Christmas and New Year in 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. You can feast on turkey, go ice-skating, or weather permitting, bask in sunshine on the beach. There is usually plenty happening in the Algarve during this festive time, from Monte Gordo to Sagres , with fabulous food to eat and wine to drink, and some amazing experiences to be enjoyed.
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, including fabulous free concerts and fireworks in various towns
- Scroll down for details on free New Year's Eve concerts and parties across the region, or see our round-up of what's on for New Year's Eve in the Algarve
- Scroll down to find out where there are Christmas Villages and fun for kids in towns across the Algarve
- Looking for fun things to do? Find the best experiences in the Algarve
Most towns in the region will have some form of Christmas entertainment. Lagos, Portimão and Albufeira for example, have Christmas villages where you can visit Santa and enjoy some festive fun. There are ice-rinks too, at Portimão and Albufeira, and at some of the shopping centres (see below), as well as markets selling local products and crafts.
And the giant crib at Vila Real de S. António is back - over 20 tons of sand, four tons of rock dust and 3,000 kilos of cork have been used to build the scene, which took 40 days and 2,500 hours to complete. There are 5,800 figures, animated or motorized pieces, lakes and local landmarks in the display that covers 240m2 - the largest in the crib's 21 year history. Find out more about the Giant Nativity Scene
There's another spectacular nativity scene to visit in Castro Marim. This one is made from salt! The salt produced in Castro Marim is considered to be of excellent quality, and its production is a big contributor to the area's economy, culture and identity. The nativity scene uses over 6 tons of salt and incorporates other local features and craftsmanship such as woven canes.
Find out more about the Salt Nativity Scene in Castro Marim.
Want to spend Christmas at Quinta do Lago? The Magnolia Hotel has a super offer for families, where kids get to say and eat for FREE. That's breakfast, lunch and dinner for the kids each day, included in the package.
- Find out more about The Magnolia Hotel special offers.
The best way to get about and explore when in the Algarve is to hire a car. there are so many different and interesting spots to discover.
- Check out these things to know before renting a car in Portugal
- Find great car hire deals
- Discover some great scenic drives to enjoy in the region.
THIS PAGE IS UPDATED REGULARLY - 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. The festive programme, Vila Vita Fever, inspired by the sounds and pop culture of the 70's and 80's, is a continuation of the fun and is open to both resort residents and non-residents. There is a wonderful array of dining options, from beachside dining to gourmet ** Michelin star experiences, unique wine cellar experiences, and of course the New Year's Eve Gala.
Vila Vita Christmas Market
A festive market to set the scene for a spectacular Christmas, on 21st and 22nd Dec.. Live music, tasty food, home-made hot chocolate and Gluehwein plus great shopping at the resort's boutique mall, featuring luxury brands such as Comporta Perfumes, Etro, Tamara Comolli, among others.
Find out more about the Vila Vita Christmas Market
Special Gourmet Menus at Ocean Restaurant **
Chef Hans Neuner will prepare stunning cuisine at Ocean, the resort's 2 Michelin star restaurant, for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as New Year's Eve. Ocean is Vila Vita Parc's flagship fine-dining restaurant and dining here is an outstanding experience.
Â la carte Beachside dining
Enjoy Christmas and New Year dining by the sea at Arte Nautico restaurant and Praia Dourada restaurant . Both options are casually stylish venues where the food is as special 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 2024 in style. There are several restaurant and menu options to choose from, with the highlight of the evening being the big goodbye to 2023 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.
- Discover the full programme for Christmas at Vila Vita Parc
- Find out more about New Year's Eve at Vila Vita Parc
Special mention for the Cave dos Vinhos Experience from 26th to 30th Dec. 2023 - a visit and à la carte wine experience 8m underground at the resort's magical wine cellar, home to almost 11,000 bottles of top wines.
- Find out more about Vila Vita Wine Cellar Dining Experience.
There will be plenty of fun and family activities in Quinta do Lago over the festive season. This fabulous lifestyle resort has a packed programme of activities, especially at The Campus sports centre, including tennis and padel and, if you fancy a bike ride or feel the need to burn off those extra Christmas calories, you can hire bikes from the Bike Shed!
