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Monday, June 25, 2018

3 Reasons to Visit Portugal | Summer Festivals


I've been lucky enough to visit Portugal in summer for the past 3 years. My husband's family have villas in the Algarve which I just love visiting. Located not too far from Faro, Vale do Lobo is a paradise filled with palm trees, white sands and your choice of restaurant for an evening bite and a cocktail. The one thing holding me back this year from attending is my house purchase! My husband keeps reminding me that holidays are temporary, houses are permanent! But the pull of the Portuguese sun is real and this sun we're having at the moment is making me really sad I'm not off work lounging by the pool.  To combat my sun lust, I'm already looking forward to next year's trip.. and here's why...

I've visited the hidden beaches, taken a tour of the caves, sampled the local food, explored rural towns and driven up the highway to Lisbon to explore the Sintra valley. If there's one thing I'm yet to experience in the Algarve, it's the festivals.

Every year there is a Sardine festival in Portimao, the Algarve's fishing capital. I'm really not a keen fish-eater (like, at all - I hate them!) but when I first went to Portimao I was amazed at the sheer volume of fish that goes through this fishing port. There's more than just fish on offer too, Portimao has a large array of markets, from clothes to delicious churros, but for many locals and tourists, they visit Portimao each year to attend the Sardine Festival. August is the perfect time of year for these small fish and at the festival, you can get them grilled to perfection over hot charcoal and served between two crusty pieces of traditional Portuguese bread. Each day you'll also find live music performed on the river front to really get you in the holiday spirit. The festival is open between 1st-5th August, it's a must-visit, even if you don't like fish!

If you're staying in a villa or have found a cheap all-inclusive package through travel sites such as HolidayGems, there's so much to see and do in Portugal! 

The next festival you must go to is the Festival Med which takes place at the end of June each year (I'm missing it!) in Loule, which is just around the corner from our villa. This three day festival features over 75 hours of live music across 9 stages. Aside from music, they've also got art exhibitions, dance performances and street theatre as well as cinema, poetry and children's activities to keep the whole family occupied. The idea of the festival is to bring together performance artists from countries around the mediterranean and also enable residents and tourists the chance to experience their culture and taste their traditional dishes in the many restaurants taking part.

The final festival I want to visit, a little further along the coast, the Lagos World Beer Festival is a great chance to sample different national and international beers and cider. Alongside sampling these beers, restaurants will also be serving roasted meat  - what's better than that?! Complete with live shows including folk groups, dance and fire performances, DJ sets and bands, it's not just a festival for beer lovers! This festival is also held over the last couple of days in June.

Whether beer is your thing, music or food, there's a festival for everyone and they happen all across the year (which I didn't know before!) so next time I'm there, I'm definitely going to research ahead and find out what's on.

I'm still waiting to find a festival in Portugal that is something I love, like a chocolate festival, or beauty, or something pretty like a hot air balloon festival. If you've been to anything like these, let me know in the comments, I need to find something to do next year! In the meantime, I'll keep looking at all my old holiday snaps and keeping an eye on flight prices. 

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