The holiday season is one of the happiest times to be in our city, so I wrote this article with plenty of suggestions for you to enjoy during your Christmas in Porto.
I wrote about the best things to do during Christmas in Porto, including best Christmas markets, best restaurants for Christmas Eve & for Christmas lunch and great stores for some Christmas shopping. I hope you like it!
Moreover, me and my team am available to conduct private tours in Porto and Douro Valley, which is the best way for you to navigate the region during the Christmas season.
What you should KNOW about Christmas in Porto 2023
Most hotels in Porto are already sold out for Christmas 2023 🙁
I have been getting a lot of emails from the local hotels and even apartments telling me that they are already sold out for 2023.
If you are not from Porto and you haven’t booked your place to stay in the city, I want to help out. I cannot possibly know what properties are available every single day until Christmas, but I can connect you to Porto’s page on booking.com so that you can find the best deals still available.
Some people prefer to use AirBnB but one thing that irritates me to the bones with this platform is that the price that shows for each properties is not really the price that you are going to pay, because on top of that they add at least a couple of fees.
With booking.com you KNOW what you’re going to pay, and it also has tons of apartments to choose from. So make sure to book your stay in Porto while there are still some spots available.
You can also sleep below the bridge. At least you have six of them to choose from 😛
The best way to enjoy your Christmas in Porto is to go around with a local friend
The best way to explore Porto during the holidays is to join one of our private tours, where me and my fantastic team will give you insider information on how to best take advantage of your time in our city. Let’s meet soon! 🙂
Best events during Christmas in Porto
The City Hall of Porto organizes dozens of free events during the Christmas holidays, that are suitable for both adults and children.
There are also other public and private organisations promoting different activities all around the city, as well as plenty of Christmas markets do to some shopping 🙂 Here are some suggestions:
Be dazzled at the Clérigos church
I honestly cannot thing of a better activity to do in Porto around Christmas other than to be dazzled by a multimedia show at our beloved Clérigos church – in my opinion, the most beautiful church in the city.
The show lasts around 30 minutes and it is inspired by a poem of Álvaro de Campos, the pseudonym of the most famous Portuguese writer of all time, Fernando Pessoa.
I won’t tell you more about what you’ll see (so as not to spoil the surprise!), so I’ll just tell you that the effect of the lights projected on the oval walls of the Clérigos Church, the music and the colors create a beautiful and unforgettable effect.
This show is only available until the 8th of January and has very limited seats, so I recommend you to get your tickets online. To make sure you don’t miss out on this great experience! And if the weather is nice, it is worth it to get the ticket to Climb the Clérigos tower. as the view from the top is stunning 🙂
Local tip: get there earlier in order to to sit in the back seats, from where you have a better panoramic view of the church 😉
Check out Porto’s Christmas tree!
From December 1st 2023 at 18h00, until January 7th 2024, the magical atmosphere of Christmas will invade the city, bringing the brightness of the lighting to many streets, squares and gardens in Porto. This year, once again, a giant Christmas tree has been erected in front of the City Hall on Aliados Avenue. The ceremony will be accompanied by a free concert of the Portuguese singer Diogo Piçarra.
The stage in Aliados will also host a wide range of other artists during this special season. I highly recommend attending the Christmas Concert of the Porto Philharmonic on December 6th at 18h00!
Visit a secret Nativity scene in Porto
In the area of the last Jewish quarter of the city (near the beautiful Clérigos tower), hides one of the best kept secrets of Christmas in Porto: a beautiful 18th century Christmas nativity scene in the Church of São José das Taipas.
The crib can be visited from Mondays to Fridays, from 11h to 12h30, and from 15h30 to 17h00, with a break for lunch. On Saturdays it opens from 11h00 to 12h30, and it is closed on Sundays.
If it’s in the afternoon, accept my suggestion and go down Rua do Dr. Barbosa de Castro to enjoy the sunset at the Virtudes viewpoint. You’ll see it’s worth it 🙂
Watch a Christmas concert at Casa da Música
One of the things I love doing during the holidays in Porto is to watch a Christmas concert at Casa da Música. There are sooo many good concerts going on during December that the best thing you can do it to check Casa da Música’s agenda for the month and pick your favourite one.
But after checking the agenda myself, I would definitely recommend the following Christmas specials:
- December 5th, 21h30, Sala Suggia: Christmas Concert by the Porto Conservatory of Music.
- December 16th, 18h00, Sala Suggia: Music for a Happy Night, with choir and musicians from the Baroque Orchestra of Casa da Música.
