Christmas and New Year in the Algarve
When it comes to Christmas and New Year in the Algarve, the festive spirit is truly alive. When deciding to spend the Christmas season in a new place, you might think that your normal family traditions won't hold up.
The team at SandyBlue believe that you can absolutely have your same Christmas traditions... just in a slightly different location. Think of it as a chance to take those traditions and mould them to fit your new surroundings. The results will provide an unforgettable Christmas that is true to you. There are many Portuguese traditions that you might want to know about, especially if you want to experience new things!
Christmas Eve in the Algarve
If you are planning on spending Christmas in Vale do Lobo or Quinta do Lago areas, then get excited because Christmas Eve is a huge event. Traditionally, families come together for a long and leisurely meal. The Portuguese love their food and at Christmas, cod takes pride of place at the Christmas table. Don't worry if you were in the mood for a traditional roast - as food is a very important part of Portuguese culture, you will also find a big platter of roast meat, probably goat, as well as seafood, several starters and a huge array of desserts. Our mouths are watering already!
Due to this celebration, it's important to note that in the Algarve most restaurants, shops and bars will be closed on Christmas Eve from about 6PM, allowing local families to celebrate together. If you are travelling to the Algarve on the 24th, plan ahead and buy online before you arrive, arranging delivery to your holiday villa when you arrive. On the 25th, Christmas Day, most restaurants and bars are open for business with special menus and plenty of party atmosphere. So, you will still get to head out and enjoy the local delights.
Christmas in the Golden Triangle – What to do and where to eat
With luck, the weather in the Algarve at Christmas will be sunny – just right for time by the beach. No matter where you choose to eat, advance booking over the Christmas period is recommended.
Christmas Lights Switch-on in Quinta do Lago
Let the festive season begin with the Christmas lights switch-on event at Dano's, in Quinta do Lago! The lights of the Quinta do Lago Christmas tree will come alive.You can enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate and Christmas music in the plaza. This special event is free for the whole family! The switch on begins at 4PM on December 2nd 2023.
Dano's Christmas Market, Quinta do Lago
Before you enjoy the magic of the lights, you can explore the Christmas market at Dano's. Browse local wine, produce, stocking fillers and much more!
Vale do Lobo Christmas Market
The Vale do Lobo Christmas Market is returning to the resort for the 13th consecutive year and promises to be the perfect event to get you into the spirit of the season! It will be taking place within the Parque do Golfe complex and Auditorium on December 2nd and 3rd – a fantastic location which works whatever the weather. Be there to shop traditional products and handi-crafts, eat, drink and truly get into the Christmas spirit while supporting the Wolf Valley Charity Fund (WVCF).
Christmas Market by WELL
Experience a Christmas market by the sea! WELL, in Vale do Lobo, will have live music, shopping, mulled wine, hot chocolate and a giant snow globe. The market takes place December 22nd and 23rd - get more information here.
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 Padel Tournament in The Campus
Feeling competitive, but still want to embrace the Christmas cheer? This fun event at The Campus will give you just that, occuring December 9th to 10th.
Christmas Lunches and Dinners
Saudades Restaurant & Bar at Dunas Douradas Beach Club is organizing a special Christmas dinner followed by a chill-out cocktail party.
Spikes Restaurant in Vale do Lobo invites you for lunch this Christmas, so you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year to the fullest without lifting a finger.
BJ's Oceanside is celebrating all month long! BJ's is open on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day for breakfast and lunch.
Boxing Day and other activities before New Year's Eve
Izzy's at Garrão beach is the go-to place for fun, anytime of the year. Open for lunch during the winter months, enjoy lunch and one of their legendary sunset parties on Boxing Day. Bring your dancing shoes…or dance barefoot in the sand!
Dano’s, in Quinta do Lago, is open on Boxing Day for bruch and beers. The perfect spot to watch the Boxing Day Premier League games with the whole family.
For juniors who are fans of golf, the Junior Open Tournament kicks off December 28th until December 30th in Quinta do Lago. It's a fantastic opportunity for future golf stars to show off their skills. Find out more here!
New Year’s Eve in the Golden Triangle – Where to eat and where to party
There are parties galore on New Year’s Eve across the Algarve with open-air concerts (one of the biggest is at Albufeira) and plenty of fireworks. In the Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago area you have plenty of options for a great night out.
New Year’s Eve in Vale do Lobo
At Vale do Lobo Praça, Monty’s is one of the most popular spots around, summer and winter, and its New Year’s Eve party is famous! Enjoy a great New Year’s Eve menu, with plenty of choice then simply continue the party with some Monty’s cocktails, fireworks and great sounds from the DJs until 2024 is well underway.
Tribulum also have some big New Year's Eve plans! Have fun while eating delicious food and drinking tasty cocktails. More info here!
New Year’s Eve in Quinta do Lago
Start 2024 and with fantastic food, music and celebration at Quinta do Lago. With a gourmet feast at Bovino Steakhouse, sublime dining at Casa do Lago and all your foodie favourites at Dano’s, plus live music and fireworks at all three events, this New Year’s Eve will be one to remember. Be sure to book ahead of time, as all of the hot spots will be anticipating lots of customers!
Celebrate in Downtown
Get ready for a traditional night of live music and entertainment in Quarteira, at Praça do Mar. Fireworks are included! .
Possibly the most well-known open air party in the Algarve, the NYE show in Albufeira takes place at Fishermen’s beach. Join the crowd for live entertainment, music, fireworks and more!
For some New Year's Day fun, head to Julia's for beachside fun, great views and live music.
Where to shop
Supermarkets are open in the Algarve during the Christmas period, except on the 25th, and the close early, around 6pm on the 24th. Shop at Apolonia for gourmet treats and luxury hampers, also available online. If you decided to host your own party, Apolonia is also offering a catering service for the holidays. Make sure to place your order in time here. For more delivery options, explore our blog 'Grocery deliveries in the Algarve.'
Visit the Christmas Village at Mar Shopping mall - Santa's Grotto will be available from November 18th until January 7th! Santa and his elves are waiting. There will also be an ice rink and plenty of activities throughout the festive season. It's a great chance to pick up some last minute gifts too. Find out more here!
Loulé Market on Saturdays is also a good place to visit for some of the best fish, meat and local treats. Open in the morning from 8am to 13pm in Loulé old town.
What to do
There will be plenty of fun and family activities at 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 tennis 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 or hit the gym at The Campus.
There are plenty of fun days out to be enjoyed during Christmas in the Algarve. Weather permitting, you can’t beat some beach time. Golf, tennis and padel will help burn all those extra calories consumed – head to Algarve Tennis and Fitness Centre or Maria’s at Jardins do Golfe resort. Children will enjoy the mini golf at Quinta do Lago.
Where to stay
SandyBlue SandyBlue has some of the very best villas for Christmas holidays. Contact us, we will help you find your dream accommodation.
As mentioned earlier, the main gathering for families at Christmas is on the evening of the 24th, therefore many businesses, shops, services etc do close at lunchtime on the 24th. Supermarket chains such as Continente, Jumbo, Pingo Doce, Lidl and Aldi usually close around 6pm on the 24th. You'll be able to find lots of treats from home and gourmet goodies at Apolonia.
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, Boxing Day, is not a public holiday in Portugal.