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Water sports such as swimming, snorkelling, windsurfing and big-game fishing are popular along the Algarve Coast, while surfing is big along the west coast. With advance notice, organisations can also provide a weekend of canyoning and hydrospeed near Porto. Southern Portugal is dense with championship-standard golf courses. Other activities include mountain biking, hiking and pony trekking in the Serra da Estrela and Peneda-Gerês regions.


Portugal abounds with romarias (religious pilgrimages), festas (festivals) and feiras (fairs) which bring whole towns to a standstill. At the core of many are religious processions. The further north you go, the more traditional and less touristy these celebrations get. Carnaval is one of the biggest events, featuring partying, parading and painted faces about six weeks before Easter. There are vast and colourful processions during Braga's Easter or Holy Week Festival. The Festa de São João in June is biggest in Porto where everyone dances through the streets, amicably hitting each other over the head with leeks. The Feira de São Martinho (Golegã, November) showcases all manner of horses, riding contests and bullfights.

Public Holidays

New Years Day - 1st January

Carnaval Tuesday - February/March - day before Ash Wednesday

Good Friday - March/April

Liberty Day - 25 April - celebrating 1974 revolution

Labour Day - 1 May

Corpus Christi May/June - ninth Thursday after Easter

Portugal Day 10 June - also known as Camões & the Communities Day

Feast of the Assumption - 15 August

Republic Day - 5 October - commemorating 1910 declaration of Portuguese Republic

All Saints' Day - 1 November

Independence Day - 1 December - commemorating 1640 restoration of independence from Spain

Feast of the Immaculate Conception - 8 December

Christmas Day 25 December

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