03 Dec 2015 2607
PortoBay Hotels & Resorts
#experiences #reveillon #tradition

Christmas traditions in PortoBay destinations

The streets are filled with decorations; people are running to the stores and street markets to buy presents; the pastry’s windows are full with delicacies and delicious desserts that you can only enjoy in one time of the year . .. There’s no mistake: December is the month of all festivities and Christmas is actually coming soon !!

In Lisbon, in the Algarve, in Madeira or even in Brazil, Christmas is felt and celebrated in different ways and with different traditions.

Do you prefer eating codfish or the Portuguese bolo rei (Cake King) ? Do you go to the Missa do Galo (Christmas Mass) or do you run in São Silvestre’s run ? Do you want to see the Christmas lights or do you prefer to meet all the festivities in town ? There are so many mandatory stops that we don’t even know where to begin . ..

One thing is for sure: nobody can stay home when the festivities are about to begin !!

Follow our Christmas surprises here . ..

Christmas in Lisbon

— Walking through Avenida da Liberdade to Chiado and see the Christmas lights;

This is a Christmas walk that only a few people miss. The Christmas lights of Avenida da Liberdade are some of the most beautiful in town and delight people from all ages. 

In the centre of this privileged location for the entire year, our PortoBay Liberdade enjoys even more its amazing location during the festivities !!

— Having a slice of bolo rei;

The famous bolo rei (cake king) has a special part in the Christmas celebrations. It’s a crown shaped cake, filled with dry and crystalized fruits and you’ll find it in pretty much all the pastry’s in town.

This cake used to have a surprise inside — the one who founds it, would have to pay for the cake the year after !!

— Seeing the Christmas Tree at Terreiro do Paço;

In December, the big and old square of Terreiro do Paço is the place to be if you want to see an enormous Christmas tree with 25 meters high.

Shining in all of its splendour with lights and decorations, you can see it until de 5th of January.

— Going to the Missa do Galo;


Some catholic families go to the Missa do Galo (Christmas Mass) in the night of the 24th of December. In Lisbon, this mass begins at 11pm or at midnight and people have Christmas supper after the mass ends.

— Shopping in Christmas Markets;

If you prefer running away from shopping malls and the consumerism spirit, Lisbon gets packed with different markets, perfect to get into the spirit and buy some original presents.

Chiado Market in Armazéns do Chiado, Xmas Boutique in Entrecampos and Lx Market in Alcântara are great places to start.

Christmas traditions in Madeira

— Watching the lights in Funchal;


In Funchal, the Christmas lights are turned on in the 8th of December and they shine bright until middle January. Enjoy the walk and get enchanted by the island’s natural beauty . ..

— Going to at least one missa do parto;

This mass is one of the main traditions of the island: it represents the celebration of the 9 months of pregnancy of the Virgin Mary, starting 9 days before Christmas, in the 16th of December, and it ends at sunrise of the 24th of December with traditional Christmas chants.

— Enjoying the Night in the Market;

The famous Lavradores Market opens its doors in the night of the 23rd of December to be the epicentre of one the favourite Madeiran’s celebrations.

Every bar in the area is open all night long, pouring traditional drinks and the delicious and typical sandwich of "carne de vinha d’alhos”. A celebration filled with music, dancing and a lot of traditional delicacies !!

— Running in São Silvestre’s race;

It’s a traditional run around Funchal and it happens every year in the 28th of December. Besides being one of the oldest races in the country, it has thousands of athletes of all ages, willing to run around the beautiful city.

— Watch the fireworks;

This amazing show happens every 31st of December and lasts 8 amazing minutes.

In addition of being one of the main attractions of the island, it was recognized in 2006 by the Guinness World Records as the "biggest fireworks show in the world”. Amazing, don’t you agree ?

Christmas Traditions in the Algarve

— Watching the Candle parade;

The most important religious festivity of the Algarve starts with a candle parade, honouring São Pedro do Mar (Saint Peter of the sea) the holy patron of fisherman. On the 8th of December, there’s a mass at 2pm, followed by a parade towards the sea to bless the fishermen and the boats.

— Tasting the Algarve’s delicacies;

All the figs caught and dried in September start to showing up again, specially for Christmas. They are usually shaped like a star, decorated with almonds or covered with sugar and cinnamon. Is your mouth watering yet ? Besides the figs, you can also taste the delicious filhoses, traditional doces de gila, almond pie and dry fruits from the Algarve.

— Leaving carrots for the horses;

On the night of January 5th, children fill up their shoes with carrots and dried herbs and leave it on the door knots and window seals. According to tradition, they leave it for the Holy Kings hungry horses. They eat it and leave crystalized fruits and other candies for the children.

— Singing janeiras and charolas;

Between Christmas and King’s Day, the tradition tells to go out in the streets and sing door to door in order to receive some kind of reward. In the Algarve, they call it charolas and they sing rhymes about the birth of Jesus and the Holy Kings.

— Seeing the traditional Nativities;

You can see a different kind of nativity in some regions of the Algarve. On this typical one, baby Jesus is on the top and his throne is covered with white linen cloths, dry flowers and oranges from the Algarve.

Christmas traditions in São Paulo

— See the Christmas tree in Ibirapuera Park;

35 meters high and a 4 meters star on the top: this is the huge Christmas tree that lights up the most famous park in São Paulo. The base of the tree will also give a show with its polar bears, soldiers, ballerinas and jingle bells.

— Chasing the shinny caravans;

There are 6 of these caravans, going from one point to another in São Paulo and have the Christmas tree in Ibirapuera Park as its final destination. Each one of these caravans will have different amusements like Santa Claus and his reindeers.

