Whatever the season, there is always a festival or event going on in Portugal, from traditional holidays, to music festivals, literary and culinary events, the locals know how to celebrate all year round. In Lisbon, the most popular events are the outdoor music concerts and religious festivals, with plenty of other cultural events to enjoy.
We’ve compiled this list for you of some of the best, organised by month.
January Events in Lisbon
New Year’s Concert
The Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra continues its annual custom celebrating the New Year with a traditional concert on 1 January at the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB). This unique ritual turns the event into a time for celebration, “a representation of ourselves in harmony with a collective soul. A moment for reflection, melancholy, but also a time of pleasure and passion for life, in which we embrace one another with all the warmth of music.” In 2022, the Metropolitana will also be celebrating a 30 anniversary.
On January 6th, Portugal celebrates the Three Kings. An important festival for locals that marks the end of Christmas with families enjoying a traditional meal similar to the Christmas Eve consoada, including the essential bolo rei (king cake). New Year carol singing is also the tradition, between New Year’s day and 6 January.
February Events in Lisbon
The world famous Rio Carnival actually originated in Portugal, one of the major events of the year celebrated all over the country. Carnival in Portugal emerged hundreds of years ago connecting with its Catholic history, as a tradition that derives from Italy to mark the day before Lent.
Taking place at the end of winter, it usually happens in February about 6 weeks before Easter, where the entire country comes alive with street parties, making it a great time to visit. Carnival parades and parties take place around Lisbon (especially Torres Vedras and Sesimbra) featuring samba music, dancing, competitions, traditional food and carnival costumes. Some nightclubs in Lisbon organize costume ball parties.
March Events in Lisbon
The Mimosa Family Walk is a 4km race inspired by Lisbon’s Marathon in October, but dedicated to families, inviting all family members of any age and experience to run together at their own rhythm, with lots of animation, gifts and free registrations. All participants receive a t-shirt and a participation medal, offering a beautiful route along the river from Belém to the Terreiro was Missas in Algés.
Lisbon Fashion Week takes place in March, aimed at international fashion industry professionals including media, buyers, textile industry, business and cultural representatives. First launched in 1991, in partnership with Lisbon Municipality, it focuses on the promotion and development of Portuguese fashion design, as well as discovering young talent through platforms such as Sangue Novo, Young Designers Competition, Workstation and LAB.
April Events in Lisbon
During Semana Santa, or Holy Week, there are processions all across Portugal. The most spectacular ones are in Braga, where the entire city center is decorated with flowers and lights. Then there is São Brás de Alportel (the Festa das Tochas) in the Algarve, another spectacular celebration. One of the largest processional festivals in Portugal is the Festa da Mãe Soberana in Loulé, also in the Algarve. Meanwhile, in Tomar, the procession carries huge flower-covered crosses which are then destroyed by the people at the end during a special ceremony.
This annual 11-day film independent festival offers Portuguese and international documentaries, shorts and experimental film across all genres. Featuring more than 270 films, IndieLisboa attracts audiences and film professionals from around the world, showcasing recent films from emerging talent to reputed filmmakers. The festival also offers a parallel program of masterclasses, talks, debates and special activities with the filmmakers, critics, distributors and other film professionals. Call for entries are now open for IndieLisboa 2022, which will take place from April 28th to May 8th, 2022.
Peixe em Lisboa
Every Spring, Lisbon hosts its biggest gastronomic event in the year. Fish and Flavours is an annual festival devoted to seafood lovers, occurring during the first 2 weeks of April, in Eduardo VII Park at the Pavilhão Carlos Lopes Convention Center. Portuguese and international chefs and restaurants are invited to share their best seafood dishes, including some of the country’s top Michelin five-star chefs. Showcasing the best of Portuguese cuisine, the chefs also engage the public through workshops and discussions, with highlights including two special recipe competitions, for the best patanisca (fried codfish cakes) and pastel de nata, the national sweet.
Dias da Música em Belém
Music Days is a 3-day non-stop music festival, held in the Spring at the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB). Featuring jazz, opera and classical music concerts, as well as workshops and activities for all ages, a staple annual event in Lisbon to mark on your calendars for music lovers.
