There are some unmissable fairs taking place during the Popular Saints Festival. From north to south of Portugal, all the streets fill up with party where music, colour and gastronomy come together to celebrate this religious tradition. Come and find out which fairs you should not miss out on!
Fairs are an ancient tradition for celebrating the Popular Saints. These festivals, which are usually accompanied by a couple of drinks, grilled sardines, bread and popular music, bring a touch of magic to the streets of many Portuguese cities.
Beginning on June 10th, Lisbon starts the celebration of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the City, before the following festivals continue with the celebrations of St. Peter and St. John.
The mixture of tradition with today's modern world creates a significant diversity of festivals that are worthy of a visit by those who want to celebrate the saints and also the arrival of summer.
Today, we cover some of the most important fairs, not only in Lisbon, but also in the rest of the country, so that you can choose your favourite one to visit.
1. Campolide Fair
This Lisbon village fair takes place at Quinta Pedagógica Zé Pinto in Campolide and has become symbolic for its traditional gastronomy, where sardines and bifanas (sautéed strips of pork sandwich) will be aplenty, and also for the sounds of traditional Portuguese music that fill up the stage. We are of course talking about singers as iconic as Ruth Marlene, Rosinha and Quim Barreiros.
2. Veggie Vibes Fair
If there is a fair that perfectly blends modernity and tradition, it has to be the one taking place between June 9th and 13th in the Lisbon region of São Vicente, right in the Santa Clara Market. This festival is ideal for vegans and vegetarians, oferring options such as seitan bifanas and roasted vegan chorizo sausage.
3. Fair of Alvalade
Also in Lisbon, in the Jogos Park 1º De Maio, the village fair of Alvalade takes place. You must not miss tastings of sardines, bifanas, farturas (doughnuts) and snails, along with dancing performances and many free concerts.
4. Fair in Figueira da Foz
São João Festival is celebrated every year in Figueira da Foz, in the district of Coimbra. Here, the fair promises to bring traditional food flavours, lots of music, colour and fun to the streets of this coastal city. The neighbourhood can be seen in the latest version of the old fairs, created and promoted by the People's Youth party.
5. Mega Fair
The city of Porto also celebrates São João, and in this city, celebrations gain intensity between June 22nd and 23rd, with the third floor of Casa das Artes being the venue for this Mega Fair. This free entry fair is the highlight of Portugal's most traditional flavours and sounds.
6. Fair at the Altis Grand Hotel
Hotels are also participating at the festivals of Lisbon and the Altis Grand Hotel, in Avenida da Liberdade wanted to join the party too. This fair must be booked in advance but it has a DJ and a special menu, where there is plenty of appetisers in a refined style.
7. Fair in Oeiras
The Parish Social Centre of Nova Oeiras also offered the locals to celebrate the Popular Saints day in Greater Lisbon. Thus, in Oeiras, you can enjoy a magnificent fair, with all the tradition it has to offer and lots of partying in the afternoon of the Saint Anthony Day, on 13th of June.
8. Paço Fair
In Carnide, in Largo do Paço do Lumiar, the Popular Saints are also celebrated as a village fair. Here, you can dance to the sounds of well-known artists, enjoy the dance performances and eat sardines and bifanas until your stomach can't take anymore. The basilicas are a prominent feature of this fun Lisbon village fair.
9. São João de Braga
Braga also celebrates São João and its streets are full of celebration so that the lovers of the fair can enjoy all the tradition. Bancas with doughnuts and churros (fried dough pastry), sardines roasted in the streets, delicious bifanas and plenty of music are just some of the many things to do on 23rd and 24th of June, for the celebration of this patron saint.
10. Popular Saints in Évora
Also in the Alentejo city of Évora, the streets are expected to get into a festive mood for the Popular Saints Day. The fairs will fill its streets with music and with the undeniable elements that are typical of the gastronomy that always gives flavour to this type of festival. Fanfare, musical performances and even open sports classes are part of the festival programme this year.
It does not matter which patron saint you worship or which festival you want to get close to. Regardless of your choices, tastes and your needs, you can be sure that you will find a home in the vicinity of the place that is right for you. To help you in this task, and ensure that the excitement of the fairs never ends, you will have at your disposal a professional and dedicated team from Engel & Völkers.