— Celebrating New Years Eve in Avenida Paulista;

The New Years Eve in São Paulo is considered to be one of the most traditional in the country. Just like on past editions, the event will have massive fireworks to celebrate the announcement of the New Year.

— Seeing the biggest Santa in the world;

It’s true: he’s real and you can see him on the north side of town, at Shopping Center Norte, the enormous Santa Claus figure with red clothes and white beard was certified by Guinness World Records.

— Walking through São Paulo’s lights;

More than 2.000 shiny trees give light to your journey among São Paulo !! From Rebouças to Atlântica Avenue, there will also be set up Christmas trees, 5 meters tall, on the most important squares in town. Christmas is definitely one of the most appreciated festivities around here !!

Christmas traditions in Rio de Janeiro

— Christmas on the beach;

It may sound strange, but people in Rio de Janeiro really like to spend the Christmas eve and day with their friends and family . .. at the beach !! The summer is very hot in the city and the beaches are full with people celebrating the season.

Get ready: Christmas in Rio is to spend in the water, drinking water from a coconut !!

— Taste seasonal delicacies;

Portuguese style codfish, codfish pie, potato salad with vegetables, shrimp . .. After all, codfish is king on most of the dinner tables of this season !! Chester  — it looks like a turkey, in size and flavour — it’s also a real Christmas delicacy for the Brazilians.

— Watching the Nativities Festival;

An essential part of Natal Fest Rio, the Nativities festival has life-sized representations of the nativities around the world. These representations are exhibited in the Alah Garden, in Ipanema, and are the contribution of many Brazilian artists to keep the tradition alive, year after year.

— New Years Eve in Rio;

On the stage in front of Copacabana or on the Leme area, the New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro doesn’t need any presentations.

Besides the big fireworks show, you can also see thousands of people dressed in white, gathered at the beach to celebrate the New Year. A truly unique experience.

Christmas traditions in Búzios

— Shopping on local stores;

The small and bucolic town of Búzios may not have the big stores for Christmas shopping, but it’s packed with small local stores, perfect to find different and original gifts for friends and family.

— Spending the day at the beach;

Only 2 hours away from Rio de Janeiro, the days after and before Christmas are all spend exactly the same way: at the beach, enjoying the sun and the amazing climate !!

— Surfing, snorkelling or kite surfing;

Is there any better way to spend Christmas than in the crystalline waters of the sea ? Put your goggles on and join the fish and colourful sea life.

— Watch the fireworks in the Reveillon;

At Geribá, Brava or Ferradura beaches, there is live music for all tastes and a fireworks show with a sea view. You will not miss it !!

— Visiting Brigitte Bardot’s statue;

Since her first visit to the charming city of Búzios, the famous French actress fell in love at first sight.

Brigitte Bardot ended up coming back in 1964 to celebrate Christmas. In order to make some justice to her memory on this season, take a little trip to the replica of the actress statue, seating by the sea, watching the horizon.

Christmas and New Year at PortoBay hotels

Christmas dinner and New Years Eve in PortoBay Liberdade


At Bistrô4, PortoBay’s Liberdade restaurant, you can celebrate Christmas supper with a special meal prepared by chef João Espírito Santo. The harmonization of the wines served with a 5 dishes menu prepared for the evening could only be completed with live music and a lot of surprises . ..

And to welcome the new year in the best way possible, the big New Year’s evening is also arranged by PortoBay Liberdade !!

You’ll be welcomed with a cocktail that comes before a memorable 5 dishes dinner, all prepared by the chef At Bistrô4.

At midnight, don’t miss the special toast with champaign on the top of the hotel !!

Fireworks and many delicacies at PortoBay hotels in Madeira

Madeira’s island lives unique traditions on Christmas time. The Cliff Bay, Porto Santa Maria and Vila Porto Mare have their guests in a mood of lights, nativities, decorations . .. and many seasonal delicacies !!

The highlight of the celebrations is on the New Year, when Funchal’s amphitheatre is adapted to be an enormous nativity, brightened by thousands of colourful lamps. The scenario is set for the show to start !!

At 12pm, the biggest pyrotechnic show in the world starts, and of course, PortoBay hotels in Madeira also have a very special programme for this season.

New Years Eve at PortoBay Falésia

Let’s say goodbye to 2015 and start the New Year at PortoBay Falésia ?

Enjoy, relax and have a toast to a brand new year. PortoBay Falésia, in the Algarve, is waiting for you and your family !!

Christmas supper and New Years Eve in São Paulo

The chef of the sophisticated Trebbiano Ristorante in L’Hotel PortoBay São Paulo have prepared a very special supper, accompanied with wines and live music. Join us on this Christmas supper and let’s have a toast !!

Enjoy the festivities and stay with us at L’Hotel. We have everything to offer you magical nights.

Christmas and New Years Eve at Copacabana

We can already smell Christmas in the air . .. Even in Copacabana, where the sun is shining all year long !!

Rio de Janeiro is all decorated with Christmas. Come and celebrate in PortoBay Rio Internacional with Copacabana bay as the perfect set . .. You’ll never forget this scenario !!

And the New Years Eve in Copacabana doesn’t need any presentations. It’s simply one of the biggest and most appreciated New Years celebrations in the world !! Come and live this experience at PortoBay Rio Internacional.

New Years Eve in Búzios

The picturesque city of Búzios is filled with joy and celebrations for this special occasion !!

This city is simply unforgettable on this time of the year. But before you start visiting the city and get lost with Búzios enchantments, PortoBay Búzios have prepared a treat just for you . .. And we want you to find out.

Charge your inner batteries and live this wonderful experience at PortoBay Búzios !!

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