The origin of this festivity dates back to ancient times, when people celebrated pagan gods and the mother nature. Many centuries later, the church recognised the Carnaval as a religious celebration, and it is now seen all around the world.
Carnaval, or entrudo, are the three days before Ash Wednesday. The main celebration is the “Fat Tuesday”, the last day for people to party and eat and drink too much. The word Carnaval has latin roots and means “farewell to meat”, as during Lent (the 40 days until Easter Sunday) devoted catholics give up their main pleasures, including meat.
In Portugal there is a big tradition when it comes to Carnaval festivities, since the Middle Age. Not only from north to south, but also in the islands of Azores and Madeira, Carnaval is celebrated with a bang! Portuguese people tend to believe “No Carnaval ninguém leva a mal”, a saying that means no one takes personally what is said and happens during this time of the year, being a time of excess and revelry.
If you are around in the pre-Len, do not miss the Carnaval celebrations we have picked, as they’ll probably be the highlight of your trip!
Changing temperatures have blurred the seasonal boundary and nowadays Portugal can be explored from north to south almost all year round. The weather plays an important role, but it is not the only reason why people have started venturing off the beaten path and looking for less known locations. Travellers want to discover and truly get to know the most authentic regions, to find well preserved locations and have real local experiences.
That's why we have tried to come up with the best places to visit in each month. With that said, some of them can and should be visited more than once, ideally in different times of the year, as the landscapes change abruptly and the feeling you get is very different.