Lisbon Travel Guide


Lisbon Fado Festival
Every year a different port city in the world is invited to perform their traditional music in Lisbon together with the most famous Fado singers.

Sailing: The King Juan Carlos' Cup
Cascais has always been a favourite haunt of the Spanish royal family. They lived here for a time and this competition, held here annually in March/April, is named after King Juan Carlos. The event consists of a number of International Dragon Class regattas and is a sporting event of major national and international importance.

Great World Orchestras
April and June
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation host every year the most famous orchestras from all over the world.

Tennis Estoril Open
The ATP/WTA Estoril Open opens the clay court competition season. Every year, some of the best tennis players in the world take part in this competition. The winner in 2000 was Carlos Maya and in 2001 Juan Carlos Ferrero.The first two days are qualifying rounds and after that the main draw takes place.

International Bridge Tournament
Hundreds of top ranking Portuguese and international bridge players gather on the Estoril Coast and compete for the Grand International Bridge Prize.

World Amateur Golf Festival
A 10-day festival of golf at several Costa Azul and Estoril-Sintra courses. Apart from the golf, there is an exciting social programme for both participants and their non-playing partners.

Bullfighting Opening Season at the Campo Pequeno
The 10,000-seater Campo Pequeno is one of the largest bullrings in the world, with an impressive Moorish architecture and a dazzling calendar of corridas and bullfighting events. Sadly, renovation work has been delayed and although originally meant to reopen in May 2001, it is now back in action in May 2004. Meanwhile many of the main bullfights are being staged at Santarém, Chamusca, Nazaré and Vilafranca bullrings, between 25km (15 miles) and 125km (88 miles) outside Lisbon. Please note that in the Portuguese bullfight, the bull is not killed.

The Gulbenkian Contemporary Music Encounters
May & June
This event promotes understanding of the language and styles of contemporary music. It brings important, widely known vanguard musicians and musical ensembles to the Gulbenkian Foundation stages.

Estoril and Sintra: Classic Cars Competition
Dozens of vintage cars assemble at the Queen Amelia Square in Sintra and the Estoril Casino Gardens for this competition. An international jury awards prizes for the beauty and condition of the cars. They are true museum pieces and this is a wonderful opportunity to admire them. The cars, dating back to the early 20th century, are assessed for maintenance, restoration, beauty and rarity. The competition is an annual event held in June and all the cars in the competition are on show to the public.

Cascais Sailing Week
The Estoril Coast Tourist Board sponsors every year a Sailing Week in Cascais Bay. This is a major event in a sport at which Portugal excels at international level.

Lisbon Festivities
12-30 June
Lisbon celebrates the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints) by decorating the city. Barely a street escapes as paper lanterns, streamers and coloured lights are hung from balconies and railings.
As a symbol of affection people present each other with little pots of basil and paper carnations on which they write poems to each other. There are parades in each district and everywhere there is music and dancing. In the evening make your way up to the Alfama, where sardines are grilled outside the houses and the narrow streets fill with people in the party mood. There is a big parade on the night of the 12 June for St Antonio which makes its way along the Avenida da Liberdade. The old quarters of Alfama and Mouraria are particularly busy and celebrations continue until dawn. The people of Portugal have a saint for every event and eventuality. Each village has their own patron saint and a day which is set aside each year to honour him or her, always celebrated with gusto. No one works, and the partying, music, dancing and eating can go on for up to a week.

Sintra Music Festival
The idyllic town of Sintra (Unesco's World Heritage) welcomes one of Portugal’s most emblematic festivals, with the presence of great international names of classical dance and music. At the refined and welcoming atmosphere, the dance performances take place at the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre and the musical shows, besides the Cultural Centre, will be set at the sceneries of the Pena Palace, the Town Palace, the Queluz Palace and the Regaleira Estate.
The festival consists of piano recitals or chamber music concerts performed in the most beautiful settings you can imagine.

European Wave Freestyle Funboard Champions
June & July
Every year, the world’s best surfers come to Guincho Beach to compete in the European Championship.

Jazz on a Summer's Day
In the first fortnight of July, some of the best exponents of this very special kind of music come to our country for this event. Thousands of jazz enthusiasts flock to Cascais’ Palmela Park Auditorium for a series of jazz concerts. Both the Portuguese and international press have referred to the event as a wonderful festival in which jazz reigns supreme.

