St John’s Festival, Portugal

St John’s Festival, Portugal © Porto City Council

Arm yourself with a squeaky rubber mallet and head to Porto for some serious head-whacking in one of Europe’s most riotous festivals, the Festa de São João.

This quirky event sees a toy hammer-wielding mob of thousands chase each other down the city’s World Heritage-listed streets and quayside, attacking each other in fits of giggles.

Plastic hammers are sold at every street corner in the days beforehand. But to join the traditionalists, pick up a particularly smelly bunch of wild garlic stalks with which to attack.

On top of the squeaks and squeals for mercy you’ll also hear open-air concerts, street-dancing, boat races and fireworks.

Still little known outside Portugal, the festival takes place in the 4th week of June.

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