Are you planning to visit Portugal in the summer? Don't miss out on the best parties, festivals, and pilgrimages!
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“Best European Tourist Destination,” the award Portugal received for the 5th time in 2022! Portugal boasts a rich heritage and a vast culture that permeates every corner. Not to mention the breathtaking natural landscapes, unique gastronomy, the finest wines, and warm-hearted people!
When visiting Portugal by car in the summer, take the opportunity to explore and experience the traditions and legends of a country steeped in history! Discover the best parties and pilgrimages from north to south and enjoy yourself during your stay!
How to get around when visiting Portugal?
Portugal is a perfect country to explore by car, as the distances between cities are short, and in just 7 hours, you can cross the country from north to south!
So, renting a car to visit Portugal is the best solution, whether from Lisbon airport or any other city in the country with rental cars. The ease of exploring Portugal by car allows you to plan your itineraries with complete freedom, without worries about schedules and transportation.
What to do in Portugal in the summer?
Portugal is an all-inclusive destination: beach, countryside, and city. A combination of culture, centuries of history, parties, and summer warmth in the months of August and September!
From the Algarve to Minho, our coast is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and offers beautiful Blue Flag-awarded beaches, a symbol of quality.
2. Rural Tourism
When visiting Portugal by car, you can go from the beach to rural tourism in less than an hour! If relaxation is your goal, we recommend the beautiful Alentejo hills or the mountains in the country's interior.
3. Historical Cities
Want to explore Portuguese history and culture? In Portugal, there's no shortage of places to visit; just choose the cities and create your map of castles and historic monuments!
Portugal Itinerary: The 10 Most Popular Parties and Pilgrimages!
In the summer, parties, and pilgrimages across the country welcome thousands of Portuguese and visitors from other nationalities. Come and discover the oldest and most emblematic parties that should be part of your itinerary!
1.Our Lady of Agony Festival, Viana do Castelo
We start this journey from the northern part of the country! In August, one of Portugal's largest and most richly celebrated pilgrimages takes place. It's four days of festivities with dances, folk music, and typical cuisine from the Minho region.
The procession to the sea, the Mordomia parade in traditional attire, and the famous gold pieces of Viana, topped off with a spectacular fireworks display, add color to the celebration.
- Sanctuary of Santa Luzia
- Historic center of Viana
2. Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Peneda, Arcos de Valdevez
This pilgrimage brings together Portuguese and Galicians in a single celebration in September, featuring singing and dancing to the sound of concertinas throughout the night! The most anticipated moment is the “parade of the bulls,” with dozens of adorned animals in a colorful procession through the streets during the religious procession.
Also take the opportunity to visit:
- Peneda-Gerês Natural Park
- Church of Mercy
- Water Clock
- Chapel of Our Lady of Conception
- Centenarians' Garden
3. Feiras Novas, Ponte de Lima
In September, the Ponte de Lima festival welcomes thousands of visitors in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows. Expect the traditional procession, horse races, singing contests, and a spectacular fireworks' finale!
Enjoy the festival and explore other places:
- Medieval bridge
- Historic center: religious heritage and sacred art
- Arnado Park
- Portuguese Toy Museum
- Lima River beach
4. Saint Bartholomew's Festival, Porto
If you include Porto in your summer visit to Portugal, take the opportunity to witness the paper costume parade and the famous “Holy Bath” to expel evil, as part of the celebrations in honor of Saint Bartholomew. A centuries-old celebration in Foz do Douro!
Places to stroll:
- Foz beaches
- Streets of Foz Velha (Old Foz)
- Felgueiras Lighthouse
- Foz Pergola
5. Medieval Fair of Santa Maria da Feira
One of the largest medieval fairs in Portugal is held in Santa Maria da Feira. An immersive experience in the Middle Ages, the life, and customs of that time. The atmosphere is created with period music and dances, a medieval market, street performances, knight tournaments, battle re-enactments, and much more!
If you have some extra time, explore some tourist spots in the region:
- Santa Maria da Feira Castle
- Loios Convent
- Fiães Boardwalks
- Matriz Church
6. Festivals in Honor of Our Lady of Remedies, Lamego
From the north, we move to the interior of the country. In Lamego, in early September, the festivals in honor of the patron saint take place. Attractive concerts, a triumphal procession with the image of Our Lady carried by a team of oxen, and a fireworks display draw thousands of visitors to the city!
