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Visit Lisbon in June: A Beginner's Guide to the "Santos Populares" tradition




June is the month of the big Santos Populares festivals all over Portugal! In Lisbon, from June 13th, St. Anthony is celebrated and the capital takes to the streets to celebrate. It's a month of fun, with great food including grilled sardines, and many other snacks and drinks at popular street parties, improvised in the squares of the picturesque historic neighbourhoods. Follow our guide to the festivals and celebrate the Santos Populares, in Portuguese style.

1. Where to go

Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Onde Ir Bairros Lisbo
Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Hero
Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Onde Ir

Lisbon neighbourhoods

Lisbon's iconic neighbourhoods - Alfama, Graça, Bica, Alcântara, Santos, Bairro Alto, and Mouraria - are the highlight of the Santos Populares festivals. Expect colourful streets, tasty snacks, and lively music. The best moments are at night, so join in the fun, sing and dance with family and friends, and enjoy unforgettable performances by popular Portuguese artists.

2. What to eat

Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Sardinhas O Que Comer

Traditions and symbols of Santos Populares

There are some Portuguese traditions that you cannot miss out on to make the most of Santos Populares. Grilled sardines are one of them. Try them with a slice of bread underneath to absorb their fat and wonderful flavour. There are also other typical delicacies like bifana (pork sandwich) or chouriço (spicy sausage). Pair with the best Portuguese wines or beers. You also have the option of ginja (cherry liqueur) in a chocolate cup, a perfect combination.

3. A Must-Have Item

Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares O Que Comprar

For declaring your love in the festivities

The "manjerico " plant is one of the symbols of the Santos Populares. According to history, boys would offer a manjerico to their loved ones as a declaration of love, and this Portuguese tradition continues to this day. A paper carnation and a popular love verse written on a small flag are added to the pot to complete the offering. Offer it to your sweetheart, we promise it will be a success!

4. Attraction

Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Atracoes

Parade of the Popular Marches

The “Marchas Populares” is a top attraction during the Santos Populares festivities. Each neighbourhood in Lisbon creates its own theme, music, choreography, and costumes to showcase in the parade. Don't miss the parade on Avenida da Liberdade, usually on the night of June 12th, and get there early to secure a good spot. Join in the magic of this unforgettable celebration.


Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Curiosidades

Santo António Weddings

The Saint Anthony Weddings originated to help young couples from popular neighbourhoods to have their wedding. The entire event preparation was the responsibility of the former newspaper "Diário Popular", from dresses, suits, and transportation of the couple, to wedding gifts. The tradition continues today, with other sponsors, and still takes place at the Lisbon Cathedral, where you can witness the simultaneous wedding of a large number of couples. Don't miss it!

6. Santos Populares

Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Mediterraneo Lounge Terrace
Sana Insider Travel Blog Santos Populares Upper Deck

Popular Saints in SANA Hotels

These typically Portuguese celebrations fill the nights with lots of lively activity on the streets. But there are other alternatives: in Lisbon, you can always enjoy a cocktail in the cosy Mediterrâneo Lounge & Terrace of the SANA Malhoa Hotel. And if you’re looking for a more exclusive atmosphere to celebrate, there are hotels that offer the perfect setting. For example, in the Algarve, enjoy the best of the local gastronomy and try the season's speciality - sardines, on the pleasant terrace of the Open Deck, at the EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel.