Santos Populares Festival in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide

Are you thinking of planning a trip to Europe and determining the location? Then, it is the ideal time to travel to Lisbon in June for the Santos Populares Festival. It is the most popular and famous event of the year in Lisbon. This festival is celebrated in honour of Siant's patron saint, Santro Antonio. Moreover, this event is a combination of music, different colours, and flavours that bring a joyful atmosphere to the whole city. 

In this article, you are going to learn almost everything you need to know for planning your trip to Saint Festivals.  

Santos Populares Festival Overview 

This festival is well known for its rich culture and promoting local traditions. There are a lot of activities throughout the month, and you can participate in any of them. You can dance to traditional music, have delicious grilled sardines, and also enjoy typical drinks. Moreover, it is also possible to take part in many games, such as weaving. In short, this festival has a separate fanbase, and people are eager to attend it.  

Where in Lisbon Do Santos Populares Happen? 

June 13 is Saint Anthony's Day. It began on June 12, the night before. You mostly like to see the main celebrations around Alfama, Bairro Alto, and Graca neighborhoods. However, there are festivities throughout the city. The whole city comes together in the decoration and celebrates the event in style. 

One of the main highlights of that night was the Marchas Popularis. A long parade is held along  Avenida da Liberdade. After that, many traditional street parties begin. Everyone dances to the tempo pimba music and eats sardines until sunset. 

With all the celebration of the festival around the city, you will find decorations with tinsel and streamers. Saint Anthony's feast lasts for two weeks, during which you will experience pimba bands and BBQ sellers of Lisbon's favourite food, grilled sardines, everywhere. 

Who Is Saint Anthony?

Saint Anthony is the patron saint of Lisbon, born in 1195. He was born at the Igreja da Santo Antonio church. People celebrate Santos Populares on June 13, the death anniversary of Saint Anthony. He died at the age of 35 in 1231. 

June 13 is a public holiday in Lisbon. However, the preparation for the event begins the night before June 12. Saint Anthony is also well known for being the patron saint of lovers. Therefore, you will feel an air filled with love and romance everywhere during the Santos Populares festivities. The festival ends with a grand wedding function for Saint Anthony. It is a mass wedding held at the Se Cathedral for 16 couples on the 12th. It includes a grand wedding at Se Cathedral Church for 16 couples on the 12th. 

You can enjoy the festival with the freedom of your vehicle. Rent a car from a car rental agency like QH Rent a Car to go around the city at your speed. You can also crash all the secret parties and events, even outside the main festival.

Lisbon's schedule for the Festival of Santos Popular

  • From the middle of May to the end of June, people in Lisbon start to decorate their homes with streamers and tinsel. 
  • Night-time street parties are filled with joys with the Pimba bands. They provide upbeat music from the first weekend of June.
  • The wedding for Casamentos de Santo Antonio will take place on June 12 at Lisbon Town Hall and Se Cathedral.
  • On June 12, the Marchas Popularis, a carnival parade, will go down Avenida da Liberdade from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • On the 12th, you can go to street parties in every neighbourhood of Lisbon. From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., you can also explore the Bairro Alto, Alfama, and more on the little streets.
  • Saint Anthony's feast day begins on June 13. The Pimba bands perform traditional music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from that date until June 30.
  • June 24 is Saint John's feast day. However, there are no special events in Lisbon on that day. This is because the Festa de São João do Porto party begins that evening on June 23.
  • Saint Peter's Day is June 29. There are no special events on this day. However, on June 28, you can attend the Noite de São Pedro in Póvoa de Varzim.

Important Events in the Santos Populares Festival in Lisbon

The Carnival Parade Marchas Populares

The Carnival parade is one of the main highlights of the Santos Populares. It is held on June 12 and is known as Marchas Populares, Popular Marches, Marchas, or Marchas dos Bairros. Marchas populares mean the marches of the neighbourhoods. Every neighbourhood in Lisbon participates in this event by putting on a specially choreographed dance that features a theme and chosen songs. 

Lisbon gets very excited about the Marchas in every neighbourhood. They spend months perfecting their dancing and costumes in advance. The judges select the best group based on how difficult their dances are, how cool their costumes are, and how well they perform. They do the judging a week in advance so that everyone can relax and enjoy themselves on the 12th.

This is not like the Rio Carnival, which features large floats. Here, it is all about the incredible costumes and dancing to Portuguese music. There will even be a new bride and groom at the front of the parade, as they were married on the same day. The Marchas begins at 8 p.m. and is a long-lasting party on Avenida da Liberdade. Different neighbourhoods take turns showing off their 15-minute dances.

Street Parties for the popular Santos festival

For two weeks in June, there are free street parties all over Lisbon. It is the time when Santos Populares is about to begin. Whenever you look around, from cafes to big squares, you can hear live music. 

Fun Pimba bands perform lively music. You can dance to these perfect beats. Moreover, you can also entertain yourself by grabbing a cheap beverage, such as wine or beer, and some delectable BBQ sardines. Evenings come to life when everyone participates in the street celebration. There are roughly 70 events in total, some of which are secret gems.


The Festas dos Santos Populares Lisbon festival is one of the most popular events in Lisbon. It is filled with great joys and activities for its visitors. This festival offers great pleasure and activities to its visitors. Moreover, it is also a great source of knowledge about the history of Saint Anthony, rich in love and humanity. You can follow the parade route and get into the event from various viewpoints by renting a car from QH Rent a Car. So book your car from QH Rent a Car to stay early if you plan to attend the festival.