Can’t Miss Summer Events in Portugal
To anyone planning a summer getaway in Portugal: get ready for some tough decision making. The entertainment scene absolutely thrives in July and August with dozens of summer events in Portugal.
The plethora of events transpiring in this country during summer months will make it super tough for you to decide where, exactly, you want to be — there are just so many amazing options. Whether you have a heart for music, a hunger for seafood, or a love for avant garde art, there is something for everyone in the sunny city of Lisbon. Here are some major events that should be on every itinerary:
MEO Sudoeste is one of the biggest music festivals in all of Europe. This lively five-day event has been around since 1997 and is best known for its eclectic lineup, featuring a huge range of genres: electronic, reggae, pop, indie, rock, rap, and some classic Portuguese fado. MEO Sudoeste takes place in Zambujeira do Mar, a coastal resort in Southern Portugal; it kicks off on August 1 and lasts through the 5th.
This year’s lineup is incredible: The Chainsmokers, Lil Wayne, Two Door Cinema Club, Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, Mac Miller, and tons of other amazing artists will be performing. Tickets are €48 for a single-day pass or €105 for a five-day pass.
Those who purchase the five day pass will also be eligible for nine free nights camping in Zambujeira do Mar, along with free shuttles to the lovely beaches surrounding the city. Clearly, this event is well worth the price — live music, beautiful camping grounds, and convenient access to beaches make MEO Sudoeste the ultimate triple threat.
Another high-energy music event is Brunch Electronik, which features two of everyone’s favorite things: brunch and electronic music. Well, electronic may be a bit of an acquired taste, but Brunch Electronik is such a memorable and acclaimed event that you should stop by even if electro isn’t really your thing.
Taking place every Sunday in August and September in Lisbon’s Tapada da Ajuda park, this outdoor event features a myriad of artists, a vibrant atmosphere, and tons of food and entertainment options. With tickets only costing €12, there’s no excuse to miss it. Not even brunch.
CCB Sun Set is the perfect venue for a picturesque, cinematic summer evening. With live music wafting through the fresh air of the Garden of Olives (“Jardim das Oliveiras”) in the Cultural Centre of Belém, the sky changing colors as the sun sets, and, of course, a bar, there’s no better place to laze around with some friends as the day comes to an end.
Sun Set is a free event and will continue throughout the rest of July until the end of August; if spending your evenings listening to live jazz in a garden sounds enticing, then the Sun Set is a can’t miss event for you.
CALLING ALL FOODIES: as you likely know, Portugal is famous for its seafood. The pinnacle of the country’s sea food success is showcased at the Olhão Seafood Festival, which attracts over 60,000 visitors annually. From August 10th to the 15th, renowned chefs take on the unique challenge of making an innovative seafood dish using only the locally-sourced ingredients.
Visitors get to sample the recipes while basking in the natural beauty of the lovely Fish Park (“Jardim Pescador”) in Olhanense, Olhão. In addition to the world-class seafood, live music will be performed every evening. Tickets cost either €6 or €9 depending on the day you attend, or you can buy a 5-day ticket for €36. Sounds like a pretty fair price for some authentic Portuguese cuisine!
If you’ve got an affinity for some good old-fashioned bullfighting, then the Green Cap Festival (“Festas do Barrete Verde”) is the event for you. This charismatic festival has been around for more than 70 years, and it draws in thousands of visitors from all over the world.
The city of Alcochete, known for its faith and hospitality, hosts the event, which features flamenco shows and popular music alongside the bullfighting. The festival runs from August 11th through the 13th and is free of charge.
Summer in Lisbon is the season of jazz. Every weekend from May until September, the Out Jazz Festival graces the city of Lisbon with free jazz concerts in iconic venues across the city. The location for the concerts throughout the month of September is the Jardim de Estrela, a beautiful public garden lined with exotic plants and trees.
The garden’s interior includes a duck pond, an old-fashioned gazebo, various sculptures, and a playground — frankly, the park is worth visiting whether or not you’re going there for the concerts (which are free, by the way).
If you’ve got an eye for outSANDing artwork but are bored of perusing traditional museums, you should consider attending the International Sand Sculptures Festival. This festival, located in the city of Pêra in Algarve (the southernmost region of Portugal), is celebrating its 15th birthday this year.
This year’s theme is “Seven Arts,” and there are over 80 sandy scenes depicting theatre, dance, music, cinema, comics, photography, television, literature, and more. For just €9, you’ll get to admire the sand sculptures made by incredibly talented artists who came from all over the world to participate in this festival.
40,000 tons of sand are brought in to construct these massive sculptures, which hit a maximum height of 12 meters (39 feet) — a literal sand city is constructed with this enormous quantity of sand.
While the sand sculptures are the festival’s highlight, at nighttime there are varied programmes of live music, theatre, dance, and circus arts. The festival is open all the way until October 31st, and it is definitely not one you want to miss!
The Festival of the Sea (“Festas do Mar”) is a symbolic, spirited event in Cascais that has been around since the 15th century. Processions are held throughout the event to bless the town, thank the surrounding seas for protecting fishermen, and pray for bountiful fish catches in the upcoming year.
Famous Portuguese artists perform, which is considered a huge honor, and loads of entertainment like fireworks and arts and crafts help make the event more exciting. The Festival of the Sea is FREE and lasts for ten days, from August 18 to 27. It would be an incredibly enlightening cultural experience to witness such a long-lasting Portuguese tradition alongside the locals.
Any excuse to drink wine is a good one, and the Madeira Wine Festival allows you to do just that — all the while learning about the traditions of the locals and really getting into the spirit of the harvest. Taking place from August 27th until September 10, this island-wide festival pays tribute to all those involved in wine production while simultaneously promoting Madeira Islands as a hotspot for tourists.
The festivities begin in the Funchal city center and include the European Folklore Week, ornamentations, exhibitions, actors, and art depicting Madeira wine production. Light music and traditional dances ensue, and the festivities are closed by a parade. For a free event in a small, surprisingly cultural, botanically phenomenal island, the Madeira Wine Festival is pretty amazing.
Read also: 12 Reasons to Travel to Lisbon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of NOMADX with his base in Lisbon, Portugal. Dave is a US pioneer in the digital marketing, advertising, and ad tech industries as a serial digital entrepreneur over the past 20+ years with multiple exits in the early formative stages of the search engine marketing, social media, and ad tech industries.