May Events in Lisbon
Lisbon Under Stars
An immersive and multidisciplinary show showcasing the culture and heritage of Lisbon. Created and produced by OCUBO in partnership with the Carmo Archaeological Museum, the spectacle offers a virtual journey through 600 years of Portuguese history to the sound of Portuguese music, including renowned Fado singers and great names of various Portuguese music styles.
Winning the Award for Best Cultural Event, it is held under the stars throughout the Summer from May, at the ruins of the Carmo Convent in Chiado.
An international contemporary art fair that brings together emerging and renowned artists each year in Lisbon. ARCOlisboa will celebrate its 5th Anniversary in 2022, taking place from May 19th to 22nd, with the participation of galleries, collectors, curators, museums and art centres. With a commitment to Portuguese art and its connections to the international scene, a new digital format was also introduced in 2020.
Lisbon Book Fair
An annual tradition since the 1930s, this beautiful book fair takes place at the Eduardo VII park from the end of May until the middle of June. It is one of the oldest cultural festivals of the city, with more than 120 exhibitors every year offering a great collection of books both in contemporary literature as well as the opportunity to discover rare antiques and unique works. Many authors attend the fair, both international and Portuguese, offering interesting talks, book launches and autograph sessions.
June Events in Lisbon
Santos Populares – San Antonio Festas de Lisboa
Throughout Portugal, almost every city, town and village holds a festival to honour its patron saint. In Lisbon, the biggest celebrations are in June to honour St. Anthony, with many daily festivities taking place throughout the month including street parties, theatre performances and open air music concerts across the city.
The main night takes place on 12th June for the Feast of St. Anthony. Events are centered around the historic neighbourhoods of Alfama, Castelo, Bica, Mouraria and Barrio Alto, decorated with paper lanterns, streamers and coloured lights, where evening street parties continue throughout the night. The day’s highlights include a sardine festival, with the mayor offering a ceremony featuring several weddings in Sé Cathedral. The day ends with a parade down Avenida da Liberdade with each neighborhood represented competing for prizes for the best costumes and songs.
Rock in Rio Lisboa
Rock in Rio Lisboa is the Portuguese edition of the iconic rock festival from Brazil’s famous capital city. A biannual music festival that takes place at Parque da Bela Vista, featuring national and international rock and pop bands and artists for this 4 day event in Lisbon, next taking place in 2022 on June 18-19 and June 25-26.
July Events in Lisbon
A 3-day contemporary music and arts festival on the stunning riverfront location near Belém, it was voted one of the best 12 European festivals by NME magazine, and is a major music event in Lisbon. Featuring a top lineup of national and international artists, from electronic and house to rock, indie and soul music, previous artists and bands featured have included Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, the Cure, Blondie and Bob Dylan.
Festival ao Largo
A series of free outdoor classic music concerts, opera, ballet and dance performances take place in front of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in the evening throughout July, as well as being streamed live online.
The program features performances by the Portuguese Symphonic Orchestra, the Choir of the National Theater of São Carlos and the Companhia Nacional de Bailado, as well as the Gulbenkian Orchestra and the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa. The Festival ao Largo usually ends with a dance choreography by the Companhia Nacional de Bailado.
BaixAnima Street Festival
****The BaixAnima Street Festival takes place in Baixa neighbourhood on Rua Augusta, over the weekends from July through to September. Live music, theatre productions, dance, sports and other activities take place where you can expect colorful costumes and lively festivities in the city center at this time of year.
Delta Tejo Festival
Delta Tejo is a world music festival that takes place in Monsanto, against the backdrop of the Tagus River. Featuring prominent artists from Portugal, Brazil and Africa, the event offers three days of music from different genres such as the Portuguese fado, Cape Verdean coladera and Brazilian grooves. Previous artists featured include Nelly Furtado, Sean Paul, Yuri da Cunha and Ney Matogrosso.
August Events in Lisbon
Jazz em Agosto
One of Lisbon’s most important contemporary jazz festivals takes place every summer in the gardens of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, hosting concerts over 10 days in the open air amphitheatre. Jazz Em Agosto has featured internationally renowned jazz musicians since 1984, offering a varied and wide-ranging program representing both established and new talent, a highlight of the Lisbon summer season.
