Carnival fever hits the Algarve this weekend

Carnival celebrations will be taking place throughout the region from today (Friday) until February 24, with many towns playing host to processions and masquerade balls.

The biggest and brightest celebrations in the Algarve can be found in Loulé.

Each year, the Câmara closes off part of the centre of the city to allow a cortege of fantasy floats and marching bands to parade through Avenida José da Costa Mealha.

Thousands of visitors flock to Loulé every year to marvel at the region’s miniature Rio de Janeiro parade. This year’s theme for the city, which is celebrating its 103rd parade, is joy and nature, so visitors can expect to see risqué costumes, Latin dancers and 17 ostentatiously decorated floats. The parade will run from Sunday until Tuesday from 3pm each day.

Portimão will also be hosting a parade to rival others across the region and putting the city firmly on the must see list of Carnival events this year. The first parade will take place on Sunday from 2pm in Mexilhoeira Grande, followed by a masquerade ball.

The main parade through the streets of Portimão will take place on Tuesday, February 24 from 3pm, with one in Alvor due to start at 2.30pm on the same day.

Renowned Portuguese actress and model, Rita Pereira will be drawing the crowds to the eastern Algarve as she takes on the role of Carnival queen in Vila Real de Santo’s (VRSA) parade this year.

The parade, which is dedicated to the theme of the Olympic Games, is due to take place from 3pm through the streets of VRSA on Sunday and again at the same time in Monte Gordo on February 24.

For full details of Carnival parades and other events across the region, please see our What’s On guide in the leisure section.