Christmas and New Year in Algarve
What's on Christmas and New Year in the Algarve
Spending Christmas and New Year in the Algarve is a great way to enjoy the festive season. The Algarve is an ideal Christmas destination as it caters to both traditional and alternative tastes. There is usually plenty happening in the Algarve during this festive time, from Monte Gordo to Sagres. This year, Covid 19 has curbed some of the festvities but there is still plenty to see and do, plenty of fabulous food to eat and wine to drink, and some amazing experiences to be enjoyed such the amazing giant crib at Vila Real de Santa Antonio which covers 230m2!
Below you can find some suggestions for dining and entertainment, some gift ideas, as well as ideas for fun days out over the festive season. Keep an eye on our Events Calendar - it's packed with info on what's happening all across the Algarve, such as Christmas concerts and promotions - Zoomarine has a fabulous Christmas promotion with 20% off entry and Dolphin Emotions tickets, valid for 1 year, so you can visit anytime in 2021! And Portitours has 15% off all trips April to Oct. 2021 if you book before 6th Jan! ArtCatto Gallery, in Loulé, is currently exhibiting the amazing sculptures of Jonty Hurwitz - beautiful artworks with mesmerizing visual effects. And if you book your next Algarve holiday stay with Ideal Homes Rentals before 31st Dec. 2020, you could get up to 30% off. Nice!
We'll update this page as more information becomes available so keep checking back.
Please note that opening times, curfews and covid restrictions are changing very regularly. The information below is correct at time of publication but can changes as protection measures change.
Wondering about travel to Portugal during the Covid 19 pandemic? Check our our Coronavirus resource page for the latest information on rules and measures in place.
Don't forget to book your Faro Airport transfer before you travel. Get a quote and book online - easy! Much better than standing in a queue.
Or hire a car and travel independently - there are some great scenic drives to enjoy in the region.
THIS PAGE IS UPDATED REGULARY - KEEP CHECKING BACK.
Christmas and New Year at VILA VITA Parc
VILA VITA Parc in Porches is well-known for its fabulous festive programmes and this year is no exception. 2020 is in need of some gloss and glamour and that is what the VILA VITA Parc Christmas and New Year programme delivers, while always ensuring the health and safety of guests. This year's festive programme is open to both resort residents and non-residents and features a wonderful array of dining options, from beachside dining to gourmet ** Michelin star experiences.
Here are some of the highlights:
Special Gourmet Tasting menu at Ocean Restaurant **
Chef Hans Neuner will prepare a stunning menu at Ocean, the resort's 2 Michelin star restaurant, for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. €210 per person excluding beverages.
New Year's Eve Gourmet Tasting menu at Ocean Restaurant**
A sophisticated menu and wine pairing crafted by Chef Hans Neuner and his team, to delight true gourmands. Black tie. €490 per person including wine pairing.
à la carte Beachside dining
Enjoy Christmas Eve dining by the sea at Arte Nautico restaurant, on Armação da Pêra beach or a Christmas Day feast at Praia Dourada restaurant, also on the beach. Both options are casually stylish venues and the food is as outstanding as the views.
Modern Japanese Cuisine
Mizu Teppanyaki will serve the à la carte menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year's Eve. Delicious food crafted with skill and passion.
New Year's Eve Gala Evening
Wonderful dining options, live music and fabulous fireworks will help you step into 2021 in style. There are several restaurant and menu options to choose from, with the highlight of the evening being the big goodbye to 2020 with fireworks at midnight, followed by a party at the V-Club disco with DJ.
One of the main events is the Grand Gala, a black tie event held at the Lisboa ballroom, with a 5 course Gala meal and live entertainment. €335 for resort guests, including New Year's Day Brunch or €305 for non-guests.
See details of the VILA VITA Parc Christmas Eve programme
See details of the VILA VITA Parc Christmas Day programme
See details of the VILA VITA Parc New Year's programme
VILA VITA Parc has a full festive programme to help celebrate Christmas and New Year.
See the full programme by clicking on the image below.
If you prefer to stay at home, you can still enjoy a taste of VILA VITA with their new Home & Away Luxury Food delivery and take-away service. Asian bites, sushi, quality meats, cakes and cookies, even cocktails and cigars are on the menu.
There will be plenty of fun and family activities at The Campus in Quinta do Lago over the festive season. This fabulous lifestyle resort’s new sports centre has a packed programme of activities including tennis and padel and, if you fancy a cycle ride or feel the need to burn off those extra Christmas calories, you can hire bikes from the Bike Shed!
The resort has a great Christmas Hamper service too. You can order pre-prepared food, that just needs heating or cooking in your own home. Dishes include Turkey Crown with cranberry sayce, gravey and assorted vegetables, Beef Sirloin and vegetarian options.
