Must-do Days Out When Visiting Portugal

You’ve got to love the Portuguese. They pretty much discovered the world. They’re the UK’s longest ally and their wine is amazing (drinking Vinho Verde in the sun is one of life’s greatest pleasures). Portugal has plenty of things to do all year round. However, in the summer there’s a rolling programme of traditional Portuguese festivals and international events that ensure you’ll never be stuck for ideas. Here’s just a small selection of this summer’s days out and excursions to try on holiday at our Da Balaia resort. Book now and get ready to celebrate.

Festivals of the Lord Jesus Christ, May, Azores

Religious festivals often bring out the best in the Portuguese. The town of Sao Miguel is lit up by a series of spectacular illuminations on churches and buildings, with much fanfare and torchlight processions in this super lively religious event.

Travel back in time to an age when knights were bold and everything looked like a Game of Thrones episode. The sights and sounds of the Middle Ages and Christian Reconquest era are recreated over nine days when the town is invaded by all manner of jugglers, acrobats, dancers, snake charmers and jousters. Experience live-action history lessons, with processions, tournaments and artisan producers, showcasing their skills and proffering their wares.

International Garden Festival, May to October, Ponte de Lima

Do you like flowers? We mean, do you really like them? How do you fancy twelve spectacular gardens that come into bloom in some exquisite spaces? See the cutting edge of international gardening combine visions of the future with a passion for preserving the environmental heritage. You’ll be inspired to try something new in your own back garden.

Serralves em Festa, June, Oporto

Give your creative brain a big jolt. Immerse yourself in an intense 40 hours of non-stop contemporary art. Hundreds of artists bring the streets of Oporto’s Baixa district alive with opera, dance, performance, theatre, modern circus, literature, cinema, video, photography, workshops, guided visits and exhibitions. The only question is “What shall we see next?”.

Other events you might like...

Tróia International Film Festival, June, Setubal

Okay film buffs, this one’s for you. See some award-winning movies, many of which never make it to the multiplexes. Luminaries from world cinema whose work has been featured in recent years include Perdro Almodavar, Kirk Douglas and Dennis Hopper. If you need to stretch your legs, combine a day’s movie-going with a walk in the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park.

Cool Jazz Festival, July, Lisbon

Enjoy the perfect soundtrack for those long, hot summer nights. This festival attracts Jazz musos from across the globe, who can be found playing in many stunning parks and unique open air venues across the city. Sit back, close your eyes and let the music take you to somewhere special.

European Jet Ski Championship, July, Mirandella

Time for a few thrills now. Watch some of the world’s top jet skiers tear through the waters as they compete in the European Grand Prix of this high octane sport held on the River Tua.

Burning of the Ribbons, May, Coimbra

Coimbra’s fresh graduates know how to throw a party, and this one is named after their initiation ritual of burning their badges in chamber pots. Join them for a week of traditional serenades, parades, tea dances and cultural shindigs. No chamber pot required. Or badges.

Club Med Excursions

Loulé markets

Every Saturday morning, Loulé’s markets boast food, drink, crafts and exotic wares with plenty of bargains to be found. Spend a half day exploring at your own leisure and bring a large shopping bag.

Caves of Carvoeiro

Put on a stripy top and spend half a day aboard a small fishing vessel to take in the beauty and variety of these remarkable caves and rock formations. Hollowed out by ocean waves between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro, make sure your phone’s memory can handle lots of new photos.

Sagres and Lagos

Explore two gems of historic Algarve on this full day trip, which takes in the rugged cliffs of Ponta da Piedade and the town of Lagos, with its former slave market and the statue of Prince Henry the Navigator. You’ll get time to wander around the shopping streets, before seeing Sagres’ picturesque fishing port and the mythical Cape St Vincent. If you like seafood don’t forget to stop for a Cataplana at one of the areas many restaurants.

However you decide to spend your day out in Portugal we can guarantee that it’s going to be a delight. “Vamos lá” as the locals might say!

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