The resort's many restaurants too will be dressed in their Christmas finery and spreading festive cheer, with special menus and entertainment on Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
There are sunset strolls to enjoy, flamingos to watch for by the lake and magical winter sunsets to enjoy.
Festive highlights at Quinta do Lago:
Christmas Light Switch-on
Get into the festive mood on 2nd 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
Enjoy a relaxed Christmas Market at Dano's Plaza on the 2nd Dec. 2023. Traditional products and handcrafts, delicious food and great wines, and lovely gifts. Stay for the Christmas Lights Switch on, and end the evening with a tasty meal at Dano's.
Find out more about Dano's Christmas Market
Boxing Day at Dano's
Recover from Christmas Day and chill out at Dano's on Boxing Day, enjoying all the live Boxing Day footie on Dano's big screens, along with tasty food and a cold pint of Guinness.
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 2023 and welcome 2024 with hope in your heart! Enjoy the highest quality prime cuts and flame-grilled flavours, not to mention decadent desserts and delicious cocktails. Plus, there's live music to keep the party rocking.
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. Casa do Lago is stylish and relaxed and a great spot to welcome the new year.
Dano's will host a relaxed and fun New Year's Eve evening with great food and rockin' live music to see out 2023.
Active Fun this Christmas at Quinta do Lago
The Campus is Quinta do Lago’s sporting hub, created for professional athletes and enthusiastic amateurs, and offering outstanding sporting facilities. Aside from the regular fitness and gym sessions available, you can play tennis and padel, or get some coaching, as well as take a spin with the team from The Bike Shed. There is even triathlon training available. Junior athletes are not forgotten at The Campus - there are several junior programmes for tennis, fitness, swimming and triathlon.
The 2023 Junior Golf Open takes place from the 28th to 30th Dec.. A fabulous opportunity for young golfers to compete and challenge themselves on the outstanding Quinta do Lago golf courses. There are several categories of play and prizes to be won.
Get the details on the Junior Golf Open
Christmas and New Year at W ALGARVE
The W brand arrived in the Algarve in 2022, bringing its unique energy and style. The sea-facing resort, close to Albufeira, is an ode to comfort and glamour, with iconic Portuguese touches adding some extra style.
As to be expected, the festive season at W Algarve brings fabulous parties, music sessions, experiences and delectable dishes for you to enjoy, ticking the naughty and nice boxes all the way.
Happenings at W Algarve
There is a full programme of fun at the resort, including special Christmas and New Year's Eve menus at Paper Moon and Market Kitchen, festive Wine tasting at Vino, a fabulous New Year's Eve party, and the very first Sunset Party of 2024!
- See What's on at W Algarve for Christmas and New Year
Sushi Sleigh - a Christmas Sushi Masterclass and elevate your sushi skills. Market Kitchen is known for its fabulous sushi, and in the spirit of Christmas, the W Algarve experts are going to share their knowledge during these hands-on masterclasses.
Get the details on Sushi Sleigh at W Algarve
Cataplana Masterclass - an authentic and iconic dish from Portugal, a cataplana is packed with local flavours. Always a show-stopper, this is your chance to learn the secrets of this famous dish.
Find out more about Cataplana Masterclass at W Algarve
Festive Wine Tasting at Vino - sommelier Miguel Martins has curated an outstanding collection of wines from around the world, including some that, in Portugal, are exclusively available at Vino. Join the Wine Tasting Experience to sample some amazing nectars.
Get the details on Festive Wine Tasting at Vino
House of Style New Year's Eve Party - this is the big one! Join the fun from midnight at the W Lounge with Live Music followed by an after-party that will keep the dancefloor alive until the first rays of 2024 with a unique line-up of local DJ heroes.
Find out more about the New Year's Eve party at W Algarve
First Sunset Beats - start 2024 as you mean to continue...with a super Sunset Party by the sea!
Get the details on the First Sunset Beats
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, as well as a skating rink! Check the link below for more details and the rink opening times.
