If you are lucky enough to already live somewhere as beautiful and lively as Portugal, then you should know just how much the country has to offer in the summer months. If you have flown the nest of the British Isles and relocated to sunnier climes, after the initial buzz of starting a new adventure has worn off, it’s time to shake things up again. For those living in Portugal after a recent move, immersing yourself into a few Portuguese traditions will help you to feel at home.
It's is easy to become complacent about your day-to-day life but take a moment to remember why you moved (or want to move) to Portugal. Back home in Blighty the ‘staycation’ trend, holidaying in your own country, is in full swing, so why not treat yourself to a little staycation of your own? It’s likely that the weather will be much better for it where you are.
This article will give you a little taste of what’s on this summer and inspire you to make the most of living in Portugal, which is such a vibrant country.
Saint Day festivities
There are many local events tied to the church calendar all year round in Portugal that range from the sombre to the raucous, and you certainly don’t have to be a churchgoer to enjoy the spectacle or join in with the party.
Some of the key saints’ days fall at the beginning of summer including the Santos Populares festivities peppered throughout June. These festivities are well worth taking a trip to the big cities but are equally celebrated locally.
If you are planning a trip to Lisbon this summer, then consider going around the 12th or 13th of June when the Alfama district becomes a huge street party in honour of St Anthony. Are you thinking of going to Porto? You could tie it in with the feast day of St John around the 23rd and 24th of June. The eve of St John’s is one of the biggest nights of the year and sees the medieval city round off a week long celebration that includes dancing in the streets. Elsewhere St Peter is celebrated in Sintra and Evora on the 29th. All feast days attract fireworks, food stalls and entertainment in the streets.
If you don’t plan on travelling far this summer, it is worth investigating when the patron saint of your nearest town or city is honoured. Living in Portugal throws up so many possibilities.
Thank you for the music
Portugal has garnered an international reputation for its annual summer music festivals, drawing crowds from across the world. A music festival could be a solo adventure for you where you could end up meeting new friends. Or it might be the perfect event to invite friends and family from back home over to enjoy together – they’ll get to see what living abroad is all about.
Whatever your taste in music there is a festival for you this summer in Portugal.
If contemporary rock and pop are up your street, then Super Bock Rock is the one for you this summer. Held from the 18th to the 20th of July in the National Park at Lisbon this large festival draws global crowds and international headliners.
Each year in July world music is celebrated at Músicas do Mundo – the World Music Festival in Sines, a city on the Alentejo coast with venues including the historic Sines Castle. This year the festival is on between the 18th to the 27th of July.
August is the month for any Jazz cats out there as it is when the aptly named annual Jazz em Agosto is held from the 1st to the 11th of August at the Open-Air Amphitheatre of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.
Classical connoisseurs will delight in the elegance of Festival ao Largo (Festival in the square) which brings classical music to the streets of Lisbon between the 5th and 27th of July. Visitors can enjoy free performances of symphony music as well as the chance to catch some ballet and theatre. The participation of elite performers including the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, the Choir of the São Carlos National Theatre and the National Ballet Company make the Festival ao Largo a key event in the calendar of anyone with interest in the arts.
Eat, drink and be merry
Living in Portugal, you’ll know about the vibrant cuisine. Many events celebrate this throughout the summer and are a hit with tourists and locals alike. A few notable events for 2019 include the Madeira wine festival and the Algarve sardine festival.
From August 26th up to September 9th, the Portuguese island of Madeira celebrates one of its best-known exports, its wine. Visitors can enjoy demonstrations of the traditional wine making method, the treading of the grapes, along with music and craft fairs.
For a savoury delight head down to Portimao on the Algarve at the start of August to celebrate the humble sardine, a little fish that features large in Portuguese cuisine. Crowds throng to the harbour in Portimao to sample the freshest grilled sardines you could find as the port transforms into an open-air restaurant, complete with accompanying live music.
Fun for all the family
Visiting grandchildren (and grown-up children of all ages) will be enthralled by the annual sand sculpture festival, Fiesa, that takes place in Pera, in the Algarve region. Artists travel from all corners of the globe to create ginormous sandcastles built around a yearly theme. On from March to October these creations are there to marvel at all summer long.
Medieval fairs are quite common in the summer months in Portugal with several in the Algarve region including one in Silves and another in Casto Marim in the month of August. The fair at Silves takes place in a real medieval castle and visitors can expect to see jousting knights and medieval weapons displays. Dressing up is optional but highly recommended. This year's fair takes place from the 9th to the 18th of August.
However you spend your summer in Portugal this year, there is no shortage of wonderful events and sights to keep you entertained, so why not try something new? After all, living abroad is all about new and exciting experiences.
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