Christmas In Lisbon (The Ultimate 2023 Guide)

Christmas in Lisbon is magical and a must for the festive season. There is so much light in the streets, and walking through the streets of Chiado is just incredible.

I’ve experienced Christmas a couple of times in Lisbon, which never disappoints. It’s such a beautiful city lightened up by beautiful decorations, lights, and the tallest Christmas tree in Europe.

I’ve collected four categories with exciting things for you to attend, try, taste, and experience. Also, it is worth noting that you check out the other public holidays in Lisbon as they can affect transport.

Let’s get into it.

Christmas in Lisbon Markets

Carousel in Christmas Market @Marco Verch Flickr

Lisbon has a lot of super fascinating Christmas markets, from markets with rollercoasters and amusement activities to calmer markets with shops and snacks to try.

Here is the collection for 2024, which you could consider trying if you’re in Lisbon during Christmas.

Wonderland Lisbon

So, why visit the Wonderland Lisboa market over Christmas? Well, while I was walking through this magical place, it captured the season’s magic. You have so many things to do as a family.

There are amusement rides for the kids and, of course, remember, shopping for the parents. You have entertainment for all ages as the place provides a beautiful scenic backdrop, manicured gardens, and a central fountain.

At night, the park in Parque Eduardo VII lights up with colorful lights for a magical atmosphere.

Hot TipđŸ”„: When considering parks, if you visit in spring or summer, check out the best picnic spots in Lisbon.

You can enjoy a traditional European Christmas as there are over 200 stalls to find decorations, seasonal gifts, food, and drink.

Some other highlights I immensely enjoyed were the skating rink, Ferris wheel, and carousel, with free shows and concerts throughout the evening. Santa Claus is also there on selected days so the kids can meet him and take photos.

The best part is that the market is easily accessible and open until late at night.

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Rossio Square

Now, if you visit Lisbon over Christmas and stay closer to Rossio Square, I recommend heading to this landmark plaza. It is one of Lisbon’s popular meeting spots.

At Christmas, the square becomes a place filled with activities for young and old. You will see Christmas light displays with over 60 stalls selling goods, ornaments, food, and drinks.

While there, I was lucky enough to listen to a live music performance and see Santa Claus arrive in a sleigh. The best part is you can easily reach this Christmas market as it is centrally located downtown.

You can combine your visits with famous landmarks like the Liston Cathedral, Santa Justa Lift, and the Baixa district.

Campo Pequeno

Campo Pequeno Bullring Lisbon

Next on the list for a Christmas in Lisbon is the famous Campo Pequeno bullring, a striking setting this time. Believe me or see it for yourself to agree. It turns into a cultural venue in Lisbon with stalls and decorations on the arena floor to the hallways.

I loved the architecture as I explored the hallways with a worthy mention of the traditional market stalls. While walking around, you hear live music or dance performances to make the festivities more lively.

At nighttime, the bullring illuminates with a light display, bringing on the magic of the holidays, and believe me, it is a one-of-a-kind experience you will remember.

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Ateneu Comercial De Lisboa

The Ateneu Comercial De Lisboa Christmas market is inside a beautiful historic building. It is one of the most charming markets to visit in Lisbon, with gorgeous architecture.

I found the indoor setting very intimate and cozy, with the decorations hanging from the railings and balconies. You will find many locals selling their handmade goods, from jewelry and ceramics to toys, and it is great to find that one-of-a-kind gift.

One thing is for sure: you will find high-quality handmade items here, and you can enjoy a warm drink at the lovely cafĂ© inside and sample seasonal treats like roasted chestnuts.

You can easily explore the market in an hour or two to avoid the crowds at most other larger markets. Also, check out some other things you can do for free in Lisbon, especially on a tight budget.

Sintra Reino de Natal

Another magical place for a Christmas in Lisbon is the forested Sintra Reino de Natal Christmas market. You find it located in the Sintra Mountains outside Lisbon. You and the family will enjoy a fairytale backdrop with lush greenery and mist.

You find the market in original wooden heated cabins to give an enchanting vibe to your holiday. So, if you want to find quality handcrafts with a native scene, visit this magical place in Lisbon.

I took the horse-drawn carriage ride traveling through the illuminated forest once to reach the market. For the kids, there is a fun fairground with a Ferris wheel and old-fashioned merry-go-round setup.

You see festive characters, from Santa Claus to elves and fairies. Overall, the forest setting, rides, beautiful lights, and handmade goods make Sintra’s Christmas market a one-of-a-kind, magical holiday trip from Lisbon.

