Portugal’s annual carnaval festivities begin at the start of March, and one of the most well-known and popular celebrations has to be Sesimbra. The first few days of the month will see colours, dance and an irresistible festival atmosphere, making this municipality – and indeed the whole of Portugal – a dazzling place to be.
Carnaval is a tradition strongly rooted in the culture of Sesimbra. At other times of the year, some of the municipality’s main attractions are undoubtedly the beautiful beaches and the historical castle, but in the run up to Easter Sesimbra’s carnaval boasts a parade of local Samba Schools and one of the biggest clown parades in the world. It is also one of the few carnivals to still put on cegadas, street theatre performances with their roots in traditions more than a century old. Rain or shine, young or old, thousands of people visit and take part every year.
The ‘Burial of the Codfish’ marks the end of the celebrations for another year. This much-loved tradition tells the comical tale of a deceased man who lived a very full and happy life. His funeral is attended not only by his wife but by his many lovers, a twist that always prompts laughter and enjoyment from the crowd.
Carnaval, of course, isn’t the only draw card for Sesimbra, located in Setúbal, just south of Lisbon. The gems you will find here include Praia dos Galapinhos, which was voted Europe’s Best Beach 2017 by Europe’s Best Destinations. Also definitely worth a mention are the stunning natural landscapes and the strong identification with fishing traditions; those looking for a property in this municipality are bound to find the local culture a pleasant place to be.
This year, Sesimbra’s carnaval display will run from Friday 1 to Tuesday 5 March, although preparations and rehearsals will have already begun illuminating the streets in January. The local festivities are widely thought to be among some of Portugal’s most spectacular.
Find out more about the municipality of Sesimbra and see current property prices in our area guide.