New Year’s Eve in Portugal: The Best Places to Celebrate
Last updated: 29 October 2020 | Guides, Portugal
Wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Portugal? Well, there are plenty of places to do that!
In recent years, Portugal has become a top party destination and it’s no surprise, as the Portuguese sure know how to party! Whether it will be a jaw-dropping fireworks show, an awesome street party or mouth-watering feast, you will be entertained to the fullest.
Thus, I have made a list of all the cities that throw the best festivities for the New Year in Portugal. So, hesitate no more and check out where you can welcome New Year in the best way possible!
Portuguese New Year's Eve Traditions
The Portuguese are some of the most superstitious people in Europe. They tend to follow traditions and are true believers. That is why they kept their old traditions unchanged and are practicing them until this very day. So, if you plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Portugal be prepared with:
✖ 12 Raisins: Eat them one by one with each stroke of the clock until midnight. Doing this you are securing yourself with lots of luck through the next 12 months of the new year.
✖ Make some noise: Portuguese people tend to be quite loud and it’s no surprise that they will go out and bang with their pots and pans. In the past, this was done to ward off evil spirits from people’s houses and protect them. Nowadays, it’s more about waking people in the middle of the night 😄
✖ Hold cash in your pocket: If you want to attract riches in the new year you should make sure to have some money at hand 💸
✖ Dip in the Ocean: On the first of January everybody goes to the Ocean to take a dip either to strengthen their immune system… or get rid of that terrible hangover from the previous night 🏊
✖ Change the sheets: Want to attract some luck and love in the year ahead? Then, change your sheets! How romantic…
✖ Wear new underwear: This one is quite extraordinary! But if you want to attract love to your life, then you should wear blue underwear that is brand new smirk 😏
New Year’s Eve Sayings in Portuguese:
🎆 How to say Happy New Year in Portuguese? – Feliz Ano Novo!
🎆 How to say Happy Holidays! – Votos de festas felizes!
🎆 How to say wish people health, love and joy for the new year? – Um novo ano com muita saúde, amor e alegria!
Food on New Years Eve in Portugal
Portugal is known for its incredibly tasty cuisine worldwide. Thus, on New Year’s Eve in Portugal you should expect to have a feast with:
🥘 Bacalhau: Probably the best way to eat dried cod fish and quite tasty to be honest. The dried fish is being put into water for 3 days where you have to change the water. Once it is ready, you simply boil it and voila – the dinner is ready. Usually, it is being served with some fresh vegetables like cabbage, carrots and potatoes.
🍤 Seafood: All types of seafood – shrimps, mussels, limpets, octopus, squids. Portugal offers one of the tastiest and freshest seafood in Europe. So, you can expect to have lots of it on New Year’s in Portugal.
🧇 Rabanadas: Wanna try some French toast with Port wine? Well, then opt for some rabanadas! Incredibly sweet and puffy J
🍰 Bolo Rei: This is probably the strangest cake, but it is King’s cake after all. Honestly, it tastes amazing! Sweet bread with lots of almonds and all types of dried fruits! A must try for sure!
🥮 Pão de Ló: If you don’t like eating so much sweets, then Pão de Ló is something you would love trying! Not too sweet, but so satisfyingly puffy!
New Year in Lisbon
Spending the final hours before New Year in Lisbon is probably a dream came true. On the last night of the year, Lisbon is preparing for some of the greatest festivities. Just before the countdown, the city will be packed with people dancing, singing and having fun. So, don’t hesitate and join them!
New Year’s in Lisbon usually starts with a great traditional meal at a local restaurant. Additionally, locals love to listen to Fado, so that is also a must-do before the new year. So, you can feed your other senses by listening to some Fado at Mesa De Frades.
Once ready, you can go and enjoy the fireworks show. Grab 12 raisins and go to São Pedro de Alcântara or Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and have the greatest view of the show in Lisbon. If you prefer watching the fireworks show from below then stop by Praça do Comércio. Another option is going to the UNESCO World Heritage of Lisbon – the Belém Tower. These places will surely grant you the best possible views over the city’s lights and make your experience unforgettable.
Eventually, if you crave more fun and partying, head straight to Convento do Beato, which is Lisbon’s greatest disco club. The building, which now houses the club is 5 centuries old and was built by King Afonso the Fifth. What a greater way to spend the first hours of the New Year in Lisbon?!
New Year in Porto
Although, Porto and Lisbon tend to differ in many aspects, New Year in Porto is not so different. However, if you want to welcome the New Year in Porto, then you will need a good plan. So, why not start with a place to eat?
Bacalhau is a restaurant set exactly in Ribeira neighbourhood and overlooks Gaia neighbourhood and Luís I Bridge. This surely makes it a perfect spot to enjoy the great fireworks shows that will take place later in the evening. On top of that, the restaurant is prominent for its great cuisine and fine Port wine, so it is a win-win!
