Algarve has been gearing up to Christmas and the new year. There is plenty to see and visit, obviously following government guidelines regarding safety during this time.
In Lagos, in Praça do Infante, there is fun to be had on bouncy castles, in Santa’s grotto and on a skating rink until December 24. From Monday to Friday; 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm.
Lagos Zoo is hosting its annual Natalândia until December 26. From 10am to 5pm there is fun throughout the zoo with entertainers , children can write a letter to Father Christmas and post it, there are bouncy castles, a Christmas village, face painting, workshops and a Christmas theatre on December 26 at 11.30am and 3.30pm. Everything is included in the entrance fee which, for Algarve residents (with proof of address), is €10 and for visitors to the region the price is the usual €12.
MAR Shopping Algarve is hosting an ice rink and Christmas village, open Sundays to Thursdays: 11am to 8pm plus on Fridays and Saturdays: 10am to 10pm – until January 6.
Nativity scenes are certainly worth a visit – you will find them dotted throughout Portugal. Algarve has quite a few but those of note include Guia’s, situated between the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Guia and the parish church, click here for directions. Open until January 6, the large figures were made by British sculptor Toin Adams and are certainly worth seeing.
Another life-sized nativity scene can be found in Portimão, in Largo da Mó, with Portimão also hosting an ice rink in Praça da República, open during the week from 2pm to 7pm and over the weekends between 11am and 7pm with free admission. Again, both are open until January 6.
Perhaps the most well-known of nativity scenes, which is open until January 9, is in Vila Real de Santo António, on the Spanish border. Built within the town’s Centro Cultural António Aleixo, this nativity scene is said to be the largest in Portugal with over 5,600 figures.
Loulé’s Village of Dreams can be found in four parts of the town: Santa’s Village (Cerca do Convento), Goblins’ Plaza (Loulé Castle), South Pole (Praça D. Afonso III) and large Christmas decorations (Largo de S. Francisco). The village also has an ice rink, carousel, train, Santa’s grotto and dining areas. Open until January 1; Tuesdays to Fridays from 2.30pm to 7pm, Saturdays from 10.30am to 7pm and Sundays from 2.30pm to 7pm-
Moving back to more central Algarve, Silves is hosting a Christmas market with a mini ferris wheel, carousel and train together with Father Christmas making appearances and a lot more to entertain families. Visit Praça Al-Muthamid between 2pm to 8pm until January 6.
Click here to read more about Christmas in Portugal – as you will see, food plays a large part in its traditions as in most parts of the world.