Whether it’s the riotous carnival in Loulé, gourmet food at Monchique’s Traditional Sausage and Ham Fair, or the impressive sand sculptures at the FIESA festival, the Algarve’s jam-packed events calendar shows this part or Portugal is always up for a celebration! Every year on the 10th June, the region joins in with the rest of the country and celebrates one of its most important dates; the annual national holiday called Dia de Portugal. Join locals and visitors alike to mark Portugal Day, and honour the country’s customs and culture.
Famous Portuguese poet
Portugal Day is also known as Dia de Camões (Day of Camões) after Portugal’s national poet, Luís de Camões. The national day pays homage to the life of the famous poet, who died on the 10th June 1580. Camões was an explorer and is best known for his poem ‘Os Lusíadas’, which was written on his travels. He saved it from being destroyed when he was shipwrecked, and is regarded as a national hero. The Os Lusíadas poem is one of the most important works in Portuguese literature and celebrates the country’s epic history and represents Portuguese pride.
History of Portugal day
The poet’s date of birth is unknown, which is why he’s commemorated on the day of his death instead. June 10th is not just important because of Luís de Camões, but also because the date’s been celebrated as Portugal’s national day since the country gained independence from Spain in 1640. The patron saint of Portugal, Santo Anjo da Guarda de Portugal, is commemorated on this special day too.
What to expect
Portugal Day is a chance for locals and visitors alike to remember Portugal’s rich heritage, get together, and party! On June 10th, you can dance to Portuguese music and spend the day eating local cuisine like cataplana (seafood stew), tasty Pastel de Belem (custard tarts), and salted balcalhau (cod).
Once you’ve tried typical Portuguese food, wash it all down with some Medronho. Also known as firewater, this drink is a specialty in the Algarve. Similar to fruit brandy, Medronho is distilled from wild strawberry and gives a very hot kick with every sip. You’re not likely to be able to find it in supermarkets, but you can get it from the local farmers that make it. It’s 48% proof, so drink it with caution, but if there’s any day to try this local drink then Dia de Portugal is the time to do it!
The whole family will enjoy the day’s entertainment; from watching military ceremonies, pageants, parades and concerts, to exploring exhibitions. There’s open-air parties with lots of singing and colourful fireworks illuminate the evening sky. Since 1977, the President of the Republic chooses one city in Portugal to host the official celebrations, with previous cities including Faro in the Algarve region.
If you’re planning a trip to the Algarve in June, remember that a lot of banks and shops will be closed on Portugal Day so remember to change up any spending money or grab some last-minute shopping before they start celebrating.