Public holidays Portugal: find out when Portugal celebrates in 2018 and 2019.

Part of the public holidays in Portugal, not without controversy, were suspended in 2012-2015 due to the economic crisis. After restoration, the public holidays calendar for 2018/2019 look in the following way:

Public holidays Portugal

2019 Public Holidays Portugal / Local name 2018
1 January (Tuesday) New Year’s Day / Ano Novo 1 January (Monday)
19 April (Friday) Good Friday / Sexta-Feira Santa 30 March (Friday)
21 April (Sunday) Easter / Páscoa 1 April (Sunday)
25 April (Thursday) Freedom Day / Dia da Liberdade Portugal 25 April (Wednesday)
1 May (Wednesday) Labour Day / Dia do Trabalhador 1 May (Tuesday)
10 June (Monday) National Day / Dia de Portugal / Portugal Day 10 June (Sunday)
20 June (Thursday) Corpus Christi / Corpo de Deus 31 May (Thursday)
15 August (Thursday) Assumption Day / Assunção da Nossa Senhora 15 August (Wednesday)
5 October (Saturday) Republic Day / Implantação da República 5 October (Friday)
1 November (Friday) All Saints’ Day / Todos os Santos 1 November (Thursday)
1 December (Saturday) Restoration of Independence / Restauração da Independência 1 December (Friday)
8 December (Sunday) Immaculate Conception / Imaculada Concepção 8 December (Saturday)
25 December (Wednesday) Christmas Day / Dia do Natal 25 December (Tuesday)

Carnival (Shrovetide) – a national holiday in Portugal?

Portuguese law does not make it clear if Shrovetide is work free (bank holiday) or not. In particular, this applies to Shrove Monday and Shrove Tuesday just before Ash Wednesday, in many countries known as Carnival.

The Carnival is, therefore, recognized to be optional day(s) off, which means that it’s up to employer to decide, whether to give employees a day off or no. In the private sector, the last day of Carnival is usually treated as a non-working day. In a case of public sector employees, it depends on the government’s decision for the year whether it will be part of public holidays Portugal.

In 2018 the carnival is on the 13th of February and in 2019 it’s on the 5th of March.

Local holidays in Lisbon and Porto – Santos Populares

The strong tradition of celebrating the holidays of the patrons of the cities exists in Portugal. It is the most noticeable in the largest urban centers, for example Lisbon and Porto, which celebrate the day of St. Anthony and the day of St. John (respectively).

Dia do Santo António – a big celebration in Lisbon on the 12th of June

The capital of Portugal is full of life throughout the year, however, at the evening on the 12th of June, the day before the day of St. Anthony, Lisbon comes alive in a special way. The old town, the Alfama district, is transformed into a place of feasts, joint meals and dances in the open air.

Its streets are decorated with colorful garlands and flowers made of crepe paper, there are grills on every corner, on which the favorite dish of the day is prepared, grilled sardines, and traditional Portuguese music is played everywhere.

While Alfama has a homely atmosphere, the holiday known as Dia do Santo Antonio also has a more elegant setting. Everybody awaits the parade of dance schools and folklore groups and also the couples of newlyweds, who may have decided to get married on that day. The parade lasts for hours (also on direct TV of course) and passes the crowd on the most representative avenue of Lisbon, Avenida da Liberdade.

The warm June night encourages locals and visitors to continue celebration till the early morning. For practical reasons, the next day, the 13th of June is a bank holiday in Lisbon. On that day, religious forms of celebration of the day of the patron of Lisbon take place, which consist of processions and special masses, dedicated to St. Anthony.

The 24th of June – bank holiday in Porto

In a very similar way, the second largest city in Portugal – Porto, celebrates the day of its own patron.

The day of São João is usually translated to St. John’s Day (or St. Jame’s day) is celebrated on June 24th, which means that the whole day before the celebration on June 23rd (and in particular the evening of the 23rd) will pass in a truly festive atmosphere.

The culmination of June 23rd in Porto is the street fete in the old town of Porto, finishing with a firework show on the River Douro.

Santos populares in other cities – more public holidays Portugal

The summer celebrations of the patron’s days take place in almost all continental Portugal and in the archipelagos. However, the following days deserve to be specially mentioned:

  • the 18th of March – the St. Joseph’s day, local holiday in Santarem
  • the 29th of June – the St. Peter’s day, holiday in Evora, Sintra, Felgueiras, Montijo, Povoa de Varzim, Seixal
  • the 21st of September – the St. Matthew’s day, holiday in Viseu

Regional holidays on the Azores

In the Autonomous Region of the Azores, situated in the Atlantic Ocean, The Azores Day is celebrated on Monday after Pentecost Sunday. In 2018 Azores Day falls on the 21st of May and in 2019, on the 10th of June.

The 1st of July – Madeira holiday

A public holiday (bank holiday) in Madeira and on the island of Porto Santo is the the 1st of July.