The summer jazz season continues with another of Lisbon’s most popular outside events, offering Sunday afternoon concerts from August through to the end of October. Enjoy thelive outdoor music at Out Jazz, featuring the the best jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop played by national artists, bands and DJs in Lisbon’s public gardens throughout the summer.
Festival dos Oceanos
Festival dos Oceanos is a cultural event in celebration of the oceans, taking place over 2 weeks at different locations on Lisbon’s riverfront, including Parque das Nações, Belem and in the historic neighbourhoods. The festival includes conferences, exhibitions, theatre performances, street entertainment and music concerts, offering a different theme every year to promote the cultural richness of Lisbon.
September Events in Lisbon
Santa Casa Alfama Festival
Dedicated to fado music, the Festival Santa Casa takes place in the heart of the historic neighbourhood of Alfama, featuring a variety of performances from newnowned and talented fado singers. A music genre from the 1820s in Lisbon, this two-day music festival celebrates authentic and traditional Portuguese music featuring ten stages with performers of all ages.
Happy Holi – Festival of Colours
Inspired by the “Holi Festival of Colours” in India, Happy Holi is a music and colour festival featuring DJ performances, dance music, and lots of fun. Thousands of people gather dressed in white for this unique celebration of pure joy, with 8 hours of non-stop music. The “colorblast” is the highlight of the festival, covering festival goers with an explosion of colours every hour.
A large cultural, musical and political festival in Amora, south of the Tagus river featuring musical and literary events. Sponsored by the newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party, instrumental in overthrowing the fascist dictatorship of António Salazar in 1974, to celebrate the victory over fascism and continue the fight for socialism.
The festival is usually visited by up to 300,000 people from all over the world from international cultural organizations, youth groups, and members of communist and workers’ parties. The festival grounds feature food vendors showcasing cuisine from across Portugal, beer gardens, camping areas, theaters and stages for film screenings and concerts, exhibition halls, international booths, games, sports, bookstores, debate stages, and many more activities.
October Events in Lisbon
Now in its 7th year, the Lisbon Marathon is considered one of the most beautiful locations for this race in the world, attracting the top elite athletes and thousands of foreign runners from around the globe. Starting in Cascais and finishing at the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, this unique course provides runners with 42 kilometres / 26 miles of stunning views views along the ocean and river Tejo.
The event includes two shorter distance races: the Luso Half Marathon, also known as the ´Meia Maratona de Lisboa, crosses Vasco da Gama bridge, one of the longest bridges in Europe, and finishes in front of Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The EDP Mini Marathon 10K crosses 25 de Abril bridge and there is also the EDP Mini Champions event for younger participants.
DocLisboa is an 11 day festival that focuses entirely on documentaries, screening the best contemporary films made by acclaimed national and international filmmakers in both English and Portuguese. The program includes various themes, master classes, talks and other related activities.
November Events in Lisbon
Lisbon and Sintra Film Festival
The Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival (LEFFEST), formerly known as the Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival, is one of the main film festivals held in Portugal with film screenings from all over the world, attended by famous actors, actresses and filmmakers. Established in 2006, the competition section is open to international films, animation, fiction and documentaries. It awards the Silver Seagull Award for Best Film, amongst others. Parallel events including masterclasses, art exhibitions and workshops are also part of the festival.
December Events in Lisbon
Christmas in Lisbon
During the holiday season, Lisbon’s neighborhoods light up with Christmas festivals, markets, traditional food and a wonderful festive atmosphere. Avenida da Liberdade and the main squares and streets of Baixa and Chiado neighbourhoods are decorated with thousands of Christmas lights and you can visit the largest Christmas tree in Europe in the Praça do Comércio. Enjoy some of the season’s delicacies, including roasted chestnuts and Bolo Rei (King Cake), the traditional Portuguese Christmas cake.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve in Lisbon is an unforgettable experience, with firework displays across the city. The most popular spots to celebrate are by the river, at Praça do Comércio and Belém featuring fireworks, music concerts and DJs performing with many smaller events around Lisbon’s neighborhoods partying all night long.