Sintra Ballet Festivals
July & August
This is a dance event with a difference. The festival performances take place outdoors, in the spacious gardens of Seteais Palace in the surroundings of the World Heritage Village of Sintra.

Estoril Coast International Crafts Fair
July & August
Portugal’s longest established crafts fair. Every July and August, hundreds of craftspeople from all over the world set up their workshops and you can watch them model clay, paint tiles, carve wood and weave wool or linen. The International Crafts Fair is a wonderful opportunity to sample the gastronomic specialities of the various parts of Portugal and to enjoy music and folk dancing from many different places.

Capuchos Music Festival
Mid July & August
The Gulbenkian Orchestra soloists perform in the spectacular cliff top setting of the “Capuchos” convent in Sintra. 20th century music, avant-garde and baroque pieces compose the program of this festival.

Estoril Music Festival
July - August
First held in 1975, the Estoril Music Festival greets the summer with five weeks of great music. Situated just 15km west of Lisbon, with some of the larger concerts taking place in the capital, it is easy to get to even if you're just visiting for a city break.

BaixAnima Street Festival
July - September
Music, dance, theatre, circus, sport and a touch of the bizarre mingle at Lisbon's summer BaixAnima festival. The flamboyant event takes place every weekend from July to September in the commercial Baixa quarter, centering on Rua Augusta. Although only in its infancy, BaixAnima(pronounced "Byshanima"), a City Council Tourism Department initiative, is already firmly fixed in the city's summer calendar.

Jazz At The Gulbenkian
Jazz is performed in an open-air amphitheatre set in one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. Throughout the month this foundation provides regular concerts featuring famous names of the international jazz scene.

Estoril Coast International Dogs' Show
This is Portugal’s longest established, biggest and most prestigious dog show. Hundreds of dogs from both Portugal and abroad are assessed and awarded prizes by an international jury. Apart from the main events, there is also a wide variety of individual breed shows of dogs including Spaniels, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Pointers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Collies and Greyhounds. This takes place in the second fortnight of August.

Portugal's Motorcycle Grand Prix
Apart from playing host to many national and international competitions, the Estoril Autodrome is the venue for the Portuguese Motorcycle Grand Prix. This is held annually in September and there are races for 125cc, 250 cc and E 500 cc machines. An opportunity to see the very best on two wheels.

Ancient Music Festival
Organized and held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

São Carlos National Theatre Opera Season
October to May

International Golf Week
Golf is one of the sports for which Portugal is best known abroad. The Coast of Estoril and Sintra, with its 9 superb golf courses, has played a major part in creating this good reputation. The golf schedule includes a number of tournaments and this is one of the best.

National Horse Fair
The National Horse Fair in Golegã, known until 1972 as the Saint Martin's Fair, is the best of its kind in Portugal. It still takes place in conjunction with the saint's celebrations, when bulls are run through the town and there is a parade of red-waistcoated grooms. The main event focuses on equestrian activities, with competitions, games, exhibitions and parades at the fairground and around the town. The festival is divided into different competitions: the Horse Driving Competition, which consists of Dressage, Marathon and Cones with horse and carriage; the Endurance Ride Competition; Showjumping; Gymkana for juniors; the Portuguese Horsemanship Competition; the National Dressage Competition; the Three- and Four-Years-Old Competitions; the National Competition of Working Horses; the Horse Driving Derby and Team Cross Country. In addition there are traditional parades of riders and carriages, and the Portuguese Traditional Riding School Show. No Portuguese fair would be complete without local and national gastronomy. This is a popular festival and it's worth booking accommodation in advance.

Concerts Of 'Igreja São Roque'
November & December
Weekly winter concerts in the spectacular setting of this recently restored 16th century church that constitute the perfect backdrop for “Antic Music”.

Public Holidays

Mar/Apr - Good Friday
Feb/Mar - Carnaval Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday)
1 Jan - New Year's Day
May/Jun - Corpus Christi
1 Dec - Independence Day
10 Jun - Portugal Day or Camões & the Communities Day
1 Nov - All Saints' Day
5 Oct - Republic Day
15 Aug - Feast of the Assumption
25 Apr - Liberty Day
1 May - Labour Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
8 Dec - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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