Top 10 things to do over Christmas and New Year in Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro is not known for being a festive winter wonderland, however while there is little to no chance of snow falling on the beach and you don’t usually need to wear your Christmas jumper because it is too warm – there is still plenty to do at this time of the year in Carvoeiro.

Here are some of our top suggestions for things to do over Christmas and New Year in Carvoeiro and we have also added a few that are a little further afield but are well worth making the journey for– let us know if you have any to add to the list!

Please add your own suggestions on this topic at the forum

1.       Christmas Market Carvoeiro

Nothing says Christmas quite like a Christmas Market and every year Carvoeiro hosts their own little market in the square in the centre of the town.

The date of the market changed every year but it is always held in December over a long weekend giving everyone the chance to be able to get down to pick up some local crafts or to buy items from local businesses.

Sample the mulled wine, eat homemade cakes and grab a partner and dance away to the entertainment each afternoon of the fair, which is also a great place to meet up with friends before lots head off for Christmas breaks.

2.       Santa parade

On the final day of the school term for the year the children of the local schools line up and all dress as Father Christmas for a special parade around the town.

The sight of a couple of hundred little people dressed as Santa is quite something and usually also includes the decoration of the tourist train that helps to transport the younger participants whose shorter legs can’t always keep up with the pace.

3.       Carol service

If you are looking for a way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas then it is a good idea to head to one of the many local churches in the area.  The predominant religion in Portugal is Catholicism and you can join a service at any time if you like over advent.

If you want a Anglican service then there is also a large choice of churches in the local area with English Language services.  The church at the Convent in Lagoa is very popular and has English language services and a carol service too where you can sing all of your favourites.  Further information is available directly from the All Saints church – check local press for details.

4.       Enjoy a drink…or two!

You can always find a warm welcome in one of the bars open through the festive season in Carvoeiro but be aware of when they may be open or closed.  The Portuguese tend to celebrate their Christmas on December 24 – staying up until midnight to open presents so Portuguese owned businesses ted to be shut at this time while the British run ones will have restricted hours on December 25th.

Lots of people pop in and out of the bars at this time of the year as it is a good chance to catch up with local faces and to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

5.       Shopping time

There are still a few shops open in Carvoeiro at this time of the year and they are worth having a look in if you want something a little special as a Christmas gift, however if it is the sales you are after then get into the car and go off to one of the local shopping Centres such as Algarve Shopping in Guia or Aqua Shopping in Portimão.  Be sure to check the opening times though as Aqua was has been closed in the past on New Year’s Day – their websites have the full details.

6.       Go ice skating

There are not a lot of frozen lakes in and around the Algarve but that doesn’t mean that you can’t slip on your skates and glide (or wobble) about on the ice!

Often an artificial ice rink is set up in the old commercial part of Portimão around Christmas time and you can pay to have a go on the rink.

There is also the chance to skate at the Forum Algarve shopping centre in Faro as once again they will be erecting their own ice rink, so why not combine a trip to the sales with a whizz around on the ice if you are making the journey across.

7.       Good food

Carvoeiro is known for having some of the best restaurants around and over the festive period many offer special menus and meals.  Call up your favourite venue and book in for with Christmas dinner or for a New Year’s Eve meal (or both if you like!)

Most places have the details ready for the start of December and it is a good idea to book early if you want to guarantee your table for the meal.

There are other places that are open and are not doing anything remotely festive if you prefer with the Indian and Chinese always being a popular option.  You may be surprised how many people want a curry on Christmas Eve so book your table or be prepared for a wait!

8.       New Year’s Eve parties

A couple of places each year in Carvoeiro put on a New Year’s Eve party but this changes each year so if you are unsure then ask about or have a look a the forum for the most up to date information.

There will once again be a New Year’s Eve party at the Arade congress centre where you can pay to have a meal, followed by live entertainment and then a nightclub experience or alternatively you can head off into Praia da Rocha where the fireworks are usually impressive.

Albufeira is the hub of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Algarve with a concert on the beach each year and lots of entertainment and fireworks.  Keep it low key in Carvoeiro or go all out in Albufeira.

9.       Swim for charity

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at 11.00 a.m. on the beach at Armação de Pêra you can join in with a bracing swim in the Atlantic while dressed as Father Christmas – all in the name of charity!

Those brave enough to take part meet in the Holiday Inn Algarve Hotel and then take a dip either in their Santa outfit or their pyjamas before then drying off and enjoying something warm from the bar!
Money raised from donations to take part in the event or through sponsorship goes to local charity and this one has become one of the local traditions of the area at this time of the year.

10.   Natalandia

As close to a winter wonderland as you are ever going to get in the Algarve Lagos Zoo opens up the Natalandia attraction for December and into January.

Play in the fake snow, visit the toy factory feature, meet with the elves and tell Father Christmas what you want for Christmas at this super festive attraction that is perfect for children looking to experience the Christmas they probably only ever see on the television but in the warm weather instead!

Lagos Zoo is a great place to visit with young children and the Natalandia feature has grown to be one of the most popular things to do with children in the Algarve at Christmas.

Be sure to check out the timetable of entertainment before you go to make sure you don’t miss the theatre performances of the animal feeding times!

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