Merry Christmas In Portuguese: Common Holiday Traditions, Celebrations, and Activities

Merry Christmas In Portuguese – Christmas is a lovely time of year, yet its look varies from place to place. Each country has its own Christmas traditions, and Portugal is no exception: there are numerous Christmas traditions to enjoy in Portugal, like the classic Christmas tree, large bonfire, masks, chestnuts, and even bananas. To help you get into the Christmas spirit, we’ve compiled some of the most distinctive and best Christmas traditions in Portugal, as well as some more interesting facts regarding Portuguese Christmas celebrations.

Christmas traditions in Portugal include a large family gathering and Christmas Eve feast. Traditionally, Christmas Eve dinner consisted of fish, followed by midnight mass. Upon returning from church, families traditionally set baby Jesus in the family cribs or nativity scenes before opening gifts together. Christmas Day consists of a second family meeting to relax, eat Bolo Rei, or king cake, and make a traditional Portuguese Christmas supper, typically roast meat like lamb or goat.

Those who are fortunate enough to spend Christmas in Portugal are in for a real treat. Travelpediaonline has you covered whether you are spending your first holiday season in Portugal or a tourist seeking for holiday celebrations. The Christmas season in Portugal is packed with celebrations, festivities, and great feasts shared with loved ones. If you’ll be spending Christmas in Portugal, or if you’re hosting Portuguese friends and want them to feel at home, continue reading to learn about Christmas traditions, foods, and popular holiday activities.

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What is Christmas Called in Portugal?


If you will be celebrating Christmas or “Natal” in Portugal, you will need to know how to say “Merry Christmas” in the local language. Merry Christmas translates to Portuguese as “Feliz Natal” and although this is the most common way to express your Christmas greetings, you can also say “boas festas.” This literally means “happy holidays” and is more general, referring to both Christmas and the New Year together.

Merry Christmas In Portuguese: How is Christmas Celebrated in Portugal?


In Portugal, Christmas Day is a public holiday. On Christmas Eve, offices and stores typically close early so that employees can spend time with their families. Typically, Portuguese families enjoy their biggest celebrations on Christmas Eve. Typically, extended families spend the night under one roof. They have a substantial supper in the late evening, and those who are religious may prepare to attend Mass. Before departing for Mass, families with children make discreet last-minute preparations for the evening, such as placing the baby Jesus figure in the family’s Nativity scene, placing gifts for children under the Christmas tree, and placing little gifts in their shoes.

The Portuguese call their Christmas Mass service at midnight Missa do Galo, or “Mass of the Rooster,” since it signifies the official beginning of Christmas Day, much like the rooster’s crowing does. Missa do Galo is comparable to Catholic Mass in other countries, although Portuguese churches have a distinctive custom. At one point, the priest presents an image of the infant Jesus, and the congregation comes forward to kiss it. When the family returns after Midnight Mass, the children believe that Pai Natal or Father Christmas has paid them a visit.

Pai Natal resembles Santa Claus in North America in many ways, including his red, fur-trimmed clothing and white beard. After youngsters open their gifts, the celebration is celebrated until the wee hours of the morning. On Christmas Day, families typically rise late and then exchange gifts together. Children may open one or two presents on Christmas Eve, but adults often wait. After everything has been opened, the family typically shares a lunch together. As Boxing Day is not observed in Portugal, Christmas Day is typically calmer and more relaxed than Christmas Eve, and many people return to their usual work schedules on December 26.

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Merry Christmas In Portuguese – Common Christmas traditions in Portugal


Merry Christmas In Portuguese – The Portuguese have a number of distinctive Christmas traditions in addition to more universal customs that are shared with other countries. They include:

Presépios Displays

Putting together Nativity scenes, also known as Presepios, is a holiday custom that is practiced by many families. Each year, these scenes are set up and displayed. In addition, larger versions also appear outside of homes and in public places. It is traditional to place the figure of the baby Jesus on the Christmas tree either late on Christmas Eve or early on Christmas Day.

Christmas Trees

Even while Nativity scenes are more frequent than Christmas trees, many families still choose to put up an artificial tree and decorate it in the same manner that people in North America do, by using lights, ornaments, and glitter.

