It’s the longest night of the year and the most fun as well! On Santo António night, June 12th, everyone in Lisbon goes out to party in honour of their beloved Saint Anthony.
Thousands of persons flood the streets of the historic neighbourhoods, there’s music, food and drinks everywhere and it surely isn’t for the the faints of heart so here is a small crash corse.
The most popular areas are probably Alfama and Bica so if you want to grab a bite around these places, try to hit the streets as early as possible. From around 19:00 it’s already possible to have a nice grilled sardine with an “imperial” (a cup of bear) almost everywhere.
If you wish to watch one of Lisbon’s most authentic tradition during this season, head to Avenida da Liberdade, where from 21:00 the parade “Marchas Populares” will take place. Several Lisbon neighbourhoods go down the avenue, dancing, singing, and fighting for the wining prize.
But if you want to show your moves around, in Cais do Sodré there will be live music, as well as in Graça, Alfama and Bica and it really is hard to choose one.
No matter where you go chances are there will be something happen, so the best advise we can give you is: pick an area, put on your dancing shoes (preferably your most comfortable pair), dress up for the occasion (but be ready to have all your clothes smelling of grilled sardines by the end of the night – it’s part of the tradition!), have some money with you (food and drink stands only take cash), don’t make that many plans and just enjoy it as much as you can.
Part of the fun of “santos” night is not to know what to expect and by pleasantly surprised.
The best way to get around is on foot but, this year, the blue line of the metro network will be working all night long and some stations, like Santa Apolónia, Terreiro do Paço, Baixa Chiado, Restauradores, Marquês de Pombal, Jardim Zoológico, Colégio Militar and Pontinha, will remain open so that you don’t have any excuse to go home earlier.
Also, keep in mind that on Santo António night it is virtually impossible to grab a taxi in the city center (it is even more difficult than on new year’s eve) and that in some areas the mobile networks experience some problems due to the high number of people trying to use them at the same time.
All that being said, you should now be ready to party like a true lisboner and, hopefully, in the end, keep some brilliant memories of the longest night of the year in Lisbon!