Christmas and New Year in the Algarve

Family Fun

Indulge your caffeine urges with those delicious little Bicas.

The chances of waking up to a traditional white Christmas in the Algarve are pretty slim. Here things are more colorful. Golden sands on the beach, green, green golf courses, blue skies….In the spirit of the season, we’re happy to share some great Christmas tips, so check out our festive list of things to do for the Twelve Days of Christmas in the Algarve.


Day 1

Swim for Shoes Christmas Day Special – Start a day of indulgence with a bracing swim in the Atlantic. It helps raise money for children in need and will help build up a healthy appetite for a day of gluttony. We have a guaranteed hangover cure for New Years Day with a second edition of Swim for Shoes on 1st January. Starts at 11 am both days, sponsored by the Holiday Inn Algarve.


Day 2

Enjoy an elegant and sophisticated festive High Tea! At the Conrad Algarve in Quinta do Lago, the Lago Lounge is the scene for luxurious high tea hospitality -  Seasonal delicacies beautifully served. At Vila Vita Parc afternoon tea is served at the Oasis Bar – Teas, cakes, scones, clotted cream – the works! Enjoy the views of the Ria Formosa at the Real Marina hotel, right at the gateway to this amazing natural park. Coffee, cakes and an endless horizon……


Day 3

Go cultural! There are plenty of concerts, shows, carol services, exhibitions and events happening over the festive period. Check out our Events Calendar for the latest news. Special mention for the fabulous exhibition at Art Catto in Loulé (and moving to the Conrad Algarve from 9th Dec) of original animation art including original production cells actually used in the making of classic Disney films such as Robin Hood and Mickey’s Christmas Carol as well as an extensive display of original production art from televisions longest running animated series, ‘The Simpsons’.

Day 4

Hit the road! Get out and explore. By car, by bike, on foot. The Algarve is much more than just a pretty beach or two. The wild beauty of the western coastline is fabulous, the air invigorating and the paths just crying out for adventurous walkers. The Ria Formosa in the eastern Algarve is one of the most interesting natural parks you will find in Europe, made up of an intricate and evolving network of lagoons, sandbars and islands.  Explore the parisienne beauty of Tavira, the unassuming beauty of Faro’s old centre. Walk the Via Algarviana (a 300km long country trail) or discover the Roman Algarve.


Day 5

Family fun! Get some Christmas magic at Lagos Zoo. This year you can visit ChristmasLand at the Zoo – over 500 species of animals, real, live reindeer and (not so real live) snow. Perfect for the kiddies.


Day 6

Shop for gifts! What to get that special someone? A dream home in the Algarve, of course. Diamond Properties have just the thing - a set of keys to your very own newly purchased Algarve villa in the sun, so you can start living your dream in 2013.  Just new to the market is a 3 bedroom detached villa, with pool and pretty garden that opens to a cul de sac allowing you direct access to the sandy beach, all for 395,000 euros. And once you have the house, you need to kit it out with the best equipment.Maybe a trip tto the new Designer Outlet Algarve is called for.

Day 7

Party! Before, during and after – Christmas is a great excuse for a dressing up and chasing the bright lights. Le Club is the hottest club in town – and quite possibly the most scenic, overlooking the beach at Santa Eulalia. Every night is party night at Le Club, but the big one is New Years Eve – Dejá Vu Reveillon! There are parties all across the Algarve on the 31st. Look out for the great fireworks at Vale do Lobo and Albufeira. And don’t forget the grapes! Traditions says you should eat 12 grapes in the 12 seconds when the clock chimes midnight.


Day 8

Eat! Well, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without way too much food. The good news is that the food in the Algarve is fantastic and the choice of restaurants vast.. Go gourmet, go traditional, go ethnic, go cheap and cheerful – no matter what, the food is flavorsome, usually great value for the quality served and quite frequently healthy too! Check out our top pick restaurants for some culinary delight.


Day 9

Go on safari! Jeep Safari, that is. An unorthodox addition to Christmas festivities, a Jeep Safari off the beaten track straight into the Algarve’s rural heart is great fun and a fantastic family day out. Stopping at farms along the way to taste the local specialties, like Algarve honey and the fruit liquor Medronho which is guaranteed to warm every atom of your being.

Day 10

Dive deep! Did you know that waters off the Algarve coast recently become home to what will be the largest articifical reef in Europe? Two of four decommissioned Portuguese navy ships are already nestling on the sea floor waiting to welcome divers from around the world. Diving here at the Ocean Revival Underwater Park gives you the chance to follow the birth and evolution of an ecosystem in constant change. Truly spectacular!


Day 11

Go Native! Indulge your caffeine urges with those delicious little “Bicas”. Eat a very traditional Christmas dinner of Bacalhau com todos – codfish with everything, specifically potatoes, cabbage and eggs. Dine with your family on the night of the 24th and exchange gifts at midnight.


Day 12

Check out My Guide Algarve and start planning it all again for next year!

My Guide Algarve