Festival of St John of Porto 2024

6:00pm 23 Jun - 6:00am 24 Jun, 2024
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Porto, Portugal

Festival of St John of Porto 2024: Europe’s Greatest Street Party!

The Festival of St John of Porto is one of the biggest celebrations in Europe! Celebrated annually in the city of Porto, Portugal, “São João” is one of the country’s most anticipated festivities.

Dating back to the 14th century, the annual celebration takes place on the night of 23 June, paying tribute to Saint John the Baptist. The party combines sacred and profane traditions in a night filled with food, culture, fireworks and more. 

“Festa de São João is not for the faint-hearted – it is loud, brash and slightly insane!” 

Your experience at the Festival of St John of Porto

On the night of June 23, the city undergoes a transformation as the streets fill up with colour and an overwhelming feeling of joy. Tradition requires barbecued sardines, in addition to loud music and endless entertainment.

Along with an array of traditional foods, another beloved tradition is to light St John’s bonfires and jump on top of them, symbolising courage. Everything from the streets to the churches is decorated with balloons and strings of multi-coloured paper.

The party ends at dawn where visitors walk along the river to witness a breathtaking sunrise. 

Best views of the Festival of St John of Porto

The Festival of St John of Porto will take place in the northern city of Porto, Portugal. 

Top Tips

The biggest night of the year is right around the corner and there’s so much to see, do and experience in a single night. Here are Rad’s bucket list activities to experience at the Festival of St John of Porto.

Eat a Traditional Meal – The festival generally begins with dinner, either in a family or friends setting or in a restaurant. The typical meal of choice is grilled sardines and grilled peppers, paired with fresh salads. Grilled ribs or pork sandwiches are also a popular choice; paired with red wine or local beer, making for the perfect dining experience. Make sure to book a table in advance as restaurants will fill up instantly!

Watch the Fireworks – Head over to riverside after dinner to watch the jaw-dropping fireworks display from Luís Bridge. Make your way to the banks of the Douro early as thousands of people will fill up the area.

Hammer or Get Hammered! – One of the beloved traditions of St John of Porto Festival is to carry around a plastic hammer; and lightly pound the heads of everyone you meet along the way. Many vendors sell these hammers on the street if you did not bring your own!

Things to do in Porto

There are a number of attractions in the city of Porto. The iconic Luís I Bridge crosses the Douro River and offers a stunning view of the horizon.

Make sure to take a trip on the Teleférico de Gaia – the cable car attraction connecting the bridge to the Gaia riverside below. A number of historical landmarks and cathedrals offer breathtaking architecture and remarkable interiors.

Popular cathedrals include Porto Cathedral, Monument Church Of St Francis and Clérigos Church.

Where to stay in Porto

With celebrations held throughout Porto, visitors often stay in or around the city centre so they don’t miss out on any of the action. A range of accommodation options from multi-bed dorms to lavish hotels and waterfront vacation rentals are available; giving visitors many options to choose from.

One of the most popular areas to stay in during the festival is the Riberia/ neighbourhoods. Explore some of the best nearby options below.

How to get there

The city of Porto is located in the northern region of Portugal. The nearest major airport is Francisco Sá Carnerio Airport in Porto, 11km from the city centre. Most major airlines, as well as popular budget airlines, operate throughout this airport; making it cheap and easy to travel to and from Porto. 

Getting around the city of Porto is cheap and easy, with many public transport options available. Porto’s Metro system has 6 lines and 81 stations, making it easy to get around the city and surrounding areas.

One of the most popular tourist attractions and forms of transport is the tram. About a dozen vintage trams run down the three remaining tram lines in the city, offering a fun and unique travel experience.

The most common and convenient way to travel around is by bus. Fares start at less than two euros and run frequently. Purchasing an Andante Tour Card, allows visitors to gain unlimited use of the metro, buses, trams and regional trains in the city. Tour cards start at seven euros for a 24-hour pass and 15 euros for a 72-hour pass. 

Despite the countless options of public transport, the quickest and easiest way to get around Porto is on foot. The narrow, cobbled streets make it difficult for vehicles to manoeuvre through and can often take longer than walking.

The city of Porto is filled with interesting sights to keep you occupied during your trip and walking is the best way to stumble upon hidden gems along the way. 

Festival of St John of Porto 2024 Dates

The festival of St John of Porto takes place on June 23, 2024. 

Photo Credit: Festa de São João no Porto, São João no Porto, Jana Oliver, Samson Joseph

Portugal Travel Tips:

Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our Portugal travel guide and destination information. Does Portugal require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.

Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in Portugal? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.

Accommodation near Festival of St John of Porto 2024

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