Cascais Christmas Village

If you want the family to enjoy picturesque scenery, Yuletide spirit, activities, and proximity to Lisbon in one festive experience, visit the seaside town of Cascais. It is a short train ride from central Lisbon. The market overlooks the beach and ocean.

As with the previous market, you find it inside wooden chalets where you can find handmade goods and enjoy a classic Christmas vibe. For entertainment, you have live music, dance performances, an ice rink, and events for kids. So it’s lively and family-friendly.

There is something unique for everyone, from a reindeer sleigh ride on the beach or the train to ride along the coast.

Another fantastic thing is that this market starts in November and right through to January, so you will not miss out when visiting over the festive period.

Alvalade

Now, the Alvalde offers families an intimate experience to soak up the local flavor of Christmas in Lisbon. The market is in a small pedestrianized plaza, so it has a retro, cozy atmosphere compared to the larger markets I mentioned.

You will enjoy the community feel with local performers, choirs, and student groups providing live entertainment, giving it a neighborhood vibe. Finding unique gifts from textiles, jewelry, soaps, and other crafts here is easy to take home as souvenirs.

Even the gourmet market has something for every taste bud, with a wide range of foods. I highly recommend sampling the seasonal treats from roasted chestnuts, sugared almonds, and sweet potato chips.

Another great thing is there is no admission fee, and the activities are affordable.

Oeiras PalĂĄcio Encantado

The Oeiras PalĂĄcio Encantado Christmas market is worth visiting in Lisbon. It has a fairytale setting found on the grounds of the Oeiras Palace, giving it a magical, whimsical backdrop. The palace a show of decorative lights

It is a family-friendly market where all can have fun with a horse carriage ride, puppet shows, and carousels, and kids can enjoy the arts & crafts. I loved the unique vendors that made traditional treats and exciting products.

To relax, you can enjoy live music or clap along to the tune of dance groups daily. There are also a lot of nearby attractions to couple with your sightseeing for the day.

Overall, I found the setting enchanting, and Portuguese cultural elements give this Christmas market its distinct magic compared to others in Lisbon.

The location outside the city also makes it more open and not crowded with people.

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Anjos70 Flea Market

Lastly, this relaxed vintage vibe flea market is where you can find vinyl records for vintage decor. So, if you love vintage goods, from clothing to handmade jewelry, keep the Anjos70 Flea Market on your mind.

You can enjoy food and wine and local arts and crafts. This market has special events, from live music to book signings, workshops, and other events. The entry is free, and it is open daily.

The market is centrally located in the lively Anjos neighborhood, which is full of cafĂ©s, shops, and restaurants. Now that you know some of the best flea markets, let’s continue our journey through Lisbon.

Hot TipđŸ”„: Explore the guide to Lisbon in December to prepare yourself for your trip.

Places To Visit For a Christmas In Lisbon

There are specific places I love to walk in Lisbon, where the magic flows, people are happy, and you can feel that exciting Christmas rush to buy gifts.

At the same time, there is a sense of zen because of the beautiful surroundings with lights or an event.

Here are some places you must visit in 2024 for Christmas in Lisbon.

Cirque du Soleil (Circus)

Cirque du Soleil Lisbon

I love the Cirque du Soleil shows, and if you’re in Lisbon for Christmas this year, count yourself lucky.

The circus is back from the 20th to the December 30. The OVO show will be the highlight, and it is best to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

This year’s show is about a ladybug that captures the eye of an unusual insect who moved to the neighborhood, and they fall in love.

So, if you’re romantic, take the family to enjoy a fun-filled night of spending your Christmas in Lisbon.

Christmas Lights in Rossio & Terreiro do Paço

The Christmas lights in Lisbon’s Rossio and Terreiro do Paço squares offer some of the most spectacular holiday displays in Europe, and it is.

The lights cover the entire National Theater in Rossio facade and sprawl across the vast expanse of Terreiro do Paço, lighting up these landmark squares with holiday cheer.

They arranged the lights in creative images to design, which changes yearly. You will love the festive atmosphere with trees decorated for concerts, events, and markets to explore. It is in the historical setting of Lisbon.

The lights in Rossio and Terreiro do Paço, both iconic and historic Lisbon squares, make them even more special. The lights contrast beautifully with the old-world buildings.

Watch the Tallest Christmas Tree in Europe

Another thing not to miss during Christmas in Lisbon is the lavishly decorated Christmas tree in Comercio Plaza, considered the tallest in Europe and an iconic part of the city’s holiday season celebrations.

