Carnaval 2017: Dancing, Drinking and (Un)Dressing Around Lisbon

This is Lisbon, so our carnaval is a mix of Brazilian style — let's just say more skin — and Venice carnevale, which favors elaborate ornate costumes. Then there are people over 40 dressed as Disney characters.

Carnaval (carnival for you English speakers) is a time to let loose and get wild behind the cover of a mask and costume, all in preparation for Lent, technically. Most people forget about Lent, though.

The biggest carnaval in Portugal happens at Torres Vedras, but Lisbon does its damndest to keep up. The parties begin on Friday and, since most businesses will be closed on Monday and even Tuesday, continue for four days.

This is Lisbon, so our carnaval is a mix of Brazilian style — let’s just say more skin — and Venice carnevale, which favors elaborate ornate costumes. Then there are people over 40 dressed as Disney characters, too. So you do you. But figure out your dress-up or dress-down, as most of the events have reduced admission if you go incognito or prizes for best in show. Make us proud, Lisboetas.

Friday, Feb. 24

PARADE | Carnaval Arroiano | Arroios | 14h30 – 19h | FREE
This parade was started by António Arroio in 1968 and has since been held annually. Become part of the colorful and vibrant crowd, all there to support artistic education in Lisbon, specifically the Ensino Artístico foundation.

The route begins at Rua Coronel Ferreira do Amaral/Escola António Arroio and continues via Avenida Almirante Reis up to Avenida Duque de Loulé and into Praça Marquês de Pombal. From there the route goes down Avenida Liberdade, through Restauradores and Rossio, up the hill to Chiado’s Rua Garrett, past the Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, onto Rua do Ouro, and finishes in Praça do Comércio — where Los Empty Heads will play a free show.

How they do carnivale in Venice

SUNSET PARTY | Vestigius Wine Bar | Cachaça 51 Sunset Party | Cais do Sodré | 17h30 – 21h30 | FREE
Come watch the sunset from this riverside spot in Cais do Sodré accompanied by live music and animation, occasional gifts, and buy-two caipirinhas get-one-free promotion.
Advance table bookings on the terrace are available. Just send an email to Patrícia Barbosa at pb(at) and they’ll get you sorted.

DANCE PARTY | Cusek Bar | Brazilian Carnaval | Bairro Alto | 18h | FREE
Start your carnaval celebration off Brazilian-style. Learn how to samba with the help of copious amounts of caipirinhas and dance your way down the hill once you’ve had your fill.

How they do carnaval in Brazil. Photo by Studios from The Inner Mission San Francisco, Earth

DANCE PARTY | Metropolis Club | Pop 80s vs. 90s | Saldanha | 23h – 6h | FREE
Not exactly a carnival party per se, but dressing up like your favorite musician from the ‘80s or ‘90s could be just this ticket to get your weekend off to a good start. Free until 2h.

GIN PARTY | Gin Lover’s | Carnaval | Príncipe Real | 23h30 – 2h | FREE
Wear a mask or costume and you’ll get a 50% discount on selected gin, not once but two times.

UNIVERSITY PARTY | Jezebel Club | University Carnaval Party | Estoril | 23h50 – 5h | 10€ with bracelet
Join the host ROD’AVILA and don your craziest costume for a night of music and surprises. Costume prizes will be awarded, so don’t half-ass it. First place gets a bottle, second place(s) share a bottle, and third place gets five drinks. You’ll have to go over to Estoril to join the celebration, but the train ride should be pretty fun incognito. To get your bracelet, you’ll need to go to the Universidade Atlântica’s Multi-Service office.

DANCE PARTY | Construction Lisbon Club | Three Days of Carnaval Feb. 24 – 27 | Príncipe Real | 23h50 – 6h30 | 5 – 10€
Three nights of carnaval with live dancers, rotating DJs, and costumed clientele. Things could get a little kinky in the wee hours, so bring a buddy, a lover, or accompany your favorite couple — LGBT or otherwise.

