Portugal around the holidays?

Old Jul 18th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Portugal around the holidays?

We're planning our honeymoon and would like to go to Portugal, however, because of our schedules, can only go right after Christmas. We were hoping to do a Dec. 26-Jan. 8 type of thing, with a week in Lisbon and its surroundings and a week in Douro/Porto, doing the whole port tasting thing. We don't mind colder weather but are concerned about things being open. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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ttt
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Hi there,

I have gone to Portugal during that time twice and plan on doing that trip again this coming year. Lisbon is beautiful and Porto is nice and the Douro Valley as well is spectacular.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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I will also be in Portugal(Lisbon)from Dec.26 thru Jan.3. I have the same concerns-availability of places to visit during the holidays. Also, the weather. According to weather maps the temperature in central and south areas is in the 50s but rainy. I am wondering whether I should stay in Lisbon for the entire 8 nights and take daily trips to Evora, Sintra, Obidus, Nazare, and Fatima. I do not like renting cars abroad but have no problem in making my own arreangements by bus or train. I hope someone will provide some information regarding traveling during the Xmas season. Thank you in advance.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 08:17 PM
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rh28rh.
Do a search for a post by drjames. It details two or three weeks in Lisbon at Christmas.
It will give you lots of ideas about things to do and the weather.

Also, you can just click on my name and read the three Lisbon posts which have a wealth of information from many people who know Lisbon and beyond.
I know that day trips from Lisbon to the places you mention are very easy, although we rented a car so I am no public transportation expert.
A car gives you a lot of flexibility to see the countryside in Portugal, but day trips from Lisbon are very possible.
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Old Aug 18th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Sher,

Thank you for the reply.I read drjames and it was helpful,but not much explanation about the Xmas holidays. Maybe Lobo and/or Matt will read this request and provide some information. In preparation for my trip, I have been reading this" Portugese" tread for several weeks and find it very helpful, including your various comments. Again, thanks
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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rh28rh

This will bring your post ttt.

I seem to remember the james article mentioning decorations at Christmas, but it has been some time since I have read it.

Also. He has posted on the Trip Advisor forums on Portugal and he might respond if you ask a question there.

He is very friendly and cordial and is willing to help.

Good luck.

Sherry
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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I was in Lisbon a few years ago over New Years and I enjoyed it very much. Most places in Lisbon were closed both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve we visited the Shrine of Fatima which was open, then on New Year's Day we drove to Sintra and along the coastline. And don't miss the big party in the main square at midnight. The weather was cool but quite nice, and the lack of summer crowds was a bonus.
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Old Aug 19th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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I spent a year in Portugal several years ago, and had about 8 family members come over for the holidays. We spent Christmas Eve evening just walking around the historic center, all of which was illuminated, either with little white lights or more elaborate changing light panels, and arches of lights down the pedestrian streets. People might disagree on whether it's beautiful or tacky, but I enjoyed it very much. We also went up to the top of the Parque Eduardo VII (extending up from Marques de Pombal square) and were able to enjoy spectacular views, but not much open.

Though some restaurants in Lisbon are open for Christmas Eve lunch, nothing at all is open for Christmas Eve supper. We had the good fortune to live next door to a little "lancheria" where the family who owned it did a fabulous home made take out business. We had ordered a feast all 10 of us (a balcalhau dish, vegetales, couscous, and for dessert an incredible mango mousse for about 45 E. (located next to the bank on the right side of Rua Soeros as it goes up the hill from its intersection with Estrada de Luz, in case anyone is ever in the neighborhood).

On Christmas Day we drove to Nazare and arrived in time for Christmas Mass up on the section overlooking the downtown. This was quite an experience, even for the irreligious in the group. The church was beautiful, and it was jam packed full with families, most of the women dressed in their colorful full skirts with many petticoats underneath. Many of the people there obviously made their living with hard physical labor and we sort of felt like interlopers, though people were very nice to us.

Many restaurants were open in downtown Nazare for Christmas lunch and we had a great seafood meal. We then drove to Obidos where we stayed the night in the pousada and ate our evening meal there. In general, we found that pousada meals were reliably very good and sometimes great.

As far as things being open, I think Portugal is like most of Europe and you are likely to find many things closed on holidays. We did find that the palaces in Sintra were open on New Years Eve though I think they closed early. The schedule seems to be set without much advance warning, though, because I had called out several weeks earlier to see if it would be open and no one knew at that time. Definitely worth checking out the schedules by phone for the things you want to see during the holidays, because printed schedules may change.
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