Once done with your dinner, you can either stay in Ribeira or go to Luís I Bridge to watch the fireworks over the Douro river. Another place where you can enjoy this magnificent show is at Praça do Município at Avenida dos Aliados. There you will be able to enjoy not only the fireworks show but also the New Year concert.
To continue the New Year celebrations in Porto go to Plan B Club, which is near Clerigos Church. Every year, the party there is one of the best in town, so it is truly worth it.
If you would like a more unusual way to welcome the New Year in Porto you can opt for a private cruise over Douro river. You will enjoy a great dinner, live Fado concert and most importantly an incredible view of the fireworks over the river. Or simply go on a Douro Valley tour and have the best wine experience of your life!
New Year in Braga
Unlike Lisbon and Porto, New Year in Braga is not so grandiose, but it is a good place to have a more relaxed celebration. So, you can start with a dinner at Restaurante O Jacó and try their incredible meals like Bacalhau a Jaco.
Then, continue the celebrations at Avenida Central where the local groups will perform and entertain you. Eventually, at midnight the fireworks show will start and light up everything around the city. However, if you want to have a better view of the fireworks show, it is best to climb on one of the hills around Braga. Or you might opt for a walk to Bom Jesus do Monte and Sameiro Sanctuary, which offer birds-eye view over the city.
If you plan to party more, then head straight to Sardinha Biba where you will have plenty of fun dancing on Portuguese music.
New Year in Gerês
If you want to welcome the new year surrounded by beautiful nature, then opt for the best nature park in northern Portugal – Gerês. There you will have plenty of options to explore the region. Either by hiking, doing some watersports or enjoying the thermal pools in the city. If you are lucky, you will even witness a snowfall, which is a very unusual event for Portugal.
Nevertheless, you will surely get the chance to enjoy some fireworks shows and musical concerts at hotels in Gerês. You can even hop on a boat and watch the fireworks show from afar or simply stay at the hotel.
New Year in Serra da Estrela
It is no surprise that the Portuguese often head to Serra da Estrela to celebrate the last hours of the year. This beautiful mountainous region offers lots of stuff to do, places to visit and sights to see.
Serra da Estrela is a famous ski resort in Portugal and is quite an attraction. Having in mind that there is rarely snow in the other parts of the country, here it is only natural. Since the temperatures are not so harsh, you can surely opt for a nice hike and enjoy some of the most beautiful sights in central Portugal. Last but not least, check out the Covão dos Conchos in Lake Comprida, known as the sinkhole of Portugal.
New Year in Algarve
If you want a warmer and sunnier place to welcome the New Year. Then, you should definitely head straight to the Algarve. Recently, it has been chosen as one of the top destinations when it comes to celebrating New Year’s in Portugal. And that is not surprising at all!
The hotels in the Algarve offer all sorts of deals and surely will satisfy every desire you might have. Some of the cities you might opt for in the Algarve are Faro, Lagos or Albufeira, which is the party destination of the south.
Honestly, welcoming New Year in Albufeira is one of the best things you can do in the Algarve. The best beach of Albufeira, Praia dos Pescadores is also the best place to welcome the New Year! Except for the concerts and light shows in the last hours of the year, there are also the best bars. One of them is Beachspot, where you can party until dawn.
New Year in Madeira
Wishing for a more exciting way to enter into the new year? Well, then go to the island of Madeira!
New Year in Madeira is an event everybody is talking about. Imagine being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. On a heavenly beautiful island. Enjoying the warm breeze. With a glass of champagne and witnessing the World’s Biggest Fireworks show in the world! Yes, you read that right!
The fireworks show in Madeira is so jaw-droppingly grandiose that it has been recognized by Guinness World Records. That is why every year many cruise ships stop by the port of Funchal to present to their guests this masterpiece.
However, there are other ways to enjoy the great fireworks show. You can climb to some of the viewpoints in Funchal. Either to Miradouro dos Mermeleiros, Miradouro de Sao Roque or Miradouro de São Gonçalo. From there you will surely get a nice glimpse of the show.
Additionally, you can have some fun at Avenida Arriaga where music performances of local groups will take place. Enjoy the good music, join the dances and have fun!
New Year in Azores
If you would like to be away from all of the crowds, then head straight to the Azores. Set in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores offer the best place to rest and re-charge!
Surely, spending the last hours of the year on these heavenly islands will be unlike any other. The Azores offer some of the most scenic landscapes in Europe and serenity like nowhere else. On top of that, the Azores have the best natural spa there is in the Atlantic, which is prominent for its healing characteristics.
However, if you want to watch the fireworks show, you can always go to Portas da Cidade square in Ponta Delgada. Additionally, there will be a couple of concerts to entertain you during the evening and a huge party.
I hope that you have found this post about New Year’s Eve in Portugal useful. Do you plan to visit any of the suggested places?
Which one is first on your list?