Every second weekend of November, a very popular tradition is held in Marvão: the Chestnut Party. A huge tent is set on the main square, both for hosting the concerts and the little local products market. A parade is made in the morning, and from there on, the party starts. Firstly, get roasted chestnuts at the wooden kiosk. After a handful of them, you will feel thirsty: no worries, you get a glass of wine for less than one euro!
Marvão, the beautiful fortress of the Portuguese border, is a very special place. Built on the top of a hill, in November many times you look up from the bottom of the mountain and the whole village has disappeared with the fog. It looks like a ghost town! Hence, walking through the streets will feel like being in another world. But do not be fooled: the second you enter it, you see how much life these walls hide!
This party has become so popular that dozens of buses arrive on Saturday. Some years there can be up to 15,000 people attending this event! They come from both Portugal and nearby Spain. As a matter of fact, probably you will not be able to go to the village with your car. Do not worry; the town hall provides buses to take you there. Once in there, pay the entrance fee (1€) and get inside the superb medieval city walls. Go there, preferably in the morning, and do not miss the parade. They typical giants and “large-heads” will pace the town inviting all the children to join them. Traditional music played by the band will cheer the parade. Some people in disguise will mix with the crowd to mess with them and make them have fun. If you have never experienced anything like this before, do not hesitate, it is worth it!
Inside the huge tent, in the afternoon you can attend the concerts – traditional hits of Portuguese and Brazilian music, all very danceable! You will see young and elderly people dancing to it, all equally excited. At the edges, next to the walls and protecting their products, local people bring homemade liquors, beer, soap… Many different things! Also, you can buy freshly collected chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts. Even many other products made out of the chestnut tree: baskets or even embroidery out of different materials.
Outside, you need a ticket to get your roasted chestnuts, wine, or the typical liquor of sour cherry, everything at very economical prices. They will be very helpful in order to keep you warm if it is raining.
To sum it up… even if it is November, and bad weather, there is a way to spend a great weekend away: the chestnut party in Marvão!
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