The Portuguese music festivals, also known as Portuguese summer festivals, appeared more than 30 years ago, however it was only in the late 90’s that they started to have more relevance at a national and international level, being today one of the main reasons why tourists visit Portugal.
Vilar de Mouros Festival, in Caminha, was the first major and live music festival to appear in Portugal. In 1971, this festival was compared to the the mythical Woodstock Festival, that took place in the United States of America, in 1969.
Despite the fact that the country was under a dictatorship, around 30 000 people from Portugal and from all over Europe headed to the small village of Vilar de Mouros, in the north of the country, to take part in one of the greatest summer festivals to date.
The headliner for that year was the acclaimed Elton John but in this edition and in the following several Portuguese bands appeared, bands that were responsible for the dissemination of rock in Portugal – Quarteto 1111, GNR, Xutos & Pontapés, etc.
Since then, this festival didn’t take place for several occasions because of the lack of investment and support. However, it is still one of the most emblematic Portuguese summer festivals.
Next, I’ll show you some of the best music festivals in Portugal, from north to south.
First, I suggest that you watch this video to discover everything that you’ll find at this festival:
Located just 35 km away from Vilar de Mouros, Paredes de Coura music festival is one of the oldest in Portugal and takes place in August, with a duration of four days.
This summer festival stands out from the others because it takes place in a non-urban location, at Taboão river beach. If you go to this festival, know that you’ll listen to all sorts of music genres like rock, indie and alternative music.
However, it’s not only music that stands out in this festival, there are so many things that make of this place one of the best for making music festivals. This venue is unique due to its natural amphitheatre and the trees surrounding it, providing shade during the afternoon.
Here, festival-goers can also go for a swim in Coura river, that passes right next to the venue, and sunbathe in a relaxing atmosphere. In addition, people can camp in the surrounding area so that they can be closer to all the fun.
- Location: Jardim da Praia Fluvial do Taboão, 4940-000 Paredes de Coura
- Site: www.paredesdecoura.com
Important information: you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent or a hotel room. Prices can go from 170 € to 305 €, depending on your choice.
Located in Porto City Park, NOS Primavera Sound is one of the youngest Portuguese summer festivals and it takes place in June, with a duration of three days.
The first edition occurred in 2012 and, since then, the festival tends to follow the guidelines of its Spanish (Barcelona) counterpart, despite taking place in a more intimate and relaxing atmosphere.
One of the main attractions of this festival is the fact that it is located in Porto city, chosen as the European Best Destination for several times.
This festival stands out for its line-up that gives special relevance to Portuguese bands but includes international performers and bands as well. Caetano Veloso, Pixies, PJ Harvey, Bon Iver are some of the performers that have already taken the stages of this festival.
If you go to this festival, take the opportunity to visit all that Porto has to offer: discover the beautiful Cathedral (Sé do Porto), Clérigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos), Casa da Música (a concert hall), Ribeira and much more. You must also try the famous francesinha and savour the well-known port wine.
- Location: Estrada da Circunvalação, 15800, 4100-183 Matosinhos
- Site: www.nosprimaverasound.com
Important information: you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent or a hotel room. Prices can go from 140 € to 385 €, depending on your choice.
Taking place since 2007, NOS Alive festival (previously known as Optimus Alive and Oeiras Alive) has a duration of three days; its tickets are the first to sell out.
Since its first edition, NOS Alive stands out for its amazing line-up that presents some new Portuguese bands but especially because of the international headliners. Several well-known performers and bands have already been on stage, names like Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Bob Dylan, Metallica, Manic Street Preachers, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Muse, Arcade Fire and others!
I can tell you that this is one of the best Portuguese summer festivals and, according to CNN, it is in the top 10 of the best music festivals in the world. Apart from that, whoever goes to this festival must also take the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – Lisbon!
If you go to this festival and still have time, don’t forget to visit the majestic Hieronymites Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) and the Centro Cultural de Belém that are a few minutes away from the venue; you can also take public transportation and visit other points of interest in the Portuguese capital.
- Location: Passeio Marítimo de Algés, 1495-165 Oeiras
- Site: http://nosalive.com
Important information: you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent, an apartment or a hotel room. Prices can go from 100 € to 345 €, depending on your choice.
