Porto is a city worthwhile visiting any time of year, but it is exceptionally magical during the holiday season.
December at the Invicta really is the month of happy Holidays with Xmas carolling, Christmas markets and Christmas lights, making Porto one of the best places to spend Christmas this year.
The cobbled streets of the Invicta are bursting with delicious bistros, the town is all merrily decorated for the festive season, showcasing Christmas markets, nativity scenes, natural ice-rinks and free concerts.
The Christmas Tree, set up at Aliados Avenue, twinkles blue and gold lights, everyday as of 5.30pm.
See what the future holds this Xmas season in Porto, the city with unfailing flair.
Xmas Street Performances
Weekends in Porto will thus be filled with amusement and live performances, under the Xmas Programme "Natal a Rir" ["Laughing at Xmas", free translation], bringing all it takes to experience cheer joy this magical season: humour, magic, juggling, acrobatics, music, rhythm and mimic are the ingredients of the live performances from street artists from Chile, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain and also Portugal.
All performances will take place at Avenida dos Aliados, starting at 4.30pm.
The "Natal a Rir" is an initiative of Porto City Hall, via the Municipal Company Ágora - Culture and Sports, and produced by the Cultural Association Gritodovento and artistic direction of Francesco Cerutti Nava.
07/12 | 4.30pm: "La rosa de los ventos" (clown) - Torpeza Ritmika (ARG)
08/12 | 4.30pm: "Orquestre Immaginarie" (music) - Eric Tarantola (FR)
14/12 | 4.30pm: "Petit" (clown) - Fruttilla com Crema (CHI)
15/12 | 4.30pm: "Cualquier Verdura" (clown and balancing act) - Chimichurri (ES/ARG)
21/12 | 4.30pm: "MelaFilo" (clown and magic) - Luca Bellezze (IT)
22/12 | 4.30pm: "Ciro Cavallo Show" (visual commedy) - Maurizio Marchetti (IT)
Natural ice skating rinks
Porto officially opens the festive season on 30th November with the inauguration of the ice skating rinks as well. The city will have two active natural ice rinks: from 30th November to 12th January, one in Mouzinho de Albuquerque Square (aka Rotunda da Boavista) and another in Praça D. João I.
Ice rink at Praça de D. João I
- From Sunday to Thursday: 10am-11pm
- Friday and Saturday: 10am-01am
- 24th December: 10am-6pm
- 25th December: 3pm-7pm
- 31st December and 1st January: 10am-02am
Ice rinks at rotunda Boavista
- Sunday: 10am-10pm
- From Monday to Thursday: 11am-10pm
- Friday to Saturday: 11am-11pm
- 24th and 31st December: 10am-4pm
- 25th December and 1st January: 2.30pm-7pm
- 20 minutes: 3.5 euros
- 60 minutes: 6 euros
This year's event "Natal à Porta", freely translated as "Xmas by the doorsteps" brings back unexpected concerts in the most iconic buildings in the Invicta.
As usual, access is free and you can rely on special concerts to brighten your Xmas in Porto, from a Capella singing to recall Xmas classics by the "PopUp - Vozes Portáteis" band, to the "Companhia Ópera de Bolso", conducted by maestro António Sérgio Ferreira.
The shows are scheduled for the first four weekends of December, always at 4pm. This event is organised by the municipal company Ágora - Cultura e Desporto do Porto.
Ópera de Bolso
01/12, Torre dos Clérigos balcony
08/12, Igreja de Santo Ildefonso staircase
15/12, Avenida dos Aliados
22/12, Torre dos Clérigos balcony
Pop-up - Vozes Portáteis
07/12, Torre dos Clérigos balcony
14/12, Praça de Gomes Teixeira (in front of the Rectory of the UP)
Xmas markets and fairs
As tradition, this time of year in Porto, markets and fairs are the best getaways for fun and joy. Take a trip with friends or family and find out that little gem you are striving for.
The Mercado da Alegria is wrapped in holiday spirit, at Santo Ildefonso and at Batalha Square. The market will run till 31st December. Circa 40 stalls and stands will offer art crafts, artisanal toys, regional grocery and much more. It operates from Thursday to Sunday, between 10am and 8pm; and from Friday to Saturday, between 10am and 11pm. On 24th December it is open between 10am and 4pm.
The Handicraft and Trade Fair of Porto runs at Poveiros Square till 23rd December. Expect no less than an array of products: ceramics, linen, wools, wooden, leather, iron and stone materials, as well as traditional games, artisanal soaps, rag dolls, and all kinds of homemade souvenirs and liqueurs, by 30 certified sellers.
The market operates from Thursday to Sundays, between 11am and 8pm; Fridays and Saturdays, between 11am and 11pm.
A novelty this year is the debut of Artesanatus Porto, at the garden of São Lázaro, which runs from 14th to 22nd December, between 10am and 7pm, and bringing to the Invicta the best of traditional and contemporary handicraft.
In addition, the Xmas Market in Bombarda is set up for the three Saturdays before Christmas Eve, on 7th, 14th and 21st December, in the pedestrian area of the Miguel Bombarda, for the first edition of an arts market devoted to Christmas.
The Xmas Tree at Aliados is also an enchanted stage
The Xmas tree is already up at Avenida dos Aliados, in Porto and the Municipality of Porto invites everyone to see inside the tree as merry events will bring a free festive trail of events for the younger generation.
Let the Xmas tree guide you through an enchanted stage encountering musical plays, children's stories and a puppet theatre inspired by a legend of the Northern Portugal.
From 1st till 22nd December, Porto offers seasonal fun for the whole family. Saturdays and Sundays afternoons are the perfect times to warm-up the Xmas cheer.
Access is free.
07/12 | 4pm and 6pm> "Histórias com música lá dentro" - O Som do Algodão
14/12 | 4pm and 6pm > "A Contadora de Histórias" ["Story Telling", free translation] - Saphir Cristal
21/12 | 4pm and 6pm> "A Contadora de Histórias" - Saphir Cristal
22/12 | 6.30pm> "Bzzzoira Moura" - Mandrágora Puppet Theatre
New Year's Eve of magic celebrations at Aliados, in Porto
The last day of the year, revellers welcome 2020 at Avenida dos Aliados, in front of the Porto City Hall, featuring incredible live music and entertainment from headlining musicians Miguel Araújo (00.20) and Tiago Nacarato (10.30).
However, the last Saturday of December brings New Year warm-up to Aliados with a special concert by Marta Ren and the Matosinhos Jazz Orchestra for a reinterpretation of her solo album - "Stop, Look, Listen" - which also includes classic favourites.
This will be the inaugural concert in the city's outdoor stage, at Aliados, under the "Concertos na Avenida" cycle.
So, grab your nearest and dearest and together welcome the New Year. At midnight on the dot, Porto's night skies will be a blaze of light and colour with a display of stunning pyrotechnics from the City Hall.