I finally had some time to pick some photos and write something about this year’s Santa Maria da Feira Medieval Voyage.
We started visiting medieval fairs a few years ago, going to nearby like the Sintra Medieval fair (which I heard was great this year) as well as to not-so-close ones. At first we went to the Óbidos Medieval Market every year, but then it started becoming too crowded for the available space. We began frequenting Santa Maria’s instead.
The area huge in comparison to all other fairs we’ve visited, and the organization seems better. The free events are always happening once the fair picks up the pace, and you can pay tickets to see more specific stuff like jousting shows in an arena – we skipped it this year, so no photos of that.
Free entertainment included battles, puppet shows , musical acts, showing of birds of prey, with falcons, eagles and owls (beautiful and, in in one very expressive owl’s case, fun to watch), and a ton of other things. I’m not sure they’re all featured in their website.
The shops are varied, although I would love to see more weapons and armor available, and some of the items you don’t get to see very often. There’s even a Sukh you can visit, and get exotic items, a couple of which I actually hadn’t seen before.
Everything related to the food is more interesting than what we see in most other fairs – in some stands you can see people kneading soon-to-become cakes and breads, or roasting pigs over the fire. We even found a stand with sangria I loved, which is an event all by itself. There was an incredibly nice lady, who offered us a sample of her white wine sangria, and we then bought some delicious lemonade from the shop.
The people on the stands are, in general, approachable and friendly. A lot of them even pose for pictures and try their best for everything to ‘look medieval’.
This year introduced a 2 euro bracelet to enter the perimeter, which considering all that’s going on for free seems fair enough. In my opinion, Santa Maria da Feira’s Medieval Voyage is currently the best event of this sort in Portugal.
I recommend a visit to future editions.