Portimão Sardine Festival returns in August

Charcoal-grilled sardines, live music and plenty of entertainment return to the town’s riverfront

Portimão Sardine Festival is gearing up for a glorious return between August 3 and 7, promising five nights of delicious sardines and live music along the town’s riverfront between the local museum and the Lota building.

The event – recently hailed the number one summer food festival in Europe by travel blog Big 7 Travel – was last held in 2019 and attracted a record 100,000 people.

However, it was not able to build on this success after being cancelled for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisers are hoping this edition will continue where the last left off.

Riverside restaurants and dozens of stalls will be serving charcoal-grilled sardines during the course of the event, either ‘no pão’ (on bread) or served with the traditional sides of boiled potatoes and Algarve-style salad. There will also be stalls selling regional handicraft and sweets.

Music plays a big part in the event, as organisers bring renowned Portuguese artists to the town every year.

This year, the musical line-up features João Leote and Maria Liz (August 3), David Fonseca (August 4), Bárbara Tinoco (August 5), Wet Bed Gang (August 6) and David Carreira (August 7).

Younger visitors will also have something to look forward to at Petinga Park, a play area with bouncy castles and several free fun activities.

The festival will open every day at 6pm and end at midnight. Admission is free.

Festivities will be preceded by a recreation of a boat unloading fish – a common sight along the riverside several decades ago – on August 2 at 9am, featuring around 50 actors. This will be followed by a ‘sardinhada’ (sardine party) at 1pm and a performance by Lucky Duckies, a band known for their repertoire of 1940s, 50s and 60s music.