FESTIVITY: Experience the magic of Christmas in Portugal

Portugal is a country that vibrates for the Christmas holidays. From Porto to Madeira, spend an unforgettable holiday in Portugal!
In Portugal, Catholic tradition is very present in Christmas celebrations. The Crib has a particular importance and the gifts are carried by the child Jesus more than by Santa Claus. A classic Christmas Eve begins with a frugal meal of cod and vegetables, then there is the Midnight Mass. Back home, the Portuguese usually taste the 13 desserts and open their presents.

During this period, the whole country comes to life and lights up. Christmas markets are multiplying and you can taste the most emblematic pastries of Portuguese festivities at every street corner, such as Bolo Rei (the cake of Portuguese kings) or the Rabanadas (cinnamon French toast).

Portugal is just as beautiful in the middle of winter as in summer and perhaps even more magical. Temperatures rarely drop below 10°C and the sun is always shining. So if you dream of a house in Portugal, know that you can enjoy your second home at any time of the year.

In the Lisbon region

In Lisbon, from the end of November the city is adorned with lights. To enjoy this magical time with family or friends, do not hesitate to choose a holiday rental in the heart of Lisbon. Thematic markets take place on every street corner, but the one not to be missed is the Natalis Natalis market, the largest and most spectacular in the city. You will find stands selling decorations, books, jewellery, accessories... but also a Candy Square with its thousands of sweets, gourmet products, wine, and an activity area with many workshops for everyone.

Still in Lisbon and until the beginning of January, Wonderland, the wonderful Christmas theme park that takes place in the Eduardo VII Park will delight young and old with its skating rinks, rides, numerous shows and activities.

There are many concerts, entertainment and shows, including the most famous, the New Year's concert, which brings together many of the country's celebrities on stage, followed by a superb fireworks. This must-attend event takes place every year on the Praça do Comércio on the evening of 31 December.

Not far from there, in Cascais, the Christmas Village enchants all its visitors with its life-size decorations, its attractions such as Santa Claus' house and the Enchanted Wood, its carousels, its skating rink, its living crib... You can discover it throughout the month of December in Marechal Carmona Park.

Sintra also become a "Christmas Kingdom" and kept its festive outfit until January 6. Markets, entertainment, fairytale shows with a lot of fairies and elves, snowmen, reindeer... The magic of Christmas is available to everyone in the Freedom Park (Parque da Liberdade) until January 6.
Christmas time in Porto

For the occasion, circa one hundred events are on the program in Porto to make you live an unforgettable experience. It all began with the illumination of the giant Christmas tree in General Humberto Delgado square at the end of November, in front of the town hall. Then the whole city puts on its coat of light and adorns itself for the holidays.  The ice rink of the Boavista Rotunda, Saturday evening entertainment in Miguel Bombarda Street (Cedofeita district), travelling concerts and choirs, Christmas markets... the choice is wide.

For New Year's Eve, Avenida dos Aliados is the centre of attention. Many activities are planned until the midnight pyrotechnic show. Throughout the evening, before and after the fireworks, famous artists from the Portuguese scene follow one another for a memorable concert. Then the DJs take over until the early morning.

The Algarve under a new light

The holiday season may be the best time to discover the region. Finding a holiday home in the Algarve at this time of year is easier. Far from the summer hustle and bustle, you can take advantage of the sun to take long walks on its beaches or play golf.

Of course, Christmas is also celebrated in the Algarve. The starting point of the festivities is the candle procession, which pays tribute to the patron saint of fishermen in early December. Then the big cities like Loulé and Albufeira light up. You will of course find many Christmas markets including the Feira de Natal de Lagoa which takes place every year at the beginning of December with its lively crib, entertainment and shows. In Albufeira, between two crèches and some traditional pastries, you can also participate in the Santa Claus Run (organised in mid-December).

Festivities in Madeira

Throughout the month of December, the archipelago is celebrating. The town of Funchal (Madeira) shines brightly from the beginning of December, as does Vila Baleira on the island of Porto Santo. The Funchal centre sees music bands marching throughout the month. The shows multiply for the happiness of all. Almost every day, you will find activities for children and you can discover the local folklore and traditions of Madeira.

December 31st is not to be outdone and the shows follow one another until the big evening fireworks display, punctuated by the twelve strokes of midnight. The night of 5 to 6 January is marked by the songs of the Magi, which resonate throughout the island as small groups of singers go from door to door to perform these Madeira songs.