Portugal – the perfect destination full of scenic landscapes, stunning architecture, and significant monuments of Portuguese culture and history. However, the country is also highly well-known for its entertainment! For shows, dances, and buzzing nightlife. Why not mix it all together and attend a carnival? We are here to soothe your curiosity and introduce you to the 3 most exciting carnivals in Portugal you should attend!
1. Torres Vedras Carnival
Extremely loved by the locals and tourists, Torres Vedras Carnival is highly proud of being the most Portuguese festival in the country! Set in the municipality of Torres Vedras, Lisbon district, the carnival is all about traditions and fun!
Get to know the country in its essence by learning about the traditional instruments and costumes. Then, groups of masked revelers will make you wonder if you had just stepped into a fairytale. Though the festival dates back to the 19th century, it was only in 1912 that the celebrations started taking place in the streets rather than in galleries and theaters.
You will see masterful shows, dance performances, arts and crafts, and the Portuguese having the time of their lives, celebrating their heritage with crowds and tourists.
Full of colorful, lively people of all ages and festivities that go on for several days in February, Torres Vedras Carnival is the most popular celebration in the country, so check the current schedule and try to attend. The energetic buzz you will feel after will be enough to fuel you for the rest of the trip!
2. Ovar Festival
Even more vibrant than Torres Vedras, the Ovar Festival is the trademark event of Ovar, a city in the Aveiro region. Way more modern than other carnivals, this one is a celebration of dance, music, and pleasure. It was highly impacted by several Brazilian Festivals, so you might see some similarities here!
Besides the several parades, concerts, and cultural shows, the most-anticipated part of Ovar is the parade of the Samba school. It has been so popular since 1983 that it is now an excellent festival tradition. Young, energetic, and geared-up Portuguese will amaze you with the zestful movements, fun costumes, and loud Mediterranean music.
Do not be shy, and try it out yourself! There will be plenty of laid-back people to ask for a dance, and you will feel like a part of the Portuguese community like never before.
Ovar Festival is a great deal of fun, and the fun does not subside for three weeks! How crazy is that? Actually, it is quite perfect for travelers because it gives you a lot of time slots to choose from so that you can spend at least a couple of days enjoying the festivities!
At some point, the carnival was called the “Dirty Carnival” when seeking more activities; the locals started the tradition of a “dirty battle.” When the plan is in motion, you can throw flour, eggs, dust, or soot. And do not be afraid to get a hit back – all of it is in good fun!
3. Loule Carnival
Deemed the largest city festival in south Portugal, Loule Carnival is another traditional feast of the country. While attending, you will get to see the most colorful parts of Portugal, the funniest locals and performers, and the loudest, most energetic music ever!
Perfect for cheering up, Loule Carnival has been in motion since the early 1900s, so it’s one of the oldest celebrations here. This one has taken a lot of inspiration from the Brazilian festivals as well, so you should also expect a lot of samba dancing, colorful costumes, and mind-blowing entertainment. And, every year, there is a new theme regarding clothing, music, theatrics, and decorations.
The great parades feature over 700 participants every year, approximately 20 floats, and up to 10 samba schools with top performers and professionals!
Back in the day, attendants had their fun by throwing flour, eggs, and rotten food at passers by; there was also some crime involved. However, nowadays, the celebration is entirely safe and way more civilized.
Now people simply gather together to revel in the Portuguese traditions or make fun of the most significant personas in the country. They do that by crafting impressive masks and posters. So, why not join in and joke along with them?
As you can see, the Portuguese can party like it’s nobody’s business! But it is more than partying, really. Behind all the fun caricatures and careless fashion, there is a great sense of tradition and history. So check your dates and make sure to attend the festivities yourself!