The Algarve is famous for having over 300 days of magnificent sunshine, splendid white beaches and a charming Mediterranean feel. What you might not know is that the Portuguese south coast has plenty more to offer than simply soaking in the rays; there are a whole of host of vibrant and inspiring festivals and events waiting for you, which are celebrated throughout the year.

Rally De Portugal - Algarve

Whether you want to sample some authentic cuisine, or an adrenalin filled adventure, or even an insightful and enlightening experience, at least one of these events is likely to make your trip even more memorable no matter what time of year you visit.Peter Jenkins, travel expert and managing director at Sun-hat Villas and Resorts, specialists in luxury Algarve villas, has handpicked this mini selection of child friendly festivals and events that should help keep the whole family entertained from Faro, to Sagres, to Loulé, and even to Monchique.

Carnival Of Loulé

Whilst much of the Algarve tends to have fewer tourists in winter and early spring, Loulé bursts with life in the ‘colder’ months with its range of events, including the town’s annual carnival. People travel far and wide to line the streets for huge, comical floats, local music and dancing, with the three-day parade finishing on Shrove Tuesday. It costs only €2 to enter, with the 2018 dates already having been announced as the 10th-13th February.

Make Your Heart Melt

The remarkable town of Loulé offers a real treat for those with a sweet tooth. Every February, and usually perfectly placed around Valentines Day, the annual chocolate fair comes to the town’s Municipal Market to display delicious locally produced cocoa delights. Pouring fountains, mountains resembling cakes and decadent displays of chocolate make visiting this castle walled city even more exciting. Admission is free, so be ready to feast your eyes… or more!

FIESA Sand Sculpture Competition

The world’s largest sand sculpture competition can be found just outside of the petite and peaceful village of Pêra. From April to September, extremely skilled artists from all over the world travel to the Algarve to fashion stunning works of art from an impressive 35,000 tons of sand. The themes differ from year to year, so it’s almost guaranteed there will be a number of recognisable faces for you to snap away at. Past exhibitions have included Willy Wonka, Bono Vox (see main image above), the Simpsons and Star Wars, among many others.

A Race Like No Other

Whether you see yourself as a skilled petrol head or are in search of some excitement, ‘Rally de Portugal’ is an unmissable off-road race to witness. Forming part of the world rally championships, the route swings into the Algarve as part of its 350km venture through Portugal in May. Get ready for thrills and spills from daredevil drivers as they take on some of the most well-known obstacles and jumps in the motor world.

Festival Med

We cannot argue with the slogan of this festival, ‘Music and Much More’, as once Loulé again explodes into an energetic celebration of world music. The Med festival is one of the Algarve’s most popular events and the whole city is full of energy in late June and early July. You can feel the energy in the atmosphere and dance to your heart’s content, as there is a brilliant selection of artists and genres for you to enjoy. Entrance to the bazaar is €12 on the day and free for children under 12.

Go Back In Time

What better place to find your very own knight in shining armour than the cobbled streets of Silves? Every August, the town transforms itself into a medieval setting, attracting the attention of both locals and tourists. Visitors can expect spit roasted food, medieval drink and historical entertainment, such as jousting and dance performances in what promises to be an unforgettable evening.

Sagres Birdwatching Festival

Starting in the beginning of October, Sagres acknowledges one of the Algarve’s many natural wonders, as the southwest coast becomes one of the hotspots for birds migrating from Africa. Lasting for five days, the initiative encompasses a number of activities that include boat trips, exhibitions, diving and surfing lessons, and bird watching sorties, among others.

Feira de Santa Iria

In honour of St. Irene, every October the central Algarve city of Faro ignites into the most spectacular fairground like no other in the region. Believed to have existed since 1596 and based in Largo de San Francisco, Faro’s largest festival lasts for around nine days in October. There is a showcase of the area’s finest eats and hand-made crafts for those non-thrill seekers; there are also bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, rides and more to keep the whole family entertained.

New Year Extravaganza

Home to luxuriant beaches and a crystal clear marina, Lagos is often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the western Algarve. As the clock strikes midnight on 31st December, the town offers an awe inspiring fireworks display on the riverfront, just by the marina. Toast to the upcoming year with some delicious champagne and watch the New Year roll in: if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the Portimão display in the distance.

Feeling inspired by the Algarve and its fiesta-filled calendar? Then check out Sun-hat’s range of luxury Algarve villas in the beautiful region, to satisfy your sunny needs.

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The Best Events and Festivals in the Algarve: Enjoy!