Why You Should Visit Portugal This Christmas

With mild winter weather and festivities for kids both big and small, Christmas in Portugal is a truly unique experience as the country comes to life with festive cheer!

Shop ‘til you drop in the holiday markets, enjoy the sweet sounds of choirs singing Christmas carols, and of course, sample some of Portugal’s traditional Christmas cuisine, such as Bolo-rei (King cake), filhoses (traditional deep fried sweet pastry sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon), or rabanadas (type of French toast).

Need more convincing? Read on to find out why Portugal is the perfect destination for your Christmas getaway…

Christmas in Lisbon

Lisbon’s impressive decorations are sure to get visitors into the festive spirit. Every year, the city’s large avenues are lit up with bright lights, wreaths, reindeer and cheery holiday signs to spread the Christmas cheer.

Lisbon is home to numerous Christmas markets – each of which offer plenty of activities for visitors of any and every kind.

Wonderland Lisboa takes place in the famous Parque Eduardo VII in Marquês de Pombal, located in the heart of the City from the 1st of December 2021 to the 2nd of January 2022. This renowned market includes a Ferris wheel, an ice-skating rink, plenty of handmade gifts and, of course, the chance to sit on the knee of Santa Claus himself!

Other markets definitely worth visiting include Rossio Square market, Natalis, the Christmas Market at Campo Pequeno and the Cascais Christmas village

Óbidos Christmas Village

Located just an hour-and-a-half-drive from Lisbon airport is Óbidos Christmas Village.

From the beginning of December, Óbidos is beautifully decorated with festive lights, colour and fantasy, transforming into a dreamlike setting where both children and adults can enjoy magical experiences, amongst a wide range of attractions, including Father Christmas’ House, the nativity crib, Christmas performances, games, and an ice rink.

Viseu Christmas City 

There’s no better time to visit the city of Viseu than December. Located just a 1.5 hour drive from Porto Airport, every year, this historic city hosts an enchanting Christmas market that fills the streets of the city with bright lights and a festive atmosphere! Explore the Christmas city and enjoy warm festive drinks and an incredible range of local products for sale, including handcrafted gifts and delicious cuisine!

Perlim – a Farm of Dreams

Perlim – Uma Quinta de Sonhos, meaning a farm of dreams, in Santa Maria da Feira is located just one hour’s drive from Porto airport and is a space that is sure to provide unique and memorable experiences for the entire family this Christmas.

Open Wednesday to Sunday during the month of December, Perlim – Uma Quinta de Sonhos celebrates the characters and stories from your childhood imagination, legends, fairy tales and the enchantment of Christmas, which continue to grab everyone’s attention.

New Year’s and Christmas in Madeira

For the month of December right up to the 6th of January, Madeira offers a rich and extensive programme of cultural, religious, ethnographic and artistic events and displays to celebrate the Christmas season, but this island is known worldwide as one of the best spots to ring in the New Year.

As the clock strikes 12 on December 31st, the skies of Madeira light up with fireworks. The fireworks show lasts for about eight minutes and is distributed by several fireworks stations in the Funchal amphitheatre, the waterfront, the city centre, the sea and one station on Porto Santo Island.

This grand spectacle is one of Madeira’s most important tourist events and was internationally recognised in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records as “The largest fireworks show in the World“.

Entry Requirements

From the 1st of December 2021 until the 9th of January 2022, all visitors to Portugal will require a negative COVID-19 test result and a Passenger Locator Form to enter Portugal. This includes entrance to the country by any means, including plane, train, boat or car.

To gain entry to Portugal from the 1st of December 2021, persons are required to present the Passenger Locator Form and a negative result of one of the following:

  • RT-PCR Test (or similar NAAT test) – 72 hours before boarding
  • Rapid Antigen test – 48 hours before boarding (even for those who hold an EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate)

All businesses will remain open with some taking additional measures to prevent any future closures. Bars, nightclubs and major events (such as sporting events) will require a negative COVID-19 test, even if you are fully vaccinated. An EU Digital Covid Certificate will be required to access tourist accommodations and restaurants in Portugal and mask wearing will be mandatory in indoor spaces.

These measures have been introduced to prevent further closing of the economy. Portugal remains open and looks forward to welcoming Irish visitors to the country this winter.

For more information on Christmas in Portugal please visit www.visitportugal.com