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Best Medieval Fairs in Portugal

22 de April, 2024

Best Medieval Fairs in Portugal

The Medieval Fairs of Portugal are common in spring and summer, especially during the months of July and August. Explore the 2024 calendar and get ready to step back in time!
Feiras Medievais Portugal
Reading: 10 min

How about being transported to another time? Just like in other European countries, Portugal also has a vast calendar of events that recall the old fairs and markets of the Middle Ages. They began to spread across the country in the 1990s (Coimbra was the pioneer). In 2024, at least 45 medieval fairs will be held across the country by the end of the year. As well as boosting tourism and the local economy, generating jobs and income, these events usually mobilise communities, who often incorporate the spirit of the feast, decorate their houses and dress in character to create a period atmosphere. Not to mention how much fun they can be for the general public!

More common in summer, the Medieval Fairs take place mainly in July and August. Some are already well known, such as Silves, Óbidos, Santa Maria da Feira, Viana do Castelo and Sintra.

How is a Medieval Fair in Portugal?


The Medieval Setting

Many events of this kind usually take place in towns that still retain their medieval architecture. Portugal has various castles scattered around the country. In Óbidos, for example, there is a village surrounded by walls, with preserved 13th century architecture, which in itself makes a perfect setting for the party.

Medieval Decoration

The streets and the balconies of the houses are decorated with flags, banners and pennants bearing the traditional coats of arms of Portuguese families. Red carpets decorate noble areas, while straw covers the floor of the simplest environments. Chairs are replaced by straw benches.

Completing the scene are fairs that scatter torches, bonfires and hunting trophies along the street. Not to mention the instruments of torture common in the Middle Ages and the “bodies” of evildoers executed in public squares.

The atmosphere can also include smells: barbecue, drink and campfires.

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Typical Environments

In the burgos (population centers which sprang up around the castles), tents were set up, weapons were sharpened and men were prepared for battle. Camps of the military hosts defending the town are set up, for “the enemy lurks at any moment”.

Ancient trades such as goldsmiths, carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, furriers, among others, are demonstrated live. There are also spaces that recreate the old taverns and brothels. Not to mention the markets, present at all events.

Products on offer in the markets

In the stalls scattered around the streets there is a variety of handicraft products: jewellery, shoes, belts, sculptures, hunting weapons, toys, spices, fruit, incense, handmade soap, among other items. It is also possible to come across tents of fortune tellers and apothecaries.

king and Queen Best medieval fairs of Portugal

Recreation of Historical Events and Period Personages

Fools, princesses, knights, beggars, prostitutes and kings walk the streets. There is a procession accompanied by typical music and dancers. Jugglers and snake charmers show off their main skills. On stage, shows recall the historical battles that defined Portugal’s destiny. Duly dressed, actors and extras are everywhere. Many are not even professional actors, but the residents themselves, who make a point of participating. The municipal councils themselves invite and encourage this participation which, in some cases, can be remunerated.

Medieval games, games and sports

At some of these events it is also possible to contemplate – and participate in – period games and games. Wooden swords and horses, wooden stilts and activities with balls and ropes, which are sometimes available for those who want to try them out.

Gastronomy and Suppers

How about sitting at a banquet with land lords or diners, while watching a fair of knights? The toast can be with sangria, mead or craft beer. There is a bit of everything to eat: roast pork, migas, grilled meats, as well as various crepes and sweets. Most medieval fairs transform restaurants and bars into old-fashioned taverns. Glass and plastic cutlery is replaced by earthenware and wooden cutlery. And they don’t disappoint in terms of flavours!

See also: Top 7 Portuguese Heritage

Medieval Portugal: Fairs that will take you back to the middle ages

As we’ve already said, there are dozens of events taking place from north to south of the country. Some are bigger, lasting for days and already have a successful history; others are simpler and less traditional. We have gathered below some that we recommend. Click on the links to access more information:

Portugal Medieval Festivals and Fairs Calendar 2024

Óbidos Medieval Market: It’s 11 days of historical reenactment from July 18th to 28th, within the castle walls. The Óbidos medieval market has been happening since 2002. This year’s theme revolves around the scandalous rivalry between queens D. Matilde II and D. Beatriz, both married to D. Afonso III. Experience the Middle Ages with tournaments, royal banquets, disputes, weddings, and festivities. A must-see!

Afonsina Fair of Guimarães: Scheduled to take place from June 21st to 24th, this year’s event will portray “The Foundations of the Kingdom,” transporting visitors to the era of Portugal’s first kings. One of the novelties this year is the extension of the Afonsina Fair to the Couros Zone, thus involving the new area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage.