DANCE PARTY | EKA Palace | Xabregas | 22h – 5h | 3€
Masked couples get a free shot at this Erasmus-friendly costume party. Come and dance in this palace-turned-community space. There’s plenty of room for everyone. If you haven’t checked out the venue yet, now would be a good time.

DANCE PARTY | Titanic Sur Mer | Música Maravilhosa para Gente Maravilhosa | Cais do Sodré | 24h – 4h | 5 – 7€
Check out this party with local live music talents JP Simões e MJ Vieira. The jury is still out on whether costumes are a must, but it’s a carnaval party, so use your imagination and splash on some face paint at the very least.

DANCE PARTY | Fontória Club Bar & Disco | AnȼɇsŧɍøFuŧuɍɨsmø Carnaval | Avenida da Liberdade | 23h – 7h | FREE
Come dressed and dance barefoot alongside other weirdly dressed folk— as recommended by the organizers — to welcome the future of (in)humanity. Not sure what that means exactly, but there’s only one way to find out.

Saturday, Feb. 25

THEME PARTY | Bar TR3S | Masquerade | Príncipe Real | 22h – 3h | 5€
Got a mask? You might get a shot. If you don’t have one, they might help you out, but you can forget about any discounts on booze. It pays to be prepared, so prepare yourself for one hell of a bash at this gay club. All are welcome. The party continues with different themes until the 28th of February.

LIVE MUSIC | Titanic Sur Mer | Mundo Mestiço Pre-Carnaval Party | Cais do Sodré | 22h30 – 6h | 8€
Two live music sets and two DJs spanning the globe from Brazil to Angola. A little samba, a little funk, a hint of contemporary African, and a dab of Balkan beats. Whatever you go dressed as, make sure you wear your dancing shoes. Enter between 3h30 and 6h and you’ll get a free drink with the price of admission.

BRAZILIAN PARTY | Espaço Baião | Carnabaião | Restauradores | 22h – 1h30 | 5€
Come dressed as you dare for a night of forró and samba. Costume prizes for first, second, and third place, so put in a little effort and you might just be compensated. Worth a look-see and a shimmy while you’re at it.

DANCE PARTY | Largo Residencias | Mustache Party | Intendente | 22h – 2h | FREE
For those who aren’t into getting all costumed up (we understand it isn’t for everyone), all you need to enter this party is a mustache. But please don’t forget to wear some pants. You’ll be entitled to a special carnival cocktail, whether you choose a handlebar or just a generous fu-manchu. DJs Largo and Wilson Vilares will be playing some dance-worthy tunes.

ART PARTY | Theblacksheep Art Gallery | Legendary Cabaret | Rato | 22h – 23h | 7€
See what’s in store at this event in an art gallery. There will be loads of surprises but you need to reserve a spot in advance. Email Thelegendarycabaret(at) and prepare for an unforgettable evening.

DANCE PARTY | Bosq | Lisbon’s Original Carnaval Party | Alcântara | 23h – 6h | 5€
Party like an animal, or a fireman, or in any other costume you can imagine in this space in LX Factory. Dancing, drinks, and debauchery as hosted by Pure Lisbon sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Might as well check it out.

DANCE PARTY | Trumps | Laundry Room |  Príncipe Real | 23h45 – 6h | 3€
Prepare your delicates for their special dry-cleaning service, but only if you’re in costume. Brazilian DJ Harry Louis plans to shake things up while the laundry guys give your undies a full-service hand wash. Don’t worry, they’re all accredited to undress, wash, and dry any type of clothing.

Sunday, Feb. 26

WORKSHOP | MILL-Makers Little Lisbon | Soft-Circuit Mask Workshop | Campo Mártires | 15h30 – 18h | 15€
If you’re serious about your costume, here’s a way to step it up this year. In this workshop you will learn to transform your mask with a simple electronic circuit and make it shine by adding several LEDs. The cost of entry includes all the materials you’ll need.

PARADE | Carnival Saloio 2017 by Palhaços da Areeira | Loures | 14h | FREE
Watch this group of flag-waving, float-riding mimes and clowns take to the streets in Loures if you’re out and about. This is their time to shine, so get ready to be impressed…they’ve been practicing for this all year.

