Christmas in Lisbon; it’s a big deal

Lisbon goes big during the festive period, as you’ll find out for yourself when you crane your neck to marvel at the tallest Christmas tree in Europe.

Ancient ruins, terracotta rooftops, domed cathedrals and the Atlantic Ocean beyond – this is the spectacular view that awaits you atop any of Lisbon’s trademark seven hills. The wealth of history in the cobbled streets below can be found at every turn – from the century-old wooden trams that still rumble up and down the city’s slopes to the baroque architecture of the ornate city centre.

Having immersed yourself in this fascinating bygone heritage during the day, you’ll discover that Lisbon knows how to let celebrate after dark. Don’t be fooled by Barrio Alto’s calm daytime demeanour – once the sun sets, its maze of narrow bar-filled streets transforms into one of Europe’s most exciting city centre hotspots.

Talking of celebrating in style, Lisbon does Christmas with bells on. Look no further than its Christmas tree – officially the tallest in Europe. Join us as we discover what sets the Portuguese capital apart from other European cities during the Christmas period.

Christmas tree and illuminations

Lisbon’s most distinguishing feature at this time of year has to be its giant tree in Parque Eduardo VII. OK, it’s not an evergreen original but standing at around 76 metres this artificial monster is still a sight to behold. It forms the centrepiece of the city’s enchanting Christmas illuminations – over two million twinkling bulbs that transform the streets into a winter wonderland.

Christmas markets

Inside, outside, traditional or commercial: Lisbon caters for all tastes and requirements when it comes to Christmas markets.

  • Campo Pequeno: back in 2006 this former bullring was transformed into a multi-event venue. During December it hosts a Christmas market with a refreshingly Portuguese feel.
  • Rossio Square: for the best mulled wine and pastries in town, browse the pretty wooden huts that pop up around the Column of Pedro IV.
  • Parque Eduardo VII: if you like your Christmas markets full of energy, Wonderland Lisboa is half market, half funfair – perfect for the kids!

Christmas concerts

For a truly magical festive experience, explore Lisbon’s Christmas concert schedule. Curated by the EGEAC Public Space Programme, events are held in cultural spaces and churches throughout the city, including the ornate Igreja de São Roque in the city centre. Enjoy performances by gospel choirs, children’s choirs, symphonic choirs, orchestras and traditional Fado musicians in atmospheric surroundings.

If you’re a dedicated culture enthusiast, it’s also worth checking out the Christmas schedule at the Centro Cultural de Belém . This world-class venue is famous for its music concerts, ballet productions, art installations, workshops and cinematic screenings.

New Year’s Eve

Lisbon certainly knows how to party, making it the perfect spot for a New Year’s Eve to remember. No matter your flavour, there’s something for everyone. Many locals choose to sit down for a long meal with a quick break at midnight to toast the new year. Tourists often book a table at one of the many Fado houses in and around Alfama, Mouraria and Bairro Alto to enjoy the traditional music of Portugal.

If you want to be in the heart of the action, pack your party poppers and head to Praça do Comércio (Terreiro Do Paco) or Belém to watch the fireworks and shake your stuff well into the night. Alternatively, with seven hills to choose from, finding a spot to watch the spectacular displays away from the crowds won’t be a problem.

Purchasing a property in Lisbon

Unforgettable Christmases in beautiful surroundings, low living costs and Golden Visa schemes designed to encourage foreign investment in residential property: buying your own home in Lisbon is an enticing prospect. Or perhaps you’d prefer to live on the outskirts away from the hustle and bustle, but close enough to pop in anytime. For example, just 30 minutes’ drive away are popular stretches of sand like Guincho, Adraga and Grande, making it one of the best city/beach-combo destinations in Europe.

Get help from the experts

Don’t let currency market risk make your dream of purchasing a property in or around Lisbon slip from your grasp. Each day the pound fluctuates in value against other currencies and the price of overseas property moves with it. Don’t worry, currency specialists RationalFX can help you manage this risk.

You will be assigned a personal account manager who will provide expert market insight and explain the tools that can help you stay in control of your payments, like a forward contract. This enables you to fix an exchange rate for up to two years, guaranteeing the price of your dream home when the time comes to pay.