Medieval Journey of Santa Maria da Feira:The Santa Maria Fair is a true medieval journey, considered one of the main historical reenactment events in Europe. The founding and consolidation of the Kingdom of Portugal during the First Dynasty – either the Burgundy or Afonsine – is the backdrop for reenacting historical episodes that will mark the 25th edition of the event, from July 31st to August 11th, 2024.

Silves Medieval Fair: One of Portugal’s longest fairs, also spanning 11 days, will take place from August 9th to 17th. Further details about this edition have not yet been announced, but you can follow updates on the event’s Facebook page.

Medieval Days in Castro Mirim: Its 25th edition will happen from August 21st to 25th, 2024, centered around the gothic Castro Marim Castle (Vila Nova de Cerveira). The event features grand spectacles such as medieval horse tournaments, as well as exhibitions of Torture and Punishment Instruments.

Medieval Fair in Portugal: Dinner Party

Complete Calendar of Medieval Fairs and Festivals in Portugal 2024

May

1st to 5th – Medieval Fair of Benfica – Mata de Benfica, Benfica, Lisbon
3rd to 5th – Medieval Fair of São Pedro da Cadeira – São Pedro da Cadeira, Torres Vedras
9th to 12th – Santarém Medieval – Courts and Legends – Santarém
9th to 12th – Medieval Fair of Portela – Portela, Loures
10th to 12th – Iberian Medieval Fair of Avis – Avis
10th to 12th – Pernes Medieval – Pernes, Santarém
11th – Historical Archery Tournament Santarém – Santarém
16th to 19th – Medieval Fair of Odivelas – Odivelas
16th to 19th – Medieval Fair of Corroios – Corroios, Seixal
17th to 19th – Marialva Medieval – Marialva, Mêda
17th to 19th – Historical Festival of V. R. Santo António – Vila Real de Santo António
17th to 19th – Reenactment of the Battle of Mirandum – Miranda do Corvo
18th and 19th – Quinhentist Market of Moure de Madalena – Moure de Madalena, Campo, Viseu
18th – Templar Days of Moncorvo – Torre de Moncorvo
18th and 19th – Medieval Market of Vila de Rei – Vila de Rei
18th and 19th – Medieval Fair of Penela – Penela
19th – Historical Archery Tournament of Leiria – Leiria
22nd to 26th – Roman Braga – Braga
24th to 26th – Term of Payalvo – Tomar
25th and 26th – Renaissance Fair of Terras de Algodres – Fornos de Algodres
25th – Roman Malafaia of Várzea de Arouca – Várzea de Arouca, Arouca
29th to 2nd – Period Fair of Torres Novas – Torres Novas
31st to 2nd – Eighteenth-Century Market of Arruda dos Vinhos – Arruda dos Vinhos
31st to 2nd – Medieval Fair of S. Paio de Figueiredo – S. Paio de Figueiredo, Figueiredo, Guimarães
31st to 2nd – Renaissance Fair of Vila Viçosa – Vila Viçosa
31st to 2nd – Medieval Tournament and Fair of Ansiães – Carrazeda de Ansiães

June

7th to 9th – Medieval Fair of Aldeia Galega – Aldeia Galega da Merceana, Alenquer
7th to 9th – Quinhentist Fair of Aldeia Galega – Aldeia Galega, Alenquer
7th to 10th – Medieval Fair of Lamego – Lamego
7th to 9th – Quinhentist Market Machico – Machico
7th to 10th – Historical Market Lousada – Lousada
7th to 10th – Alhos Vedros Medieval – Alhos Vedros, Moita
8th to 10th – Medieval Fair of Lobelhe do Mato – Lobelhe do Mato, Mangualde
9th – Historical Archery Tournament of Castro Marim – Castro Marim
14th to 16th – Medieval Fair of Belver – Belver, Gavião
14th to 16th – Medieval Fair of Montemor-o-Novo – Montemor-o-Velho
14th to 16th – Medieval Moalde of São Mamede Infesta – São Mamede Infesta, Matosinhos
15th – Medieval Market of Azambuja – Azambuja
21st to 24th – Afonsina Medieval Fair of Guimarães – Guimarães
22nd and 23rd – Templar Days of Mafra – Mafra
28th to 30th – Medieval Fair of Beato – Beato, Lisbon
28th to 30th – Royal Wedding in Trancoso – Trancoso

