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 are parties galore along the Algarve during this festive time, from Monte Gordo to Sagres, with concerts, street parties and Santa Claus parades!
Albufeira is famous for its lively and fun New Year’s Eve party with live concerts by the beach, and Vila Real de Santa Antonio has a giant crib you can visit! 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 parties, fairs and concerts happening all across the Algarve. We'll update this page as more information becomes available so keep checking back.
► Looking for festival fun - check out this hot list of Algarve Festivals
Don't forget to book your Faro Airport transfer before you travel. Get a quote, book online and pay when you arrive - easy! Much better than standing in a queue....
If you’re looking to spend the festive season at a luxury resort, then look no further than the Algarve!
VILA VITA Parc in Porches is well-known for its fabulous festive programmes and this year's agenda promises to be exceptional. From the 24th to the 30th December, each of the resort’s bars and restaurants will have a special Christmas offering to help you enjoy the festive season with your family and friends - VILA VITA Parc never fails to deliver elegant, inventive and gourmet entertainment. This year’s festive programme brings together the very best of everything - cuisine, accommodation, facilities, surroundings and the spirit of the season. Packed with festive fun and special treats for everyone, from breakfast to afternoon tea and gourmet evening meals - it's hard to match! Enjoy excellent dining at the Bela Vita Restaurant, the Adega Restaurant, the Atlantico Restaurant, the Mizu Restaurant or the two Michelin star Ocean Restaurant.
Celebrate Christmas at the beach, with a superb Christmas Eve dinner at Arte Náutica Restaurant and a fabulous Christmas Day lunch at Praia Dourada Restaurant, both on Armação de Pêra beach. Dine in the unique setting of the Wine Cellar, engage in Germanic fun at the Biergarten and indulge in afternoon tea, or cocktails and caviar at the Oasis Bar. Alternatively, if you feel like getting away from it all, experience the bucolic joys of Christmas at VILA VITA Parc's impressive country estate at Herdade dos Grous - the traditional Christmas 'Consoada' promises a memorable evening. See the VILA VITA Parc Christmas programme.
If you're looking for a fun way to see in the New Year, then take a trip to Vila Vita's DREAMLAND, joining the Gala Ball for an evening of glamour and entertainment with a stunning fireworks show at midnight! Alternatively, enjoy a very special meal at the Atlântico restaurant or the Michelin starred Ocean restaurant, dine with live music at Vila Vita's Biergarten restaurant, or see in 2019 with your feet in the sand at Arte Náutica or Praia Dourada restaurants - right on the beach! AND Vila Vita has a fun theme party lined up for the kids too! See the VILA VITA Parc Dreamland programme.
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! But, before you do, don't miss the great Boxing Day brunch, with all the Boxing Day footie live on screen at Quinta's newest bar and restaurant - Dano's at The Campus.
Quinta do Lago will be celebrating New Year with gourmet cuisine, live music and fireworks at various restaurants in the resort - Bovino, Casa do Lago, Casa Velha and Dano's.
Dano's, Quinta do Lago
The Holiday Inn in Armação de Pêra is a long-time favourite with regular Christmas visitors in the Algarve. This year they have an extra special family programme for Christmas, including a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Day, and they have a fun-packed New Year programme too! Not only does the Holiday Inn Algarve offer exceptional value stays for the festive season, it also sponsors a number of charitable events. Special mention for the annual Charity dip in the sea on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Take a dip - or just a paddle - for local children in need.
Christmas will be starting early in the city of Loulé, with the arrival of Santa Claus and the switiching on of Loulé's Christmas lights on 1st December. The festivities continue with a parade, a village of dreams, a candy market, music and even an ice rink for the kids. AND, don't miss the spectacular musical show in Quarteira!
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.
Forum Algarve in Faro has plenty in store for the festive season too with Santa's Village and a large ice rink, where every time you skate a tree is donated to help reforest the Serra de Monchique.
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.
In the Golden Triangle, Parrilla Natural Steak House and Wildfire Smokehouse Restaurant can help you to celebrate the festive season in style. Fabulous hospitality backed up with great food make for fun nights at these restaurants. There are special festive menus available all through November and December for get togethers with friends and colleagues. Find out more about the Festive Menus at Parrilla Natural and Wildfire. AND, if you have kids, don't miss the special Sunday lunch dates with Santa at Wildfire and at Parrilla Natural. Parilla Natural Beach Club is hosting a very special New Years Day lunch and don't miss out on Afternoon Tea, being served from Wednesdays to Sundays.
After a hectic Christmas Day, you can chill out with a delicious Boxing Day lunch or celebrate the first day of 2019 with lunch, live music and an ocean view, at Sandbanks Fish & Seafood Restaurant in Vale do Lobo. Frontline beach views and a relaxed vibe to keep the Christmas spirit fresh. Find out more here.
Sandbanks - Vale do Lobo
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 until 12th January.
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 has created a very special New Year's Eve menu to welcome in 2019. While, on New Year's Eve, down at Vilamoura Marina, Akvavit restaurant will be serving an exceptional four-course celebration dinner with wine pairing.
If you're All Turkeyed Out by Boxing Day, beef up your festive season with a nice juicy steak or some fresh fish at Vagabondo in Alvor. There's a fabulous open fireplace with a welcoming log fire burning during the winter months. Or add some beach time to your Christmas - Windsurf restaurant, right on Alvor beach, is open over the festive season (closed on the evening of the 24th and evening of the 31st)
The Praça in Vale do Lobo is home to great parties winter and summer. Check out the super Sandbanks Fish & Seafood Restaurant and don't miss Monty's New Year’s Eve party - dinner, dancing and entertainment. And, there’s sure to be a nights of top-tapping, foot-stomping music over the festive season at O'Neill's on Vilamoura Marina.
