Events in Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo is a lively district.
In addition to the religious festivals and pilgrimages that take place throughout the year in the city of Viana, there are many other events happening in the district
From cultural events to wine events and themed gatherings, Viana do Castelo offers an annual program to suit all tastes.
Every month, there is at least one major event happening in the city of Viana do Castelo or its surroundings.
So, if you are planning your vacation in Viana do Castelo and are unsure when to visit the city, take a look at the event that best suits your personal preferences and come to this wonderful corner of Portugal during that month.
Below, you can see all the events that take place in Viana do Castelo throughout the year:
- Viana em Folia
- Páscoa Doce
- SWR Barroselas Metalfest
- Ler em Viana
- Encontros de Cinema de Viana
- Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde
- Wine & Blues Festival
- Mercado dos Descobrimentos
- Percursos da Música Festival in Ponte de Lima
- Alto Minho International Folklore Festival
- Contrasta Festival in Valença
- Folk Celta Festival in Ponte da Barca
- Jazz na Praça da Erva
- Ponte D’Lima Festival
- Neopop Festival
- Vilar de Mouros Festival
- Viana Bate Forte Festival
- Viana, Coração do Natal
If you want to know more details about each of these events, keep reading this article and discover everything you need.
Viana em Folia
“Viana em Folia” is an event that celebrates Carnival in Viana do Castelo.
It takes place in the Historic Center of the city and lasts for five days. The event occurs in either February or March, depending on the date of Carnival in that particular year.
During the five days of the event, Viana do Castelo prepares a special program that involves the entire city and its population in the celebration of Carnival.
There are children’s entertainment shows, dance performances, dance classes, mask-making workshops, and DJ performances.
In the last edition, the Carnival Run was added to the program, where the entire population of Viana do Castelo participated in a race wearing their Carnival masks and costumes.
And for those who enjoy competitions, in addition to the race, the evening program of “Viana em Folia” also includes a mask contest to award the best Carnival costume in Viana do Castelo.
“Viana em Folia” is therefore synonymous with fun and entertainment during the five days it takes place.
Visit Viana do Castelo during these five days and enjoy one of the best Carnival events in Portugal.
“Páscoa Doce” is the event in Viana do Castelo dedicated to Easter celebrations and takes place in the month of April.
However, unlike other Portuguese cities that only celebrate for two or three days, Viana do Castelo organizes a special program that extends over eight days with many activities and entertainment.
Among the activities, there are notable children’s workshops for Easter-themed decorations, temporary art exhibitions, and musical performances.
But it doesn’t end there.
In “Páscoa Doce,” there is also a highlight on gastronomy.
As part of the event, Viana do Castelo organizes a Fair of Easter Delicacies, featuring typical gastronomic products of the Easter season.
Another gastronomy-related initiative that takes place during “Páscoa Doce” is the Traditional Sweets Tour of Viana do Castelo. It allows the local population and visitors to explore the city’s various pastry shops and sample their famous sweets.
It’s a great opportunity to explore the local commerce and indulge in traditional Viana sweets, such as Tortas de Viana, Sidónios, or Natário’s Bolas de Berlim.
In addition to the strong gastronomic component, “Páscoa Doce” also features a religious program throughout the eight days of the event.
There are several religious celebrations that take place during this week in Viana do Castelo, such as the Procession of Senhor dos Passos, the Passion Mass, the Procession of the Santíssimo Sacramento, and the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, among others.
During “Páscoa Doce,” the Municipal Council also organizes a religious itinerary that visits 24 chapels and churches in the city of Viana do Castelo, allowing all visitors to have the opportunity to explore the sacred places of the city. Moreover, exclusively during this week, these churches and chapels are open at night for prayer.
“Páscoa Doce” provides, in this way, a perfect combination of religion, gastronomy, and entertainment in one single event.
If you are looking for a themed event related to the Easter season that includes these three components, the proposal offered by the Municipal Council of Viana do Castelo is ideal for you.
It is the perfect choice for experiencing a different Easter week than usual.
Visit the city of Viana do Castelo and join in on this grand celebration.
SWR Barroselas Metalfest
For metal festival enthusiasts, the SWR Barroselas Metalfest is the ideal event.
The first edition took place in 1998, and it is one of the oldest festivals in Europe dedicated to this genre of music.
