I was doing some research in preparation for yet another trip to Portugal when I came across portugalconfidential.com, a great website profiling interesting news and fun things to do in Portugal. It was here that I read about FIESA, an annual sand sculpture festival in Pêra, Portugal. I entered a competition to win two free tickets and WON! I never win anything so I was pretty chuffed.
FIESA is the largest sand sculpture festival in the WORLD, amongst others such as Brighton Sand Sculpture Fstival, Weston Sand Sculpture Festival and Sandworld. The site of the festival features over 100 sculptures across an area of 15,000 m2. Each year a new theme is conceived. In past years, statues have been built in dedication to varying themes; from Ancient Civilizations (2005) and Mythologies (2006) to Wonders of the world (2007) and Music (2013).
Artists from all over the world collaborate in the creation of the sculptures. The sculptures are made from a mixture of sand and water alone and can take months to create. Some of the ones I saw in 2014 were truly amazing. Sculptures of idols, bands, and musicals from various eras were dotted around the site. The likeness of some of them was not always obvious, but the majority really were.
FIESA is open to the public May 25th – October 25th so the beauty of the statues can be appreciated for as long as possible! Visiting times are from 10:00 am to 22:00 pm which giving visitors the opportunity to see the structures during the nighttime. I would strongly recommend visiting at this sort of time as the sculptures are beautifully illuminated at night. That paired with the music that is played throughout the festival makes for a very eery experience! The sun reflecting off the sand during the day can become a bit unbearable too, which is why I chose to visit in the evening.
If you aren’t lucky enough to win tickets, you can buy them for a measly 9 euros. Tickets are valid for the whole day! A bargain, considering the skill and patience needed to create these masterpieces. I’ll admit that I did not stay half as long as that. The whole festival can be seen within a couple of hours.
FIESA 2017 is celebrating its 15th anniversary! In light of this, the festival will be holding a variety of unique performances and workshops as well as a special icicle exhibit. A definite must see for those visiting the Algarve this summer.