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How to make the most of the Santos Populares in Lisbon?

Do you know the 4 things you absolutely must do, during the Santos Populares in Lisbon to fully experience this event?
Discover them!

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By LSA Editor | May 29, 2024

How to make the most of the Santos Populares in Lisbon?

The city of Lisbon always seems ready to star in a Hollywood movie. The typical streets, the viewpoints overlooking the river, and the historic trams, for example, create cinematic and truly memorable scenes.
However, in June — the month of the Santos Populares in Lisbon —, this European capital becomes even more colorful, lively, and unforgettable.

Between dances, parties, grilled sardines, and other snacks, secular traditions and explosions of color on every street, there is much to do and discover during this special time. In this article, discover some essential tips to make the most of the Santos Populares festivals in Lisbon.

When are the Santos Populares in Lisbon?

Santos Populares decorations (© Patrick Robert Doyle at

During the month of June, the Santos Populares are celebrated: Santo António, São João, and São Pedro. In Lisbon, the epicenter of the festivities is on June 13th, a municipal holiday marking the Day of Santo António.

The night of Santo António (June 12th) is undoubtedly the highlight of these celebrations in the Portuguese capital. However, the liveliness and joy of the popular festivities — one of the main symbols of the Santos Populares in Lisbon — can be witnessed throughout the entire month!

Where to go during the Santos Populares?

The Santos Populares in Lisbon bring color to practically every corner of the city. However, there’s no doubt that it’s the traditional neighborhoods that take center stage during this time.
We’re talking about emblematic places such as:

Alfama Graça Bica Mouraria Alcântara Bairro Alto

Every year, thousands of people pass through here seeking to experience this unique moment in the most genuine way possible.

Apartments near the Santos Populares

So, if you want to immerse yourself deeply in the festive spirit of this time, choose to stay in one of the following apartments, with the Lisbon Serviced Apartments seal of excellence:

Ascensor da Bica Apartments

Ascensor da Bica Apartments

Mouraria Apartments

Mouraria Apartments

Bairro Alto Apartments

Bairro Alto Apartments

Castelo S. Jorge Apartments

Castelo S. Jorge Apartments

Baixa-Castelo Apartments

Baixa-Castelo Apartments

And what about the famous popular marches of Santo António?

Indeed, no guide to the Santos Populares in Lisbon is complete without mentioning the iconic parade — originating in the 18th century — that fills the main artery of the city, Avenida da Liberdade, with vibrant colors.

Every year, each traditional neighborhood in Lisbon prepares a theme for its march. From there, they create the music, choreography, wardrobe, and props that the residents of each area will showcase on this special night. In the end, the most creative, lively, and faithful to the unique spirit of the Santos Populares in Lisbon wins.

To fully experience these popular marches with all the convenience, opt for one of the accommodations provided by Lisbon Serviced Apartments near this emblematic and elegant avenue, namely:

Liberdade Apartments

Liberdade Apartments

Avenida Apartments

Avenida Apartments

4 things you really must do during the Santos Populares in Lisbon

These festivities are undoubtedly packed with unmissable moments and irreplaceable experiences.
Therefore, we have listed four things that you really can’t miss during your visit to the Santos Populares in Lisbon:

Basil plant / Manjerico (© Rodrigo Briote)Santos Populares Music

Portuguese folk music and “pimba” music are certainly the undisputed stars of the street parties that fill the streets at dusk. In these Lisbon festival dances, which last until the early hours of the morning, everyone dances with everyone else, and joy becomes contagious.

Grilled sardines and other delicacies

Portuguese cuisine is undoubtedly famous all over the world. And with good reason! These traditional festivities are therefore a great opportunity to taste some iconic dishes from the Lisbon culinary repertoire.

Grilled sardines are certainly an unavoidable attraction at the Santos Populares in Lisbon. Grilled over charcoal (preferably served in bread), this snack has practically become a symbol of the city. Among the delicacies to try at this time, highlights include the bifana (pork sandwich), grilled chorizo, caldo verde (a typical soup made with thinly sliced cabbage), and, in the drinks section, wine, Portuguese beer, and ginjinha (a cherry liqueur).

Stroll through the traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon

If, during the night, the historic neighborhoods of the city turn into a veritable party hall, the truth is that it’s worth visiting these places during the day as well. This way, you can appreciate (and photograph) their usual scenic and architectural beauty, as well as the decorations that, at this time, give a special shine to the streets.

Door with LSA labelBasil plants with popular poems

This is also an inseparable tradition from the imagery of the Santos Populares in Lisbon. In fact, Amália Rodrigues, the undisputed fado diva, honored this symbol in a song titled “Lisboa dos Manjericos.”

You will find this aromatic plant decorated with colorful ribbons and a small paper flag with popular verses throughout the streets. Attention: tradition dictates that the basil plant should only be smelled indirectly, by placing your hand on its fragrant leaves.

If you want to experience the Santos Populares in Lisbon with all the comfort and tranquility, we have accommodation solutions tailored to your needs.
We look forward to welcoming you!

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