The festival takes place in the village of Barroselas, located in the municipality of Viana do Castelo, and it spans four days, featuring numerous concerts by international and national extreme music bands.
Each day of the festival features around twelve bands, divided among three stages, with performances starting in the afternoon and extending late into the night.
The SWR Barroselas Metalfest has hosted iconic extreme music bands such as Venom, Kreator, Sodom, Candlemass, and Ratos de Porão.
If you are a fan of this music genre, reserve the last weekend of April to come to Viana do Castelo and enjoy this festival, as that is when it takes place.
Renowned bands and energetic performances will not be lacking in this major metal event in Portugal.
Ler em Viana
Also in April, there is room in Viana do Castelo’s cultural agenda for fans of a good book.
Throughout the last two weeks of April, the event “Ler em Viana” takes place, combining various book launches, poetry recitals, meetings with authors, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, theater performances, concerts, and the Viana do Castelo Book Fair, all in one event.
The stage for this initiative is the Cultural Center of the city of Viana do Castelo, and admission is free.
In the last two editions, “Ler em Viana” was a huge success, with around 10,000 people visiting the event and participating in the various activities of its program.
In the last edition, for example, the program included an exhibition related to the work “Os Lusíadas” by Luís de Camões and conversations with writers such as Marlene Ferraz, José Luis Peixoto, Mário Augusto, and Isabel Campos.
The latest “Ler em Viana” also featured book presentations by Richard Zimler and Rita Ferro, as well as concerts by Noiserv, SURMA, and Rodrigo Leão.
There was also space for book signing sessions with renowned authors like Bruno Paixão, as well as poetry recitals featuring well-known actors and actresses, such as Luísa Cruz, who are highly recognized by the Portuguese audience.
The Viana do Castelo Book Fair, which is part of this grand event, featured 32 stands and 14 booksellers representing the largest publishing houses in Portugal in the last edition.
“Ler em Viana” is, therefore, one of the largest literature events in Portugal.
It is one of the Portuguese literary events with the most activities and dynamics in its program, which attracts avid readers in great numbers to this initiative.
And if you are also a fan of a good book and were not aware of this literary event in Portugal, take a few days off in April and come to Viana do Castelo to participate in this initiative.
Who knows, maybe you’ll discover new authors and buy new books to read during your vacation in Alto Minho.
Encontros de Cinema de Viana
In May, it’s time for the seventh art to take center stage in Viana do Castelo’s cultural agenda.
During the first two weeks of the month, the city hosts the Encontros de Cinema de Viana.
The event is organized by the Ao Norte Association in partnership with the Viana do Castelo City Council and brings together film club enthusiasts from Portugal and Galicia.
It has been taking place for 23 years and attracts around 4,000 people in each edition.
In addition to the regular screenings of independent films, the Viana Film Meetings provide film enthusiasts with various seminars and discussions on the current state of the audiovisual world, featuring industry professionals as speakers.
Exhibitions and film courses are also part of the program of this event.
However, one of the major highlights of the “Encontros de Cinema de Viana” is the film competitions.
There are two competitions taking place during the event.
One of them is the competition for the PrimerOlhar Award, which focuses on documentary films produced by students from film schools in Portugal, Galicia, and Brazil.
On the other hand, there is the AÇÃO09 competition, which has no limitations in terms of the film genre produced by the students.
For those who love cinema and enjoy watching a good competition, attending the Encontros de Cinema event will be a great opportunity to visit Viana do Castelo. All the films in competition will be screened, and a significant part of the event’s program is centered around these two competitions.
To end the event on a high note, the last day features a film-concert screening where live music accompanies the film’s soundtrack as it is shown.
Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde
The Green Wine from Viana do Castelo is a huge success, both nationally and internationally.
It is the second most consumed wine in Portugal and the second most exported to other countries.
Therefore, given this tremendous success, it makes perfect sense to have an event in Viana do Castelo that highlights this wine.
And that event is the “Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde“.
The event takes place in May, lasts for two days, and features seminars, wine tastings, and a gala dinner.
Furthermore, like other events in Viana do Castelo, the Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde also include a competition as part of their program.
But in this specific case, the challenge is among the best green wines from the region
Several wines compete to win the Green Wine of the Year Awards, and the winner is announced during the gala dinner.
In addition to the competition, there is also room for training sessions.
On the first day of the event, a wine tasting course takes place, open to anyone who wants to learn the art of wine tasting.