- December 20 and 21, 21h00, Sala Suggia: Magnificent Bach, with a Baroque Orchestra, Choir and Casa da Música Children’s Choir.
- December 22nd at 21h00; and December 23rd at 18h00, both on Sala Suggia: The Nutcracker, the classic ballet by Tchaikovsky, with Porto’s Symphony Orchestra.
In the same context but at a different location, I also recommend attending the Advent Concert with the Portuguese Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Raquel Alão on December 6th at 21h00 at Igreja da Lapa.
Visit a unique Christmas village!
This village has sooo many cool attractions, including Santa Claus’ house, a Christmas train, a giant 30-meter Christmas tree, and so much more! Also, there will be Christmas shows that you can’t miss! Make sure to save the dates:
- On December 3rd, at 16h00, the group Ópera de Bolso, will sing the most beautiful Christmas classics!
- On December 10th, 16th and 22nd at 18h00, watch an authentic militar fanfare with Soldadinhos de Chumbo
Address: Praça Guilherme Pinto, in Matosinhos.
Schedule: November 24th to December 23rd, 2023
– Mondays to Fridays: 15h00 to 20h00.
– Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 11h00 to 21h00
How to get there: the subway station Matosinhos Sul is a 10 minutes walking distance.
For families with kids: give your letters to Santa Claus
If you’re traveling with kids in Porto or you simply want to go down the memory lane, why not meet Santa Claus and personally give him your letters?
The most famous “old man” in the world will be at the Christmas Market in Jardim da Cordoaria waiting for the kids to visit him, ready to take note of all their wishes for Christmas. Adults can also enter to listen to their requests, take pictures and feel the magic of the season.
You can find him on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (December 1st and 8th) from 16h00 to 18h00.
Christmas markets in Porto
If you love the tradition of going to Christmas markets, get ready because this year there will be many Christmas markets in Porto. It is impossible to list them all because there are dozens of them, so the chances are that you will bump into one during the holidays in Porto. Nonetheless, here are a few examples:
Christmas market at the Serralves’ Foundation
I have written countless times about the Serralves Foundation, which a fantastic contemporary museum surround by romantic gardens. And this Christmas, Serralves gardens will open its doors to the Christmas Market, selling products from national producers and brands.
On December 1st to 3rd 2023, you can buy gourmet products, organic and seasonal foods, creative and sustainable Christmas gifts. You will also discover the latest design news, and participate in workshops and activities for the whole family.
The entrance to the Christmas market is free, but if I were you I would take the opportunity to visit the gardens as well as the contemporary museum – it is wonderful, even during winter!
Address: Rua Dom João de Castro, 210
Schedule: December 1st to 3rd 2023, from 10h00 to 19h00
How to get there: the buses 203 and 207 stop right in front of Serralves.
Christmas Market at Jardim da Cordoaria
This year, a Christmas Market will take place at the lovely Jardim da Cordoaria, which will be beautifully decorated with 14 Christmas trees painted by talented urban artists, transforming the garden into an authentic winter wonderland!🎄
This market has a special focus on handicrafts and traditional Portuguese food products, which will be located right next to Santa Claus’ home, where the old man with white beards will take note of the children’s wishes. His house will be open on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 16h00 to 18h00.
Additionally, there will be a charming Parisian Carousel, and a natural ice rink (the latter being located right next to Jardim da Cordoaria, at Largo do Amor de Perdição). Here are the opening hours:
- Mondays to Thursdays: 14h to 19h
- Fridays and national holidays eves: 14h to 20h
- Saturdays: 10h to 20h
- Sundays: 10h to 19h
- December 1 and 8: 10h to 20h
There will also be musical and theatrical performances around the market, taking place at both the garden’s bandstand and at Largo do Amor de Perdição. Save the dates 🙂
Concerts at the bandstand of Jardim da Cordoaria:
- December 1st at 19h00: Wallow Choir (gospel)
- December 9th at 17h00: RockSchool Porto “Combo” (featuring various musical styles such as rock, pop, funk, blues, etc.)
- December 10th at 16h00: Christmas Carols (featuring Christmas classics)
Concerts at Largo do Amor de Perdição, right next to Jardim da Cordoaria:
- December 1st at 16h00: Saxophone Quartet and String Orchestra from the Conservatory of Music of Porto
- December 1st at 14h00: The classic ballet Nutcracker, by the Performing Arts School and Conservatory of Porto
- December 17th at 14h30: The Voices of Christmas with Porto’s Orchestra and Choir
Address: Jardim da Cordoaria
Schedule: 1st to 23rd of December 2023
– Fridays and public holidays eves: 14h00 to 20h00
– Saturdays and public holidays: 10h00 to 20h00
– Sundays: 10h00 to 19h00
How to get there: São Bento subway station is a 9-minute walking distance.