Find out about Christmas Magic at MAR Shopping.
At Mar Shopping you can find all your favourite high street brands as well as Starbucks, and the food court here takes retail dining to a whole other level - as well as the usual tasty offerings, you can tuck into top chefs' signature creations at very accessible prices.
Plus, younger visitors can enjoy time at the Lego Fun Factory! Open every day, children aged 3 to 10 can enjoy up to 2 hours of free fun in the magical world of Lego while the adults browse in the shops.
Find out more about Lego Fun Factory at MAR Shopping
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 some restaurants closed on the evening of the 24th and open as usual on the 25th.
Keep checking back as this page is updated regularly.
WELL Vale do Lobo
WELL in Vale do Lobo in a super beachside venue. Perfect for sunny summer fun, it is also a cosy all-year-round venue with the panoramic glass walls taking nothing from the fabulous views and by-the-sea feel, yet protecting you from the cooler weather.
There are special Group Menus available at WELL too, perfect for gatherings with some friends and family.
WELL Christmas Market
For a festive Christmas market by the sea, join the fun at WELL Christmas Market on the 22nd and 23rd Dec. Live music, lots of shopping, festive fun, mulled wine, hot chocolate and a giant snow globe. And Santa of course!. Free entry.
Find out more about the WELL Christmas Market
New Year's Eve at WELL
And if you're looking for a fun yet sophisticated and glamorous New Year's Eve night, then this is it. WELL and Moet Chandon come together to create a super New Year's Eve party - great food, live music, fireworks and lots of bubbles!
Find out about New Year's Eve at WELL
Right on the beach, Julia's is open all year round, with fabulous food, amazing views and fun vibes. A great spot for beachside dining and sunset meals, Julia's is open over the Christmas period, with live music on Sunday afternoons and on New Year's Day too. Closed on the night of 24th and 31st Dec. and all day 25th Dec.
Find out more about the live music sessions at Julia's.
Tribulum brings exciting, tasty food, a fabulous wine list and the warmest of welcomes. They have a super Christmas Day menu featuring traditional roast turkey, honey glazed ham and even Plum pudding with brandy butter!
Chef Jonnie has put together handy Christmas dinner tips so you can replicate - or try to - his tasty food at home.
See Chef Jonnie's Guide to Christmas Dinner
To sweeten your Christmas, Tribulum has a range of home-made Christmas Treats you can order and bring home - mince-pies, brandy-fed Christmas fruit cake, Christmas pudding, cookies and more.
Find out about Tribulum's Christmas Treats
Tribulum also has a superb menu crafted for New Year's Eve. There will be live music, tempting cocktails and good humour to welcome 2023. Find out more about New Year's Eve at Tribulum.
Casa do Campo is magical all year round, but it is an especially enchanting venue to celebrate the festive season with friends and family. Casa do Campo will be open from the 28th of December including New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Akvavit Restaurant is located at Vilamoura marina, offering a superb view at any time of year. The outer deck sits above the water right by the sleek yachts. Open all year round, Akvavit menu features Portuguese and French cuisine, as well as some Nordic specialities. Fabulous fresh seafood is always available too. There is a special menu at Akvavit for New Year's Eve and a fun 80's themed after-party - advance booking is advised.
See the Akvavit New Year's Eve menu.
Paesano Italian Restaurant, Alvor
Paesano is a lovely restaurant, located on the main street in Alvor. With a pretty garden terrace and outside deck for summer, the indoor dining area at Paesano is cosy and welcoming during the winter months.
Paesano has three set menus for groups available during the festive season - all delicious, and all great value.
Find out more about Paesano Group Menus
Just across the street from Paesano, its sister restaurant Vagabondo also has tempting Group Christmas menus. A fabulous steakhouse, Vagabondo has been one of the most popular restaurants in Alvor for over 30 years.
Find out more about the Group Menus at Vagabondo.
Both Vagabondo and Paesano are open over the festive season and serve their usual à la carte menus.
New Year's Eve Parties
The biggest party night of the year doesn't disappoint in the Algarve. There are open-air concerts, street entertainment, and of course, spectacular fireworks across the region.
