What some may not know is that Portugal is a haven for music lovers, especially in the summer! The portuguese summer is teeming with sites to explore and things to do, like the beautiful golden beaches or the incredible green hills. But! If you’re more of a “listener” than a hiker, I’ve got some great suggestions for you! I’ll be presenting the biggest summer music festivals in Portugal, all the way from the breezy North to the warm south.
In the north of Portugal, between the green mountains, follow the river and you’ll find music’s natural habitat. Vodafone Paredes de Coura is personal favorite. Located in the deep north of Portugal and between luscious forests and mountains, the small town of Paredes de Coura holds the oldest annual music festival in the country, and the last of the bigger ones during the summertime. So flow with the river Coura and enjoy the nature and the music.
Floating in river Coura, picture taken by Hugo Amaral.
Paredes de Coura may seem difficult to access, mainly due to it’s location being high and fairly remote, but, and although it’s not super easy, the festival organization helps in the best way it can with transportation to the camping site and the village. The camping site is marvelous and open all year, shaded by the trees and bathed by the frigid yet calming river Coura, the location itself will make you want to stay regardless of the lineup. The village is not far and it is really clear that it’s livelihood comes from this festival. It is a small town but it can offer many services to the visitors and is always inviting, with a northern attitude of course. And this presence of music manifests on it’s education, many of Paredes de Coura’s children learn how to play instruments, and have in some years even performed during the festival! I strongly advise going to the parties organized in the town’s main avenue in the four days before the festival, it’s like a huge block party.
Party at the village, picture taken by Hugo Lima.
The festival really strives to compensate for the harsh location of the festival with many regular buses and tips on how to get around, and even many parking spaces near the camping locations. One advice I give you if you’re going by car is to try to arrive fairly soon and leave fairly soon, because it can get hectic to drive when everyone is getting to or leaving the festival, and it is also to better secure a good spot for your tent, the camping area is very big, but you probably wouldn’t want to go up and down a huge hill everyday, or lay your tent unprotected from the sun. The festival is gorgeous and I strongly advise going but it has its downsides when it comes to space and timing like most of these events. The festival offers some alternatives if you don’t fill like camping though.
Main stage at Vodafone Paredes de Coura, picture taken by Hugo Lima.
Even though I said the ambiance alone should be enough to make you love this festival, the lineup is what really matters, and Paredes de Coura offers a fantastic line up in terms of more indie and alternative bands, either calm melodies, jazz rhythms or rocking beats, like James Blake, Arcade Fire, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, King Krule, BadBadNotGood and Ty Segall. It’s a diverse and always great gathering of artists so be sure to check out the line-up, take a swim in the river, rest in the shade and enjoy the concerts with the backdrop of the magnificent Coura nature.
BadBadNotGood at Vodafone Paredes de Coura, picture taken by Hugo Lima.
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