If you attend the festival, set aside some time to admire:
- Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies
- Tile panels, panoramic views, and allegorical fountains
- Lamego Cathedral
- Lamego Castle
7. São Mateus Fair, Viseu
Between August and September, one of the oldest fairs in the Iberian Peninsula takes place, São Mateus Fair. It's a family-friendly festival that combines culture, gastronomy, amusements, and concerts! The musical line-up is always very appealing!
Take a stroll through the streets of Viseu to discover its history and linger in places like:
- Santa Maria Cathedral
- Museum of Sacred Art
- Mercy Church and the Three Spouts Fountain
- Miradouro House
- Dom Duarte Square
8. Aljubarrota Medieval Fair, Alcobaça
If you rent a car in Lisbon, you can visit the Alcobaça Medieval Fair, which is less than 100 km away. Every year in August, the famous Battle of Aljubarrota, which secured Portugal's victory over the Kingdom of Castile, is celebrated. It's an event with free entry, good food, crafts, music, and street theater!
Take advantage and visit:
- Alcobaça Monastery
- Alcobaça medieval historic center
- Love Garden
- Alcobaça Castle viewpoint
9. Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Aires, Viana do Alentejo
Now in the south of the country, in the heart of the Alentejo region, you'll find Viana do Alentejo. Here, Nossa Senhora d'Aires is revered for delivering her devotees from the plague. Since then, there has been a yearly festival and pilgrimage in her honor, featuring processions, traditional songs, folklore, and even bull runs!
What to visit:
- Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora d'Aires
- Church of Mercy and the Cruzeiro Chapel
- Viana do Alentejo Castle
- Fountains: Cruz, Renascença, and Convent.
10. Silves Medieval Fair, Faro
To conclude the journey through Portugal's parties and pilgrimages, we invite you to visit Silves. In August, the city transforms into a medieval village and celebrates the conquest of Silves by the Moors, a moment re-enacted by various actors who bring the fair to life! Enjoy the craft market, typical gastronomy, music, and dance performances.
Places to discover here:
- Silves Castle and Cathedral
- Historic center
- Armação de Pêra Beach
Tip: If you're visiting Portugal with family, children, and teenagers will love the Slide and Splash water park (15 minutes by car from Silves). It's an excellent place to have fun with the little ones in the summer!
Portugal Itinerary: Music Festivals
Tip: Take a road trip to the music festival circuit by car, so you don't miss any of your favorite bands! (Search for car rentals and reserve your vehicle.)
Music festivals are a strong draw in Portugal during the summer. If you're looking for entertainment and great music, here are our suggestions for August and September.
1. Vodafone Paredes de Coura
This music festival takes place in August at the idyllic Taboão River beach. It has hosted prominent names like Placebo, Guano Apes, Coldplay, and Foo Fighters! It's known for its selection of indie and alternative rock music.
2. Crato Festival
The festival features top names in current music and DJs to keep the nights going. It's a four-day festival in August, with a craft fair and gastronomy mixed in.
3. Festival F, Faro
In September, in the picturesque city of Faro, this arts festival showcases contemporary Portuguese music, cinema, stand-up comedy, visual arts, and more. For food, there are restaurants and street food! For families, children up to 12 years old get free admission, and there's programming dedicated to the younger crowd!
4. Meo Kalorama, Lisbon
In the same location as Rock in Rio Lisboa, the Bela Vista Park hosts this modern music festival in September, committed to being the most sustainable of them all.
What do you need to know before visiting Portugal?
If you plan to visit Portugal, here are some useful tips to make your experience smooth and memorable!
1. Make a packing list
Focus on the essentials and remember, Portugal in the summer is hot, so for cooler evenings, bring just one jacket and save space.
2. Save on flight tickets
Opt for a later arrival time, as it's usually more economical. In Portugal, the summer sun sets around 9 PM, so you can still make the most of your day!
3. Book a hotel in the high season
August and September are high tourist months in Portugal, so we suggest booking early to secure accommodation and lower rates.
4. Driving in Portugal
Driving rules are the same as in the European Union, so if you have any doubts, review the rules before your trip to avoid surprises!
5. Car rentals
If you plan to rent a car to visit Portugal, we recommend that the rental includes automatic toll payment. This way, you can travel on all roads without limitations or payment worries.
Are you all set to visit Portugal? Count on Drivalia to rent the ideal car. With over 30 years of experience and a vast fleet of modern vehicles to meet your needs and ensure you have a great trip!