🇵🇹 Ovar Carnival

The city of Ovar hosts every year one of the most important Carnival celebrations of the country, where the most important event for the folklore of Portugal takes place every year.


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    The city of Ovar hosts every year one of the most important Carnival celebrations of the country, where the most important event for the folklore of Portugal takes place every year.

    Carnival of Ovar, a celebration that provides 3 weeks of parades, music and lots of dancing every year in this city. In the following sections we will learn all about this important event, which has been held for more than 50 years, supported by more than 2,000 people and enjoyed by thousands of visitors.

    When is the Carnival of Ovar?

    As we know, the dates of the carnival change annually. For 2021, the Carnival of Ovar will be held from January 23 to February 16 respectively, a total of 3 weeks of festivities.

    What is the Carnival of Ovar?

    ovar carnival

    It is a major Portuguese tourist event that takes place in Ovar, which is organized by the Câmara Municipal de Ovar. It is considered the most unique carnival in the whole country, since it is one of the most important symbols of the Portuguese tradition, being one of the most important in its organization.

    Ovar’s also recognized largest scale event is responsible for the visit of more than 1,000 people a year, from many countries around the world. People attracted by the characteristics that this carnival festival has highlighted since its founding in 1952.

    The Carnival of Ovar is characterized by its parade full of colors, costumes, floats and dances, which are prepared throughout the year by hundreds of participants, who, with their different skills, contribute to the development of this festivity.

    In fact, the city of Ovar is significantly recognized for this festivity during which, on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, a great number of people attend to enjoy and have fun with the musical groups that liven up the spaces in conjunction with the parade.

    How is Carnival celebrated in Ovar?

    ovar carnival

    The carnival of Ovar is constituted by a series of parades that take place during the progress of these days of celebration. Each parade is in charge of representing elements – mostly of social criticism – and concepts that frame the arrival of this season in Portugal. Likewise, each parade is represented by different neighborhoods of the area (groups), which will compete during the carnival.

    The first of these is held on the fourth Saturday of the day before the carnival, which is known as the Official Opening of the Carnival of Ovar. Here we will observe all the competitors, who will stand out in dance groups, musical groups and of course, floats with their different designs.

    To integrate a more enriched experience, different tourist visits are scheduled to the most attractive areas of the city, where visitors can learn more about the architecture of Ovar, its history, culture, museums, and even smaller events. Also noteworthy are the parties and night tours that visitors can join.

    Where is the Carnival of Ovar?

    ovar carnival

    Ovar is a city and a municipality in Aveiro District, Baixo Vouga Subregion in Portugal. This locality has a population of approximately 56,000, with a population density of approximately 384 square kilometers.

    The city of Ovar has a mainly Mediterranean climate, and is bordered to the south by Murtosa and Estarreja, to the extreme north by Espinho, to the east by Oliveira de Azeméis and finally to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It has an altitude of 12 meters, with an area of approximately 14,700 hectares.

    Origins of the Carnival of Ovar

    ovar carnival

    There is no specific date for the origin of the celebrations in Ovar. There are records of its celebrations at the end of the 19th century, as well as at the beginning of the 20th century, where theatrical projects stand out as well as public celebrations with elements such as streamers.

    It is thus known that the Carnival celebrations in Ova have been going on for at least a century. As the 20th century progressed, many of the carnival celebrations would take place in indoor spaces, which would be reinforced by the World War II.

    For this reason, it was not until after the mid-1940s – the end of World War II – that many of the carnival celebrations would take to the streets., establishing itself as a culture and tradition until these days.

    At that time -now in the early 1950s-, the tradition was known as Carnaval Sucio (Dirty Carnival), a practice in which the citizens of the neighborhoods of Ovar took to the streets to recreate a battle in which they made use of flour, eggs, grains and other similar materials as projectiles. It would not be until 1952 that this practice would evolve.

    A large number of neighborhoods are organizing a new concept for carnival. They scheduled meetings to propose a healthier and more creative way of celebrating Carnival. Even though not all the neighborhoods agreed at first with this proposal, progressively they all ended up joining this new way of celebrating Carnival.

    It is at this moment where masks and costumes join the new proposal of the Carnival of Ovar, turning the food battle into a competition for creativity and innovation among the muds of Ovar. 

    The Vitamin of joy, this would be the name given at that time to the Carnival, which would transcend the strongest periods such as the World War II, becoming one of the most important festivities in Portugal. This celebration would succeed in ascending through years, being one of the most important folkloric virtues of this country.

