Sand City (FIESA)
Every year, there is a huge sand sculpture festival in the Algarve. It is called Sand City and is otherwise known as FIESA (Festival Internacional de Escultura em Areia) or the International Sand Sculpture Festival. The event exists since 2003 and is actually the largest sand sculpture event in the world. If you are in the Algarve and can appreciate original pieces of sand art, don’t miss this event.
What to expect
Imagine 15.000 square metres of sand sculptures. Welcome to Sand City. All the sand sculptures are original and unique pieces of art. Every year, about 60 professional sand sculptors of different nationalities work on it. To build these sand sculptures, they use about 65.000 tons of sand. The sand sculptures have an amazing amount of detail. Some sculptures can even reach a height of 12 metres. It is actually hard to explain the true beauty of it.
Most of the sand sculptures involve people, cartoons, animals and places. Every year, the exhibition has a different theme. Examples of themes from the past are music, mythology, wonders of the world, the animal kingdom and Star Wars. All the pieces of art you see are 100% real sand. It might look like they add some concrete or another ingredient, but that is not the case. They mix normal sand with sand that is taken from the bottom of lakes and is more like clay. This gives them a solid appearance.
You can visit Sand city during the day or in the evening. In the evening, there is atmospheric lighting. Every year, the FIESA international sand sculpture festival attracts thousands of visitors. If you want, you can take a guided tour. The guide will explain all pieces of sand art and tell the stories you wouldn’t know otherwise. Next to the sand exhibitions, there are several other activities you can enjoy, such as demonstrations or workshops on sand sculpting.
If you want to get a taste of the International Sand Sculpture Festival, then watch the video below.
Sand City is currently held in Lagoa (formerly it was held in Pêra). It is located right on the N125 national road, between the main roundabout of Lagoa and the roundabout of Porches. It is just across the NOBEL International School of the Algarve. When driving on the N125, you will see signs indicating the FIESA Sand Sculpture Festival.
The FIESA Sand Sculpture Festival lasts for several months. It opens in June and lasts until sometime in November. The exhibition opens at 10 AM. The closing time is anywhere between 7 PM and midnight, depending on the month. The summer is the best time for this festival, since there is little rain, which keeps the sand sculptures in good shape. If it rains and the sand sculptures are affected, maintenance work is carried out to repair the damages. However, the sand art looks best in its original form, so it is better to go as early as possible in the year.
What is the entrance fee?
A ticket to enter FIESA costs € 11,90 for adults and € 5,90 for children (6-12 years old). Children under 6 years old have free entrance.
If you want to know more about this event, check out their website.