Christmas Madeiro

In the hamlet of Penamacor, the younger men gather together to find and cut down the largest tree they can find before building a bonfire in the churchyard. The community gathers together to socialize near the warmth of the fire.

January Songs

After Christmas, groups of people will travel from house to house performing and singing Christmas carols on a variety of small instruments. It is common practice to extend an invitation to them to come inside for a snack, such as roasted nuts or figs.

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What is the Weather Like in Portugal at Christmas?


December is one of the coolest months in Portugal, with temperatures ranging from 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) to 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite the cold temperatures, it is typically bright and pleasant enough to enjoy lunch or a drink outdoors in the Lisbon region. In northern towns such as Porto, it is considerably cooler and frequently quite rainy. The weather is slightly warmer in Algarve, which is located to the south. It may be rather windy, but the sun will shine the majority of the time. Visit Madeira for the warmest possible Christmas in Portugal. Do you dream of a white Christmas? You can even have that in Portugal. Simply travel north toward Serra da Estrela. You can even go skiing at Portugal’s only ski resort.

Is Portugal Warm at Christmas?


If you intend to spend Christmas in Portugal, you should also carefully consider the weather. Winter and the holiday season in Portugal are characterized by a warm environment and generally good weather. In general, the further south you travel, the warmer it gets, with the Algarve (Portugal’s southernmost region) being the warmest part of the country at Christmas, but the North is a bit more unpredictable and has lower temperatures. The average maximum temperature in December in the Algarve is 18°C, while the average minimum temperature is 10°C.

What do the Portuguese Eat at Christmas?


Merry Christmas In Portuguese – Special foods and sweet delicacies are prepared, sold, and eaten throughout the Christmas season in Portugal. Each region and even each household has its own traditional cuisine. Nowadays, roasted lamb, and in some cases even turkey are the most typical Christmas Day dishes, but cod (bacalhau), Portugal’s signature dish, is always present on the holiday table. All of this is naturally followed by a variety of desserts and sweet treats, but most significantly, Christmas cuisine in Portugal provides the ideal setting for family gatherings and quality time.

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What Are the Best Places to Spend Christmas in Portugal?

Merry Christmas In Portuguese – Here are some of the most beautiful locations in Portugal that you must visit this christmas season to fully appreciate its beauty:

1. Lisbon


The capital city is renowned for its delectable cuisine and affordable markets. Pastel de Nata is one of the traditional Portuguese pastries that you must sample. It has several famous places that you should not miss, like Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, Alfama, and many others. The ideal way to explore the city is on foot, which is also the easiest way to do it. While walking through the narrow streets of this elegant city on foot, you will encounter numerous fado singers who will remind you of the good old days.

Nearby Places To Visit: Sintra (29 kilometers), Cascais (25 kilometers), Évora (132 kilometers)

2. Ericeira


Ericeira is a little fishing community that is easily accessible from Lisbon for seafood lovers, surfers, and those looking to spend time by the sea. It is located on the central coast of Portugal, and due to the Mediterranean climate in Portugal in December, surfing here may be a really enjoyable experience. As a result of its spectacular shoreline, Ericeira is dubbed the Mecca of Europe.

Nearby Places To Visit: Mafra (10 kilometers), Foz do Lizandro (3.4 kilometers)

3. Óbidos


Óbidos, one of the most romantic Portuguese cities to visit in December, you will find stunning white houses and romantic and charming scenery. Along with its concentration of souvenir shops, flower shops, and bookshops, Óbidos is known as the city of book lovers. This city will be adored by you and your special person if you visit Portugal during the winter for a vacation. It enables you to embark on book-reading dates, during which you can enjoy unique coffees at these little cafes. This is essentially a paradise for lovers.

Nearby Places To Visit: Nazaré (40 kilometers), Coimbra (134 kilometers), Evora (197 kilometers)

4. Serra da Estrela


Do you wish to stay in the snowy mountains? Then you must visit Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. Due to the snowfall that occurs in the northern regions of Portugal during December and the remainder of the winter months, Serra da Estrela is the only location in Portugal that allows skiing. If you are a fan of snow and are interested in playing in it and making snowmen, here is the place for you.

