The holiday season is one of the happiest times to take a short break in Porto. The streets are filled with Christmas lights and there are plenty of options to entertain both kids and adults.
Therefore, we wrote this article with plenty of suggestions for you to enjoy during your Christmas in Porto.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of ALL events taking place during the holidays in Porto. Our City Hall prepares a massive 5 weeks’s programme to please both the locals and tourists and I cannot possibly publish everything here. So I did a careful selection of the best things to do during Christmas in Porto – I hope you like it!
Here’s our guide for Christmas in Porto:
- 1 I organize private tours in Porto
- 2 Here’s our guide for Christmas in Porto:
- 3 Best events during Christmas in Porto
- 4 Best Christmas markets in Porto
- 5 Best Christmas Concerts in Porto
- 6 Best stores to do some shopping in Porto
- 7 The Best restaurants in Porto for Christmas
- 8 Where to stay in Porto during Christmas
Best events during Christmas in Porto
Christmas is not complete if you don’t go out and enjoy some fun activities. The city organizes many free events that are suitable for both adults and children.
Most of them are, naturally, held in Portuguese, which is why I made a careful selection of the best events for Christmas in Porto for non Portuguese people:
Dec 1st to Jan 6th | Praça D. João I and Rotunda da Boavista
A traditional Christmas activity of Porto is to go ice skating on one of the two covered ice rings much to the delight of children (and adults too!). Nearby the ice ring of Rotunda da Boavista there is also an area with carousels, games and even a Santa Claus house (this, surely just for the children 🙂).
20 min: €3.50 | 60 min: €6
Schedule of the ice ring at Praça D. João I:
Sun to Thu: 10am – 11pm
Fri to Sat: 10am – 1am
December 24: 10am – 6pm
December 25: 3pm – 7pm
December 31: 10am – 2am
January 1: 10am – 2am
Schedule of the ice ring at Rotunda da Boavista:
Sun to Thu: 11am – 10pm
Fri to Sat: 11am – 11pm
December 24th and 31st: 10am – 4pm
December 25th and January 1st: 2:30pm to 7pm.
A lot of street fun on Rua Miguel Bombarda
On the three Saturdays before Christmas in Porto, entertainment is back to the most artistic area in Porto: Rua Miguel Bombarda in Cedofeita neighborhood.
Music, dancing, workshops, an urban art market, installations, video mapping and other surprises on a programme developed in partnership with local independent projects and small businesses.
Silent movies with orchestra
This is by far one of the best things to do during Christmas in Porto: to watch silent movies with live music in unlikely places of the city.
This is a good opportunity to review great classics of silent cinema, with live music, and entirely for free!
These are the dates and places, as well as the names of the directors (I am not telling you the names of the movies in order not to spoil the surprise!):
12th Dec • 7pm • Cinema Trindade – Charlie Chaplin
12th Dec • 9.30pm • Cinema Passos Manuel – Hitchcock
13th Dec • 7pm • Câmara Municipal do Porto – Georges Mèliès
13th Dec • 10pm • Maus Hábitos – Dziga Verto
14th Dec • 3pm • Câmara Municipal do Porto – Several directors
14th Dec • 6.30pm • São Bento train station – Buster Keaton
14th Dec • 9.30pm • Ferro Bar – F. W. Murnau
15th Dec • 9.30pm • Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços – Carl Theodor Dreyer
High-flying, triple trapeze and a virtuous tightrope. Coliseu Porto Circus is back with awarded artists and premiere circus acts. This year’s programme includes awarded artists and premiere circus acts brought by eight circus troups from Russia, Canada, Tajikistan, Finnland, Ucraine and Portugal. No animals involved, otherwise this would not be on my guide to Christmas in Porto!
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Best 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. Again it is impossible to list them all because there will be dozens of them, so the chances are that you will bump into one during the holidays in Porto. Nonetheless, here are a few examples:
14th – Dec 22nd | Largo do Amor de Perdição
Here is a Christmas tradition of Porto: Artesanatus, a market that brings together artisans and producers from various regions of the country 🙂 For those who appreciate Portuguese crafts as well as Portuguese foods items such as cheese, honey, olive oil and sausages, it is a great place to buy these Christmas gifts that aren’t easily found elsewhere.
It takes place at Jardim de São Lázaro, from 10am to 7pm, and the entrance is for free.
