The Rota Vicentina is one of the most enjoyable cycling routes in western Europe. It combines country roads, small towns and wild Atlantic seascapes with outstanding Portuguese food and hospitality.
Matt Halfmann recently cycled from Setubal to Sagres along the Rota Vicentina and shared his experience in his own words.
Day one, Portugal.
Arrived Lisbon. Special thanks to the charming young couple, originally from São Tome, without whom obtaining a train ticket from the vending machine might’ve taken a bit of time.
Perfect weather. Today’s mission, acclimate to my rental bicycle, which will take from here to Sagres over the next five days.
Portugal day 2:
Nice cycle out to Wine country, lunch in Azeitao. Then cycled (mostly) up, along and down the Arrabida ridge. Great views of the sandy point across the bay that is tomorrow’s starting point.
Realized I would need to find something to do other than biking, eating and drinking, so per Dan Chartrand I sought out the local book seller (not always easy to find).
Dinner, a Setubal specialty choco fritos (fried cuttlefish and chips). No idea the cultural significance of the multicolored dolphin statues or the pigeon boy mural, but made for a nice after dinner walk.
Portugal Day 3:
Started by catching the ferry from Setubal to Troia. 40 mile cycle initially flat through dunes and rice fields with a nice stop to dip the feet in the Atlantic at the lovely beach Praia Comporta, then rolling hills through vineyards and cork trees and finishing with grueling last leg uphill to Santiago da Cacem.
Stretched my legs with a hike up narrow cobblestone streets to the medieval castle. Sorry Pop, no cannons sighted.
Portugal Day 4:
Everything I’d hope for in the cycling trip and more all in one day.
Started with a quick ride up to the Roman ruins of Mirobriga, circa 1-4th century AD. Then an enjoyable , mostly coasting ride downhill to the ocean through rolling hills passing by pastures with Burmese herding goats, big bulls, horses and even a couple windmills.
The last stretch, an idyllic unpaved road leading to Portugal’s equivalent to a lobster on the rocks facing Nubble light, that being arroz linguierao (rice with razor clams in a tomato sauce) and (more of course) fried cuttlefish facing Ilha Do Pessegueiro.
Next a short but amazing ride along the coast, then onward to the next destination, Vila Nova de Milfontes.
But wait, to top it off, tonight‘s accommodations include a shared kitchen stocked with free beer, wine and a cordials bar as well as, get this, homemade chocolate cake in my room
Forgetting to charge the GPS helped to make the decision to “not” for today as a “biking optional” day, so now what to do?
Breakfast (sorry generally trying to not show photos of food but both meals were spectacular). A mix of exploring beaches (a half dozen nestled between the cliffs nearby with all save one offering easy access stairs, paths etc), streets, alleys, hidden gems such as the Italian artist who came to Portugal for a short stay, 25 years ago and is still here, a short paddle board session (thankfully no pictures).
Then retreated to a shaded perch here at the casa to feign reading and totally enjoy an uncharacteristic moment of peace, stillness and pure amusement watching the small birds deftly maneuver the white plaster canyons topped with terracotta tile.
Dinner, bream seasoned with salt and grilled over charcoal, amazing food and setting, and yes, the first realization I am on the WEST coast of Portugal, the sun will set over the sea and that might be worth checking out.
How I met chef Hugo Nascimento
(Yes Ray, this is a best effort at a concise version). Today, another great cycle, country roads, beaches, cliffs etc (pics to follow) GPS works great until reaching the destination, Odeceixe.
Going in circles, long uphill walk over cobblestones, found sign for hotel, where’s lobby, ok #113, another uphill climb, but the sign say Naperon, not Casa Moinha.
Staff acknowledges yea, check in here but not till 4pm (it’s 230). I plunk down in lobby with book and water, and soon nice guy says, I can check you in, cool Nice lady confirms room is ready. I go to room, start googling restaurant options.
One is too fancy, naperon, big time chef Hugo Nascimento, but pic looks a lot like the guy who checked me in, and his nice colleague, yup, his wife.
Suffice it to say, I had the surprise four moments à la carte menu at Naperon, with the chef himself chatting and presenting, spectacular!
Portugal Day 6:
Fairly long cycle from Odeceixe to Sagres (60km), however all paved road. Pic of bike fully loaded.
Kudos to the bike and the travel company, not one hitch the entire trip. More auto traffic, occasionally heavy, but the good news was the two long uphill climbs were gradual, “pedal-able”, and busier sections actually had narrow, but welcome breakdown/bike lanes.
