Sand sculptures. Think of Madame Tussauds. But instead of wax, think sand. The Sand City in Pera, Algarve is a paradise for everyone. If you end up leaving there without being impressed than nothing in this world impresses you. Join us at this magical world of sand. Sand sculptures as far as the eye can see!
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FIESA Sand sculpture festival in Portugal
Each year from the first of March till the tenth of October the FIESA sand sculpture festival is opened for the public. It is located in the small village of Pera in the Algarve and this is one of the “must see” in the south of Portugal. I am sure that wherever you have your vacation – there are excursions offered to the sand sculptures and it is easy to get there. If you have your own car or a rental you just drive there and park right outside.
Sculpture after sculpture, row after row of beautifully made sand creations where there are new sculptures added each year and the old once are restored and repaired. This place just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This is the place to be. No this is the place where you must be! 45 000 tons of sand in different creations! The newest addition for 2018 are sand sculptures from StarWars and boy are they impressive!
Our visit to the Sand Sculptures in Pera, Algarve
Mini and I had been in the Algarve for two months. However, during the two months, we were there, the FIESA was closed. We decided straight away that we needed to come back to the Algarve during the period when this place would be open so that we could see the whole sand city. It turned out perfectly to go back to the Algarve during April when Minis parents flew in for a week to visit us.
We drove there and parked our motorhome right outside. For us, it means a lot to have a good parking space nearby the place we are visiting so that our home is safe at all times. Here it felt safe to park. We also knew that if something would happen to our home – we would be able to hear it from the inside of the park. So we parked and walked inside. Inside to a world of wonders!
We made a video, a really silly one but fun video that shows you how we roll ;). Yes the camera is not that steady and I keep changing focus all the time but that shows you how impressed I was. I wanted you to see it all :).
Sand sculptures as far as the eye can see
We have all been amazed by sand sculptures that we see. Most often they are on a famous beach somewhere in the world. Like Copacabana beach in Brazil. Here the artist of the work is nearby and you are welcome to take pictures if you leave a donation. Now imagine those sculptures times a thousand. A whole “city” just made out of these incredible pieces of art! in Portugal this is reality… Over the years there have been around 700 sculptures made. They keep them and restore them for some time and then they reuse the sand to create new masterpieces.
Masterpieces. That is the only word that fits in at this place. And for some reason, it is not that well visited as you might think. All the people we asked (about 75) no one had been there and the majority had not even heard of this place. It is a truly hidden gem and you want to check it out.
Take the route twice to see the sand sculptures
This is the best tip we can give you guys! Once you have walked the route and you think that you have seen it all – make another walk. We are 100 percent sure that you will see new stuff that you missed the first time. We were there with Minis parents and we all loved this place. After walking and taking a bunch of pictures we ended up taking a second round (all of us but Minis dad).
The second time we pointed out new things to each other that we had not found before. Since it is so much to see here – you will miss some of it! You see famous people and mythical creatures and cartoons and classics and everything that you can imagine. I heard that they made a “Disney & Pixar place” for the children. Well, that was my all time favorite part. Seeing Olof from Frozen, the crew from Madagascar and the Minions, just to name a few.
Seeing the sand sculptures during nighttime
The commercial for this place lets you know that you also want to visit this place when it is dark outside. They show some pictures of this place in the evening when all of the sculptures are lighted up in several different colors. And sure that looks cool to but I prefer to see it during the day when I can see all the details. And a second thing is the opening hours during the summer. Because let’s face it, it does not get dark until late and then the Sand City is already closed.
So according to me – if you want to see this place in the evening you will have to be here in the fall when it gets dark faster. But like I said, I prefer it during the day! If you want you can grab a cup of coffee or something to eat in between your walks. Don’t get me wrong – you walk at your own pace and for how long you want but they have a really cozy cafe here too.
Let the sand sculptures speak for themselves
The FIESA sand city is a winning concept. Forget about your children’s sand castles – here you have the real deal. And they also offer sand sculpture lessons and have different kinds of workshops thru-out the day that you can join if you like. I don’t think that you will learn how to create the masterpieces that are on show there but you will learn about the concept of sand sculpturing.
And yes it is all sand. When you look at the sculptures you might think that they add some concrete or something to make them as “hard” as they appear to be. However, the secret is the mixture of regular sand and sand that is taken from the bottom of a lake and that is more claylike.
The downside about the FIESA Sand City
There is not much that I didn’t like about this place but there were some minor details that I think that they can improve. One thing is that there was a part of the exhibition that was closed during our visit (due to restoration). They informed us about that when we entered but they still have the same entrance fee, 9,90 per person. There is more often than not some part or parts that are closed of and maybe they should lower the entrance fee when they have parts that are closed off?
And the main thing that I didn’t like was that they have a fish spa here. For what reason? Well, obviously they want to make some more money when they have the visitors here. But I don’t see the point. What does a fish spa have in common with sand sculptures? Beats me and I hope that they will rethink this business and maybe sell some sand sculptures in miniature instead. Wouldn’t that be the coolest ever?! They just need to figure out how to pack it so that it won’t break!
Information about FIESA Sand sculptures
Address: Areias de Pêra, caixa n.º 10-V, Pêra.
Opening hours: Daily. 1 March to 1 June: 10:00 – 19:00. 2 June to 14 July: 10:00 – 22:00. 15 July to 15 September: 10:00 – 24:00. 16 September to 10 November: 10:00 – 19:00.
Entrance fee: 9,90 euro per adult.
No reservations needed – just come when it suits you!