Throughout the event, there are also guided tours to the wine export area of Viana do Castelo and to Solar de Merufe for those who want to understand the entire process in more detail, from production to export.
So, if you are a fan and curious about the green wine market, this event in Viana do Castelo is for you.
Take the opportunity to visit this wonderful city in Alto Minho and, at the same time, participate in an event tailored to your interests.
And if you want one more reason to plan your vacation in Viana do Castelo, know that there is a Green Wine Route in the city.
By following this route, you will have the opportunity to visit the places where the main wines of Viana are produced, learn about their production process, and participate in various wine tastings.
Everything has been carefully planned by the Municipal Council to provide a unique vacation experience for fans of Viana do Castelo’s Green Wine.
Wine & Blues Festival
For true wine enthusiasts, the activities in Viana do Castelo don’t end with the “Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde”.
In the same month of May, there is another event that is a must-visit for all wine tourism enthusiasts.
That event is the Wine & Blues festival, which takes place on the last weekend of May in Praça da República in Viana do Castelo.
For two days, the Wine & Blues festival offers all its visitors a Wine Showcase, with a focus on fresh, fruity, gastronomic, and signature wines from the Lima Valley.
In total, around ten producers from Viana do Castelo and the Loureiro wine region bring their wines to participate in this Wine Showcase and introduce their products to the event’s audience.
The Wine & Blues festival is, therefore, a true showcase of wines, where it is possible to discover new producers and products that promise to surprise the curious and those with refined taste.
However, this event in Viana do Castelo is not only about showcasing wine products.
There are also moments of conversation with national wine experts who come to the festival to talk about the region’s history in terms of production and discuss the strategy for valorizing Green Wine in the coming years.
It seems like a very similar event to the “Encontros Vínicos do Vinho Verde”, right?
However, as the name suggests, the Wine & Blues festival brings a distinctive component.
The musical aspect.
More specifically, Blues.
There are blues concerts featuring renowned artists happening during the event.
Usually, there are a total of four concerts, two each day of the festival.
In the last edition, for example, Wine & Blues featured a concert by Cecilya & the Candy Kings, an artist from Barcelona who participated in the Spanish version of the show “The Voice,” and a concert by Lene Soul Band, renowned Italian artists in this genre of music.
In other words, if you’re looking for a combination of music and wine for your holiday plans in Viana do Castelo, come to the Wine & Blues festival and have a great time.
Mercado dos Descobrimentos
In the month of June, it’s time to go back 500 years and travel through time to the period of Portuguese discoveries.
That’s because in June, the Mercado dos Descobrimentos takes place in Viana do Castelo.
This is a medieval event that aims to show all visitors how the period of the Portuguese discoveries was lived in Viana do Castelo.
It explores a time when the port of this town was a protagonist in the commercial exchanges with other countries.
Throughout the event, the ancient habits and customs of the people of Viana are showcased, and the old atmosphere is recreated through performances by artists, decorations, and characteristic gastronomy of the time, which combined, transport us to the old Vianna da Foz do Lima.
Therefore, those who visit the Mercado dos Descobrimentos in Viana do Castelo experience an authentic journey through time and have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the ancient culture of the city for four days.
Percursos da Música Festival in Ponte de Lima
Very close to Viana do Castelo, more specifically in Ponte de Lima, the Percursos da Música Festival takes place.
It is an event that takes place throughout the second half of July and offers various performances of classical, erudite, and contemporary music.
The performances are held in prominent locations in the historic center of Ponte de Lima and Arcozelo and blend seamlessly with the surroundings, without relying on technical equipment.
This way, the performances unfold in perfect harmony with the surrounding environment, resulting in a unique atmosphere provided by the Percursos da Música Festival.
This year, the Minho event will feature performances by Rodrigo Leão, Lorena Paz Nieto, Rui Fernandes Quarteto, and Maria Sá Silva.
The full program can be found on the official website of the Municipality of Ponte de Lima.
Admission is free, but seating is limited. Therefore, arrive early if you want to attend all the festival performances.
Alto Minho International Folklore Festival
In almost direct competition, the International Folklore Festival of Alto Minho takes place.
This is because the event also takes place in the second half of July. The difference is that it only lasts for one week.
However, this festival takes place right in Viana do Castelo and, moreover, it focuses on a different type of sound.
As the name suggests, folklore is the highlight of this event.