More rolling hills, vineyards citrus trees, windmills! (No bird carcasses at their bases, perhaps Portuguese birds are smarter, or at least smarter than those who post such “news” ).
Much as I wanted to stay ahead of the potential of rain (as it turns out clouds, no rain) I was very conscious this would be the last day of something I’d waited so long for, so took the time to enjoy, occasionally laugh or hoot to myself when out of earshot and “take it all in”.
Arrived in good time, made the trek to the SW tip, then rewarded myself with a local delicacy, a very messy burger, beer and fries at 3 Little Birds (yup named after the Bob Marley song).
Portugal, Day 7, Lagos:
Hands-down the memorable moment was a group kayak trip thru caves, then catching big swells out to and around Ponta da Piedade. In addition more cliff walks, beaches, old city labyrinth streets, amazing cobblestones everywhere, great food etc.
First impression Lagos is bigger, busier, more construction, more touristy (played golf with 3 Scotsmen) less what I thought I was looking for, but as I was walking back after a great meal on my last night, I had a strong feeling, glad I was able to spend three days here, I like this place.
All text and photos © Matt Halfmann
Have you got an interesting bicycle touring story to share? Don't be shy! We would love to hear from you too! You can share you bike touring tales right here.
If you want to tour, but you’re not sure which type of bike is right for you, you’re not alone. Choosing the perfect bike for your trip can be an overwhelming task. There are so many options and variables to consider. Are you looking for a gravel bike, a mountain bike, a hybrid bike, a touring bike, a trekking bike, or a road touring bike?
Read on to understand the differences and make an informed decision on how to pick the right touring bicycle for you!
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How Do You Want to Tour?
Before you start looking at bikes, you’ll want to determine how you want to tour. Do you want to ride long distances? Are you interested in more challenging climbs? Do you want to experience different terrains? Do you want to ride through cities and towns? Or do you want to ride away from main roads on unpaved or gravel roads?
Whether you’re interested in gravel biking, mountain biking, or a hybrid bike, there are specific features to look for depending on what type of bike you’re interested in, and I have tried to break down the differences as clearly as possible below:
Touring bikes are characterized by their more upright riding position, wide rims, and drop, flat, riser or butteryfly handlebars. Usually, such touring bicycles come in men's and women's specific frames. They are most often equipped with wider tires suitable for paved and unpaved roads. Many touring bikes also feature front suspension for a more comfortable ride, and all touring bikes must include mounting points for racks to carry panniers and other accessories.
Although a typical touring bike weighs around 15 kg unloaded, they usually feature a wide range of gears to make cycling on hilly and flat terrain equally accessible. Touring bikes are designed to be versatile and durable, ideally using mid-range componenents which are easy to replace anywhere in the world, which makes them ideal for long-distance touring on mostly paved roads.
Trekking bikes are essentially touring bikes, with a more off road design - and largely a marketing designation. Just like touring bikes, they are designed to provide support for heavy loads, or for riders that want a bike that will be able to handle their camping gear or other supplies.
They have a sturdy frame and wide, mixed surface or off-road tires to handle both paved and unpaved surfaces. Trekking bikes also feature racks and front or rear suspension and usually also include mudguards.
Mountain bikes are designed to ride over a variety of terrain and tackle steeper hills and mountains, thanks to generously low gears. They feature wide rims, knobby tires, and suspension, which improve handling and maneuverability off road and increase the comfort of the off road ride. Mountain bikes are commonly equipped with suspension forks and additionally rear shocks for increased control and smooth riding on uneven surfaces.
Mountain bikes are typically heavier than road or hybrid bikes, but can easily be equipped with pannier racks make great touring bicycles, for comfortable use on all types of terrain from cobbled roads to forest trails, even when fully loaded. This makes them ideal for bike tours with over 50% unpaved roads.
Gravel bikes are specifically designed to ride on unpaved and gravel trails. They are essentially road bikes, with wider, off-road tires and wider handlebars, and a slightly reinforced frame. While gravel bikes are normally slightly heavier than road bikes, they provide a bike that’s perfectly suited for a long-distance ride or for touring on and off paved roads.
Gravel bikes have a wide, low stance for increased stability and the ability to tackle all types of terrain. They feature wider rims, knobby tires, and wide handlebars to reduce vibration and provide a comfortable ride when riding over rough trails. Gravel bikes are normally equipped with more rack and accessory mounting points than road bikes, making them the right choice for riders exploring smoother unpaved roads on their bike tour.