Mercado da Alegria
The Christmas Market at Praça da Batalha, with 23 exhibitors and a Santa Claus house right in the centre, will have those cozy wooden houses showing off all sorts of local goodies like jewelry, clothes, toys, crafts, nativity scenes, and yummy regional sweets 🙂
Address: Praça da Batalha
Schedule: 1st to 30th of December 2023
– Sundays to Thursdays: 10h00 to 20h00
– Fridays and Saturdays: 10h00 to 21h00
How to get there: the subway station São Bento is a 5 minutes walking distance.
Urban Market – Christmas Edition
In December 2023 our famous Urban Market will once again bring a Christmas edition!
This Christmas market will be at the Ateneu Comercial of Porto, entirely focused on the design of Portuguese designers.
There will be vendors of jewelry, illustration, painting, fashion and well-being products coloring the noble salon of Ateneu Comercial of Porto. It’s a good opportunity to meet the creators behind each of the brands, from December 15th to the 23rd, 2023. There will also be gastronomic options, with personalized baskets.
This year, the Urban Market Porto will feature the following concerts:
- On December 15th at 17h00, concert by Mark Moakley;
- On December 17th at17h00, Estrela Gomes Trio will take the stage;
- To conclude the Christmas Market festivities, a performance by Ucla Luna on December 23rd, starting at 17h00.
The only downside of this Christmas market, for me, is that it usually doesn’t have food vendors (I am Portuguese, there must always be food options nearby).
Address: Ateneu Comercial of Porto
Schedule: From December 15th to the 23rd, from 10h to 20h
How to get there: São Bento subway station is a 10 minutes walking distance.
1st Christmas Fair at Mercado do Bolhão
This is a very special year for Mercado do Bolhão, the iconic centenary market in Porto, since its 1st Christmas Fair is taking place on December 14th, 15th, and 16th!
Alongside their regular stalls, there’ll be 22 temporary ones with a focus on traditional Christmas goodies. Eighteen of these are all about delicious and traditional Christmas food, while the remaining four are dedicated to non-food products. You can also count with Christmas concerts and shows in Bolhão Market during this festive season, such as:
- On December 2nd and 23rd, both concerts at 16h00, the group “Ópera de Bolso” will perform beautiful Christmas classics.
- On December 9th, at 10h00, troupe of musical elves with wind instruments (bagpipes, flutes and recorders) and percussion (snare drum and bass drum) called Duendes à Solta will play Christmas and traditional repertoire, accompanied by a playful elf 🙂
- On December 15th, at 16h00, the market will come alive with the festive sounds of Christmas Carols!
Address: Mercado do Bolhão
Schedule: December 14th, 15th, and 16th
How to get there: Bolhão subway station is a 3-minute walking distance.
Christmas market at the WOW (World of Wine)
The World of Wine (WoW) is the newest venture of the owners of Taylor’s, one of the best Port wine lodges. It consists of five museums and some (pricey) restaurants with outdoor seating with a magnificent view of Ribeira neighborhood, over the river and the Luiz I bridge.
From November 25th 2023 to January 7th 2024, WOW promises to be a must-see during this festive season! They have a fabulous 13-meter Christmas tree, a beautiful carousel and lots of events, especially for families with kids!
Address: Rua do Choupelo 39, in Vila Nova de Gaia.
How to get there: the subway station General Torres is a 15 minutes walking distance.
Matosinhos’ Christmas market
Besides the Christmas Village at Praça Guilherme Pinto already mentioned in this article, there will also be a traditional craft market in Matosinhos at Jardim Basílio Teles, in front of the City Hall of Matosinhos.
This market will have 81 artisans from all around the country, who will sell Portuguese cheeses and sausages, chocolates, design products, books, clothing and jewelry, among other things to wear, to decorate the house and to eat.
The market can be visited every day, with free entry. Take my advice and after / before going to this Christmas market, have a sweet or savoury pastry at Padaria Ribeiro. Everything there is to die for, trust me on this!