Christmas Light Switch-on
Get into the festive mood on 6th Dec. There'll be mulled wine, hot chocolate and Christmas music to enjoy at Dano's Plaza.
Get the details on Christmas Light Switch-On
Boxing Day Brunch
Recover from Christmas day and chill out at Dano's on Boxing Day, enjoying Boxing Day Brunch, along with all the live Boxing Day footie on Dano's big screens.
New Year's Eve at Quinta do Lago
There are some excellent dining options in Quinta do Lago for a memorable New Year's Eve.
Bovino is a stylish option any time of year and it's the perfect spot to see out 2020 and welcome 2021 with hope in your heart! Enjoy the highest quality prime cuts and flame-grilled flavours, not to mention decadent desserts and delicious cocktails....
Find out more about New Year's Eve at Bovino.
Casa Velha is the home of fine dining in Quinta do Lago. And on New Year's Eve there is an exquisite menu to be enjoyed at this beautiful restaurant. Find our more about New Year's Eve at Casa Velha.
Casa do Lago is one of the most popular restaurants in the resort, offering fabulous dining all year round to go with the wonderful lake views. With a new decor for 2020, Casa do Lago is stylish and relaxed and a great spot to welcome the new year.
Find out more about New Year's Eve at Casa do Lago.
New Year's Day Brunch
Head to Dano's for a relaxed and restorative Brunch with tasty Brunch favourites on the menu.
Get the details on Dano's New Year's Day Brunch
Vale do Lobo offers space, privacy and tranquility in a beautiful natural setting - just the spot to see out 2020. The resort offers regular activities every month to promote mental and physcial well-being - see the Vale do Lobo Experiences.
And of course, there will be festive entertainement, especially for the little ones, over the Christmas period and special mention for the Cocktail Workshop on the 19th Dec. - you'll learn some pro-tips that will turn you into a master mixologist just in time for Christmas!
Sandbanks is open for breakfast and lunch on the 26th and the 1st Jan so you can enjoy the festive spirit with those amazing ocean views.
And there will be a fabulous fireworks display at midnight on New Year's Eve at the Praça. Welcome 2021 with champagne in your hand and hope in your heart. Social distancing is required.
At MAR Shopping Algarve, the Christmas Village will be Santa's home until the 24th December and he'll be waiting for visitors! There will be plenty of activities and workshops there too, particularly for the younger folk. Find out about Christmas Magic at MAR Shopping.
At Mar Shopping you can find all your favourite high street brands as well as the first Starbucks in the region. And the food court here takes retail dining to a whole other level - visit the Algarve Chef Experience where you tuck into top chefs signature creations at very accessible prices.
Many restaurants in the Algarve offer special festive menus over the Christmas period as well as party menus for New Year's Eve. As Christmas Eve night is when Portuguese families celebrate Christmas together, you can expect to find many restaurants closed on the evening of the 24th and open as usual on the 25th.
Due to the uncertainties caused by Covid 19, many restaurants are still finalizing their plans for the festive period. Keep checking back as this page is updated very regularly.
Artisan Restaurant and Bar
Located between Vilamoura and Albufeira, in Olhos de Água, Artisan is known for its delicious food and amazing cocktails. This Christmas, Artisan has prepared fabulous Christmas menus featuring favourite festive dishes from around the world, and with one menu dedicated to vegetarian options.
See the details - Christmas at Artisan.
The new kid on the block, Tribulum brings exciting, tasty food, a fabulous wine list and the warmest of welcomes. They have an super Christmas Day menu featuring traditional roast turkey, honey glazed ham and even Plum pudding with brandy butter ice-cream!
Find out more about the Tribulum Christmas Menu.
Tribulum also has a superb menu crafted for New Year's Eve. There will be live music, tempting cocktails and good humour to welcome 2021. Find out more about New Year's Eve at Tribulum.
BJ's Oceanside is doing Christmas in 202! If you feel the need for some festive cheer and mazing hospitality, then head to BJ's by the sea for mulled wine, yule logs, mince pies, live music and lots of Christmas decor and fun. Find out more about BJ's at Christmas.
Casa do Campo is magical all year round, but it’s an especially enchanting venue to celebrate the festive season with friends and family. Casa do Campo will be open from the 27th of December including New Year's eve and New Year's Day.
Restaurante Àbabuja is a great choice for group Christmas dinners - right by the estuary in Alvor, the views are as good as the food. As well as being a great venue for Christmas celebrations, Ababuja always has a great menu to welcome the New Year.
Big Red's Steakhouse, near Alvor hosts the now famous Big Red's Christmas Lunch on the 25th. Great food cooked perfectly, a lovely atmosphere and great Christmas vibe.