The tree stands up to 100 feet, and the height varies yearly based on the tree they select. The tree is usually a Norwegian spruce donated yearly from a European country to symbolize Christmas spirit and friendship.

The over 65,000 lights to decorative balls lighten up the tree, with a massive star on top. To ensure you get the tree lighting, ensure you are there at the start of December.

To capture the magic and joy of Christmas by visiting this remarkable event as it becomes a winter wonderland.

Visit a Church at Midnight During Christmas in Lisbon

In Lisbon, there is nothing more timeless to experience Christmas’s true meaning and wonders than attending midnight mass at one of the beautiful churches.

The midnight mass is candlelit with festive music and an intimate atmosphere. You can simultaneously experience the shared spirit and community to enjoy the historic architecture.

So, join in on the melodies during midnight mass while taking in the festivities of a Christmas in Lisbon. You will not regret it.

Terreiro do Paço Lightshow

Lastly, the annual Terreiro do Paço light show in Lisbon is an event not to miss. It is a particular part of Christmas in the city. You see dazzling lights across the city illuminating the entire square.

The whole family will enjoy the creative animated projections bringing life to the square with holiday symbols and designs. Amaze yourself with the reindeer, presents, and Santa’s sleight moving across buildings.

There is festive holiday music, and you can enjoy a riverside setting along the Tagus River. Wow, you must agree visiting all these places leaves you hungry, right? Well, it did that for me.

Things To Taste During Your Christmas in Lisbon

I found that Christmas in Lisbon is also about food and pastries if you have a sweet tooth. Portuguese love food, and they make a ton of it for Christmas.

Some traditional food and drinks were worth trying while walking around the city center and visiting the markets.

Here is a collection of some things you should try if you’re in Lisbon during Christmas.

It’s an exciting experience and a good mix as well.

Drink Mulled Portuguese Wine

Mulled Wine

Enjoy local Portuguese drinks found throughout Lisbon. The winter drink is made by heating port wine with spices and fruit.

The aroma is fantastic, infused with cloves, citrus fruits, cinnamon, and more.

With the temperature dropping fast while there, it warmed me up quickly. It is also an inexpensive treat and does not cost much, making it budget-friendly on the pocket.

Still, if a glass of wine is not your thing, enjoy some hot chocolate.

Eat Traditional Lisbon Food at Restaurants

Salted Cod Lisbon

Now, you must try the traditional food many Portuguese people love when you visit Lisbon. There is so much to think of, but some do come to mind that I enjoyed, and you should try at any of the amazing restaurants.

  • Bacalhau is salted, dried cod fish that is boiled and often combined with potatoes, eggs, olives, and onions.
  • Caldo Verde is a famous soup made from potatoes, collard greens, and chouriço sausage.
  • Alentejo Pork with Clams – Pork and clams simmered in a thick, flavorful sauce, traditionally baked in a clay pot.
  • Arroz de Pato – The Portuguese duck rice is made with chicken stock and seasoned duck meat mixed with rice.
  • Grilled Sardines – Fresh sardines seasoned simply with sea salt and grilled.
  • Bifana – Marinated pork sandwich topped with mustard or hot sauce.

Or you can always enjoy roasted lamb with cherry liqueur at any above Christmas Wonderland. Markets.

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Enjoy Traditional Christmas Pastries

Bolo Rei

Another highlight to take advantage of is the delicious Portuguese pastries you must try.

Pasteis de Nata – The iconic Portuguese custard tarts made with flaky pastry crusts. A must-try dessert!

Bolo Rei – This “King Cake” is a ring-shaped cake with dried and crystallized fruits. It represents the three wise men that they top with a small crown decoration. Eating it around Christmas and Three Kings’ Day is a tradition.

Bolo Reinha – The “Queen Cake” is similar to Bolo Rei but has a female figurine inside instead of the crown—the treat they make with citrus zest and vanilla.

Tronco de Natal – This “Christmas Log” is made from rolled sponge cake to resemble a tree trunk. It’s coated in chocolate buttercream and often decorated with powdered sugar to look like a snowy log.

These pastries are sweet, dense, and packed with holiday flavors like cinnamon, cloves, and citrus.

Visiting specialty pastry shops like Pastéis de Belém and Confeitaria Nacional in Lisbon is a great way to try these traditional treats.

I’d recommend pairing them with a cup of strong Portuguese coffee or tea for the whole experience.