Pink Market – Christmas edition
Dec 7th and 8th | Edifício Transparente
A free market with a superb location: at Edifício Transparente, a glass building in front of the ocean, very close to the magnificent sculpture of a giant fish net by the artist Janet Echelman. The pink market will have not only the typical vendors but also a kids’ catwalk show and performances by musicians and dancers. If the weather is good, it is a wonderful afternoon doing some Christmas shopping by the beach 🙂
Christmas Flea Market
Dec 14th | Silo Auto Parking Garage
In Porto, we can’t get enough of Flea Markets! And this year’s Christmas edition poster is made by one of the best street artists in Porto, Lara Luis. It will take place at Silo Auto, a car parking in the city centre, on a car boot sale format – each seller takes his stuff, which includes antiques, books, clothes and footwear and sells it from his car boot, usually at fantastic prices. It is the ideal Christmas market to find truly unique gifts for a bargain!
Mercado da Alegria
November 30th to Dec 31st | Praça da Batalha
This event held both at Batalha Square and in Praça da Alegria will be the first of its kind in Porto. It will include music, food, workshops, Christmas decorations and an exhibition of wooden houses. It will also have many items perfect for gift-shopping like crafts, toys, books and clothing.
It takes place between November 30th and December 31st.
The Urban market is famous for being one of the best markets in Porto to buy urban handcraft such as clothing, jewellery, design furniture as well as food and drinks.
During Christmas in Porto it will take place in different occasions, always on the weekends. These are the locations:
5th to 8th Dec • 11am to 7pm • Praça das Cardosas
5th to 8th Dec • 11am to 7pm • Praça Carlos Alberto
13th 15th Dec • 11am to 7pm • Hard Club
19th to 23rd Dec • 11am to 7pm • Ateneu Comercial do Porto
Best Christmas Concerts in Porto
Would it truly be Christmas in Porto without concerts, gospels, opera? I don’t think so, so I compile the most beautiful musical sessions that will get you on Christmas mode.
Portable and itinerant performances. Each Saturday, “8 por 4” Choir walks through the city streets with an eclectic repertoire on Christmas season. This is the schedule and the location:
7th Dec • 3pm – 4.30 • Largo Amor de Perdição, Praça da Liberdade and Praça D. João I
14th Dec • 3pm – 4.30 • Bolhão’s Temporary Market, Rua Fernandes Tomás, Rua Sá da Bandeira, Rua Sampaio Bruno and Praça da Liberdade
21st Dec • 3pm – 4.30 • Rua de Cedofeita and Praça Carlos Alberto
Students from Porto’s Music Conservatory and Silva Monteiro’s Music Course present Christmas themes during free concerts, surrounded by some os the most beautiful buildings of the city.
7th Dec • 3pm • Brass Quintet from from Porto Music Conservatory • Igreja dos Clérigos
7th Dec • 4pm • Ensemble Sfourzzarco • Igreja de Sto. Ildefonso
14th Dec • 4pm • Saxophone and Flute Duet for Porto Music Conservatory • Praça Gomes Teixeira
Sundays will become very special with lyrical singing shows by “Ópera de Bolso” company. As I love classical music, for me this is one of the best events during Christmas in Porto!
8th Dec • 4pm • Igreja de Santo Ildefons
15th Dec • 4pm • Avenida dos Aliados
22nd Dec • 4pm • In front of Torre dos Clérigos
Magnificent Christmas concert by Igreja da Lapa’s Choir, Sine Nomine Orchestra and soloists, who will interpret a Bach’s Cantata and Mass and end with Christmas songs. I am so terribly happy that I will get to enjoy Bach during Christmas in Porto!
This event is free and it will take place at MMIPO on 21st Dec at 9.30pm.
Singing of the King’s Day
Following an annual tradition, nine folk groups of Northern Portugal will parade through the streets of Porto while singing. The parade will start on several spots across the city heading to Aliados Avenue, where the groups get together for a final performance.
This event takes place on January 5th between 3pm and 6pm.
Best stores to do some shopping in Porto
Visitor might feel so overwhelmed by the amount of shopping stores in Porto that they wouldn’t know where to begin. So we’re naming our top five stores for Christmas shopping in Porto:
A Vida Portuguesa and Fernandes Mattos
Rua Galeria de Paris 20, Porto
At A Vida Portuguesa you’ll find traditional products from Portuguese brands such as Bordallo Pinheiro’s faience, Ach. Brito and Claus Porto’s soaps, the traditional embroidery of Viana do Castelo, etc.
