Autumn in the Algarve
Autumn has arrived in the Algarve, there is no doubt about that! Although the weather in Portugal, is still very pleasant and the sun still keeps us company, the temperatures have slightly dropped, and we even experience the occasional humid or wet day, although more rain would be more than welcome at this point of the year! But let us rejoice the splendid weather and look forward to one of the most traditional Portuguese days of the year: the day of São Martinho (St Martin’s day) on the 11th of November. Most Saints are celebrated during the summer, yet this one is the only one being celebrated during autumn, although the warm and dry November days have given that period the name and fame of “the summer of São Martinho”.
Who is São Martinho?
Legend has it that Martinho, a soldier, was riding his horse in a cape when he got caught in a storm. He came across a nearly naked beggar shivering with cold. He then took his sword and cut his cloak in half to share with the beggar. Upon this good deed, the storm ended, the clouds broke open and the sun came through, warmly welcoming the generous gesture of the knight. Hence, too, the expression of “the summer of São Martinho”.
Chestnuts and wine
With time, it has become the day that is commonly associated with the celebration of the maturation of the year’s wine and the harvesting of the first chestnuts. As the Portuguese saying goes: “ É dia de São Martinho, comem-se as castanhas, prova-se o vinho” (It’s St Martin’s day, we’ ll eat the chestnuts and taste the wine”).
Often celebrated around a big bonfire, roasting the freshly harvested chestnuts and tasting the wine of the year for the first time, it’s a big traditional party called “magusto” that you do not want to miss if you happen to be in Portugal. All the locals will join the party, and if you are in smaller inland towns, like for instance Alferce near Monchique, there will be music and traditional popular dances.
Fair in Algarve
It is also a period that some towns will host a fair like the Feira de São Martinho in Portimão. Next to the usual attractions, there will be plenty of roasted chestnuts on sale, alongside the roasted octopus (a Portuguese speciality that you either love or hate), the hotdogs and the sweet cotton candy. Not the best place to go if you’ re on a diet or want to keep healthy, but often, there will also be a market where gipsies will be selling all kinds of clothes, shoes, plastic stuff and other totally useless things, so you won’t be bored. Half the entertainment is to simply walk and look around, but be sure to protect your ears, the sound is often horrendously loud. Reading this back, it does not sound like a great thing to visit, but if you like traditions, typical Portuguese authenticity…. This is actually good fun!
Whatever you chose to do in the Algarve on São Martinho, enjoy!
This time of the year is called LOW season, meaning rental prices are low, and you get great offers for villa rentals in Portugal! And not only villa rental prices are low, but also plane tickets and car rental prices! You can have a cheap holiday in the Algarve, and still, have some great fun and sun!
Check with me availability and prices for the villas! Contact me!