Every two years, the pretty little whitewashed town of Redondo (18km southwest of Vila Viçosa) bursts into bloom during the extraordinary Ruas Floridas, a week-long flower festival with a difference. In a revival of a nineteenth-century tradition, the cobbled old-town streets are covered in flowers, shade canopies, human figures, exotic animals and life-size scenes made entirely from coloured paper. Each street is responsible for choosing a theme, so you might walk up to the castle through a steamy jungle complete with elephants and parrots and back down along a Brazilian beach; caricatures of the local women wash clothes in a paper river, while wild boars root in paper acorns. At lunchtime, every single restaurant in Redondo is crammed with local families and visitors; at night there are marching bands, dances, concerts and bullfights. The event is biennial (odd years) and is usually held from the last day or two in July through the first week in August (exact dates on the local town council website wcm-redondo.pt).

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