A sun trap on the south-westerly point of Europe, Lisbon is a popular summer destination. While the endless Portuguese sunshine and clear blue skies is an undeniable attraction, the warmer months also enjoy an action-packed events schedule. When not on relaxing the praia (beach), attend some of these events in Lisbon and discover the city’s cultural heritage at Lisbon Festival, music at Jazz em Agosto, sailing at the Tall Ships’ Races, and much more.
The month of June is dedicated to commemorating Portugal’s most popular saints. During Lisbon Festival (Fiestas de Lisboa), lively celebrations take place in towns and cities across the country. A highlight is the Santo Antonio Festival in Lisbon, dedicated to Portugal’s patron saint. The saint is commemorated on 12th June with a colourful parade through Lisbon’s streets, which are decorated with streamers and brightly coloured images of sardines – a popular local delicacy. Whether you’re interested in learning about Portuguese history or simply like a street party, this is a great time to visit.
The city’s summer festival season kicks off with NOS Alive, one of the leading music events in Lisbon. Bringing a stellar line-up of international acts to the capital, the festival has previously welcomed headliners such as Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies and Pearl Jam, to its stages, among many other local and international musical talents.
The summer season really gets going with Super Bok Super Rock, a huge rock event at Praia do Meco, a half hour’s drive from the 25 de Abril Bridge. Past acts include internationally acclaimed bands like Iggy Pop, Disclosure and Massive Attack, while the EDP stage has welcomed acts like Jamie XX and Villagers. If you like to rock out, add this festival to your summer schedule.
With wall-to-wall sunshine throughout the summer, Lisbon is the ideal location to host the biggest regatta of the Tall Ships Races. Watch as more than 50 ships sail between Cadiz on the southernmost tip of Spain and north Europe, with Lisbon as either a starting point or a mooring break. Whichever it is, it’s heralded by a few days of celebrations.
While July is usually all about rock and pop, August celebrates jazz. Perfectly timed to fit in with the calm that takes over the city during this month, Jazz em Agosto (Jazz in August) presents a programme of performances by orchestras, musicians and groups from across Europe. Previous headliners have included American composer and saxophonist Tim Berne and the Eve Risser White Desert Orchestra.
Swinging giddily between Lisbon and Brazil on alternate years, Rock in Rio is among the largest, loudest rock and pop music festivals in Europe. It’s notorious for drawing the biggest names on the international music circuit with a suits-all eclecticism that keeps everyone happy. Iron Maiden, The Killers, The Chemical Brothers and James have all been known to headline, making this Lisbon’s most genre-bending festival.
Seeing out the summer in style is Lisb-on Jardim Sonoro. One of the prettiest festivals on our list, it’s set up as summer’s coolest garden party beneath the trees in Eduardo VII Park. Lisb-on Jardim Sonoro’s emphasis is on electronica, with international pioneers such as Carl Craig and Marcel Dettmann spinning out pounding sets beneath the beautifully laser-lit trees.