June is a much-anticipated event across Portugal, especially in Lisbon and Porto, the two largest cities which are taken over by the Popular Saints (Santos Populares) festivities that make them feel like a big, giant neighborhood party. If you ever visited Lisbon or Porto during the month of June, in particular between 13 to 29 June, it’s unlikely you’d have missed something big going on.
The Santos Populares take place throughout the months of June but the biggest festivities are held on the days when Portugal’s most popular saints are celebrated: St. Anthony (celebrated in Lisbon on 13 June), St. John (celebrated in Porto on 24 June) and St. Peter (29 June).
Big cities, smaller towns, and villages come alive with music, colour and street food.
These are the things you’ll find during Santos Populares in Portugal:
- people partying on the streets until the early hours
- folk and pop music
- fireworks displays
- plenty of food (more on that below)
- balloons, bunting and other party decorations
- basil pots with small romantic messages (called Manjerico)
Watch out, if in Porto: they hit each other with plastic hammers on the head. It’s all well spirited, so don’t get cross.
Want to find out more about Santos Populares in Portugal? Head over to the Visit Portugal tourism website
*Saudade is a Portuguese word meaning longing for, or missing, something or someone.
I miss Lisbon so much at this time of the year. I get taken over by memories of crowded backstreets, loud chatter and joyful laughter, music and street food including Caldo Verde (traditional kale soup with chourico), grilled sardines, ice cold beer and the unmistakable aroma of Manjerico (basil).
I’m sad that it happens over school term so I can’t take my girls to Santos Populares. However, there are some related events in London. Nothing compares but it’s better than nothing!
If you’re lucky enough to have children of preschool age, or not children at all, I urge you to visit Portugal at this time of the year. Click on the banner below to book your next holiday, car hire or hotel.
Brazil has its own vibrant festivities in June, called Festa Juninas (June Parties).
The roots are the same as the Portuguese Santos Populares with their own traditions, different music and games.
There are a few festa Juninas in London included in this events list for the summer