Portugal enjoys a mild sunny climate, even during the winter months. With less tourists about and low season rates for accommodations, it is a great time for a fun filled, exciting and/or relaxing visit.
Lisbon is a wonderful city and this time of year many special events are happening in various parts of the city. There are many special Christmas concerts, ballet performances, Festival on Ice etc., and festive lights glitter throughout the historic center.
Lisbon´s churches and Sao Jorge Cinema will host a series of Christmas concerts with performances of beutiful seasonal music. These performances are a great way to experience Portugal´s artistic and religious heritage. Christmas fairs displaying traditional crafts and gourmet items are held all around the town.
This year, Lisbon´s main city square (one of the largest city squares in Europe) the Terreiro do Paço has a special sculptural Christmas tree which is also a unique technological wonder. This large, 28 meter high, tree is designed by the Portuguese artist, Leonel Moura, and it collects images of the surrounding area for video projections in real time onto the tree. Therefore, visitors to the square will be an integral part of the tree - hard to discribe, best to experience. At the Terreiro do Paço there is also the Lisbon Story Center. This Center invites adults and children to experience the history of Lisbon in an interactive and educational manner. www.visitportugal.com for more information on special events in Lisbon and other cities and towns in Portugal.
This is also a great time of year to walk and/or bike through the Sintra Natural Park. There are many hiking/biking trails through out the natural park along the dramatic coastline, incredible beautiful sandy beaches, and admidst the magical forests. Sintra has an amazing amount of special historical and pre-historic sites and and is an UNESCO World Heritage City and an UNESCO Cultural Landscape. www.parquesdasintra.pt There are also many special concerts throughout the season in Sintra at several churches the Olga Cadaval Culture and Art center with its modern art museum.
Until January 6th, cafes and bakeries all over Portugal compete with each other to prepare/create the most delicous Bolo Rei: Kings Cake. The Bolo Rei is a century old Portuguese tradition. It is a yeasted sweet bread full of nuts and crystalized fruits. Further delicious seasonal treats are Sonhos, delicious doughnuts often filled with caramel, and Rabanadas, a special type of Portuguese French toast.