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. While Covid has curbed some of the festivities, 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, not least sunset walks on the beach!
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. As more information becomes available, such as each town's programme of entertainment, this page and the calendar will be updated, so keep checking back.
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, 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 5,600 figures, 80 animated or motorized pieces, lakes and local landmarks in the display that covers 230m2. Find out more about the Giant Nativity Scene
Want to spend Christmas at Quinta do Lago? The Magnolia Hotel is offering 15% off Christmas stays!
Book to stay between 23rd Dec. 2021 and 1st Jan. 2022 to get the discount, and enjoy all the fun of Christmas at Quinta do Lago. Find out about The Magnolia Hotel Christmas Offer.
Please note that opening times and covid restrictions may change. The information below is correct at time of publication but can change as protection measures change.
Wondering about travel to Portugal requirements and entry requirements for the Algarve? Check our our Covid Test 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 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. 2021 needs to end with a bang and that is what the VILA VITA Parc Christmas and New Year Tropicaliente 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 Christmas Gourmet 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 Menu at Ocean Restaurant**
A sophisticated menu 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 and Christmas Day dining by the sea at Arte Nautico restaurant and Praia Dourada restaurant, on Armação da Pêra 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 2022 in style. There are several restaurant and menu options to choose from, with the highlight of the evening being the big goodbye to 2021 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. €315 per person.
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
Special mention for the Cave dos Vinhos Experience during Christmas Week - a visit and à la carte wine experience 8m underground at the resort's magical wine cellar, home to almost 10,000 bottles of top wines. Find out more about VILA VITA Parc Cave dos Vinhos.
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.
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 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'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.
And don't forget - there's 15% off stays at The Magnolia Hotel from 23rd Dec. to 1st Jan!.
Festive highlights at Quinta do Lago:
Christmas Light Switch-on
Get into the festive mood on 4th 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 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 2021 and welcome 2022 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 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.
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 live music to see out 2021.
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
If you like to dine in the comfort of your own home, but don't like the cooking part so much, then opt for the Quinta do Lago Christmas Hampers. Available from 17th to 24th Dec. you can enjoy a delicious meal for up to 10 people, with a minimum of effort.
Find out more about Quinta do Lago Christmas Hampers.
Active Fun this Christmas at Quinta do Lago
There's a Christmas Padel Tournament at The Campus on the 12th Dec. Open to several categories of play, there will be a festive, Christmas atmosphere and prizes for the winners
Find out about the Christmas Padel Tournament
Join the Tennis Family Championship on 29th Dec. at The Campus. This is a fun competition, ideal for teams of family and friends to compete against each other. There are prizes for the winners, not to mention bragging rights.
Find out more about the Tennis Family Championship
The 2021 Junior Golf Open takes place on the 18th and 19th 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 2021 Junior Golf Open
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 - as well as the usual tasty offerings, 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.
Keep checking back as this page is updated regularly.
Right on the beach, Julia's is open all year round, with fabulous food, great 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.
The new kid on the block, 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 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.
Plus, Tribulum hosts a Christmas Market with ACCA, in aid of children in need in the Algarve, on 11th Dec. Get the details on the Tribulum Christmas Market. Note: this event has been postponed.
And there are special group menus available for celebrations with friends, family and colleagues throughout December.
This is one of the most popular restaurants in the Vale do Lobo / Quinta do Lago areas, known for its outstanding hospitality and quality steaks. Throughout November and December, there is a superb Festive menu available for groups, priced at just €35 per person.
Find out more about Parrilla Natural Festive Menu.
Hexagone Restaurant, located just outside Carvoeiro, will be open in December, closing for Christmas and re-opening on 28th Dec. to 8th Jan. There is a special menu for New Year's Eve featuring Grain Fed Black Angus fillet and a Lobster and Tiger Prawn risotto.
Find out more about New Year's Eve at Hexagone Steakhouse
BJ's Oceanside is doing Christmas in 2021! If you feel the need for some festive cheer and amazing 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.
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 4-course menu at Akvavit for New Year's Eve - advance booking is advised. See the Akvavit New Year's Eve menu.
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.
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!), Covid has disrupted many plans
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.
In 2021, Natalandia is from 4th to 26th Dec, Full details to follow soon.
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 person, 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 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, 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 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 Marian uses electric karts which means there is less noise, less fumes and more speed! It's the first indoor electric karting circuit in Portugal.
For big and little kids, a few rounds of fun mini golf is always a winner. Check out the fun at Golfland Family Entertainment Park in Alvor. Or check out the FootGolf course next to Algarve Tennis and Fitness Club.
New for 2021 - Escape Carvoeiro!
Carvoeiro now has escape rooms where you can test your wits, decipher clues and decode the mysteries to resolve the puzzles in a locked room. Offering two different scenarios as well as an outdoor Alien Quest game, Escape Carvoeiro is perfect for some winter fun. Plus, there's a special Christmas offer of 20% off on 24th, 25th and 26th Dec. 2021.
Find out more about Escape Carvoeiro and the Christmas offer.
If you want to start the year with a dip in the ocean, join the fun New Year's Day swim at Praia da Pintadinho, Ferragudo. A quick swim, hot chocolate and plenty of fun to start the year. Sign up before 31st Dec. Find out more here.
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.
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!
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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