July

5th to 7th – Medieval Fair of Pero Pinheiro – Pero Pinheiro
5th to 7th – Medieval Market of Cambra – Vouzela – Cambra, Vouzela
5th to 7th – Medieval Fair of Penedono – Penedono
7th – Historical Archery Tournament Montemor-o-Velho – Montemor-o-Velho
10th to 14th – Templar Festival of Tomar – Tomar
11th to 14th – Pirate Festival of Leça da Palmeira – Leça Da Palmeira, Matosinhos
11th to 14th – Quinhentist Fair of Ribeira Grande – Ribeira Grande
13th and 14th – Quinhentist Fair of Vila de Erra – Erra, Coruche
18th to 21st – Medieval Leiria – Leiria
18th to 21st – Galaicofolia of Esposende – Esposende
18th to 28th – Medieval Market of Óbidos – Óbidos
19th to 21st – Arouca: History of a Monastery – Arouca
19th and 20th – Reenactment of the Battle of Vimeiro – Vimeiro, Lourinhã
19th to 21st – Medieval Fair of Coimbra – Coimbra
19th to 21st – Medieval Journeys of Canelas do Douro – Canelas do Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia
21st – Historical Archery Tournament Torres Novas – Torres Novas
26th to 28th – Medieval Fair of Encoberta – Encoberta, Pindo, Penalva do Castelo
31st to 11th – Medieval Journey in the Lands of Santa Maria da Feira – Santa Maria da Feira

August

2nd to 4th – Mysteria Enchanted Market – Vila do Carvalho, Covilhã
9th to 11th – Vilela Medieval – Vilela, Paredes
9th to 11th – Medieval Fair of Belmonte – Belmonte
9th to 17th – Medieval Fair of Silves – Silves
10th to 15th – Aljubarrota Medieval – Aljubarrota, Alcobaça
21st to 25th – Medieval Days of Castro Marim – Castro Marim
24th – Templar Days of Vinhais – Vinhais
30th and 31st – Reenactment of the Siege of Almeida – Almeida
30th to 1st – Medieval Market of Cordinhã – Cordinhã, Cantanhede

September

7th – Dance and Historical Music Festival of Levada – Levada, Tomar
10th to 15th – Hospitallers on the Way of Santiago – Leça Do Balio, Matosinhos
10th to 15th – Medieval Fair of Leça do Balio – Leça Do Balio, Matosinhos
13th to 15th – Alvalade Medieval – Alvalade do Sado, Santiago do Cacém
20th to 22nd – Quinhentist Fair of Coina – Coina, Barreiro
21st and 22nd – Ceyceira Medieval – Tomar
21st to 23rd – Walls with History – Sortelha, Sabugal
27th to 29th – Medieval Fair of Palmela – Palmela
28th – Templar Days of Idanha-a-Velha – Idanha-a-Velha, Idanha-a-Nova

October

4th to 6th – Al Mossassa Festival – Marvão
4th to 6th – Medieval Fair of Canas de Senhorim – Canas de Senhorim, Nelas
5th – Historical Archery Tournament of Aljubarrota – C.I. da Batalha de Aljubarrota, Aljubarrota, Alcobaça
12th to 14th – Medieval Fair Casa do Penedo – Casa do Penedo, Moreira do Rei, Fafe
12th and 13th – Templar Days of Tomar – Tomar
13th – Historical Archery Tournament of Tomar – Tomar
20th – Historical Archery Tournament Silves – Silves
26th and 27th – Templar Days of Monsaraz – Monsaraz, Reguengos de Monsaraz

November

10th – Historical Archery Tournament Torres Vedras – Torres Vedras

Come Live in Portugal!

The annual calendar of medieval festivals and fairs in Portugal is quite extensive, making these events accessible to everyone. If you enjoy themed events, be sure to discover and be enchanted by Portugal’s medieval fairs! And if you’ve been inspired by Portugal’s culture and history and wish to turn that admiration into a life experience, Atlantic Bridge is here to help. Our expertise in citizenship and visas can facilitate your journey to live in Portugal. Contact us today and discover how we can make your dream of residing in this beautiful country a reality.

Want to Live in Portugal? Click Here To Contact Us >

Atlantic Lovers* is a special edition of Atlantic Bridge whose mission is to integrate our clients, friends and partners around the best that Portugal has to offer.

*Silvia Resende is marketing manager at Atlantic Bridge. From Bahia, she arrived in Portugal in 2015 to build a new life with her family. She has a degree and a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and has worked as a TV presenter, event producer, public relations, copywriter and tour guide in Porto. She loves to travel and to discover the cultural heritage of each place she goes. And she loves to talk about the cultural richness of Portugal!

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