reindeer decoration
Photos: Beatriz Maio/Open Media

Portimão aims for “best Christmas in Portugal”

Another holiday season filled with entertainment and a lot of magic is set to begin Portimão

Portimão is gearing up for another magical Christmas season, with over 50 shows and themed parades planned between December 1 and January 6.

The festive programme ‘Portimão – Um Sonho de Natal’ (Portimão – A Christmas Dream) was presented with the goal of being “the best in the country” and will begin with the unveiling of ‘Aldeia Natal’, the town’s famous Christmas Village at Praça Manuel Teixeira Gomes.

Christmas lights are also being set up at over 30 spots around the municipality, while festive decorations will bring the festive spirit to the town’s main shopping streets and squares, including Largo da Mó, Praça da República, Jardim 1º de Dezembro and Praça Manuel Teixeira Gomes. The parishes of Alvor and Mexilhoeira Grande have not been forgotten and will also be jazzed up with Christmas decorations.

The bulk of the festivities will take place between the recently-renovated Lota building, near the town’s old bridge over the Arade River, and the Alameda square, headlined by the free 200m ice rink.

There will also be nativity scenes to visit, a Christmas train to ride, a ‘Mercadinho de Natal’ (Christmas Market), and Santa’s House to explore, as well as nighttime concerts at the stage set up at Alameda.

“We want people to enjoy these moments in order to create a bit more peace, joy and experience Christmas, the true Christmas,” said Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes at the presentation of the festive programme, which took place at the Lota on Wednesday (November 22).

Isilda Gomes (centre) presents this year’s Christmas programme, alongside Paulo Filipe (left), head of the Marginália Cultural Association, and Carlos Pacheco (right), the head of the programme

All in all, the local council is planning to spend €100,000 on Christmas lighting, €110,000 on entertainment, €111,000 on financial support to families in need (namely through the granting of vouchers to local students to be used at local businesses) and €30,000 to boost local businesses.

This year’s Christmas festivities will also aim to shine the spotlight on local talent, as around 80% of the 500 performers booked to take part in the programme live or were born in Portimão. Some of the headlining acts include Solange Kardinali, who set a new Guinness World Record for the most costume change illusions, and Batatinha, the beloved TV clown made famous by children’s show Batatoon. 

A different show will take place every day at a temporary venue set up at Alameda, while every Saturday a parade will take place at 5.30 in the town. Santa Claus and Mother Christmas will also be leading their own parades on December 1 in Portimão at 5.30pm, on December 17 in Alvor at 3pm and December 19 in Mexilhoeira Grande at 10am.

I have no doubts that our Christmas will be the best. If it won’t be the best Christmas in the country, it will be close,” said Carlos Pacheco, who’s in charge of the town’s festive entertainment programme.

By Beatriz Maio