Apart from NOS Alive, Rock in Rio Lisboa is another amazing music festival that takes place in the Portuguese capital. This is one of the most acclaimed Portuguese summer festivals and occurs every two years, since 2004.
After the first event took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rock in Rio became an international event and today is present in other countries: Portugal, Spain and United States of America. More than 2 million festival-goers went to Rock in Rio Lisboa and many more will show up in the future events.
More than a music festival, Rock in Rio stands out because it approaches subjects like socio-environmental responsibility and sustainability – one of its main interests is the reforestation of Amazonia.
During the various editions of Rock in Rio Lisboa, several well-known performers and bands took on the stage: Paul McCartney, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Shakira, Muse, Linkin Park, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many more!
If you’re thinking of going to this event in the Portuguese capital, try to make some time to visit the historic quarters of Lisbon and other points of interest throughout the city.
- Location: Parque da Bela Vista, Marvila, 1950-000 Lisboa
- Site: https://rockinriolisboa.sapo.pt/lisboa/en
Important information: you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent, an apartment or a hotel room.
First, I suggest that you watch this video to discover everything that you’ll find at this festival:
Located right outside Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park, this is one of the oldest Portuguese summer festivals and one of the longest, it lasts five days and takes place in August.
This music festival stands out from many others because it is located far from the biggest cities and because it offers to festival-goers the possibility to enjoy the wonderful beaches of Alentejo. Near the venue you will find the well-known beaches of Zambujeira do Mar (a bus can take you from the venue to the beach for free), Tonel, Alteirinhos, Nossa Senhora and others.
For those who don’t want to waste time going to the beach, know that there is a canal at the camping site, just next to the venue, where you can go for a swim and enjoy the sun while relaxing before the concerts.
During this 5-day summer festival, you can listen to many music genres, such as electronic music, rock, pop and Reggae. Many are the performers that have already taken on the stage, names like: Martin Garrix, Whiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Emeli Sandé and David Guetta.
- Location: Herdade da Casa Branca, 7630-174 Zambujeira do Mar
- Site: http://sudoeste.meo.pt/en
Important information: you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent, an apartment or a hotel room. Prices can go from 155 € to 457 €, depending on your choice.
Other Portuguese summer festivals
There are many other music festivals in Portugal, from north to south (and islands), that attract thousands of festival-goers every year. Discover some other festivals below!
Super Bock Super Rock is over 20 years old and is another festival that takes place in the Portuguese capital. During three days in July, thousands of people go to the north bank of Tagus river to watch and listen to some of their favourite performers.
You can purchase a daily ticket or a pass for three days; you can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent, an apartment or a hotel room. Prices can go from 130 € to 365 €, depending on your choice.
Located 20 km away from the centre of Lisbon, EDP Cool Jazz stands out from many others because the preferred music genres are jazz, blues, soul and funk. Aside from that, this festival takes place in two different locations of significant historical importance: at the Parque dos Poetas (Poets Park) and at the Jardins do Marquês de Pombal (Marquês de Pombal Gardens), both in Oeiras.
You can purchase a daily ticket or, as an alternative, you can purchase a package that combines the ticket with a hotel room. Prices can go from 86 € to 305 €, depending on your choice.
Far from the biggest cities, Sumol Summer Fest is probably the cheapest of the Portuguese summer festivals and is located at the beautiful village of Ericeira. At this event, electronic music and other genres set the tone for two amazing nights of sound and light – an event that you can’t miss!
You can purchase a daily ticket or a pass for the two days of this festival. You can also purchase a package that combines the ticket with a camping tent or a hotel room. Prices can go from 38 € to 60 €, depending on your choice.
We can’t forget other music festivals in Portugal such as MEO Marés Vivas, located on the beautiful south bank of Douro river and facing Porto; Sol da Caparica Festival in Almada; NOS Summer Opening, one of the youngest Portuguese summer festivals that takes place in the “pearl of the Atlantic”, the island of Madeira; and the hard rock and heavy metal festivals VOA and Vagos Metal Fest.
These are some of the best and biggest Portuguese summer festivals, events that bring thousands of people to this amazing country every year.
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