Summer events on the Azores
When: 15th – 24th of June, 2019
Where: Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel island
The Saint John the Apostle Festival takes place in Vila Franca do Campo. It is a wonderfully colorful and happy celebration, where everybody takes part in the dancing and singing.
The celebration dates back to the 14th century, and it has been originally a pagan ritual: people celebrated the plentiful harvest and worshipped the Sun God. The celebration was eventually turned into a Catholic feast, and was named after Saint John.
During the times it was still a pagan ritual – to celebrate fertility – people used to hang a leek on the wall of their house to bring good luck. Herbs – which were thought to bring health and good luck – were also essential parts of the festival.
These days the festival of Saint John is celebrated on several islands of the Azores, and also in several cities across continental Portugal. On Sao Miguel there is a procession in Vila Franca do Campo where all cities of the island are represented by dance groups and singers. It is a very colorful and happy festival, definitely worth a visit if you are on Sao Miguel during this week.
When: 22nd of June, 2019
Where: Vila Franca do Campo Ileu (small island across Vila Franca do Campo), São Miguel island
Entry: approx. 65 EUR watching it from a boat
The Azores edition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving takes place on the small island across from Vila Franca do Campo. The best athletes of the world are braving the waters from a free standing rock turned into a springboard. The cliff divers are executing flawless somersaults and other incredible feats during their 27 meters high jump, at the end of which they reach the water with the whooping speed of 85 km / hours. People are watching the competition from boats anchored nearby. Make sure to reserve yourself a seat on one of these boats if you don’t want to miss out on this breathtaking race.
When: 4th – 7th of July, 2019.
Where: Ribeira Quente (Povoacao), São Miguel island
Entry: pre-sales for the entire festival 20 EUR (until the 20th of June), afterwards 23 EUR, or daily tickets 7 EUR (4th of July), 10 EUR (5th of July), 14 EUR (6th of July).
Very exciting music festival with famous Azorean and Portuguese musicians and bands.
The best event of the festival: concert of Vania Dilac on the 6th of July, 2019.
When: 5th – 20th of July, 2019
Where: multiple locations across São Miguel island
Entry: varies based on event
Community arts festival intending to inspire all sorts of Azores-related artistic creations. You can get an event guide in every tourist information point on Sao Miguel or on this link.
Feira Quinhentista (Medieval Fair)
When: 8th – 14th July, 2019
Where: Ribeira Grande, São Miguel island
Huge medieval fair in Riberia Grande with shows, music, dancing, and of course the drummers. You can read my blog post about this festival here.
During this week the city center is filled with people – children, parents, and elderly – dressed in medieval costumes. There are shows and performances ever afternoon / evening in front of the city hall. Arts and crafts are sold in the medieval market. What makes this festival very interesting: all food sold at the venue has medieval names. Of course you can try the Azorean doughnut: Malassada. Once you are in town, make sure you visit the A Merenda bakery, where you can try the bean tart and the local cotton candy: Algodao Doce.
When: 18th – 20th of July, 2019
Where: Santa Maria island
Entry: daily ticket 15 EUR, entire festival 40 EUR
Santa Maria island can be best reached with ferry from Sao Miguel, the journey takes approximately 4 hours. This blues festival is the longest standing blues festival in Europe, which means the island is filled with blues lovers. Therefore, if you are planning to go make sure to book your ferry tickets or flights and accommodation in advance.
IX. Mostra Gastronómica De Água Retorta (Gastronomical Showcase)
When: 18th – 21st of July, 2019
Where: Casa do Povo de Água Retorta, São Miguel island
When: 26th – 27th of July, 2019
Where: Praia Baixa d’Areia (Caloura beach), São Miguel island
Caloura blues festival with fantastic bands. I will be definitely joining.
Gosto Do Mar (Taste Of The Sea Festival)
When: 18th – 23rd of June, 2019
Where: Lagoa, São Miguel island
Gastronomical festival with a focus on seafood.
Corpus Christi In Povoacao
When: 19th – 23rd of June, 2019
Where: Povoacao, São Miguel island
The people of Povoaco decorate religious pictures with flowers. The celebration ends with a wonderful procession.
When: 11th – 18th of July, 2019
Where: Nordeste, São Miguel island
Music festival with great bands in Nordeste.
When: 19th – 21st of July, 2019
Where: Pocos De Sao Vicente Ferreira, Ponta Delgada, São Miguel island
The Festa do Baleeiro, near to the Poços de São Vicente Ferreira, takes place every year in the former Fábrica da Baleeira.