For some Christmas glamour and boho clubbing, it's got to be Medusis. In just a few months, Medusis has become the place to party in the Algarve. Enjoy great food at the fine dining restaurant, then kick back at the Clubing room to great sounds by guest DJs. Details on Christmas parties coming soon.
To the west, On the Rocks in Praia da Rocha keeps the party going until the early hours and The Black Stove has live music until late, seven nights a week.
And remember, local councils across the Algarve will be throwing New Year's Eve parties too. Albufeira is renowned for its New Year's Eve parties - this year there will be a live performance from award-winning Portuguese band HMB as well as fireworks by the beach and a Medieval festival in Paderne. But, wherever you are, there will be a party near you! And don’t forget to check out the nightlife hotspots where you can party all night.
Festive HOT list - low down on local events over Christmas and New Year
New Year's Eve in Albufeira
The county of Albufeira will be celebrating the end of 2018 and the start of the New Year with four days of festivities. There's something for everyone! New Year's Eve in Albufeira celebrations are famous and probably the biggest party in the Algarve. The concert by the beach attracts thousands on the night of the 31st and there are several other events over four days in the area.
New Year's Eve in Armação de Pêra
NYE celebrations kick of in Armação de Pêra at 10.30pm with Edna Pimenta live on stage until midnight, when the New Year is welcomed in with a fireworks display. Then Edna Pimenta is back on stage after midnight, followed by music from DJ Gijoe.
The Nutcracker - live broadcast at MAR Shopping
A Christmas and family favourite you can enjoy live broadcast of The Nutcracker ballet at the NOS cinemas at MAR Shopping. 3rd December - broadcast from the Royal Opera House; 23rd December - broadcast from the Bolshoi.
Arade Music Fest - Parchal, Lagoa
Said to be the biggest indoor annual gathering in the Algarve, the Arade Music Fest is a mega party of music, dancing, dinner and fireworks for all the family!
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 the bouncy castles and of course see the many cute animals at the zoo.
Joy of Christmas in Silves
The city of Silves has pulled all the stops out this Christmas! The illuminations in the town are stunning and there's a fun ice rink, a magnificent Christmas tree, Santa's house, a snowman, a sleigh with life-size reindeer and Christmas shows until 6th January 2019. Well worth a visit!
Christmas in Loulé
The town of Loulé will spread some festive cheer with a programme of concerts, workshops and plenty of fun. Visit the Village of Dreams, take a spin around the ice-rink and of course, meet Santa Claus. Find out about Christmas in Loulé.
Party in Portimão
Join the party in Portimão this New Year's Eve, where Richie Campbell, David Fonseca and Axé Brasil will be celebrating with three nights of music and the traditional fireworks to mark the start of 2019.
Celebrate in Lagos
It's party time in Lagos this New Year's Eve, with a live performance by Amor Electro, musical fireworks at midnight, then dancing into 2019 with DJ TIAGO M.
Check back for updated info on the New Year's Eve parties across the Algarve - we'll add the info as it becomes available.
Shopping and Christmas Markets
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a little shopping. Designer Outlet Algarve is home to luxury brands, with up to 70% off, all year round! Adjacent to the Designer Outlet is the new Mar Shopping complex and IKEA. 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 four top chefs signature creations at very accessible prices.
This year, Santa Claus is arriving at MAR Shopping's Christmas Village on 1st December and staying until Christmas Eve!
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. Or offer something from the excellent range of Gift Vouchers from Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda in Lagos. For a surge of adrenaline, give your adventurous friends a SkyDive Algarve gift voucher - tandem jumps from €149.99!
There are many excellent Christmas markets across the Algarve to get you into the festive mood and where you’ll find gifts galore for all the family, so you can have a fun day out and get your Christmas shopping done too. VILA VITA’s Christmas Food Market at the Biergarten promises to be a very festive street food market, showcasing the best of national and international flavours, with live music, artificial snow and Santa Claus - well worth a visit!
Support local children in need on 8th December and buy your Christmas pressies at ACCA Kids Christmas Fair, at Algarve Tennis & Fitmess Club Or, call in at Vale do Lobo’s Charity Christmas Market on 1st December – this annual indoor market is perfect for all your Christmas shopping.
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.
Family fun and entertainment for everyone
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.
This festive season you can enjoy 20% discount on tickets for the fabulous Zoomarine theme park. The offer is exclusive to online purchases until 8th January 2019.
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 Lux Charters sleek yacht. Sip some bubbly and admire the scenery in style. If you want a special gift, take advantage of Lux Charters offer - book your 2019 charter now to lock in 2018 prices.
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.....Adventure Golf Alvor is open every day from the 26th Dec right through to the first week of January. Or check out the FootGolf course next to Algarve Tennis and Fitness Club. And for Skydivers - Skydive Algarve's Christmas Boogie 2018 - Parachuting Festival. Unlimited jumps and family celebrations over the festive season!
There are concerts, Father Christmas walks, fairs and markets galore over the festive season in the Algarve. The kids will love the living statues in Lagoa and Lagos Zoo's winter wonderland.
Keep up to date with everything that’s happening by checking our Algarve Events Calendar.
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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