The month of August is the peak of the Portuguese summer. Many people vacation at this time of year to enjoy the paradisiacal beaches and great weather. However, it is also a month of celebration: many cultural events, fairs, festivities and festivals take place during this time of year, so there are plenty of possibilities and options for those who want to make the most of their summer. In this article we will give you a sneak peek of what's happening in Portugal in August, and give you tips on the festivities and events you can enjoy when visiting this pearl of a country at this time of year!
What happens in Portugal during the month of August?
Whether to get a suntan, dive in the crystalline waters, enjoy the terraces of the cafés, marvel at the natural surroundings, be with friends, attend parties, cultural events or festivities, or even travel, August is usually the favorite time for the Portuguese to enjoy the summer and take some time off. It is also at this time that many emigrants return home, as Portugal is indeed a great holiday destination. In addition to the great weather, there are also numerous cultural events, parties, fairs, festivals and popular festivities taking place in August. It is definitely a time of celebration, both for the Portuguese and, of course, for those visiting this fabulous country.
What events, festivals or festivities can I attend during the month of August?
In the summertime, there are festivities in Portugal known as “romarias”, which usually take place in August and are spread throughout the country. Both in the big cities and in the most remote villages, there is always some kind of event that brings the locals together and invites visitors to celebrate (the “romarias”, for example, or “pilgrimages”, are festivities in honor of saints). In this list that we present to you here, we will gather the events, fairs and even romarias, from the different Portuguese regions, which we believe are the most important and most fun for those visiting Portugal during this hot month.
Festival da Sardinha, Portimão
For five nights, the streets of Portimão are filled with a special scent that will make anyone's mouth water – the scent of traditional sardines. The sardine is a very popular fish in Portugal, especially around the summertime. The grilled sardine is one of the main food attractions at various festivities. At this festival, you can enjoy this fantastic delicacy, but also have fun while listening to great Portuguese music. During this event, you will be able to visit several restaurants and listen to local musicians, as well as nationally and even internationally renowned artists. Besides the delicious sardines, you can also taste some popular sweets of the Algarve and buy local handicrafts.
Festival do Frango, Guia, Albufeira
If you love a good chicken piri-piri dish, this festival is calling for you. In Guia, in Albufeira, the Festival do Frango (Chicken Festival) takes place in August, for four nights. The Guia chicken is quite famous throughout Portugal, as for many it is the best chicken you can eat! In this festival, which captivates all chicken lovers, locals and visitors come together to eat but also to enjoy themselves to the sound of Portuguese music. There are also stalls selling genuine products and beautiful handicraft items. It's a combination of aromas, flavors and sounds, that puts everyone in a good mood!
Festival do Marisco, Olhão
With a privileged view of the stunning Ria Formosa, the Festival do Marisco (Seafood Festival) in Olhão is a real treat for seafood lovers. Here you will have the opportunity to taste the best types of seafood in the Algarve region while dancing to some of the best Portuguese artists. This event located near the city of Faro takes place annually in August and is considered one of the most popular summer events on the Algarve coast. Shrimps, oysters, clams, lobsters, mussels, crab… You name it! It is worth taking the opportunity to explore other incredible places nearby, such as Tavira or Lagos.
Feira medieval de Silves
During the Medieval Fair of Silves, the historic center of the vibrant city goes back in time and, over ten days, recreates the times of kings, knights and castles. Lots of dance, music, poetry, entertainment, medieval delicacies, exhibitors, taverns and typical costumes make up this event that celebrates the medieval period. Enjoy the unique atmosphere and scenery and experience the city's heyday at first hand. Take the opportunity to explore the city and its monuments and visit other charming cities nearby, like Lagoa or Carvoeiro.
Feira Histórica de Serpa
The Alentejo town of Serpa hosts the Feira Histórica (Historical Fair) every August. This fair will most definitely take you back to the Middle Ages! For three days, the streets of this charming city house historical recreations, theater performances, fire shows, demonstrations, lots of music, dancing and excellent traditional food. Each edition has a different theme, and everyone dresses in the typical costumes of the time. Besides, the Alentejo is a very picturesque region, so you can always take the opportunity to visit other places, like Estremoz, Évora, Elvas or Monsaraz.
Festival do Crato
Good music, crafts and tasty cuisine. This is what you will find at Festival do Crato, an emblematic festival that takes place annually in August in the village of Crato, in Alto-Alentejo. Cherished by the Portuguese, especially the younger ones but also families, this festival presents excellent artists from the Portuguese musical panorama and great international names as well. It is an excellent opportunity to eat well, as the festival focuses on regional cuisine, and even discover traditional Portuguese arts and the most genuine handicrafts. Every year, the festival attracts thousands of people to this historic village. Indulge in the best traditional products and delicacies, buy beautiful handcrafted products and have fun with the most varied artists!
• Lisbon and central region
Jazz em Agosto, Lisbon
If you are a jazz enthusiast and have chosen the Portuguese capital to spend your holidays, be sure to attend this marvellous festival that takes place in August at the Gulbenkian Foundation. The program includes multiple contemporary jazz identities, both from Portugal and abroad. You will be able to visit the foundation's beautiful gardens, and enjoy the open-air concerts. Explore the picturesque and old neighborhoods of Lisbon and relax to the sound of jazz at this unique and different festival!
