Alcoutim floating bridge

Cross Guadiana River on foot this weekend

Floating footbridge links Alcoutim and Spain for Smuggling Festival

The usually quiet town of Alcoutim in the Eastern Algarve is preparing to host its biggest event of the year: the Guadiana Smuggling Festival.

Taking place between Friday and Sunday (March 24-26), the event is most famous for its floating footbridge which links Alcoutim and Sanlúcar de Guadiana in Spain, providing an opportunity to cross the Guadiana River on foot.

But the festival has much more to offer, including a variety of street entertainment and musical performances on both sides of the border.

There are also some new additions to this year’s event, such as a costume contest which will encourage visitors to dress up as people did in the 1930s and 1940s in Alcoutim.

The river beach of Alcoutim will also host a Craft Beer Market, showcasing some of the best craft beers in Portugal.

Organisers have also arranged for a bus route which will allow visitors to park at the Alcoutim industrial area in Balurcos and catch a bus which will take them straight to the festivities. The same service will be offered at the new car park which has been set up along the EN-122-1 road.

The festival harkens back to a time when contraband was key to survival in these communities.

The goal is to show how life was so hard for local communities that late-night smuggling was seen as an opportunity for a better life and future.

Festivities will begin at 1pm on Friday and at 10.30am on Saturday and Sunday and continue until after midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 10pm on Sunday.

As Alcoutim mayor Osvaldo Gonçalves has pointed out, the festival has gained “an important place in the regional events calendar”.

“In Alcoutim, it is enormously relevant. It is the greatest cultural event of the year,” said the mayor.

The full programme can be found online at

By Michael Bruxo
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