Os Caretos de Podence

Os Caretos de Podence, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Trás-os-Montes

Os Caretos de Podence
Os Caretos de Podence

One of Portugal's most traditional and bizarre carnival celebrations takes place in the village of Podence in the Trás-os-Montes region of northeastern Portugal.

Men of the area dress in colorful, home-made, woolen, hooded costumes predominately red, green, and yellow with red masks made from wood or leather. Around their waists on leather belts, they wear an assortment of metal rattles and bells. A tail protrudes from the hood and also carries a sexual connotation. The caretos usually carry a wooden staff as well.

The caretos circulate around the village in search of women to shake their rattles and bells at. The act symbolizes spring, fertilization, and regrowth after the barren months of winter.

The festival in the villages of Podence and nearby Macedo de Cavaleiros has been designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Historians believe the festival has its roots in ancient Celtic fertility cults.

Access - Getting There

Podence and Macedo de Cavaleiros are around 40 km south of Bragança and 80 km northeast of Vila Real.

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Via Algarviana

Via Algarviana

The Via Algarviana is a long-distance walking route in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. It connects Cabo de São Vicente (Cape of Saint Vincent) in the southwest with Alcoutim in the northeast of the region. The Via Algarviana is suitable for both walking or cycling.

There are also trails branching off the main route such as the one shown on the map below from Aljezur to Marmelete.

Via Algarviana
Via Algarviana Map


The Via Algarviana passes through Vila do Bispo, Bensafrim, Marmelete, Monchique, Silves, Messines, Alte, Salir, Barranco do Velho, Parises, Cachopo, Vaqueiros, Furnazinhos, Balurcos before arriving in Alcoutim. There are spurs to Lagos, Loule and São Bras do Alportel.

Altogether the entire route is around 300 km in length. The route became fully accredited in 2006.

All the main towns and villages on the route have adequate accommodation and restaurants for tired and hungry hikers. August, due to the heat, is probably best avoided but not impossible.

Route Map
Detailed route maps are available along the way

Rota Vicentina

The trail also connects with the roughly north-south Rota Vicentina at Cabo de São Vicente and Aljezur.

Further Information

Further information can be found at viaalgarviana.org

If you are thinking of a walking holiday in southern Portugal Walking in the Algarve by Cicerone is an invaluable resource.

Detailed information is available on signboards along the route
Detailed information in both Portuguese and English is available on signboards along the route

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