Eat Chestnuts

Roasted Chestnut Vendor

Roasted chestnuts are a beloved winter food in Lisbon and a must-try during your visit! Street carts selling paper cones stuffed with piping hot, roasted chestnuts throughout Lisbon in winter.

The smell is fantastic; they are seasoned with paprika, salt, and other flavorings. You can pair your paper cone chestnuts with a cup of mulled winter for Lisbon’s quintessential winter food experience.

Things To Do In Lisbon During Christmas

If you’re looking for an activity or how to celebrate Christmas in Lisbon, then here is the list you need in brief points.

My girlfriend is Portuguese and has tried to break them down for you. It’s super exciting. But make sure to book on time not to be disappointed.

Night out on December 24

Christmas Eve Lisbon

Here are some tips for enjoying a night out in Lisbon on Christmas Eve (December 24):

  • Take in a holiday concert. Churches like the Cathedral SĂ© de Lisboa and Basilica da Estrela often have beautiful music performances on Christmas Eve.
  • Stroll the lit-up streets. Central areas like Praça do ComĂ©rcio, Rossio Square, and Avenida da Liberdade sparkle with festive lights.
  • Go on a Santa pub crawl. Some bars and pubs host Santa-themed pub crawls on Christmas Eve for a lively night out.
  • Have a nice dinner out. Many restaurants serve special holiday menus on Christmas Eve before closing early.

Traditional Lisbon Christmas Lunch on December 25

Here are some tips for enjoying a traditional Christmas lunch in Lisbon on December 25:

  • Seafood is very traditional – try bacalhau (salted cod) or grilled sardines.
  • For meat, opt for turkey, ham, or pork. Goan-inspired pork vindaloo is a Portuguese twist.
  • Classic sides include boiled potatoes, chestnuts, stewed cabbage, and pumpkin purĂ©e.
  • Historic cafĂ©s like CafĂ© Nicola and Brasileira CafĂ© do Rossio often have holiday set menus.
  • Finish with seasonal desserts like Bolo Rei cake, pumpkin fritters, or rice pudding.

Watch Christmas Shows In Lisbon

During Christmas time, there are many shows you can explore, and it is best to check them out here as the list goes on and on.

But some popular mentions are The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Giselle, to name a few.

Great, I have covered all the places and exciting markets to explore, but where will you stay? Well, I’ve got you covered there as well.

Where To Stay In Lisbon During Christmas

As you travel to Lisbon, you need a place to stay, and I’ve found three hotels, and 2 of them are right in the heart of the Christmas party in Lisbon.

I’ve also included my favorite hotel, a 10-15-minute walk from Chiado if you need a more silent evening.

Hot TipđŸ”„: There are several hotels if you want a wider selection of affordable accommodation.

My Favourite Lisbon Hotel: The Vintage Spa Hotel

The Vintage Spa Hotel is my favorite place to stay when visiting Lisbon. I’ve stayed at this boutique hotel several times over the past few years, and it consistently exceeds my expectations.

It is centrally located, within walking distance of the metro, bus lines, and key landmarks like the MarquĂȘs de Pombal Square. The nice thing is it is away from the hustle and bustle but still close to shops and restaurants.

The rooms are charming and comfortable with a vintage-chic style, and you have modern amenities available, including a rainfall shower.

The soundproof design lets the windows let in no sound, and you have a lovely spa with an indoor pool and sauna.

Enjoy a complimentary breakfast with fresh pastries, fruits, cheeses, meats, and an omelet station—tasty fuel to start the day.!

Budget-Friendly Hotel: Pestana Lisboa Vintage or LX Boutique Hotel

Both Pestana Lisboa Vintage and LX Boutique Hotel offer comfortable accommodations and amenities.

The choice between them depends on your preference for location and ambiance. If you prefer a central location and a traditional feel, Pestana Lisboa Vintage might be your choice.

On the other hand, the LX Boutique Hotel is a great option if you’re looking for a more trendy waterfront location with a nautical theme.

Prices may fluctuate seasonally, so checking current rates and availability for travel dates is a good idea.

Wrap-Up

Wow, what a journey, right? Well, you can travel to Lisbon yourself at Christmas, even on a budget.

This guide provides information to make it the best Christmas holiday ever when you visit the beautiful squares and lovely markets.

This capital city has something to offer everyone, whether you want to dance in the streets, eat traditional foods, or visit Christmas markets.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. As the Portuguese say: “Felizes Festas e um Feliz Ano Novo!”

If you stay long enough in Lisbon, I also strongly recommend celebrating New Year. It’s an incredible experience.

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