Festas do Mar, Cascais
By the sea, in the popular and lovely Cascais Bay, some of the best national artists step onto the stage of the Festas do Mar. These festivities in honor of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes, the protector of fishermen, take place during the month of August and for several days. Traditionally, there is a procession in honor of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes. The event consists of daily concerts that bring a relaxed and lively vibe to the natural amphitheater of Cascais, with a program that highlights Portuguese music. In addition to the concerts, you will see fireworks and stalls selling beautiful handicrafts.
Festa da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, Peniche
Every year in August, the sea is transformed into a spectacle of light at the Festa da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, in Peniche, the land of fishermen. Hundreds of fishermen light up their boats in honor of the patron saint of fishermen, making for a wonderful sight. It is the only nighttime maritime procession in Portugal! One of the highlights of this event is the Blessing of the Fleet, which consists of a mass next to the marina where the fishermen ask the saint for protection and better living conditions. During this meaningful and historical event, you can also enjoy delicious sardines and listen to music.
Mercado Medieval de Óbidos
Óbidos' famous medieval market is the perfect way to experience the glorious ancient times. It is the most popular festival in town and lasts for a few consecutive weekends, usually between July and August. On the cobblestone streets, you can see locals and visitors dressed as they did in the Middle Ages, smell the spice-filled foods being cooked by the fire, admire medieval decorations such as flags and banners, as well as theater and musical performances. The historic center is suddenly full of life and everyone gets together to eat traditional dishes, drink ginjinha and buy some beautiful handcrafted products or even clothes, accessories or pieces of art, sold in the various stalls. All this to the sound of medieval tunes.
Feira de São Mateus, Viseu
Did you know that this is one of the oldest fairs in the Iberian Peninsula? Every year, this popular fair feature the most current national and international artists, who provide the soundtrack to a festival steeped in history that undoubtedly puts Viseu on the map. There are hundreds of exhibitors and fairgrounds, who come to represent all sectors of activity, bringing a new life into the city. In addition to the shows and cultural moments, you will also find delicious cuisine, craft stalls and exhibitions. Enjoy the folklore, food and concerts and take the opportunity to visit the surrounding places, such as the Serra da Estrela Natural Park.
• Porto and North region
Viagem Medieval em Terra de Santa Maria
During this hot month, the city of Santa Maria da Feira, near Porto, returns to the Middle Ages and becomes a stage for another era. This medieval festival pleases kids and adults alike and takes place around the beautiful castle of Santa Maria da Feira and throughout the streets. Lasting for two weeks, the medieval festival has a program that includes concerts, shows, people in typical attire, interactive themed areas, taverns, processions and stalls, bringing the true medieval atmosphere to the north of Portugal. Have fun with this medieval recreation, which is one of the largest in Europe, and take the opportunity to explore the magnificent city of Porto, as well as other incredible places nearby, such as Aveiro, Braga or Guimarães.
Romaria de Nossa Senhora d’Agonia, Viana do Castelo
Considered by many to be the biggest “romaria” in Portugal, dating back to the 18th century, this festival in Viana do Castelo takes place over four days in August. The program is varied and includes processions in which people parade in the street with beautiful typical Portuguese customs, full of details, bringing memories of Portuguese traditions to the present day. This festival attracts thousands of visitors to this wonderful city, and includes a craft fair, fireworks and musical shows. The streets are decorated with flowered carpets and you can feel the tradition of religious devotion and listen to the accordions and drums.
Festas de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Lamego
In the wine region of Douro, more specifically in Lamego, you can enjoy another “romaria” that is an absolute delight. Attracting many visitors and Portuguese to the city's sanctuary, which is the stage for the festivities, the Festas de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios take place between the end of August and the beginning of September. You can marvel at the procession, where people parade bearing religious images, and enjoy cultural moments, such as concerts that bring renowned Portuguese artists to the stage, parades, fairs, fireworks and exhibitions. In addition, you can enjoy the mouthwatering gastronomy of the region and admire and buy beautiful handicraft items, while letting yourself be carried away by the magical atmosphere provided by the festive lighting in the main streets and avenues. Be sure to take the opportunity to visit the Douro region, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and well-known for its countless vineyards, wineries and estates, but also for its charming villages, breathtaking landscapes, amazing rock art and excellent gastronomy.
Festas Gualterianas, Guimarães
At this time of year, the city where Portugal was born is full of life and visitors who come together to be a part of the festive spirit and enjoy what this traditional event has to offer. The Gualterianas Festivities began to be celebrated in honor of Saint Gualter, patron saint of the festivities. Marches and processions, as well as fireworks, handicrafts, concerts, competitions, exhibitions, fado nights and popular music are part of the program of this century-old tradition. The streets are filled with lights and ornaments, and also with people who come from other parts of Portugal and the world to watch this show, which is considered one of the biggest festive attractions in the North region. Make sure you have the time to really explore this amazing city, full of history and gorgeous monuments!