The description of the Golegã National Horse Fair and its significance in Portugal’s equestrian culture is captivating. From an agricultural fair to a renowned event showcasing the Lusitano breed reflects the deep-rooted connection between the town of Golegã and its equestrian heritage.

The diverse range of activities and competitions, from Lusitano showing classes to dressage, working equitation, endurance, and eventing, offers a comprehensive showcase of the versatility and excellence of the Lusitano breed. The inclusion of classical shows, horseball games, and prize-giving parades in the evening adds a layer of entertainment and elegance to the fair.

The concept of breeder’s ‘Casettas,’ providing an opportunity for visitors to meet breeders in a welcoming environment, further enhances the personal and cultural experience of the fair. The stalls with presented horses contribute to the immersive experience, allowing attendees to appreciate the beauty and qualities of the Lusitano breed up close.

The spectacular Lusitano Festival – quite literally a unique experience held in Golegã every November.  Golega known as the ‘Capital of Horse’ in Portugal, is located at the top of the Ribatejo area and home to many of the famous Lusitano Breeders.

The History of Golega

The Golegã National Horse Fair, with its origins dating back to the 18th century when it was known as “Feira de São Martinho,” has a rich history deeply intertwined with the cultural and equestrian heritage of Portugal. Originally established as an agricultural fair to promote local products, the presence of renowned Lusitano breeders in the region led to the inclusion of these magnificent horses in the festivities.

The Lusitano horse quickly emerged as the star attraction, prompting a name change to “Feira Nacional do Cavalo.” Held annually every November over a ten-day period, the fair culminates in its most significant celebration on the 11th of November — “The Feast of Saint Martin or Saint Martin’s Day.”

On this special day, the air is filled with the delightful scent of roasted chestnuts, and participants partake in the tradition of enjoying new wine. This date stands out as the pinnacle of the festival, marked by a collective donning of traditional Portuguese riding attire. While festivity-goers may dress up throughout the event, it is on the 11th of November that one witnesses the most splendid showcase of clothing, adding to the overall festive and cultural allure of the Golegã National Horse Fair.

What happens at the Horse Fair?

The transformation of Golegã during the National Horse Fair paints a lively and vibrant celebration. What was once a sleepy town undergoes a metamorphosis into a bustling hub of activity, with horses and carriages weaving through the streets. The aroma of roasting chestnuts and the enticing scent of BBQ fill the air, creating an atmospheric and sensory experience for all.

As daylight turns to dusk, Golegã transitions into a lively party atmosphere that lasts well into the early hours. This festive ambiance is not limited to locals; it’s a shared experience enjoyed by both residents and foreign visitors alike. The town comes alive with the sounds of laughter, music, and the clatter of hooves, contributing to the overall joyous spirit of the occasion.

A diverse array of offerings adds to the charm of the event. Traditional food stalls, restaurants, bars, cafes, and discos stay open late into the night, providing a range of options for revelers to indulge in local culinary delights and beverages. The fair also transforms into a captivating shopping experience, featuring stalls with everything from traditional tack and clothing to artworks, traditional drinks, foods, and even antiques.

This amalgamation of equestrian festivities, culinary delights, and a bustling marketplace creates a unique and unforgettable atmosphere during the Golegã National Horse Fair, making it a must-visit for those seeking an immersive cultural and celebratory experience.

What type of horse competition will I expect to see?

The Golegã National Horse Fair offers a comprehensive and diverse program that showcases the versatility and excellence of the Lusitano breed. The various competitions and events cater to different aspects of equestrian skill and expertise, ensuring a rich and engaging experience for participants and spectators alike.

Lusitano Showing Classes: In-hand and ridden Lusitano showing classes provide a platform to display the breed’s conformation, movement, and overall beauty.

Dressage Competition: Dressage competitions highlight the precision, elegance, and harmony between horse and rider as they perform a series of predetermined movements.

Working Equitation: Working equitation showcases the practical application of horsemanship skills, obstacle work and maneuvers, emphasizing the horse’s agility and responsiveness.

Endurance and Eventing: Endurance tests the horse’s stamina over long distances, while eventing combines elements of dressage, cross-country jumping, and show jumping, providing a well-rounded assessment of horse and rider abilities.

In the evening, the main arena, known as The Manga, transforms into a center for entertainment and spectacle.

Highlights include:

Classical Shows: Beautiful classical performances that showcase the artistry and skill of both horse and rider.

Horse Ball: Fast-action games of horseball, an equestrian sport combining elements of basketball and rugby, demonstrating agility and teamwork.

Prize-Giving Parades:  Parades to honor and recognize the achievements of participants, adding a celebratory touch to the event.

Amidst these events, the breeder’s ‘Casettas’ plays a unique role. These small wooden houses, strategically placed around The Manga, provide a welcoming space for breeders to greet guests. Here, guests have the opportunity to engage with breeders, sample wines and olives, and explore stalls showcasing some of their finest horses. This personalised interaction adds a cultural and personal dimension to the overall Golegã Horse Fair experience, allowing attendees to connect with the breeders and appreciate the beauty and heritage of the Lusitano horse.

Has Golega Horse Fair always been on your bucket list?

We have put together a package that includes sightseeing and three days at the National Golega Horse Fair in Portugal

An unforgettable experience at the Horse Golegã Fair from 2nd – 11th November 2024


  • 10 Days/9 Nights accommodation – 4 nights in Lisbon, 1 night in Alter Real, and 4 nights in Tomar
  • Transfers as per the itinerary
  • Breakfast daily, 5 dinners including a welcome and farewell dinner & dinner at Golega
  • Sightseeing in Lisbon includes the UNESCO Jeronimo Monastery
  • Taste the original recipe of the Portuguese tart from Pastéis de Belém
  • Optional visit to the Lisbon Carriage Museum and/or Belem Tower
  • Two-day Lisbon transport card including all trams, metro, and buses
  • Entry to Portugal School of Equestrian Arte including a stable visit 🐎
  • Walking tour of Evora including the Bone Church, and the many Roman Ruins in the town
  • Overnight stay and tour of the Alter Real horse stud 🐎and see the mares and foals being let out to pasture providing a great photo opportunity
  • Visit the UNESCO Convento de Cristo World Heritage-listed Templar Castle🏰 and the Convent of the Knights of Christ in Tomar,
  • Three days at the Golega Horse Fair
  • Visit the Royal Convent and Palace of Mafra an important baroque monument in Portugal
  • Shopping in Lisbon and Golega
  • Hosted tour with friends for company

Cost AUD: Early bird special (Saving $450.00) $3999.00 per person Twin/Double share / After the 30th March 2024 the cost is AUD$4450.00 per person twin/Double share

 Special Terms & Conditions: A non-refundable $650.00 deposit must be made at the time of the booking to confirm your place.

This is a special event and accommodation is highly sought after and we recommend booking early as we have limited places.  

Enquiries: for further booking details.