DANCE PARTY | Urban Beach | Karnaval de Lisbon | Santos | 23h – 4h | Ladies: 8€, Dudes: 12€
Come for caipirinhas, samba, funk, and much more. Rob Willow is spinning, so get there early, and dress up! Word to the wise: you don’t want to go to Urban Beach dressed as a banana, so put some thought into it…or don’t. Bananas are so hot right now.

DANCE PARTY | Place | Savage Carnival, Mascared Edition | Cais do Sodré | 23h55 – 6h45 | 7€
Come shake your costumed moneymaker at Place, hosted by Voyage. Funk, samba, and Afro-house will be blasting until the early morning. Maybe it’s best to wear a mask if you plan to stay ’til closing. Ladies free until 2h30.

Monday, Feb 27

PARTY | Renovar A Mouraria | Carnaval na Mouradia | Mouraria | 18h -2h
Come (in costume) to dance with the community in Mouraria. There are prizes for the best costumes between 21h and 2h, so stick around if you’ve worked particularly hard on yours — which of course you should have.

PARTY | Brickoven Palace | Festa de Carnaval | Intendente | 19h – 00h | FREE
Come to party and show off your costume for a chance to win one of many prizes. Drinks are cheapish (expect to pay 1,50€ for an imperial), so even if you don’t win, you still get something out of it. And you get to party in a palace.

LIVE MUSIC PARTY | Sabotage | Carnival Pas de Probleme with Real Padráda | Cais do Sodré | 22h – 1h |  TBA
After the madness that was the live presentation of their album “Silence Is Gold” a few weeks ago at Titanic, Pás de Probleme returns to attack Lisbon. This time, no reservations, no saved tickets. Check back with the listing for the pricing information. In the meantime, download “Silence Is Gold” for free here.

CONCERT | MusicBox | For Pete’s Sake | Cais do Sodré | 22h – 1h | 7€
Come to MusicBox to party with the band For Pete’s Sake as they release their new album, The Real Dream You Live, in style. Hopefully they’ll play all our old favorites as well, like “Got Soul” and “House,” so make sure your mask has good ear-holes.

DANCE PARTY | Fábrica Braço de Prata | Festa de Carnaval | Beato | 22h – 4h | FREE
Expect a lot of dancing alongside some fantastic costumes at this community space. Get it on with your mask on, and prepare to clown around. These guys know how to throw a party, so don’t embarrass yourself by showing up looking like a civilian.

LIFESTYLE PARTY | Embassy of Freedom Club | Venice Carnivali | Almada | 22h – 6h | 5€
Dress to impress at this alternative-lifestyle club. The night will surely be unforgettable with hot soundtracks and live performances by Nuria Dark, Sandra Vida, and gaucho, and possibly some of the clientele in the back room. Go Venetian or go home eyes wide shut.

DANCE PARTY | Club Noir | Carnaval Noir | Baixa | 23h – 4h | 2€ with costume
Check out the Eurodance scene peppered with goth, new wave, alternative ‘80s, electro, and more. This party also promises to play a little post-punk. Much room to experiment with your outfit, that is to say.

DANCE PARTY | Metropolis | Masquerade Ball | Príncipe Real | 23h – 6h | FREE until 2h with costume
If you’re in the mood for indie, electro, metal, or rock, you’re in luck. DJ Alpha – Morcego will lead you through the evening and up to sunrise.

CABARET | Festa da Comuna | Carnaval Festival |Praça de Espanha | 23h30 – 4h |10€ 
Are you ready for a little can-can dancing? Watch the ladies and gents of the theater Comuna kick it up a notch until 4am. You might want to make sure your costume isn’t half-assed because these gals are sure to be top-notch. One ticket gets you two free drinks by the way.

DANCE PARTY | MAIN | Mainiacs Carnival | Santos | 23h30 – 6h | 8 – 12€
Be the hero or the villain, the Casper or the Snow White at this animation-themed party. Check out some live music by MC Zuka, and listen to DJs spin into the early morning. Unlike most animated-themed parties, you have to be over 16 to enter. Ladies get in free until 1h30.

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