Easter in Algarve offers a unique opportunity to experience its rich traditions, foods, and activities that define this special time of year.

Happy Easter in the Algarve with blue and green easter eggs and white flowers

When is Easter in Algarve 2024?

When is Easter in the Algarve in 2024? This year Easter is on the following dates;

Good Friday – 29th March 2024

Easter Sunday – 31st March 2024

Why are Easter dates different every year?

Easter dates vary each year, falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. This is the reason why Easter is never on the same day.

Understanding Easter in Algarve

Easter, or “Pascoa” in Portuguese, holds a special place in the Algarve.

 This period not only commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ but also heralds the onset of spring, symbolizing renewal and hope.

The history of Easter in Algarve is steeped in centuries-old customs, with the region’s deep-rooted Catholic traditions shaping much of the celebrations seen today.

The Algarve region, known for its breathtaking coastline and picturesque villages, transforms during Easter, offering a unique experience to both locals and visitors.

Easter celebrations in this southern region of Portugal, highlight traditional events, delicious gastronomy, and making the most of this festive season.

white candle burning with flowers and the bible
Easter in the Algarve

Why Choose the Algarve for Your Easter holiday?

The Algarve boasts a captivating coastline fringed with golden beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming towns steeped in history.

During Easter in Algarve, the weather is delightful, with average temperatures hovering around a pleasant 20°C (68°F).

This beautiful spring sunshine makes the Algarve ideal for outdoor activities, whether you’re relaxing on the beach, exploring the countryside, or participating in festive Easter processions.

Beyond the ideal weather, the Algarve’s culture comes alive during Easter.

Witness age-old traditions come to life in grand processions, indulge in delectable Easter delicacies specific to the region, and soak up the warm hospitality of the Portuguese people.

beautiful beach in Algarve at sunset with blue skies, rock forms and blue ocean
Spend Easter in Algarve

Traditional Easter Celebrations in Algarve

During Easter in the Algarve, the region is renowned for its Easter processions and ceremonies, deeply rooted in the Christian faith.

These traditional celebrations are a sight to behold, with locals and visitors alike being drawn into the profound sense of community and spirituality.

Here’s a glimpse into the religious celebrations and culinary delights that await you during your Easter break in the Algarve.

Religious Celebrations during Easter in Algarve

Palm Sunday Traditions: Easter week commences with Palm Sunday, marking Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  On this day, churches across the Algarve hold special blessings, where parishioners bring intricately woven palm fronds to be blessed by priests. These blessed palms are then taken home and displayed throughout the Easter season.

Holy Week Processions:  The week leading up to Easter Sunday, known as Holy Week (Semana Santa), is marked by solemn processions held throughout the Algarve.  These processions, particularly captivating in larger towns like Loulé and Olhão,  recreate scenes from the Passion of Christ.

Palm sunday with palm and showing a cross
Palm Sunday traditions

What is the Procession of the Steps?

The “Procession of the Steps” or “Procissão dos Passos” in Portuguese, it is commonly known as a tradition common to many parishes in the Algarve, although it takes on a greater dimension in some cities, such as Silves and Tavira.

The procession traces  Jesus’ journey from being sentenced to death by crucifixion and is marked by the meeting with his mother, which, according to tradition, took place during the ascent to Calvary, where he was executed.

The ceremonies in honour of “Our Lord Jesus of the Steps” are an invocation of the suffering of Jesus Christ and a special devotion in the Catholic Church to him, dating back to the Middle Ages.

for many years in Silves, the “Procession of the Steps” an ancient tradition of  Silves that brings large numbers of visitors during the Easter season. 

Tavira, on Palm Sunday, has the traditional “Procession of Triumph” or “Procissão do Triunfo”. 

It starts from the Carmo Church and is made up of nine gilded floats, which depict the last moments of Christ’s life, from the Mount of Olives to his death. Some records show that this religious event dates back to 1789. 