Many town councils throw great street parties and entry is free!
- Check our Events Calendar to find out what's on
The biggest party of all is in Albufeira - Carpe Nox 2024!
Fireworks, aerial acrobatics, an amazing sea and sky laser show, an international Street Food Festival, fabulous concerts and DJ sessions on the beach, plus Paderne Medieval Fair. Don't miss it!
- Find out about New Year's Eve in Albufeira
But the party isn't just in Albufeira. All across the region, there are celebrations to mark New Year's Eve. Local council parties are usually free, open air and involve fireworks.
- Find out about New Year's Eve across the Algarve in Portimão, Lagos, Tavira and Albufeira.
Family Fun and Things to Do
Many towns across the Algarve have Christmas Villages and festive activities on the agenda throughout the holiday season.
Christmas in Portimão
From 1st Dec. to 6th Jan, you can experience the magic of Christmas in Portimão. There's an ice rink, Santa's Grotto, a Christmas Market and a stage for live music and concerts.
Find out about Christmas in Portimão
Christmas in Lagos
Lagos, too, will have a Christmas Village to delight visitors, along with a great programme of concerts and activities, from jazz to classical performances.
See the full Christmas in Lagos programme
Christmas in Albufeira
Albufeira's Christmas Village runs from 15th to 23rd Dec. Lego and Marvel-inspired fun and a fabulous atmosphere, plus street entertainment and concerts.
Find out about Christmas in Albufeira
Christmas in Quarteira
Add some seaside flavour to the Christmas vibe with a visit to Quarteira seafront, where there is a small market and some entertainment for children. From 2nd Dec. 2023 to 6th Jan. 2024.
Christmas in Almancil
There will be a Christmas-themed Garden of Dreams in Almancil at the Jardin das Comunidades. from 2nd Dec. 2023 to 6th Jan. 2024.
Christmas in Loulé
Christmas fun in Loulé happens in four different locations, including an ice rink at the Cerca do Convento, and a high-rope, tree climbing circuit. There's a Christmas market, street entertainment and sweet treats, and of course, Santa will be in residence. From 1st Dec. to 6th Jan.
Christmas in Vila Real de Santo António
The Praça Marquês de Pombal transforms into a Christmas Village with fun for all ages, an ice rink, tasty treats and of course, Santa Claus will be there too. Expect flashmobs, street entertainment, markets and fun.
Find out more about Christmas in Vila Real de Santo António
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. (details for 2023 coming soon).
Things to Do and Activities
There are plenty of fun things to do in the Algarve over Christmas.
Find some fabulous Algarve experiences.
A great family day any time of the year, Algarve Jeep Safari tours around the Algarve are fun and informative - always a good combination. Book in advance to guarantee your spot.
Throughout the winter months, you can take a ride on the Ophelia Explorer - a boat trip departing from Portimão, which takes you on a coastal tour to visit the awesome Benagil sea cave. 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. You can explore the coast on the stylish catamarans.
One of the most popular trips is to search for dolphins in the wild. Sometimes elusive, you can opt for the money-back guarantee fare if you wish.
Cruzeiros da Oura offer excellent fishing trips and charters over the Christmas period, as well as coastal cruises - all great Christmas presents! The crew are very experienced sailors and know all the best fishing spots along the coast. Or opt for private boat charter for your group - a different kind of Christmas party.
For some indoor fun, pick up the speed at the Electric Karting Albufeira Marina 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. As the name suggests, Electric Karting Albufeira Marina uses electric karts which means there is less noise, less fumes and more speed! It's the first indoor electric karting circuit in Portugal.
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, handcrafted jewellery, fashion and some stunning eye-wear.
If you want to make your home more beautiful, then visit Algarve Elegance. A super furniture and decor shop just outside Almancil, it's a treasure trove of unusual items, exquisite craftsmanship, quality fabrics, eclectic art and ornaments. Find out more about Algarve Elegance.
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 head into the Algarve countryside and discover the hidden world of art at Côrte Real Gallery.
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 many 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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