When the temperature drops around 15 degrees, the Christmas feeling starts in Lisbon. The streets are lit up with Christmas decorations and Christmas markets are set up all over the city.
We share the best tips for what to do and where (and what) to eat this holiday season. This year there are fewer Christmas lights in the city due to the energy crisis. Normally, the Christmas lights are put up and turned on in mid-November. This year it was only the beginning of December, the Christmas decorations and lights will remain until January 6, 2023.
Christmas in the square
You can find various Christmas markets throughout the city, in our opinion these are the best.
Praça do Comércio
True to tradition, the large Christmas tree at Praça do Comércio is lit. The lighting of this Christmas tree is a highlight, because from this moment the Christmas season has started.
The Christmas tree is not real, by the way, it is a construction of steel. And the nice thing is, you can walk through it.
Praça Luís de Camões
On Praça Luís de Camões in the Chiado you will not find a Christmas tree but a giant illuminated Christmas ball. At the quiosque on the square you can admire the beautiful and many lights on the square while enjoying a delicious drink.
Parque Eduardo VII
If you want to get the real Christmas feeling with 15 degrees, go to Parque Eduardo VII. There you will find Wonderland Lisboa, a Christmas market full of magic!
There is so much to do, a Ferris wheel, an ice skating rink and a real Santa’s Village. You can also find many stalls selling the best regional products, biscuits and much more.
A bite to eat is also possible, there are food trucks with the tastiest dishes.
You can visit Wonderland Lisboa from December 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023. During the week it is open from 1 pm to 11 pm and on weekends from 1 pm to midnight. During the holidays from 4-10 pm.
Entrance is free
This year there will be an extra large Christmas market at Rossio. There are twice as many wooden chalets as last year to enjoy all the craft and gastronomy of the region even more.
Not to be missed is the Christmas exhibition of the Hospital das Bonecas and the Christmas train.
The Christmas market runs until December 21 and admission is free.
Christmas Traditions in Lisbon
Twinkling Christmas trees and midnight mass in the church
At the beginning of December, the Lisboetas start setting up their presépios (nativity scenes) and Christmas tree. In the Netherlands we often choose the white lights in the Christmas tree. In Lisbon that is often a different story, the colored lights are a must to hang in your Christmas tree. You can even see twinkling lights on the city balconies!
Portugal is a predominantly Catholic country and Lisbon is no exception. During the midnight mass (Missa do Galo) from December 24 to 25, there is a special place for baby Jesus’ Christmas manger. In the church everyone lines up to give a kiss on the image of baby Jesus in the manger.
Church service or not, Christmas Eve is an evening when children and their families stay up until midnight to ring in Christmas Day and open presents. Before Santa Claus took on a commercial role, the myth was that the baby Jesus left the presents at the tree.
The Christmas Dinner
The celebration of Christmas starts with an extensive dinner (Consoada) with the whole family. Portugal’s national dish, bacalhau, is probably the most traditional Christmas dinner option, Balcalhau da Consoada boiled stockfish with potatoes, cabbage and garlic and olive oil gravy.
Wine and port are drunk. And for dessert a Bolo do Rei and Broas Castelares not missing.
Opening hours during Christmas
Christmas Eve is an important event in Portugal. Most shops close early to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. Almost everything is closed on Christmas Day.
In Portugal they don’t know Boxing Day. On December 26, the Lisboetas will get back to business and everything will be open again.