Carnaval, held during the last few days before Lent, is a lively event filled with parades, funfairs and extraordinary costumes. You’ll find the biggest parties in Lisbon, Loule, Nazare, Ovar and Viana do Castelo. However, entrudo, the final day, is the one not to be missed. Make your way to Parque Nações (Metro Station Oriente) in Lisbon around 3pm to enjoy free events and entertainment, such as street theatre and parades that will last well into the evening. Along the coast, there are other parties in Estoril and Cascais.
If you’re in Portugal from the end of March to the beginning of April, keep looking up at the sky. Every year, the country holds a hot air balloon race, with numerous competitors travelling from a variety of continents to take part. The balloons journey from Vila Pouca de Aguiar to Loulé in the Argarve, making pitstops at Braga and Guimarães in the Minho, Porto in the Douro, Santarém in the Ribatejo and Estremoz in the Alentejo. The balloons usually take flight at 7am each day are arrive in the next town by 5pm. Loulé usually holds a big party to celebrate the end of a successful and enjoyable flight on the last day.
Easter Sunday is enthusiastically celebrated in all over the country during the high-spirited Easter Festival. The town’s men run through the streets shouting “Hallelujah!” whilst carrying decorated torches on their way to the Parish Church. When they reach their destination, flowers are carefully laid out on the floor in order for the priest to walk over them.
Bullfighting season begins in June at various Bullrings around the country, bullfights been a big part of the National Agricultural Fair, the season finishes at the end of September. Portuguese bullfighting is somewhat more humane than its Spanish equivalent, as the bull is not killed at the end.