Nearby Places To Visit: Gardunha (46 kilometers), Serra do Açor (54.2 kilometers)

5. Madeira


Begin the new year on this subtropical island by hiking and spending time by the sea. New Year’s Eve gatherings will provide a lively atmosphere without the cold. The Madeira Wine Museum should be on your bucket list. This location is famous for its distinctive wine and subtropical environment. Madeira consists of four islands located off the northwestern coast of Africa. The weather in Portugal in December 2022 is forecast to be as pleasant as usual, and preparations for the Christmas and New Year celebrations have already begun. Put on your party hats when you visit this location, since you will undoubtedly have a fantastic time.

Nearby Places To Visit: Funchal (16.5 kilometers), Porto Moniz (59.1 kilometers), Porto Santo Island (68 kilometers)

6. Algarve


Algarve is well-known for its trendy warm-water baths, breathtaking scenery, and hiking activities. This place will convince you that heaven exists on earth. This is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys playing golf near the seaside. This location boasts scenic beauty. There are numerous bars, restaurants, and hotels along the coast, making it quite accessible.

Nearby Places To Visit: Lagos (90 kilometers), Albufeira (46 kilometers), Portimão (71.4 kilometers)

7. Porto Santo Island


This is a little but incredibly lovely island in Portugal, famous for its warm water, dive locations for having fun in the water, and very gorgeous beach. This location is where the Christopher Columbus House Museum is located. The attraction that attracts a large number of individuals in quest of tranquility is the sight. The views provide awe-inspiring sights, and if you lack serenity, you will find it here.

Nearby Places To Visit: Madeira (68 kilometers), Vila Baleira (2.6 kilometers), Desertas Islands (66.2 kilometers)

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Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas In Portugal

How hot is Portugal at Christmas?

The average maximum temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, while the average low is 10 degrees Celsius. Frosts are largely absent along the shore, but they do occur infrequently in the hillier northern parts of the region.

What are the December festivities held in Portugal?

The Kizomba New Year’s Eve Fest is one of the year’s final Portugal celebrations and is held for three days beginning on December 28.

Where is the greatest place to stay in Portugal during the winter months?

The Algarve coastline is the perfect location for a pleasant winter vacation due to the region’s superior climate. Other winter-friendly resort destinations include Albufeira, Lagos, Vilamoura, and Praia da Rocha.

Where should I go for Christmas in Portugal?

Tavira, Lisbon, Alentejo, Serra da Estrela, and Porto are among the greatest destinations to visit if you are looking forward to Christmas festivities and celebrations.

What does a Portuguese Christmas meal consist of?

The traditional Portuguese Christmas meal is called “Consoada” and is served on Christmas Eve. It comprises codfish, green vegetables, and boiled potatoes. Typically, this is followed by shellfish, wild meats, or other luxury dishes.

Does it snow in Portugal in December?

Typically, snowfall occurs in Portugal between the months of December and March.

Is Lisbon nice in December?

The month of December in Lisbon is pleasant, with some sunny days, but it is also noticeably colder and wetter than other months.

Is it a good time to visit Portugal in December?

The weather in Portugal fluctuates somewhat throughout this time of year. Nevertheless, traveling to Portugal in December will be a great choice because sightseeing can be enjoyable.

Where to go in Portugal during winter?

There are numerous places to visit in Portugal to make your winter vacation memorable. Some include: 1. Lisbon, 2. Alentejo, 3. Porto, 4. Serra da Estrela, 5. Óbidos. 

Final Thought 

Merry Christmas In Portuguese – Portugal or the Portuguese Republic is located in southern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the oldest states on the Iberian Peninsula, which also makes it the most renowned . In addition to its rich history, Portugal is home to a number of stunning attractions, which attract tourists from around the world. Portugal is a popular tourist destination for a number of reasons, including its climate, which is ideal for a sightseeing vacation. Additionally, Portugal also has a number of beautiful destinations, and people from all over the world pay their visits to Portugal in order to check these places out.

Portugal around Christmas can be a fantastic choice if you’re planning a trip to this magnificent country with its lush mountains and other natural phenomena. This winter, Portugal at Christmas is the place to be due to the lush mountains, the exquisitely lovely vineyards, the little streets filled with singers, and the islands where the party never ends. Summing all this up,  Portugal is the total package and has everything necessary to make your Christmas a memorable one. 

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