The biggest differentiator from other folklore festivals is the fact that the Viana do Castelo event brings together various groups from different corners of the world.
For example, this year, the festival will feature groups from Bolivia, Bulgaria, India, Kenya, Poland, Serbia, and of course, Portugal.
But the festival is not only about folklore. The program of the International Folklore Festival of Alto Minho also includes gastronomic elements, with tastings of typical dishes from other countries such as Brazil, Syria, Armenia, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Afghanistan.
Certainly, a festival that will provide fun and flavorful moments to those who visit.
If you’re in Viana do Castelo during the month of July, you definitely can’t miss the International Folklore Festival of Alto Minho.
This year, it takes place from July 17th to 23rd, and the complete program is available on the Viana do Castelo City Council website.
Contrasta Festival in Valença
Also in July, on the last weekend, Valença hosts a major event.
It’s the Contrasta Festival, held at the São Francisco Fortifications.
The programming is focused, especially, on artists from the Portuguese music scene, including renowned artists as well as emerging talents. This year, the festival features names such as Pedro Abrunhosa, Ana Moura, Maro, and Niño de Elche.
For the 2023 edition, the dates are already set, and you can mark your calendar for July 28th and 29th.
Tickets for the Contrasta Festival are now available at bol.pt, Fnac, CTT, El Corte Inglés, as well as at the Valença Tourist Office and Municipal Library.
The price for a general pass, valid for both days of the festival, is €20, while a single-day ticket can be purchased for €15.
Folk Celta Festival in Ponte da Barca
July is a month with a strong focus on events in Alto Minho.
There is even a festival in Ponte da Barca that promotes Celtic culture.
It lasts for three days and offers numerous activities inspired by Celtic culture that promise to take visitors on an authentic journey.
Among the activities are mural painting, poetry sharing moments, meditation sessions, and performances of performing arts.
Entry to the Folk Celta festival is free, and in addition to the various activities, you can find several trade exhibitors offering handmade products such as beer, liqueurs, wines, cheeses, sausages, and even handmade soaps.
And, of course, there are also music artists. That is always a highlight of events in the district of Viana do Castelo.
The Folk Celta Festival always presents a musical lineup that brings together Portuguese and Galician artists, aiming to strengthen the relationship between the two cultures and promote both.
This year is no exception.
In 2023, the Folk Celta Festival will feature performances by Sal (Portugal), BOJ (Galicia), Budiño (Galicia), Retimbrar (Portugal), Jesús Del Castillo (Galicia), and Galandum Galundaina (Portugal).
The performances will take place from July 28th to 30th.
Jazz na Praça da Erva
And if for blues fans there is the Wine & Blues festival or for metal fans there is the SWR Barroselas Metalfest, Viana do Castelo also hasn’t forgotten about jazz fans.
In late July and early August, the Minho city organizes a four-day festival featuring various concerts by national and international jazz artists.
The event takes place in the historic center of Viana do Castelo and has become a landmark in the city. It has already had more than 30 editions.
It is one of the oldest festivals in Portugal.
Every year, there are always excellent artists performing at the festival. From emerging artists to well-established names in the music scene.
On its stage, renowned artists such as the famous American Joey Defrancesco and the Spanish musician Eduardo Niebla have performed.
Going to Jazz na Praça da Erva is, for all these reasons, a great opportunity to see great concerts, discover new artists, and experience live performances by renowned jazz musicians.
If that’s your ideal definition of a great weekend, then you already know that you have to plan your vacation in Viana do Castelo for the days when the Jazz na Praça da Erva festival takes place.
Ponte D’Lima Festival
This year, there is another festival on the calendar in Viana do Castelo.
It takes place in the town of Ponte de Lima, on the first weekend of August, and is held at the Expolima venue.
It’s the Ponte D’Lima festival.
It features a lineup focused on renowned national and international artists, as seen in the lineup presented for the first edition, which includes names like Wolfmother, Aron, Capitão Fausto, Moullinex, Linda Martini, and Throes + The Shine.
The musical performances are spread over three days, with the first day being free and the remaining days requiring tickets.
Daily tickets cost 30 euros, and the pass for all days is priced at 50 euros.
If you were looking for a new summer festival to have fun, be sure to attend the Ponte D’Lima festival and enjoy excellent concerts.
After blues, metal, and jazz, it’s time for electronic music to take center stage in the city of Viana do Castelo.
