The five best carnivals on the Iberian Peninsula
The carnivals you probably know best are those of Venice or Brazil, but those of the Iberian Peninsula also have a long tradition and are internationally renowned. If you want to find out more, here are the five most famous carnivals in Spain and Portugal.
Carnival of Cádiz
The Carnival of Cádiz, in southern Spain, is one of the most renowned in the country. It stands out not only for being a party full of colour and music, but also for the large doses of humour and satire used in the lyrics of its songs by the famous #chirigotas (music groups that sing in the streets).
In Cádiz it is also a tradition to celebrate "la Pestiñá" during Carnival, where the following are offered #pestiños, a sweet typical of the area, to attract visitors to the city.
This carnival is usually held in mid-February, but this year we won't be able to enjoy it until June, due to the rescheduling that has been done because of the pandemic.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival
The Santa Cruz carnival is one of the most important carnivals in the world and one of the most beautiful and colourful aesthetically speaking. You can find different shows and contests, but it is the drag shows and the carnival queens that make the carnival of this island city unique.
Tourists from all over Spain and the world come every year to see these carnivals, attracted by their beauty, their music and the good climate of the Canary Islands. As with the carnival in Cadiz, this year the Santa Cruz carnival is delayed until June. But don't worry, because we have more options for you to experience this festival like a true carnival-goer! We recommend that you book your accommodation well in advance.
The carnivals of this Extremaduran city have been among those that have grown the most in recent years, reaching a great relevance until they were declared, last January, a Festival of International Tourist Interest, and becoming the third most important carnival in Spain and different.
The highlight of these carnivals is the #murgas (this is the name given to the musical groups in the city of Badajoz) and the #comparsas (dance groups). You can find murgas and comparsas in different areas of the city during these days, bringing music and dances to the people of the city. If you go to the carnivals in Badajoz, you can't miss the great parade of comparsas, considered the best in Europe, thanks to the great show put on by the more than 7,000 people who take part in it, from all over Extremadura and Spain.
Here is a summary of the carnival.
Carnival of Torres Vedras
The carnival of Torres Vedras, in the district of Lisbon, is the most famous carnival in Portugal. The particularity of this festival is that every year a different theme is chosen around which the carnival is organised. Other typical elements of the carnival in this town are the " " carnivals ".#Matrafonas"(men dressed as women), the "cabeçudos" (figures with exaggerated faces and features) and the "Zés Pereiras" (a group of musicians).
The Torres Vedras carnivals usually have a preview in the summer months on the beach, with activities such as concerts and dance exhibitions.
This carnival in the Aveiro district of Portugal is one of the most extravagant carnivals in the country, and is recognised as the epicentre of Portuguese carnivals. "La gande festa da cidade", as it is known in Ovar, has such unique and personal traditions as the Night of the #Farrapada, in which nightly walks and parades take place around the city, decorated with lights and decorations. A must-see at this carnival is the parade of samba schools, which fill the city with Latin rhythms and lots of colour. You can't miss this carnival, which has been going on for more than 50 years and is considered the oldest in Portugal.
You can experience the Lusitanian carnival and the Badajoz carnival on their traditional dates, from 26 February to 1 March. These festivities are prepared to comply with all COVID protection measures.
These are some of the best known and most highly rated carnivals on the Iberian Peninsula, but you can enjoy this festivity in many other places in Spain and Portugal, and around the world.
If you want to know more about this special and fun festival, where to stay, the dates and best activities, to experience the carnival first hand, do not hesitate to contact us, we will design and organise a specific itinerary for you or your group.