Celebrating the ocean in the Algarve
If you're thinking of taking a last minute break - and you love seafood, be quick and book a trip to Faro now for the last few days of the Ria Formosa Festival.
From 27 July to 5 August in Faro, it's all about seafood and beer. The annual Ria Formosa Festival celebrates the beautiful and tasty produce from the Ria Formosa lagoon. Tables are plentiful with seafood from shrimp to spider crab, cockles to oysters and whelks to sardines. You can try popular dishes such as seafood bean stew or polenta with cockles and razor clam with rice (this would be my pick - i love those razor clams!).
Razor clams - get those in your mouth!
Set in the heart of Faro in São Francisco square, the festival opens from 6pm and goes on to the wee hours of the morning. And like any good festival, there will be plenty of live music to enjoy too!
Big on sardines
Beach days on Praia de Rocha Portimão
The portuguese being pretty big fans of the sardine, there's a festival all about sardines too! The Sardine Festival takes place every year in the town of Portimão, an hour's drive west from Faro on the Algarve coast. In addition to music, handicrafts, street theatre and fado music (Portuguese folk music, see below for more on fados), this year will also see a exhibition on the canning industry so you can learn all about the art of sardines in cans too... There will of course be plenty of food to make your tastebuds water with restaurants and up to 100 stands will serve a wide range of local produce. You can pick up a nice handicraft whilst you're there too!
Celebrate the Sardine Festival at the Parque de Feiras e Exposicões from 3 August to 11 August. The action and the grills don't get going until 6.30pm with entertainment on hand until 1am. Tickets can be bought at the venue and is €5 per person, €16 for a family ticket or €14 for a three-day ticket for one.
Perhaps sardines are more your thing?
You can spend lazy days on the beach and save your energies for filling up on good food and great entertainment in the evening.
And once your stomachs are happy, why not treat your ears…
Sad and beautiful
A fado in Portugal is a little like a tango in Argentina - music full of mournful tunes and lyrics. Writers of fados often look to the sea for inspiration. It's melancholic and full of 'saudade' (one of my favourite words), which means something like a deep longing or feeling of loss (hmm… I feel like this might not be all that encouraging for lots of folk but I love sad music!). The music is sad but sad music can be beautiful. Anyway, it's worth checking out. And for a couple more days in August, you can if you're in the Algarve…
You can listen to Fados in the moonlight on the following dates. Shows start at 10pm.
9 August in Jardim 5 de Outubro, Lagoa 11 August in the square next to the Rua do Municipio in Parchal, close to Portimão
Enjoy more of the Algarve with a great deal Faro Airport car hire. Not got your car hire booked yet? Do so now here! Don't forget, we've got a no quibbles refund so there's no downside to just getting one booked...
And if you are heading to the Algarve this summer, read our post with information about Portugal's electronic tolls...