Road Touring Bikes
Road touring bikes, also known simply as “touring bikes”, are essentially road bikes that are configured for bike touring. They often come equipped with slightly wider wheel rims to accomodate wider tires that make long distance cycling more comfortable - and allow for riding on rougher roads if needed.
Road touring bikes feature lightweight, durable frames, and faster rolling tires. They feature drop handlebars, which provide a more sporty riding position, and should also feature heavier-duty disc brakes and derailleurs to handle the rigors of riding with additional cargo on paved roads.
Hybrid bikes are a combination of mountain, road, and gravel bikes. They have a hybrid frame and components, which combine the best qualities of different types of bikes to create the perfect, light touring bike. Hybrid bikes feature a rigid frame and ridgid fork, which aim to reduce weight. They also feature wider rims and mixed surface tires.
Hybrid bikes typically offer a more comfortable upright seated position for long-distance touring, and are ideally suited to paved roads and smoother terrain. We designate our hybrid bikes as "Light touring bikes", and they are popular for their lower weight and comfortable ride.
Choosing the Right Bike for You
To make an informed decision on which bike is best for you, you’ll need to consider where you want to ride and what style of bike touring suits you best. The best way to do this is to think about what type of touring you want to do and what type of bike you think will best suit your needs.
As you consider your options, keep in mind that not all bikes are made for every type of bicycle touring. For example, if you’re interested in riding through cities, you may prefer a road bike or a hybrid, light touring bike. If you’re looking for a bike that’s best for long-distance touring off the beaten track, however, you want to look at mountain or suspension touring bikes instead.
If you're still not sure what bike is best for you, don't worry, we are here to help, so just reach out below!
Cycling is one of the best ways to see the world. Many people who have done the Camino de Santiago in Spain would agree. The Camino de Santiago, which can be translated as "the Way of St. James," is a pilgrimage route that stretches across most of northern Spain. It's a popular destination for cyclists and hikers alike - and someone with a love for long-distance biking won't want to miss it!
In this article, we'll give you all the information you need to plan your own bike tour on the Camino de Santiago. We'll talk about what you can expect and how to plan your trip so that you don't feel overwhelmed by this epic journey. Don't wait any longer; read on to learn how to take on cycling's ultimate challenge!
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The Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage route that traditionally goes from France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. There are in fact many other variants, but the Camino Francés remains one of the oldest on most popular routes. It has been an important site for Christians since the Middle Ages. The trail, which is about 800 km long, was used by medieval Christians on their way to Jerusalem. Today it's used by cyclists, hikers and other travelers who want to embark on a spiritual journey.
The route has traditionally been followed in stages, with pilgrims carrying a backpack with supplies including clothes and food. A more modern approach is to take some preparation at home as well as along the way.
Planning your trip
If you're still deciding if cycling on the Camino de Santiago is right for you, start by considering some of these questions:
Once you've answered some of these questions, it'll be easier for you to plan everything out. You'll know how long it will take and what type of experience you're looking for. You'll also be able to figure out which parts of the Camino de Santiago are better suited for biking than others. You don't want to spend hours on a long stretch of uphill biking if that's not what you wanted in the first place! And don't forget about accommodation! There are lots of different options available, depending on how much time and money you want to spend. If these thoughts have left your head spinning, don't worry! We'll cover all this information below so that it won't be such a hassle figuring out all the details as well.
What to pack
If you're cycling the Camino de Santiago, you'll need to invest in a few items before you leave. First, and most importantly, you'll need a bike! You can get a bike from a rental store, or you can buy one if you have the time to look for one. Next, you'll need some cycling gear. You should pack high-quality biking shorts and padded cycling gloves to avoid getting saddle sores and blisters. If your bike trip is going to be longer than five hours at a time (and most of them are), it's important that your shoes are good quality so they don't wear down too fast.
You'll also want to pack other basic necessities like water bottles, sunscreen and lip balm. And while we're on the topic of what not to forget--don't forget your phone charger! It's important that your phone is fully charged at all times so that if anything happens, you won't be left without help. The Camino de Santiago isn't always easy--you should be prepared for anything!
Where to stay (how much it will cost)
When you're planning to travel by bike, it's important to know where you'll be sleeping. Luckily, accommodations on the Camino de Santiago are plentiful and reasonably priced.
