Festivals in Portugal

Portuguese cultural events

Festivals in Portugal

Portugal is known for its numerous festivals, especially music festivals, that take place mostly in summer. From the very famous Rock in Rio that also takes place in Portugal every two years, to the Optimus Alive, there are plenty of festivals to choose from.

Music festivals

These are three of the biggest music festivals that take place in summer in Portugal. The world-famous Rock in Rio  takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and also Lisbon. Every two years Brazilian, Portuguese and international greats of pop and rock music perform in Lisbon in May or June. The next date will probably be 2016.

The Optimus Alive  festival also takes place in Lisbon, but yearly and in July. It is especially known for indie rock and alternative music genres, featuring international as well as local artists.

The Vilar de Mouros festival  is one of the most famous and popular music festivals in Portugal, sometimes referred to as the “Portuguese Woodstock”. It also comprises a range of styles and artists, from Portuguese to international greats. It takes place around the end of July to the beginning of August. The festival organiser’s objective is noble: the profits go to the construction of a building for people affected by autism.

Check out this website  for more music festivals in Portugal.

Film festival

Every year, the international film festival Fantasporto , commonly referred to as Fantas, takes place in the city of Porto. From the end of February until the beginning of March, it lends screen place to commercial feature films in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror and auteur films, from all over the world. Around 110,000 cinephiles and other people attend the annual event. In 2014, the event featured 180 films and 20 unreleased premieres.

Cultural festivals

The Agitágueda  art festival is well-known in Portugal, especially for one part of the exhibitions: hundreds of colourful umbrellas covering various streets of Agitágueda. The cultural festival lasts 23 days in which local artists can exhibit their works in the whole city. In particular, urban art can be appreciated, such as park benches or columns painted by artists. Apart from that, you can attend a variety of concerts. Entry is free.

Near the end of July, the Festival das artes  takes place in Coimbra. It includes music, theatre, literature and many more forms of art that are exhibited in the open air amphitheatre of Quinta das Lágrimas.

Boom Festival

The Boom Festival  is an alternative, psychedelic art, music and dance festival. It takes place every year around the beginning of August at the Idanha-a-Nova lake. It encourages visitors to enjoy Portuguese nature without damaging it. The festival is sponsored by ticket sales exclusively.


Although bullfighting is thought of as being a typically Spanish tradition, it also has a history in Portugal. The Portuguese variety of bullfighting, or corrida de touros, does not include the killing of the bull at the end. In the Portuguese version there is a horse rider (cavaleiro) who tries to place a coloured dart on the back of the bull. The eight unarmed and amateur forcados help the cavaleiro by trying to secure the animal for the placement of the dart. There is also the skillful bandarilheiro, who plays the bull, like the Spanish torero, with his red coat, but he has no sword and does not kill the bull in the end. The corridas de touros take place from Easter to October, in many cities such as Santarém, Samora, Leiria and Évora.

For more festivals, visit this website .

Further reading

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