Other towns in the Algarve that also have processions on Palm Sunday;

  • Silves 
  • Pêra 
  • Paderne 
  • Guia 

Torch Festivities is São bras alportel

What is the Torch Festivities? - São Brás de Alportel

The Torch Festivities also known as the “Festa das Tochas” is a procession that is unique in Portugal held on Easter Sunday in São Brás de Alportel. If you get a chance to go to São Brás de Alportel you will not regret this procession during Easter in Algarve.

The procession makes its way through the whimsically decorated flower carpets of the town of S. Brás, while the people shout in unison: “Alleluia. Christ is risen as he said, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah”. Throughout the procession, hymns, responses, and the Alleluia have always been sung in honor of the Lord’s Resurrection.

In the past, one or two choirs would sing and the people would respond, but with time, the lack of clergy and singers meant that the singing remained in the mouths of the people.

At the end, the “torches”, simple sticks colourfully decorated with flowers ( lavender, rosemary and country flowers) and carried exclusively by men who form the wings of the procession, are laid on the pavement to join the vast flowered carpet, a magnificent work of willing hands, over which the priest walks for more than a kilometer while carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a Custody.

Three tonnes of flowers are needed to build this true work of art, which is the result of the efforts of a hundred volunteers.

After an arduous week of work, picking and preparing the flowers, it’s the eve of Easter Sunday when every minute counts down, through the night, until dawn, so that when the sun comes out, the magnificent flowered carpet that describes the route of the Procession can shine.

You will see quilts in the windows, the decorated balconies and the flowered carpet complete the scene of one of the most beautiful and genuine processions in the country. Afterward, the prior celebrates a mass attended by thousands of faithful in complete devotion.

There is also a competition to choose the most beautiful torches and balconies in the procession, a strategy designed to better preserve the ethnographic heritage of São Brás.

What is Mãe Soberana Festival - Sovereign Mother Festival - Loulé?

One of the highlights of Easter in Algarve is the Festa da Mãe Soberana in Loulé, the region’s most significant religious event. This festival, dedicated to the Sovereign Mother (a title given to the Virgin Mary), culminates two weeks after Easter Sunday. It begins with the “Small Feast” where the statue of the Sovereign Mother is carried from her sanctuary to the Church of São Francisco in Loulé on Easter Sunday. Two weeks later The “Grand Feast” sees the statue returning to her sanctuary, accompanied by a procession that attracts thousands of devotees. The event is a powerful display of faith and devotion, infused with a sense of community and celebration. Find out everything you need to know on our Guide to Mãe Soberana Festival in Loulé



image of Sovereign Mother festival in Loule

Traditional Easter Foods in the Algarve

Food plays a central role in any celebration, and Easter in the Algarve is no exception.

Easter lunch is a time for families to gather and indulge in a traditional feast.  Expect roast lamb to be a star player,  often accompanied by rice dishes, seasonal vegetables.

Prepared in various ways, roasted lamb seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and local herbs is a favorite, embodying the essence of Algarve’s culinary traditions.

roasted lamb with vegetables typical meal at Easter in the Algarve
Roasted Lamb typical dish as Easter in the Algarve


The Algarve boasts its own unique Easter specialty:  the Folar da Páscoa.

The Folar da Páscoa or “Easter Cake” is perhaps the most iconic Easter food in Portugal, including the Algarve.

Imagine a sweet, fluffy bread studded with hard-boiled eggs and dusted with cinnamon sugar. This symbolizes fertility and rebirth.

The Folar da Pascoa or “Easter cake”  is flavored with cinnamon and sugar within the layers of pastry- This cake is something you must try at least once. 

Throughout the Algarve you will find variations of the Folar.

The most famous one is the Flor de Olhão “Olhão Easter Cake”.

During Easter week,  local bakeries and pastery shops across the Algarve  burst with an abundance of freshly baked Folar.

  Stop by one of the local shops and pick up a whole Folar to share with family and friends,  or grab a smaller individual portion for a delightful Easter treat.

