6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

Woooohoooo ITS BACK!! After two years without the Santo Antonio Festival in  Lisbon. It is back for 2022. Here are 6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

Lisbon comes alive during the month of June with street parties and parades during the Santo Antonio Festival in Lisboa.  

There are many traditions around the Mediterranean countries of Saint Anthony and the miracles he is said to have preformed, in Lisbon it is Festa de Santo António.

These are a mix between the older and religious Portuguese population, that still hold the old tradition of life, and the younger Portuguese that are more than happy to celebrate his feast day with a week long party of drinking, dancing and eating sardines.

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

1, Eat Sardines

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

During the festival the streets of Lisbon are decorated with colourful balloons and garlands with the smell of sardines floating through the air. 

For those more interested in the food side of the festival, food stalls appear on every corner selling traditionally grilled sardines. It is said that the Portuguese consume a whooping 13 sardines per second during the celebrations.

So why Sardines?
Sardines are associated with the poor and since St. Anthony took a vow of poverty, sardines are considered an important symbol of this tradition. You will definitely see and smell the charcoaled sardines all over the city.

2, Dance


Within the oldest districts in Lisbon – Mouraria, Graca, Alfama, Ajuda and Bairro Alto. The nights come alive with traditional parties which include street music, dancing to traditional Portuguese songs and DJs playing modern music.

Stages are set in the small squares of Lisbon’s oldest quarters playing a variety of music until early morning. The streets are rammed full of people with locals dancing together all night long. Paper garlands has been hung between buildings to create a Carnival-style atmosphere.

Next on our list of 6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival is number 3.

3, Drink

Lisbon Bar Crawl

It is not possible to attend the Festival without having a beer or two. Every street has a beer tent where you can buy Portuguese beers of Sagres and Super Bock, as well as other drinks.

Locals set up their own stores from their front window selling beer, wine and sangria.

No matter what street you find yourself on during the festival you will find a beer station within 2 metres!

4, Watch The Parade

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

Santo Antonio is the patron saint of Lisbon and the city celebrates him on the 12 June with the parade of popular marches along Avenida da Liberdade.

From 9pm, Avenida da Liberdade fills with dancers and music.
The parade is a competition between Lisbon’s traditional neighbourhoods that during a whole year have prepared their unique choreographies and outfits.

5, Get Married 

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

The festival and the love story 

Saint Antonio is one of the most famous saints associated with love. During the festival each year there is a mass wedding ceremony held for multiple couples at  Lisbon’s Sé Cathedral. The Newlyweds then march in a parade along the Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon. The Casamentos de Santo António  is a privileged affair for the 16 happy couples. 

If you’re anywhere near the Church of Saint Anthony, you will smell the scent of fresh basil coming from the tables surrounding the church. The potted plants are waiting to be bought by both singles and couples to give to the one they love. Arhhh.

Basil is considered a symbol of luck and in this case it is hoped to bring romantic luck.


6, Wish For A Boyfriend

6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

And for the unmarried women seeking a good partner the trick is to purchase a small statue of the Saint and then bury this statue in the ground. Then only dig him back out once the saint has worked his miracles and a suitable partner is found. After the matchmaking the statue is dug up and the happy couple will keep the statue close for luck.

For this lasses that buried their statue 5 years ago and still have not met the love of your life, there is an alternative tradition. After midnight on the night of the festival, single women can throw coins at the statue of the saint in front of the Church of Saint Anthony. Wishing for their love life luck in the following year to improve and to dig up the buried statue.

Of course there is no equal tradition for single men, que surpresa! Thankfully, nowadays,  not many women can be seen trying to change their luck! 

Festa de Santo António is the best times to be in Lisbon if you want to experience one of Lisbon’s most important cultural traditions.

Lisbon is ready for its most important annual festivity, are you? We are looking forward to meeting you at Festa de Santo António.

Thanks for reading 6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival


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6 Things To Do At Santo Antonio Festival

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