2020 will not be remembered as a party year! While New Year's Eve is generally a massive party all across the Algarve, with free concerts and fabulous fireworks in many towns (check out what New Year's Eve 2019/2020 was like!), this year, the celebrations will likely take a different form, in order to avoid large gatherings.
Many town coucils are still finalizing their programmes due to the ever-changing circumstance. Keep checking back, and consult our Events Calendar where we will update information as soon as it becomes available.
Family Fun and Things to Do
Natalandia at Lagos Zoo
A winter wonderland - Natalandia at Lagos Zoo where you can visit a Christmas village and Santa Claus' house, join in toy making workshops, enjoy lots of activities and of course see the many cute animals at the zoo. At the weekends you can see the pelicans, primates and penguins being fed. Lagos Zoo is a fabulous spot and Natalandia brings a little magic to everyone who visits. Well worth supporting.
Giant Nativity scene at Vila Real de S. Antonio
An amazing nativity scene, made from 20 tons of sand, four tons of rock dust and 3,000 kilos of cork, created over 40 days and 2,500 hours to work.The scale of the display and the attention to detail is amazing! There are mechanical moving figures and incredibly lifelike props.This is the largest crib in Portugal and over the 18 years of its existence, it has become a very popular Christmas attraction. And at just 50cents per peson, it's a bargain too!
Get the details on the Giant Nativity scene.
There is plenty for everyone to do over the Christmas period in the Algarve - from winter beach days to days out.
A great family day anytime of the year, Algarve Jeep Safari and Alsafari jeep tours around the Algarve are fun and informative - always a good combination. Book in advance to guarantee your spot. You can book half day tours with Alsafari.
Throughout the winter months, you can take a ride on the Benagil Express - a boat trip departing from Portimão, which takes you on a coastal tour to visit the awesome Benagil sea cave. Or hop aboard a Carvoeiro Caves boat at the beach in Carvoeiro. These small boats are perfect for exploring the Benagil cave, as well as the caves by Praia da Marinha and Algar Seco.
If it’s some adventure on the ocean that you’re after, there are several great options for boat trips and water sports, even during the Christmas period. AlgarExperience will be operating its awesome boat tours throughout the winter, while SeaBookings.com have great ideas for making the most of the sea during the winter months. Cruzeiros da Oura offer excellent fishing trips and charters over the Christmas period - all great Christmas presents!
For a special day out, board the Azure Luxury Charters sleek yacht. Sip some bubbly and admire the scenery in style.
For some indoor fun, pick up the speed at the Hot Wheels Indoor Karting track or knock down pins at the Hot Shot Bowling at Albufeira Marina - a particularly good option should the weather be wet. Both are open over the festive period, except on Christmas Day. You can also buy gift vouchers for the track – an excellent gift idea.
For big and little kids, a few rounds of fun mini golf at Adventure Golf Alvor is entertaining. Just keep an eye out for the dinosaurs.... Or check out the FootGolf course next to Algarve Tennis and Fitness Club.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a little shopping.
For a touch of luxury, head to the VLife Shops at VILA VITA Parc - a boutique shopping plaza where you can find fabulous resort wear, hand crafted jewellery, fahion and some stunning eye-wear.
For a truly unique gift, a piece of original artwork may be the answer. Check out the ArtCatto Art Gallery, where you'll find a variety of artwork by international artists.
LiR Gallery in Lagoa has some wonderful artworks and crafts on display and for sale at the their gallery, showing local, national and international artists.
Order early for your festive table - The Natural Meat Co. in Almancil offers top quality Uruguayan grass fed beef and other meat, ready prepared for cooking, local fruit and vegetables, a selection of cheese and beers, and more.....
Check out the Algarve's shopping centres too, where you can find all the main high street brands. And, for both traditional Portuguese fare and expat treats, Intermarché will usually have just what you need - you can order your Intermarché shopping online before you arrive, then simply pull up at the drive-by area, while your shopping is loaded to the car. Makes Christmas very easy indeed!
If you're ordering goodies or gifts from the UK, Algarve Express have a super online shopping delivery service each week. Buy gifts or even do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered to the Algarve at very competitive rates.
In Portugal, the main gathering for families at Christmas is on the evening of the 24th. So expect businesses, many shops, services, etc to close at lunchtime on the 24th. Supermarket chains such as Continente, Jumbo, Pingo Doce, Lidl and Aldi usually close around 6pm on the 24th. Many restaurants in resorts also close on the evening of the 24th. However, on the 25th most restaurants are open for business, although advance booking is recommended. Business, services and supermarkets are generally closed on the 25th. The 26th of December is not a Public Holiday in Portugal.
No matter how or where you decide to spend your Christmas Season, we hope it's a merry one!
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