If you want to taste several folares then we recommend you attend one of the many  festivals that are exclusive to Folores and you can see and taste the different types of Folores that are made in the Algarve.

Almonds, which bloom beautifully in the Algarve winter, are used in numerous Easter recipes, from sweets like amêndoas cobertas (sugar-coated almonds) to savory dishes. These treats are not only delicious but also symbolize life and renewal, resonating with Easter’s themes.

Before chocolate Easter eggs, the sugar-coated almonds were given as Easter presents to the Children.

Folar da Pascoa - Algarve Easter cake
Folar da Pascoa – Algarve Easter cake

Things to do during at Easter in Algarve?

Easter in Algarve offers sunny Easter weather creating the perfect opportunity to combine traditional celebrations with outdoor activities and exploration.

  • Folar (Easter Cake) Festivals – There will always be a Folar festival nearby. These festivals offer folar taste testing, live music, and traditional food stands. The largest and most popular Folar festival is the Festa dos Folares at São Marcos da Serra and also in Alcoutim Folar Festival. 
  • Religious Festivals & Processions during Easter – We have outlined the main and most important festivities here so you can experience them during your stay in the Algarve during Easter.

Making the Most of the Algarve Weather at Easter

With average temperatures hovering around 20°C (68°F) during Easter, the Algarve offers a delightful escape from colder climates.  Here are some ideas to make the most of the beautiful weather:

  • Explore the Outdoors:  The Algarve is a haven for nature lovers. The mild spring weather in Algarve during Easter makes it an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Lace up your hiking boots and explore scenic trails along the dramatic cliffs,  cycle through charming villages and citrus groves,  or embark on a boat trip along the coastline. The Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Vicentine Coast are great places to explore, offering trails that meander through scenic vistas and lead to secluded beaches.
  •  Family Fun:   The Algarve caters to families with a variety of Easter-themed and year-round activities.  Spend a thrilling day at Zoomarine, a marine park featuring live shows, water rides, and animal encounters.  Older children might enjoy a challenge at a water park like Aquashow indoor Park, while younger ones will be captivated by the Krazy World amusement park.

Picturesque Towns and Villages to Visit during  Easter in Algarve.

  • Tavira is often hailed as one of the most charming towns in the Algarve. With its scenic riverfront, traditional architecture, and historic churches, it is a fascinating destination for those interested in experiencing local traditions. Easter here is celebrated with great reverence and joy.
  • Silves offers a journey back in time with its imposing castle and Gothic cathedral. The town’s Easter celebrations are deeply rooted in history, providing a quiet yet profound experience of the holiday.
  • Alte, known for its white-washed houses and freshwater springs, is another gem worth exploring during Easter. The village hosts unique festivities that reflect its rich cultural heritage, including folk music and dance.
  • Olhão is known for its red brick Fish, fruit, and vegetable Market. Eat the freshest fish or seafood meal in one of the many local restaurants in Olhão. Walk through the narrow cobblestone streets and discover the 5 Legends of Olhão Statues and learn the tales behind each one.
Zoomarine dolphin show shoing a dolphin diving
Spend the Day at Zoomarine during your stay at Easter in Algarve

Planning Your Easter in Algarve Holiday: Essential Tips

Essential Tips for Your Trip

  • Book in Advance: Easter is a popular time to visit the Algarve, so booking your flights and accommodation well in advance is crucial. Popular destinations like Albufeira and Vilamoura tend to fill up quickly. Consider booking a vacation rental or apartment for a more spacious and authentic experience.


  • Find Easter Events:  Make a list of the Easter processions, special church services, and local Easter markets happening during your visit. This will help you plan your itinerary and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere.


  • Pack for the Weather: The Algarve enjoys warm spring weather during Easter. Pack light, breathable clothing like cotton shirts, shorts, and sundresses. Evenings can be slightly cooler, so a light jacket or sweater is recommended. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes for exploring and a swimsuit for enjoying the beach.


