Christmas and New Year in the Algarve

Christmas and New year in the Algarve is not to be missed! OK, so we have to have fake snow and man-made ice skating rinks and the customary blue skies and sunshine don’t naturally bring about a festive feeling, but our family orientated culture, less commercialism, wonderful sights like nativity scenes on roundabouts and a general love for the festive period make it all worth while! There are always plenty of restaurants open offering traditional Christmas dinners, with special festive offers and plenty of parties for New Year!


Christmas celebrations in Portugal traditionally start on December 8th, (the day of ‘Our Lady of the Conception’) and end on twelfth night. Christmas itself is celebrated on Christmas Eve night with a big family meal, traditionally of ‘bacalhau’ (salted cod fish), and lots of delicious savoury and sweet nibbles. (‘Fatias Douradas’ – slices of bread dipped in a milk,sugar and egg mix, fried and dusted with cinnamon are one of the favourite Christmas nibbles in Algarvean homes along with various almond sweets.) Presents are opened at midnight and then Christmas Day is for relaxing with family and friends.

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