Five best carnivals in the Iberian Peninsula

Carnival is a festival that is celebrated all over the world and allows us to immerse ourselves, for a few days, in an explosion of music and colours and let our imagination run wild. This party, full of joy has its particularities depending on the culture and the country where it takes place.

It is very likely that the carnivals you know the most are the ones from Venice or Brazil, but those of the Iberian Peninsula also have a long tradition and are internationally recognized. If you want to know more details, here you have the five most famous carnivals in Spain and Portugal.


Cadiz Carnival

The Carnival of Cádiz, in southern Spain, is one of the most recognized in the country. It stands out not only for being a party full of colours and music, but also for the large doses of humor and satire used in the lyrics of their songs by the well-known #chirigotas (music groups that sing in the streets). In Cádiz, it is also a tradition to celebrate "la Pestiñá" during the carnival, where #pestiños, a typical sweet from the area, are offered to attract visitors to the city.


This carnival is usually celebrated in mid-February, but this year we won't be able to enjoy it until June, due to the rescheduling for the pandemic.


Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival

The Carnival of Santa Cruz is among the most important in the world and is one of the most beautiful and colorful aesthetically speaking. You can find different shows and contests, but it is the drag queens and carnival queens that undoubtedly 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 weather of the Canary Islands. As is the case with the Cadiz carnival, this year the Santa Cruz carnival is delayed until June. But don't worry, because we'll give you more options to experience this party like a true carnival fan!


Badajoz Carnival

The carnivals of this Extremaduran city have been among those that have grown the most in recent years, reaching great relevance until being declared, last January, a Festival of International Tourist Interest, and becoming the third most important carnival in Spain.


The strong point of these carnivals is the #murgas (as musical groups are called 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 closer to the people of the city. If you go to the Badajoz carnival, you cannot 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 participate in it, from all over Extremadura and Spain.


Here's a summary of the carnival.

Source: Instagram udestinations_


Torres Vedras Carnival

The carnival of Torres Vedras, in the district of Lisbon, is the most famous in Portugal. The peculiarity of this party is that each year a different theme is chosen around which the carnivals are organized. Other typical elements of the carnival in this city are the “#Matrafonas” (men cross-dressing as women), the “cabeçudos” (figures with exaggerated faces and features), and the “Zés Pereiras” (musician gang).


The Torres Vedras carnivals usually make a previous presentation in the summer months on the beach, in which they carry out activities such as concerts and dance exhibitions.


Ovar Carnival

This carnival in the district of Aveiro, in Portugal, is one of the most extravagant carnivals in the Portuguese country and is recognized as the epicenter of Portuguese carnivals. “La gande festa da cidade”, as it is known in Ovar, has unique and personal traditions, such as the Night of the #Farrapada, in which nightly walks and parades are held around the city, decorated with lights and decorations. In this carnival, it is a must to see the parade of samba schools, which fill the city with Latin rhythms and lots of colors. You can't miss this carnival, which has more than 50 years of experience and is considered the oldest in Portugal.

You can experience the Portuguese carnival and Badajoz carnival on their traditional date, from February 26 to March 1. These festivities are prepared to comply with all protective measures against COVID.


These are some of the best-known and best-valued carnivals in 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 the best activities, to experience the carnival first hand, do not hesitate to contact us, we will design and organize a specific itinerary for you or your group.


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