No matter what time of year, Oporto (or Porto) is the place to go to for art and festivities. The city is committed to arranging festivals that appeal to traditional religious Portuguese practices. If you are traveling to Oporto, it will be good to know when all these events take place so that you are present in the city to enjoy the folklore, arts and local lifestyle. While many of these events are relegated to religious beliefs, events like sporting competitions and sailing regattas offer visitors a more international experience.
Noites Ritual is considered a large-scale rock festival in Oporto featuring multiple acts by national bands. Watch out for this event in late August, at the splendid Crystal Palace Gardens overlooking the Douro River. Visitors will be thrilled to find out that the entrance to this event is free.
Venue: Jardim do Palácio Cristal, Rua D. Manuel II, 140, Oporto, Portugal
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/ Casainho
In June, the city of Oporto hosts the FIA WTCC - World Tourism Cars Championship with four titles to be won in multiple divisions. The championships are held at the Boavista circuit that has been revamped to fit international standards. Visitors have an immediate access to a neighboring estuary of the Douro River where they can appreciate a wide array of entertainment facilities including a variety of bars, restaurants and esplanades.
Venue: Circuito da Boavista, Avenida Boavista 4663-4685, 4150 Oporto, Portugal
Treat yourself to excellent puppet performances at the International Puppet Festival held in Oporto during September. Discover the old, traditional art add a new dimension to the various performance venues and streets of Oporto. Puppet companies from different countries promote the fine art of puppetry by performing to children and adults, alike. In the past few years, the festival organizers have started including music and dance performances to attract a wider audience.
Balleteatro: Praça 9 de Abril 76, 4200 Oporto, Portugal
Teatro Carlos Alberto: Rua Oliveiras 43, 4050, Oporto, Portugal
Teatro De Marionetas Do Porto: Rua Belmonte 57, 4050 Oporto, Portugal
One of the oldest rock festivals in Oporto, Vilar de Mouros is held in a locality by the same name, situated 150 kilometers from Oporto. Despite the popularity of this festival, it has suffered from infrequent editions. International bands like Elton John, U2, The Pretenders, UB40, Rammstein and Bob Dylan have graced the festival with their performances. As with most rock festivals, audiences revel in the magnificent sounds by camping along the Coura River. The festival is held in late July or early August.
Venue: Vilar de Mouros, Caminha, Portugal
Porto a Subir is an annual running festival held in late June each year typically for enthusiastic athletes. Although this competition is not as famous, the higher difficulty level in running from Riberia to Sé and up the steep steps of Guindais and Codessal attracts many competitive runners. Since, the participant numbers is limited to 500, visitors should apply early.
The Sao Joao Festivities held in Oporto on 23rd June are dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, coupled with the celebration of summer solstice. Celebrated for centuries, the festivities assumed public importance only in the 19th century. Festival revelers are found celebrating at street parties, taking delight in appetizing grilled sardines and meat, dancing and wine.
Serralves em Festa is a contemporary arts festival organized each year in the last weekend of May by the Serralves Foundation. Contemporary arts dominate the festival with plenty of entertainment opportunities at circus shows, dance and theater, exhibitions, film screenings, fairs and music concerts, on offer. A festival not to be missed, Serralves em Festa highlights the best of Portuguese talent. One of the main motivations to attend the festival is that the entry is free.
Venue: Museu De Arte Contemporanea De Serralves, Rua D. João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Oporto, Portugal
Fantasporto is competitive film festival held annually in Oporto since 1981, around mid February to early March. Initially, the festival focused only on fantasy and science fiction genre but with passing time, the organizers have warmed up to movies of all kinds. Yet, the Official Competitive Section is still exclusively reserved to sci-fi / fantasy films. A large range of genres from European and American productions are introduced to Portuguese film aficionados. Screenings are held in venues across Oporto.
Venue: Cinema Halls across Oporto, Portugal
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