There you can also find some Portuguese food products such as Ginjinha de Óbidos, chocolates from Regina and Santa Catarina’s tuna cans (trust me, you’ll never want to eat tuna from any other brand after you taste the ones from this brand!).
At Fernandes Mattos, you will find a delicious mix of vintage objects and urban design objects. A delight for someone looking forward to do some shopping in Porto. 🙂
Rua do Almada 13, Porto
For those looking for Christmas gifts’ shopping in Porto with a touch of urban design and a lot of humor, I suggest Almada 13’s store. This store gathers five stores in one: the urban design objects from Águas Furtadas Design, the clothing and decoration pieces in burel (A Portuguese handmade fabric made of wool), cork products from Cork & Co, Yellow Boat’s maritime products and WE-Rota tea’s home decor products and teas.
Rua do Rosário 211, Porto
This space combines a coworking office with a concept store which is perfect for Christmas shopping in Porto. At CRU Cowork’s store you will find creative Christmas gifts, mostly of urban design applied to fashion, footwear, handmade jewellery and home decor. Not to mention their unique greeting cards that are perfect for the holiday season. It is worth it to stop by!
Fine & Candy
Rua de Tanger 1356, Porto
Those who know me well are aware that I always prefer to write with paper and pencil regardless of how many hours I spent typing on the computer on my daily life.
Therefore, whenever I travel I buy stationery and, at each Christmas season, a beautiful agenda for the year coming ahead.
This year will be no exception, and my choice falls on Fine & Candy, a company that already sells its products in the United States, Canada and in several European countries.
So if you’re looking to do some shopping in Porto, Fine & Candy has an irresistible store for writing lovers, where you can buy notepads, diaries, pencils and pens, paperweight, among others. If you have friends like me, I strongly recommend you give them a Christmas gift from Fine & Candy! 🙂
Rua da Conceição, 48
To do some shopping in Porto, try Mercado 48, a store with many vintage and contemporary design objects. It has something for everyone including decoration, furniture, clothing, bicycles and more.
This is one of the best places to shop in Porto if you’re looking for unique items made by local designers. It showcases many Portuguese brands like Mud Cycles, Alquimia, Wo Design and Daniela Ponto Final.
The Best restaurants in Porto for Christmas
Quite understandably, most restaurants are closed for Christmas so it will be very hard to find anywhere to eat on Christmas Eve and during the day after.
The places that are open for sure are the restaurants of the best (and largest) hotels in the city. You can also try the ones on the list below.
But hurry up, usually I get dozens of emails of people a couple of days before Christmas – when it is obviously too late to arrange something.
One of the joys of Christmas is to share dinner with your loved ones. Thankfully, Porto has a few restaurants open around Christmas. Here are our top picks for the best restaurants in Porto for Christmas:
Note: make sure you book in advance and ask for the Christmas menu prices! And if you’re looking to organize a Christmas dinner with friends or co-workers, try one of the best restaurants in Porto for large groups.
Bom Sucesso Gourmet
Open on December 24th for dinner and December 25th for lunch.
Reservation: +351 226 076 000 or by email.
SOMOS Restaurant & Lounge
Open on December 24th for dinner (7:30pm – 9pm) and December 25th for lunch (12:30 pm – 3pm).
Reservations: +351 22 607 2500 or by email.
Open on December 24th and December 25th for lunch and dinner.
Reservations by email.
Open on December 24th for dinner.
Reservations on its website.
Open on December 24th for dinner (7:30pm – 10:30pm) and on December 25th for lunch (12:30pm – 4pm).
Reservation: +351 226 086 600 or by email.
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!
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. 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.
This B & B might be what you need to enjoy your Christmas stay in Porto. Casa dos Lóios by Shiadu has great breakfast, cozy units with a lot of natural sunlight and a very central location.
Another option for where to stay in Porto is Down2Town B&B. A great view, an amazing location, a breathtaking interior; this place has it all. The prices are also very reasonable.
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’s cozy interior, daily breakfast and great location makes it perfect for those looking for where 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.
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.