Additionally, I recommend you to attend the Christmas Concert at the Bom Jesus Church in Matosinhos on December 16th at 21h30 (free entrance). It is just a 10-minute walk from the Christmas Market and I’m sure it will be worth it 🙂
Address: Jardim Basílio Teles, in Matosinhos
Schedule: 24th of November to 23rd of December 2023
– Sundays to Thursdays: 11h00 to 19h30
– Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays: 12h00 to 23h00
How to get there: the subway station Câmara de Matosinhos is a 5 minutes walking distance.
Maia’s Christmas Market
Another Christmas Market, located just a 25-minute metro ride from Porto, is in the city of Maia. The goal of the market is to promote and showcase handicrafts, gastronomy, and local products such as chocolates, cheeses, sausages, cookies, liqueurs and other local delicacies.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, there will be a Santa’s House, an ice rink, a Parisian carousel, and a Christmas Parade – Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive in Maia on December 10th, at 17h30!
And this year will bring a new addition – alongside Santa Claus, the Three Kings will be visiting Maia from December 26th to January 7th, 2024! 🙂
Address: Praça Doutor José Vieira de Carvalho
Schedule: November 30th to December 31st, 2023.
– Mondays to Thursdays: 17h00 to 22h00
– Fridays: 17h00 to 23h00
– Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 15h00 to 23h00
– 24th and 31st of December: 10h00 to 15h00
How to get there: Maia (Câmara) subway station is a 1-minute walking distance.
The best restaurants in Porto for Christmas
One of the joys of Christmas is to share dinner with your loved ones. Thankfully, Porto has a few restaurants open both on Christmas Eve (24th December’s dinner) and on Christmas Day (25th December for lunch), which I have already summarised on my list of the Best Restaurants for Christmas in Porto.
There are not many of them, so if you are spending Christmas in Porto I highly, highly recommend you to book a restaurant as soon as possible, otherwise you risk having to improvise a cold tapas dinner on your hotel in Porto 😛
Moreover, if you are planning to organise a Christmas dinner with your friends or colleagues from work prior to Christmas Eve or after Christmas Day, then read my recommendations of best restaurants in Porto for groups.
Where to stay in Porto during Christmas
Discovering where to stay in Porto might a tedious task, that’s why we pick our favourite boutique hotels, Bed & Breakfast / guesthouses and hostels to stay at during Christmas in Porto. The list starts from the most expensive options to the more budget friendly ones.
I also recommend you to read my article about the best neighbourhoods to stay in Porto as it will help you decide where to stay. You can then proceed to book one of the places I suggest here or go through all my accommodation articles.
Note: if you’re visiting Porto, I suggest you make your reservation right away because the city is already getting crowded for the holiday season!
Porto Royal Bridges Hotel
Located at the heart of the city, Porto Royal Bridges Hotel is a great options for those not knowing where to stay in Porto during the holidays. Besides the stunning interior and the great location, the hotel has a daily breakfast buffet.
Another suggestion on where to stay in Porto during Christmas is the Vincci Porto., a gorgeous former market in the city. Even though it’s located right in front of the river, the hotel is warm and cozy inside with rooms equipped with heating. The breakfast is the best in town.
If you’re looking for where to stay in Porto, how about staying at the 5 star boutique hotel Torel Avantgarde. This breathtaking hotel allows guest to enjoy a breakfast at their in-house restaurant overlooking the Douro river. It’s on the expensive side but it’s definitely worth it.
Casa dos Lóios by Shiadu
This B & B might be what you need to enjoy your Christmas in Porto. Casa dos Lóios by Shiadu has great breakfast, cozy units with a lot of natural sunlight and a very central location.
Oporto Platinum Loft
Oporto Platinum Loft comes with 1 bedroom, a living room, a dining area and a kitchen with an oven. This is perfect for families with kids who are planning on cooking their own Christmas dinner during their stay in Porto.
Bluesock Hostels Porto
Bluesock Hostels Porto’s cozy interior, daily breakfast and great location makes it perfect for those looking to stay in Porto during the holidays. It’s the highest-rated hostel because it doesn’t feel like a hostel thanks to its modern facilities. It is also a great spot for solo travelers looking forward to meeting new people, as it organizes daily social activities.
Rivoli Cinema Hostel
If you’re looking for where to stay in Porto, Rivoli Cinema Hostel is a good choice. Inside, you have a free daily buffet breakfast, a shared kitchen, barbecue facilities, a Wii console and a DVD library.
The Passenger Hostel
The Passenger Hostel is a beautiful and perfectly-located hostel for those looking to stay in Porto during Christmas. It has private/shared rooms, shared kitchen and washer/dryer. It can be a bit nosy since it’s inside the famous São Bento train station.