    Carnival of Ovar Schedule 2021

    ovar carnival


    For the Carnival of Ovar, there are different activities organized in an agenda arranged every year. The schedule of these festivities is organized as described below over a period of 3 weeks:

    • Day: Fourth Saturday before Carnival.
    • Official Opening of the Carnival of Ovar: The official opening of the Carnival of Ovar takes place. A parade takes place where all the teams, together with the Samba schools, show off their first costumes and masks, announcing to everyone that the carnival is about to arrive in the city.
    • Time:


    • Day: Third Saturday before Carnival.
    • King’s arrival: It is a parade in which the king of the Carnival of Ovar will be presented. Again, the groups that will compete as well as the samba schools are presented here. Here we can observe a competition of costumes and floats for the concept of “Piada Colectiva”, where the teams will highlight “piadas” of social themes.
    • Time:


    • Day: Second Saturday before Carnival.
    • Children’s Carnival: The little ones join the carnival parade. All the children from Ovar’s schools and training centers perform parades throughout the municipality.
    • Time:


    • Day: Thursday before Carnival.
    • Performance by Quim Barreiros: The pouplar artist of the double sense verses offers a free musical showcase to the public, as one of the most traditional scenes of this carnival.
    • Time:


    • Day: Friday before Carnival.
    • “Farrapada” Night: It is a night parade that takes place in the streets of Ovar, where the whole population assists and celebrates in a spontaneous way, either with dances, songs or just accompanying the crowd.
    • Time:


    • Day: Sunday before Carnival.
    • Parade of Samba schools: Another parade takes place at night, where the samba schools of the city of Ovar play a leading role.
    • Time:


    • Day: Saturday before Carnival.
    • Corso Carnivalesque: It is the central parade of Carnival, where we will find again all the participating groups and samba schools in this year’s Carnival.
    • Time:


    • Day: Monday before Carnival.
    • Magical night: The magical night brings together hundreds of parades in the center of Ovar, in a celebration that will last until dawn the next day.
    • Time:


    • Day: First day of Carnival.
    • Replay of the central parade: A duplicate version of the central Carnival parade is held. With the exception of the first parade, the rankings obtained by the participating samba schools and groups are presented. At the end of the classification, the prizes are awarded, which indicates the end of this event.
    • Time:

    How to get to Ovar?

    ovar carnival

    There are alternatives through which we can get to Ovar once we are in Portugal respectively. In this sense, to get to Ovar, we can consider the following.

    • Plane: There are different options through which we can reach Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, the closest airport to Ovar. Users can consider airlines such as Air Nostrum and Air Europa Express.
    • Train: In the case of train travel, many people opt for a train from Aveiro to Ovar. It is also possible to take a train from Oporto, precisely from the General Torres station at Apeadero de la Calle General Torres, which will take approximately 40 minutes.

    Where to stay in Ovar?

    With the level of tourism that the Carnival of Ovar causes in this city, we can find different options for staying in a large range of hotels. Hotels for the couple or for the family, classified from 3 stars, matching the highest levels of quality for its users.

    Hotels such as AquaMotel, Hotel Maeia Lua, Furadouro Hostel, etc. Many of these hotels are located near the coast, offering their visitors a unique experience, not only during their days of visit, but also during their nights of rest.

    What to do and see in Carnival of Ovar?

    ovar carnival

    The tourist offer of Ovar invites us, not only to participate in the parades of its carnivals, but also to learn more about this city. These are some of the options that we can consider during our visit to the epicenter of the Carnival of Portugal.

    Visit the “Mercado Municipal de Ovar”

    One of the most interesting ways to get to know the city of Ovar is through the different offers that we can find in its market. Here we will enjoy a large variety of regional products, where we will also know one of the most important places of this city as its market.

    Discover the nightlife of Ovar

    The nightlife is one of the most interesting in Ovar, especially during the carnival. We will find concerts, night parties and a great gastronomic offer to enjoy during the night.

    Visit the beach

    In Ovar we can also find beaches such as Praira do Furadouro, where despite of not being able to take a swim due to the cold weather, we will enjoy a special moment.

    Is Ovar safe?

    Ovar is a city with a good level of security with which we can fully enjoy either day or night of its streets without major inconveniences.

    What to eat in Ovar?

    Ovar offers a large and varied gastronomic offer for all types of diners. On the one hand, we can find restaurants of typical food of Ovar, and in the same way, it is possible to find a more globalized offer for those who prefer dishes more adjusted to their favorite options.

    • Grills: Where we will find different local and international recipes, resulting from the mixture of gastronomic cultures.
    • Francesinhan: A sandwich accompanied by french fries, filled with different additives and compensated with a special sauce typical of Ovar’s food.
    • Wines: They are one of the most typical elements of the gastronomy of Ovar, where the essence of the grape will allow us to know one of the main tastes of the inhabitants of Ovar.


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