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Every year from 12–14 June, Lisbon honours its most respected saint with a sardine festival. The first of several saints days celebrated in Portugal, it marks the beginning of the city’s many summer festivities.

The whole city celebrates the much-anticipated Saint Anthony Sardine Festival! The winding serpentine streets and plazas of some of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods of Alfama, Bica and Castelo are brimming with decorations and the smell of grilled sardines. If you are visiting Portugal at this time then you should definitely check it out.

Sardine Festival Lisbon

St Anthony has been associated with many miracles and is renowned worldwide as the saint of missing objects. However, in Portugal he is known as the matchmaker; a patron saint for singles!

The build-up and preparation for the Lisbon sardine festival takes weeks. Normally you would expect that the peak of the festival would be on the last day. However, in this case the big celebration is on the night of the 12th (the first night of the festival). On this night, Lisbon’s streets and plazas come to life, mesmerizing locals and visitors alike. There are massive parties, parades with dancers and costumes, and the streets are filled with makeshift grilling stations and bars selling sardines, beer and sangria. The party goes through until sunrise!

Dancers in Lisbon at the Sardine Festival

During the festival you will smell the fragrant, charcoaled sardines all over the city. According to a national Portuguese newspaper the Portuguese consume about 13 sardines per second during the festival period. That’s a whole lot of sardines!

The reasons sardines are so important is because they are associated with the poor and St Anthony had taken a vow of poverty. It is also because in Italy during one of his sermons he was ignored by the people and so he decided to preach to the fish instead. They all came to the edge of the sea to listen to him. At this time there are also plenty of other events happening all over the city – concerts, performances, exhibitions and more.

Sardine Festival Lisbon Portugal

Want to be part of the fun?

Discover the Portuguese Coastal Camino in 2019!

This stunning, salty seaside trail along the Atlantic Coast takes you along you along wooden boardwalks and sandy shores, through charming coastal towns and lush forests, all the way to cathedral in Santiago. With its sublime stretch of Atlantic Coast and world-famous custard tarts, this journey through Northern Portugal and Southern Galicia makes for a perfect walking holiday. Start your journey in Lisbon (38 days) or choose shorter options from Porto (9+ days).

Enjoy the flexibility of a self-guided trip that allows you to set your own pace while we look after all the details. Choose one of our Portugal itineraries or contact our Destination Experts to arrange a tailor-made Camino.

Find out more: Portuguese Coastal Camino

Walker on the Portuguese Coastal Camino

Yoga Hiking Adventure – limited places for 2019!

Twice daily yoga and meditation combined with the world’s most spiritually charged pilgrimage – a unique experience and journey of transformation! This unique trip offers an active, spiritual adventure infused with gastronomy and culture, and it is suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners. Even absolute beginners! Wake up each day to practice yoga in stunning locations under the lush Spanish sunshine. Be spoilt with amazing comfort and food at your hotels. Discover charming villages, people and towns. Life doesn’t get much better!

In 2019, we have 3 trips with set departure dates:

  • 19–26 May 2019
  • 8–15 September 2019
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Find out more: Yoga Hiking Portuguese Coastal Camino (8 days)

Yoga on the Portuguese Camino