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Christmas in the Algarve

Although the festive season is somewhat different this year because of the pandemic, it is important to keep the spirit of Christmas traditions alive. Here in the Algarve, these are traditions which are repeated and recreated year after year, coming to life across much of the region.

Traditional nativity scenes are put up, streets and monuments decorated with seasonal motifs, and on the typical Algarve dinner table there are delicious traditional delicacies to share with the family, such as octopus, rooster or the famous litany, fritters and turnovers made from sweet potato.

The Christmas songs and lights that we hear and see in the streets inspire us to buy the gifts that are normally exchanged either at midnight after dinner on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas morning.
The fairs and markets are packed with all sorts of traditional flavours and local handicrafts that, in combination with the musical entertainment, cultural events, workshops and other seasonal activities, provide experiences for the whole family.

Music and singing are another way of remembering the birth of Christ, and in December various Christmas-related concerts bring the most prestigious choral groups to the region.

Throughout the region, groups of folk singers (charoleiros and janeireiros) travel through towns and villages, singing door to door in praise of the baby Jesus, and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

This year, most of the traditional Christmas and New Year celebrations and events will be restricted by the measures announced by Government to help keep the Covid-19 virus under control. Many of the customary events have been cancelled but there will be a range of other initiatives to help keep the seasonal spirit alive. You will be able to enjoy these in safety while respecting the measures in force. Visit our events page to find out what the Algarve’s hotels and 16 municipalities are organising so that, even in the midst of a global pandemic, you will have plenty of good reasons to enjoy Christmas with your family in the Algarve.