It’s The Algarve Carnival Holiday Time
Carnival fever hits the Algarve this weekend with many parades, parties and events planned across the whole region. This year promises to be spectacular after almost a three-year absence. The festivities will be held over this weekend, commencing on Friday 17th of February in some locations and ending on Tuesday the 21st.
Each town will be hosting mini parades through the streets, mostly involving the local schools. In the evening adults can join in the fun with many party events organised across the Algarve to keep them entertained. Fancy dress is a must, a visit to one of the Chinese stores will have you sorted out in no time!
The main attraction has to be the Carnaval de Loulé which is the oldest continuous party in Portugal and now celebrating 117 years of festivities. Thousands of visitors jam the streets in fancy dress costumes to watch and enjoy the spectacle.
The fun kicks off on the Friday before the actual Carnaval, with a day dedicated to kids! The children’s carnival parade will be starting at 10 am, so a day off school for all! Kids are welcomed into the streets with faces painted and festive costumes for a mini version of the main parade.
The big street parade starts on Sunday 19th of February and goes on until the 21st. With a convoy of floats, samba groups, body-painted Brazilian dancers and costumed bands providing the beat.
This year, 2023, you can expect to see a parade of 14 floats, three samba schools, walking giants, nine animation groups, and more than 600 entertainers parading down the main street of Loule, Avenida José da Costa Mealha. The spectacle is on show daily from 3 pm to 5.30 pm.
The Carnaval is a time for fun and satire, so you expect to see the Portugal political figures of António Costa and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Russia’s Putin and Ukraines Zelensky, King Charles III and Rishi Sunak from the UK, Lula and Bolsonaro Brazil’s president and ex-president, and even Greenpeace puppet/muppet Greta Thunberg, all fighting it out in the streets.
The topic for this year’s carnival celebrations is
“Oh Zé, Have you seen Algarvensis?” the “Algarvensis refers to an extinct giant crocodile-like amphibian that lived 227 million years ago, in the Algarve.
The Algarvensis is also the symbol for the councils of Albufeira, Loulé and Silves World Geopark, a tourist attraction of excellence and a project that will mark the future not only of Loulé, Silves and Albufeira but of the entire region of the Algarve.
On the night of Monday, the 20th, from 10 pm, in the Loulé Ballroom, the Carnival Gala Ball will be held with the theme of “227 million years ago” the public’s creativity in choosing their masks for the theme should be interesting.
Please note that it is best to get there early as parking can become difficult later in the day. With the main street closed it is not easy to navigate the town centre, so we advise parking in the huge car park near the church on the hill and walking to the centre.
Admission to the carnival is just 2 euros and free seating is available for those who arrive early. For the rest, it is a case of finding a good spot along the main street, there are a few cafes that are open for refreshments, and picking a spot near one of those is a good idea.
The weather across the Algarve is set to be fair with temperatures reaching a pleasant 19° in the afternoon for the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th, however, a little rain is possible on the last day, Tuesday the 21st, so be prepared with brolly in hand. I pity the scantily-clad Brazilian girls 🤣
Get into the carnival spirit and go have some fun…