The Magic of Christmas in Portugal
During Christmas month, Lisbon gets a new glow and fills up even with more magic!
Christmas in Portugal is a special time. With the Christmas season, comes the illuminations and one of the largest Christmas trees in Portugal. Lisbon’s historic squares, monuments and boulevards are illuminated with over 2 million lamps. Lisbon sparkles with Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city. From early December through 6 January, check out the magical lights and decorations with a stroll while taking in the most famous sights of Lisbon.
Visit the Christmas market in Rossio, and admire the huge tree erected in the square. Check what visiting arrangements there are this year though that have been introduced to help with social distancing. Be dazzled on the north side by the impressive neoclassical façade of the National Theatre (Teatro Dona Maria II) lit up with seasonal cheer.
The streets glitter all the way up to the roundabout of Praça Marquês de Pombal. In a normal year Parque Eduardo VII, the largest park in central Lisbon, best known for its views of Marquês de Pombal and the city, is a great place to bring the kids. Besides the Christmas market “Wonderland Lisboa”, you’ll find an ice skate rink, a gigantic wheel, the Santa house, and other festive attractions. Unfortunately, this year because of the pandemic many of the wonderlands in Europe have been cancelled.
Christmas in Portugal is a time for family and friends.
Christmas Day is a national holiday for the Portuguese so many restaurants and bars will be closed. Traditionally, all generations of the family gather for a special (late) evening meal of Bacalhau (codfish) and their traditional Christmas cake called the Bolo Rei (King Cake). The meal tends to finish very late and then is followed by midnight Mass. The Christmas gifts are given to each other after the church service or at midnight (much to the delight of Portuguese children).
The Algarve is an enjoyable location for Christmas with lots of activities.
Not warm enough for bikini wearing but it will have significantly better weather than back at home in Northern Europe. The winter was traditionally considered the low season, but the Algarve has recently experienced an unprecedented increase in visitor numbers during these months. However, it is still common for many of the bars and restaurants in the smaller resorts to shut during the winter season. Therefore, go to the larger resort towns of Albufeira, Praia da Rocha, Vilamoura or Lagos as the smaller resorts may feel very quiet.
The Algarve is a great destination for golfing and outside of the high season green fees massively reduce, the main golfing town is Vilamoura. The Algarve is also a popular location for surfing but the sea will be extremely cold in the winter, and if you plan to go surfing bring a wetsuit.
Christmas in Portugal: there is an equal chance of a bright sunny day as an overcast cloudy day, and there is always the risk of some rain.
The maximum day time temperature is 16-18C. Just warm enough for t-shirts but certainly not for sun bathing on the beach. The evenings chill down to 5-10C, so have a jumper or jacket for the evenings. Most properties in the Algarve include heating systems that can keep you cool in the warm Summer months and heat the property in the cooler Winter months. Many also come with fireplaces for that added festive feel.
So if the weather is not going to be hot and it’s the low season, why bother wanting to be in the Algarve for Christmas?
Firstly, the Algarve offers great value for money. Secondly, it is a family friendly destination. Finally, the weather is good enough to make an enjoyable Christmas location with lots going on.
Albufeira is the larger of the resort towns and there will therefore have more going on. For the New Year celebrations Albufeira is again a good choice of destination, as in a normal year there is a major firework display, an open-air concert and, most importantly, there is a great atmosphere. Obviously, 2020 will be different so look into what events are taking place and what has had to be cancelled.
Once in the Algarve, the value for money continues, with food, drinks and public transport much less than the other popular European holiday destinations. Often it is cheaper to eat out at than to cook at home! The Algarve is quiet during the winter months but visitor numbers increase over the Christmas holiday.
Fancy your own place to spend a luxurious Christmas in Portugal? Check out the properties we have for sale to search from online; https://www.fineluxuryproperty.com/property-city/portugal/