You can find hotels for around €30 a night in towns along the route--and sometimes even cheaper. If you're looking for more of an authentic experience, there are albergues for €6-10 per night that are usually maintained by volunteers. These albergues provide shelter and basic amenities like WiFi, breakfast, and dinner (complimentary or not).
What to eat/drink
One of the most difficult parts of any bike tour is food and drink. You can't just stop at a restaurant or store when you're on the Camino de Santiago. Pack your bags with plenty of high-energy snacks to avoid getting off your bike to search for food.
The best choice is protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, and even cereal bars. This should be enough to keep you going until you reach the next town or village.
Drinks are also important to bring on a bike tour! If you're not bringing water with you, buy bottled water from a store in towns as needed.
Another tip: bring plenty of electrolytes to prevent dehydration and muscle cramps during your cycling journey! Have an electrolyte drink handy in order to replace fluids and minerals lost through sweat.
Safety tips for cycling on the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a challenging adventure for even the most experienced cyclist. It's important to plan ahead and make sure you're prepared for all the conditions you might face.
- Research the terrain: The terrain along the Camino de Santiago varies from flat to mountainous, but there are some difficult stretches with steep slopes and mountain passes. Even if you plan to ride on a road or touring bike, not a mountain bike - you'll have to cycle through small villages and towns over some larger cobblestone streets. If you raide along the actual trail, be aware that walking pilgrims have priority, and some sections are not appropriate for cyclists at all.
- Pack light: You won't need many supplies on this trip; pack only what you'll need to get through the day. Make sure your water bottle is full before heading out each morning. In terms of clothing, it's best to dress in layers so that you can adapt when the weather changes throughout the day.
- Keep an eye on your belongings: Be cautious about where you store your bags when resting at albergues; never leave them unattended in public areas, as sadly, there are professional theives who have operated along the Camino since the very earliest times!
- Wear a helmet at all times: Always wear your helmet! They're essential safety gear that can protect you if anything happens. You'll also want to carry some basic first aid supplies like bandages, antibiotic cream, and painkillers in case of an accident or injury.
Cycling tips for your Camino bike tour
If you're planning to cycle the Camino de Santiago on your own, here are a few tips that will make your trip much more enjoyable:
-Pack a map and a navigation device device such as a smartphone or GPS. The route is well marked, but you'll want to be able to find your way without relying on signs every step of the way.
-Dress appropriately. If you go during the summer months, wear light clothing and sunscreen. For cooler seasons, pack warmer clothes like long underwear, tights and wool socks. And don't forget to use layers, rather than heavy jackets and the like.
-Plan for plenty of rest stops and snacks. You'll need to refuel often on this long journey!
-Bring an ample supply of food and water. You don't want to run out of anything important during your trip!
-Carry cash for your meals along the way. Most restaurants take credit cards or traveler's checks, but some do not accept them at all--and many require cash only!
Important information while you're cycling on the Camino de Santiago
Cycling on the Camino de Santiago is a journey for the adventurous cyclist. You'll be biking for about 6 days along a variety of terrains, but you'll also encounter varying climates. Depending on the time of year, you may go from hot to cold weather and vice versa. Make sure you pack accordingly!
Another important thing to keep in mind while planning your trip on the Camino de Santiago is how long it will take to get there (and back). The average cyclist can expect to bike an average of 40 kilometers per day, which means it could take up to a month to complete the entire journey! Of course, this is just an estimate based on people who are cycling at an average pace; if you're a faster rider, then it would be possible for you to cycle an average 60 to 80 km a day and finish in less than 15 days.
The Camino de Santiago is a journey most cyclist have yearned to take at least once in their lifetime. If you're an experienced cyclist and want to take on a challenge, the Camino de Santiago is for you. Plan your bike tour of the Camino de Santiago today and enjoy the journey!
Looking for the best cycling routes in Portugal? Whether you are a beginner in bike touring looking for the most beautiful views of Portugal, or a seasoned bicycle traveler looking for new routes to explore, this list has something for you.
The routes are graded on the difficulty of terrain and length. All of these cycling routes are scenic with plenty to see, so pack your bike and enjoy!
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The Best Coastal Cycling Routes In Portugal
Rota Vicentina bike route
The Rota Vicentina is one of the most popular routes in Portugal, and in the whole of Europe. The route follows the Atlantic coast through rice paddies and marshes, rolling hills, farms, fields and numerous villages.
Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee break or snack or a proper meal of world class grilled fish. The route is graded as an easy-medium difficulty with an average daily distance between 35 and 65 kilometers.
Eurovelo 1 cycling route
The Costa de Prata Coastal Cycling Route runs along the picturesque coastline of southern Portugal. This route is popularly known as the Eurovelo 1, which actually starts in northern Europe.
This coast has some of the best beaches in Portugal and offers stunning views of the beach towns and wild nature. This route is graded at low to medium difficulty with flat to rolling terrain for most of the route.
This is a great choice for beginners or people who want to take it easy on their first bike tour in Portugal, with an average daily mileage of between 45 and 65 km. If you are looking for a tougher challenge, you can always ride 2 days back to back!
The Best Bike Touring Routes In The Mountains Of Portugal
Douro Valley bike route
You would be hard pressed to find more exceptional rides than what the Douro has to offer. The Douro valley cycling route is one of the very best bike routes in Portugal!
With excellent roads and near zero traffic for the most part, the Douro valley bike route will take you through the most stunning landscapes with breathtaking views of this unique valley.
This UNESCO heritage site owes as much to the labors of man in making the remarkable terraced vineyards as with the beauty of the valley itself.
A unique micro-climate and varying solar exposure ensure that no two hillsides are alike and the result are the wonderful wines of the region, as well as turn after turn of sublime vistas.
The rides are as challenging as they are rewarding, with most climbs being taken on the saddle, as they wind round the contours of the slopes rather than straight up them. Daily average mileage ranges between 35 and 65 km.
Even so, this is a more challenging route and it's important that you're in good shape to take it on - or you can always consider an ebike to get a little extra help on the hill climbs!
Camino Português bike route
The Camino Portugues cycling route follows one of the official pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella, in the footsteps of the Way of St James.
The cycling route follows closely the walking path, along ancient Roman roads of Lusitania and is the second most traveled route after the Camino Frances.
Whichever route you take, the incredible beauty of its varied landscapes, charming villages and monuments to the glory of St James will instill unexpected awe in you.
Due to the hilly and mountainous terrain of northern Portugal, this is a more challenging route, so you need to be in good shape to undertake this adventurous bike tour. Expect to ride between 35 and 65 km per day.
As mentioned above, don't be put off considering the Camino Portugues, as an ebike can certainly help on the hills and make this route accessible to more riders!
The Best Bike Touring Routes In Portugal For Beginners
If you are new to bike touring, these routes are the best to start with. They are less difficult than the other routes and still offer beautiful views and an in depth experience of Portugal.
Alentejo wine country bike route
Relaxing, Self Guided bike tour across the rolling fields of the Alentejo in Southern Portugal, cycling past wild flowers, vineyards, ancient castles and cork trees along the way.
Medieval walled villages, white-washed and trimmed in blue, dot the hilltops while plains of wheat and oats spread out below, freckled with small flocks of sheep and goats grazing under majestic cork trees.
With traffic free roads and beautiful landscapes it is no surprise that the Alentejo is one of my very favourite regions in Portugal. This is an easy to moderate route with a daily average mileage of between 40 and 70 km on mostly rolling terrain.
Algarve interior bike route
The Algarve is famous for it's sunshine and sparkling beaches, but the often overlooked interior offers rustic tranquility and outstanding cycling on very low traffic roads.
Departing from Tavira, not far from the Spanish border and cycling to Lagos, near the south-westernmost point of Portugal, the Algarve route follows little traveled inland country roads, passing fragrant orange groves and fields of fig, almond and carob as we cycle back to the sparkling beaches the Algarve famous for.
This part of Southern Portugal gets around 300 days of sunshine a year and offers some of the finest cycling conditions in Europe. The cycling is easy to moderate with a daily average of between 40 and 60 km.
This warm, sunny bike tour route offers great rides, the unbeatable Portuguese hospitality, superb food (particularly fresh grilled fish!) beautiful beaches and plenty of reasonably priced accommodation.
If you are looking for a fun and easy bike tour, this is a great choice!
Conclusion: My Favourite Cycling Routes In Portugal
The popularity of cycling in Portugal is on the rise, and with good reason. The country has some of the most beautiful routes for cyclists, with scenery that ranges from iconic coastal routes to picturesque mountains.
Whether you're a novice cyclist or an expert, Portugal has the perfect cycling routes for you.
My personal favourite bike touring routes in Portugal include the Rota Vicentina, for it's perfect blend of seascapes and bucolic landscapes, as well as the daily option to wet your feet in the Atlantic - before or after a delicious seafood meal. I can never tire of this route!