In mid-August, it’s time for the Neopop festival to take center stage in Alto Minho, specifically at Forte de Santiago da Barra and the shipyards at the mouth of the Lima River.
With two stages, this event offers three days of music and entertainment to its audience.
Just like many of the previously mentioned events, Neopop is also responsible for bringing various international artists to Viana do Castelo.
In the previous edition, for example, artists such as Amelie Lens, Honey Dijon, Richie Hawtin, and Jeff Mills performed on the Neopop stage.
For this year’s edition, the return of Richie Hawtin has already been confirmed, along with artists like Belgian DJ Charlotte de Witte, American Honey Dijon (known for her collaboration with Beyoncé), German Ben Klock, and Russian Nina Kraviz.
These are more than enough reasons to visit Viana do Castelo and attend this excellent event.
It will be the 16th edition of Neopop, and tickets are already available for purchase on the event’s official website.
Vilar de Mouros Festival
It is not in Viana do Castelo, but due to its history and proximity to the city, it deserves to be mentioned.
We are talking about the Vilar de Mouros Festival, the oldest festival in Portugal still in operation.
This event takes place less than 30 km from Viana do Castelo and dates back to 1965.
Initially, it was a festival dedicated to folklore from the Minho region, but it quickly grew and expanded its lineup to include various musical styles.
In fact, it started hosting performances by international artists, with Elton John, U2, and The Stranglers among the first foreign acts.
Since then, the Vilar de Mouros Festival has always featured internationally renowned artists, and the organizers can be proud to have been responsible for bringing bands such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Alanis Morissette, Skunk Anansie, Neil Young, Rammstein, The Cure, Bob Dylan, and The Offspring to Portugal.
In the year 2023, this aspect of international artists will be no exception.
For this year, the Vilar de Mouros Festival offers a lineup featuring Limp Bizkit, The Prodigy, Xutos e Pontapés, Within Temptation, Apocalyptica, Ornatos Violeta, James, Guano Apes, and much more.
It’s a unique opportunity to see your favorite rock bands live, all together in the same festival.
Mark your calendar: August 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th.
Four days of excellent concerts.
Viana Bate Forte Festival
The last summer festival takes place in Viana do Castelo. It is the Viana Bate Forte Festival.
The event takes place in mid-September, usually on the last weekend of summer, and for two days it offers magnificent concerts by well-known Portuguese bands and artists.
The best part? Admission to the festival is completely free.
The music is spread across three stages located in Viana do Castelo, specifically in Praça da República, Praça da Liberdade, and Praça da Erva. Artists like Ivandro, Karetus, The Black Mamba, Gisela João, and Rita Redshoes have already performed on these stages.
The festival has been growing since its first edition in 2016, and in the last edition, it reached a record of 60,000 spectators.
The festival was even nominated for the Iberian Festival Awards, along with Neopop, which only confirms the grandeur of the events in Viana do Castelo.
Without a doubt, attending the Viana Bate Forte festival is an excellent way to end your summer with lots of excitement and music.
Viana, Coração do Natal
In December, it’s time for the last event of the year in Viana do Castelo.
And clearly, due to the month it takes place, it is a Christmas-themed event.
“Viana, Coração do Natal” takes place throughout the month of December, offering various activities for the whole family and a program inspired by the Christmas spirit.
There are multimedia shows, a Christmas market, concerts featuring Christmas music, contests, street performances, stalls for buying gifts, and workshops for children with challenges such as building nativity scenes, making Christmas cakes, chocolate bonbons, and gift bags.
In addition, there are exhibitions, gastronomic fairs, and the much-anticipated “Santa Claus” as well.
Included in the program is also the New Year’s Eve celebrations with the traditional fireworks over the Lima River and plenty of music to end the year in the best possible way.
Therefore, in Viana do Castelo, there are events to suit every taste.
Choose your favorite and book your vacation in the city of Viana do Castelo now.
And to ensure a high-quality rest, book your stay at AP Dona Aninhas.
The hotel is located in the center of Viana do Castelo, close to the venues where most of the events mentioned in this article take place.
AP Dona Aninhas hotel offers SPA services, a bar, and a restaurant, which, combined with the comfort of our rooms, make your vacation unforgettable.
Visit this wonderful city, full of events and excitement, and ensure unique conditions for your stay at AP Dona Aninhas hotel.