  • Embrace the Easter Spirit:  While shops and restaurants might have limited opening hours on Easter Sunday, many bakeries will be open throughout the week selling the delicious Folar da Páscoa.  Embrace the festive spirit by attending a local Easter procession or indulging in a traditional Easter lunch.


  • Explore Easter Shopping:  Easter markets are a delightful way to experience local culture. Look out for stalls selling handcrafted souvenirs, Easter decorations like colorful eggs and figurines, and of course, a variety of regional delicacies perfect for taking a taste of the Algarve back home.


Easter in the Algarve offers a unique blend of cultural traditions, vibrant celebrations, and sunshine-filled days. Witness the solemnity of Easter processions, indulge in delectable regional treats like the Folar da Páscoa, and soak up the Algarve’s stunning scenery.  Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches, exploration of charming villages, or a combination of both, the Algarve promises an unforgettable Easter break.  So, book your trip, pack your bags, and get ready to experience the magic of Easter in the Algarve!

FAQ about Easter in Algarve

Is it necessary to book accommodations in advance for Easter in Algarve?

Yes, it is highly recommended to book your accommodations well in advance, as Easter is a popular time for both locals and tourists to visit the Algarve, resulting in higher demand for hotels and rentals.

What traditional foods should I try during Easter in Algarve?

Don’t miss out on Folar da Páscoa, a traditional Easter cake. Lamb dishes, especially roasted lamb. Sweets with almonds are also customary for Easter, reflecting the region’s almond blossoms.

Are there any specific events or processions I should attend?

The Festa da Mãe Soberana in Loulé is one of the most significant Easter events in the Algarve, featuring a grand procession. Additionally, attending an Easter Mass and participating in local town processions can offer a deeper understanding of the region’s traditions.

Can I participate in Easter celebrations even if I’m not religious?

Absolutely! Easter in Algarve is a cultural event as much as a religious one. Visitors are welcome to observe processions and other public events, and many non-religious activities, such as markets and family-oriented events, take place during this time.

What is the weather like in Algarve during Easter?

What can you expect from the weather in Algarve on Easter? Easter in Algarve typically enjoys mild spring weather, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). However, evenings can be cooler, so it’s a good idea to pack layers.

Are shops and restaurants open during Easter in Algarve?

Most shops and restaurants remain open during Easter, though some may close on Easter Sunday and Monday. It’s a good idea to check in advance, especially if you plan to visit a specific place.

Is Easter a public holiday in the Algarve?

Yes, Good Friday (Sexta-feira Santa) and Easter Sunday (Páscoa) are public holidays in Portugal, including the Algarve. This means some shops and businesses might have shorter opening hours or be closed entirely on these days.

Are shops and restaurants open on Easter Sunday?

While many larger supermarkets and tourist-oriented restaurants remain open on Easter Sunday, some smaller shops and local restaurants might have limited hours or be closed altogether. It’s best to check opening times in advance, especially for smaller establishments.

Are there any Easter egg hunts in the Algarve?

Easter egg hunts are not as widespread a tradition in Portugal as they are in some other countries. However, some hotels and resorts might organize Easter egg hunts for children during the Easter break. It’s always worth checking with your accommodation to see if they have any special Easter activities planned.

Easter in the Algarve: Essential Vocabulary

For a more enriching Easter experience in the Algarve, here are some key Portuguese phrases related to Easter traditions and food:

  • Feliz Páscoa (Fee-liz PAS-co-ah): Happy Easter
  • Procissão (Pro-si-são): Procession
  • Festa (FES-tah): Feast, festival
  • Folar da Páscoa (FO-lar dah PAS-co-ah): Easter cake
  • Doce (DO-seh): Sweet
  • Salgado (Sah-oo-GAH-doo): Savory
  • Presunto (Preh-SOON-too): Cured ham
  • Linguiça (Lin-GEE-sah): Sausage
  • Pastel de Nata (Pah-SHTEHL deh NA-tah): Portuguese custard tart
  • praia (PRAI-ah): Beach
  • castelo (cahsh-TEH-loo): Castle