One of the most important celebrations of the year, Christmas is a time for family and close friends to get together on the evening of December 24 for Christmas Eve.
Discover the Christmas traditions and festive fun in Lisbon for all the family this Christmas 2023 and throughout the month of December.
Christmas Eve Dinner
The evening of December 24 brings to the Portuguese table “bacalhau com todos”: cod cooked with potatoes, carrots, vegetables and eggs, drizzled with olive oil.
The traditional sweets are varied and range from rabanadas, sonhos, filhós and coscorões, azevias, tronco de Natal, to aletria, arroz-doce, broa castelar and lampreia de ovos, but the real highlight on portuguese tables is the Bolo-Rei, a crown-shaped bread with colorful candied fruit and a distinctive flavor. There’s also the Bolo Rainha, which contains almonds and has been sweetening Portuguese palates more and more.
After Christmas Eve dinner, it is portuguese tradition to attend the Midnight Mass of the Rooster, marking the birth of Jesus Christ. Upon returning home, presents are exchanged by the tree and the nativity scene with the image of baby Jesus.
On December 25, Portuguese families will once again gather for Christmas lunch, with roast and stuffed turkey and traditional sweets on the table.
Every year, the Christmas lights in Lisbon are inaugurated in the first days of December, and in 2023, Lisbon has been shining even brighter with its Christmas lights since December 1st. The Armazéns do Chiado are a must-see because of the lights on the shopping center’s instagrammable façade.
All over the city, you can see Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments, but it’s in Praça do Comércio that tradition gathers and delights thousands of residents and foreigners with the traditional giant Christmas tree. Visit for free until January 6, 2024.
In houses, churches, museums, on the streets and in shopping malls, Christmas cribs are represented all over Lisbon:
- Christmas crib at Amoreiras Shopping Center
- Christmas crib at Basílica da Estrela
- Madre de Deus Christmas crib at the National Tile Museum
- Alcântara Christmas crib
- Christmas crib at the Museum of Lisbon, Santo António
One of the main Christmas attractions in Lisbon is Wonderland Lisboa, which is set up every year in Parque Eduardo VII. Christmas market, ice-skating rink, Ferris wheel with heated cabins at a height of 3,600 meters, craft fair, stalls selling food, drinks and products typical of this time of year, animations, Christmas Village with the presence of Santa Claus, and the certainty of happy and fun moments. From December 1, 2023 to January 2, 2024, in the center of Lisbon.
UBBO Ice Resort
The 450-square-meter ice rink is back in the Central Square of the UBBO Shopping Centre from October 31, 2023 to January 14, 2024. Check the opening hours, prices and access rules here.
Rossio Christmas Market
The Rossio Christmas Market takes place in Praça Dom Pedro V from November 17 to December 23, with the traditional craft and food stalls, as well as the free Christmas Train, which runs through the streets of downtown.
Rural Market at Lx Factory in Alcântara
In December, the Lx Rural Market is dedicated exclusively to the Christmas season, with various products for the Christmas table.
The Great Christmas Tree Exhibition
From December 2 to 22, at the Luís de Camões Theater, visit the collective exhibition of Christmas Trees for free, from 10am to 5pm.
Christmas concerts and choirs
- Candlelight Christmas: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Swan Lake and more
A festive concert at the historic Ajuda National Palace on December 16 in two sessions, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., lit by thousands of flickering candles to the sound of a fabulous string quartet. Get your tickets here.
- Christmas Concert – Dixit Dominus by Händel at Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB)
On December 17, the Choir of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos and the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra perform at 5pm at the CCB. Information and tickets here.
- Christmas Symphony Concert at the Teatro Nacional S. Carlos
Christmas concert on December 23rd in the main hall of the Teatro Nacional S. Carlos, at 9pm. Buy your ticket here.
- New Year’s Concert – Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra
Also at the CCB, the Metropolitana’s traditional New Year’s Concert on January 1, 2024 will take place at 11am and 5pm.
The magic of Christmas is in the air!
Come to Lisbon and stay with us, in the heart of the capital, to see and experience the main Christmas traditions.