more than a race. In addition to the National Mountain Championship / Caterham Trophy, you can have fun with the Luso-Caramulo Historic Rally, with the Viseu-Caramulo Historic Tour or with the concentrations of classic vehicles, where you can enjoy true four-wheel classics, worthy of the most amazing collections.
Several Music Festivals - Lisbon
Summer is also the high season for music lovers and Lisbon brings together, in just a few months, many music festivals with very eclectic and attractive line-ups. NOS Alive is one of the most anticipated and inaugurates the month of July, on the Passeio Marítimo de Algés, with iconic names loved by several generations; in the same month, pop and rock come together near Meco beach, with Super Bock Super Rock. In Cascais, jazz fans are entitled to a more intimate environment, to listen to some of the world's unavoidable genre names, during most of July. MEO Kalorama, which debuted at the end of August 2022, at Parque Da Bela Vista, is the latest to land in the capital and closes the festival season in Lisbon, in September.
Festa dos Tabuleiros - Tomar
Tomar, also known as the Templar city, is the stage for one of the oldest, most symbolic and unique summer events in the country: the Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays), which takes place every 4 years, with a date set for July 2023. Its highlight is the Cortejo dos Tabuleiros, where hundreds of girls dressed in white carry trays made with 30 loaves of bread on their heads, adorned with flowers, and parade through streets decorated with quilts hanging from the windows and thousands of colorful paper flowers.
International Classical Music Festival - Marvão
It is in a magical setting of a small Alentejo village, on the top of a remote mountain, that classical music fans gather every year at the Marvão International Music Festival. The silence of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, combined with a historic and century-old architecture, make this village the perfect stage for open-air classical music concerts, with a careful program and the participation of unique artists from all over the world.
Andanças - Monsaraz
If you don't know what to do in the summer, but you are sure that it has to include dancing, this is a must-go festival, since music is celebrated here, but to be danced. In this International Festival of Traditional Music and Dance, which takes place in the Portuguese inland, you can participate in music, dance, theater and handicraft workshops, which will lead you to discover the cultures and traditions of different countries, as well as nature and heritage surrounding the region.
Silves Medieval Fair
It is one of the most popular summer events in the Algarve and a trip back in time for many holidaymakers in Portugal. For a few days, Silves is invaded by characters from the past such as jugglers, knights, acrobats and snake charmers, in a historical recreation with Moors and Christians, where you can watch processions of nobles or war tournaments. Take a peek at the craftsmen's work and visit the merchants' stall.
Madeira Wine Festival - Madeira
Madeira wine is one of the island's most popular products and, also for this reason, an excellent excuse to organize a party in its honor. With a date set during the month of September, take the opportunity to be part of the harvest and all the traditions that involve grape picking, all over the island. There is also lots of music and color shows, everywhere.
Sea Week - Azores
It is one of the most important summer events on Faial Island, in the Azores. Among the several sports, there is swimming, diving, water polo, rowing, canoeing, jet-skiing, sport fishing, sailing regattas and whaling boats. On dry land there are concerts, exhibitions, handicraft and gastronomy fairs. This week dedicated to the sea and water sports ends on a high note, with the fireworks display over Horta Bay.