Another personal favourite is the Camino Portugues, although it's not exclusively in Portugal, it covers some of my favourite regions in northern Portugal; the Minho and the Douro.
This is where you experience some of the warmest hospitality I've encountered in my travels and the cherry on top is arriving in Santiago de Compostella - always a jubilant triumph, no matter the weather!
While the previous two favourites tick all the boxes for an inspiring and exciting bike tour adventure, perhaps my very favouirte cycling route in Portugal remains the Alentejo wine country, for it's very simplicity and tranquility in our hectic times.
For someone who loves wine and food as much as they love cycling, the Alentejo is hard to beat - anywhere in the world. It's also a perfect place to unplug, unwind and get far from the crowds.
How about you? Have you cycled in Portugal, and if so what is your favourite cycling route or region? You can share your bike touring stories or submit your photos and videos with like minded cyclists right here!
By Maggie Deffense & Enrique Díaz
As a consequence of the rich cultural heritage of Portugal, there are plenty of public events in the country, where its main focus can be gastronomy, a rural tradition, religion, or just a fun event to celebrate life.
Visiting Portugal during one of the best Portuguese summer festivals is an excellent way to experience Portugal’s rich culture. Let's explore some of the most remarkable:
Festa de Santo Antonio (Feast Day of Saint Anthony, Lisbon)
Lisbon celebrates its patron saint with newly-wed couples giving thanks and singles praying for a match made in heaven - usually around June 12. This is one of the primo festas in Portugal. Lisbon decorates its streets with Japanese lanterns, while local residents of the oldest parts of the city, the Alfama and Bairro Alto, put long trestle tables in the streets and serve grilled sardines and wine. So many sardines are consumed that the whole city smells like a fishing village. Sweethearts give little pots of marjoram to each other as valentines! Everywhere there’s music and merrymaking!
Festa das Cruzes, Barcelos
The lively Festa das Cruzes is held during the 1st week in Barcelos, Northern Portugal with a procession and stupendous handicraft fair. It’s one of the prettiest towns in Portugal - which definitely has more than its fair share of gorgeous towns and villages. May 3rd is the holy day commemorating a miracle when a poor cobbler saw a miraculous image of the cross engraved on the floor of a chapel 500 years ago. The octagonal-shaped church of Senhor da Cruz was built over this older chapel and is the focus of the festival.
Today, Barcelos is best known for its pottery, especially its brightly-painted clay cock, whose crowing saved a man from the gallows, according to the local legend. It also sports one of the biggest and best weekly markets in Portugal at the enormous Campo da República square. Each Thursday, visitors can browse amongst the market's vast range of handmade Portuguese pottery as well as, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, you name it!
Festa de São João, Porto
The Festa de Sao Joao (John the Baptist) is big in Porto and on June 23-24. There are large street parties with people being hit on the head with harmless plastic hammers, leeks or dried artichokes - go figure! After an evening feasting and drinking outside in little bars and restaurants overlooking the beautiful Douro River you’re treated to one of the most stupendous displays of fireworks I’ve ever seen high high up off of the Dom Luis I bridge and into the Douro River below! Absolutely breathtaking!
Festas d'Agonia, Viana do Castelo
This festival is held in Viana do Castelo at the mouth of the Lima River in the Minho Province at the top of Portugal. The Minho is one of Portugal’s most beautiful provinces if not THE MOST beautiful! Green and lush with hydrangeas and wild roses growing everywhere over the low granite walls that surround the little fields of corn and green wine vines. The Festa includes an impressive parade of floats, displays of local crafts, carnival giants (gigantones), local music, nightly fireworks and lots of drinking.
Many people dress in their colorful national dress - women wearing the traditional red embroidered skirts or black wedding dresses and displaying the family’s wealth in gold earrings and heavy gold chains and medallions around their necks! The agricultural fair which runs all week sells everything from tractors to spindles for spinning flax!
Arraial Pride, Lisboa
The Arraial Pride is Portugal’s main gay pride event, free and open to everybody and has been held since 1996, getting more and more popular every year.
You can expect the usual fun and frivolity of music, food, drink, and a marketplace late into the night. Although it is usually held at the end of June, the exact date and location of the LGBT event change every year. At least in prepandemic times, this event was the bigger single event in Portugal. Unfortunately it was cancel in 2021, but it's again scheduled for 2022.