Lisbon is gearing up to party the entire month of June with an exciting line up of cultural events that will attract visitors and locals to the historic quarters of the city
The Festas de Lisboa (Lisbon Festivities) are a series of vibrant events which aim to preserve the traditions of the city and include street parties (locally referred to as arraiais) with plentiful art and entertainment, musical and theatrical performances and folk parades. All the festivities are free of charge and take place from late afternoon and last well into the night within the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Visitors are encouraged to head to the charming backstreets of Alfama, Barrio Alto, Bica, Castelo and Mouraria to witness the spirited street dancing, singing, haunting guitar sounds of Fado and taste the freshly grilled sardines, a characteristic Lisbon aroma every June.
One of the biggest and major highlights in the calendar is the Santo Antonio Festival which takes place every year on the evening of 12th June, with approx. twenty folklore groups competing against their neighbouring districts in a highly colourful parade along Lisbon´s iconic Avenida de Liberdade.
It is a lively celebration of Portugal’s patron saint, Saint Antonio, who is the saint of lost things and to whom many miracles have been attributed. In Portugal, he is known as the guardian of good marriages, and as such it is tradition on the 12th of June for local couples to hold collective wedding ceremonies, where the brides are known as the “Brides of Santo Antonio”. This is a tradition that aims to help couples going through financial or other types of difficulties get married. Sixteen couples will get married this year and join a procession through the winding streets around Sé Cathedral.
Also part of the programme is the anticipated Arraial Lisboa Pride, back for its 25th edition. Taking place at iconic Praça do Comércio on June 24th, this is the largest LGBTI+ event in Portugal and one of the city’s most attended and colourful with approx. 100,000 visitors in 2022.
In addition to the free festivities, there are also some paid events worth noting. Debuting this year is Santos on the Tagus taking place at Doca da Marinha on the central riverfront of the Tagus River from June 1st to June 12th. The event will be heavily focused on music, welcoming daily concerts by renowned Portuguese singers, as well as family-friendly folk games and an array of food stalls. Entry to Santos on the Tagus will cost 10€ (approx. £8.6) per person. And at Monsanto Forest Park, Monsantos Populares will be taking place from June 6 to 12, also welcoming a host of Portuguese and Brazilian singers until late hours. Tickets start from 20€ (approx. £17) for two people.
Throughout June, streets across the city are decorated with coloured lights, paper chains and lavish garlands and the air is rich with the smell of grilled sardines being sold in restaurants and outside houses… the perfect ambiance for a city break to remember!
For more information on the different festivities go to www.visitlisboa.com