Among original nativity scenes, colorful castles and trees filled with light, there are cities, and even villages, deserving a visit from those who spend Christmas with children. It is already known that the youngest are enchanted with the magic experienced during the Christmas period, when the peak is reached when the presents are opened. But, before or after that moment, which the kids so yearn for, there are activities and places to explore in Portugal during the Christmas holidays. Take advantage of All About Portugal's suggestions, let yourself be surprised and enjoy good times at Christmas time with your children, nephews or godchildren. Integrated in some of the proposed initiatives are the popular Christmas Markets, ideal for finding original gifts. There you can find, among other items, appetizing regional products or beautiful handicraft items.
Live crib from Priscos, Braga
Priscos is a village in the municipality of Braga, known for giving its name to one of the most famous puddings in Portugal. Since 2006 it has gained another reason for interest, which attracts thousands of visitors to the town during the Christmas season. Held next to the Church and Parish Residence, what is considered the largest live nativity scene in Europe usually has the participation of around 800 extras, portraying more than 90 scenarios related to the life of Jesus, spread over an area greater than 30,000 square meters. One of the most appreciated spots is the cave, where the recreations of the birth of Jesus and the biblical figures of Mary, Joseph, in addition to the cow and the donkey are made. There is also no lack of the 3 wise men, a Roman encampment or representations of trades such as the blacksmith, baker or woodcutter. The kids will love it for sure, and the grown-ups too.
Perlim, Santa Maria da Feira
Since 2008, the Santa Maria da Feira Castle, and surrounding area, has been transformed during the month of December into an enchanted place and a must-visit for anyone who spends Christmas with children. Introduced as the biggest and most original Christmas theme park in Portugal, Perlim has been attracting many visitors and every year it has new features that delight the little ones. The twin elves Perlim and Pim Pim, the Tree of Love, the Chocolate Avenue, the Casa do Pai Natal or the musical shows are some of the attractions. There is no lack of entertainment and entertainment at Quinta do Castelo, with children being able to watch plays, exhibitions, ride a train or play on carousels, slides, “tree climbing” circuits or slides. The closing show, full of light, pyrotechnics and music, is a moment long awaited by all those who let themselves be enveloped by the magic of Perlim.
Águeda is Christmas
The biggest Santa Claus in the world “lives” in Águeda during the Christmas period and is a hit with children, but also with those who accompany them, who do not waste the opportunity to record the moment in photographs to remember later. In fact, there are many who flock to Largo 1º de Maio to appreciate the World's Largest Santa Claus, who has already become an icon at 21 meters tall, illuminated by 250 thousand LED lights. In contrast, the smallest Santa Claus in the world, carved in the hole of a pin, can be seen at the Tourist Office. Over almost two months, between mid-November and the first days of January, this event fills this city in the Aveiro district with lights, street animations and entertainment, such as carousels or Christmas houses. Anyone who spends Christmas with children must also visit the famous Rua Luís de Camões, considered one of the most beautiful streets in the world, due to the umbrellas that usually decorate it.
Magic Castle, Montemor-o-Velho
The imposing Castle of Montemor-o-Velho is the host of the “Magic Castle – A trip to the dream of Christmas” initiative, which is presented as the largest Christmas theme park in the Center of Portugal. The Santa Claus house, the magic train, musical, theatrical and circus art shows, a carousel, an ice rink, inflatables, animal walks or a Christmas market are some of the experiences that usually make this Castle located right in the heart of the country a place of choice during the Christmas holidays. The Magic Castle is considered an unforgettable place that has talking trees that tell mysterious stories, and inhabitants like Nico, Fernão or Abbot João. After the play and fun, you can try street food that will comfort the stomachs of the whole family. This is, without a doubt, a point to visit for those who want to have a memorable Christmas experience with children.
Leiria, Christmas City
Leiria is decorated to perfection to celebrate this festive period and is another excellent option to enjoy Christmas with children. Lighting of the most famous avenues and streets, street entertainment, various shows and entertainment make Leiria a hometown usually between the last days of November and the first of January. Two moments that are traditionally long awaited are the arrival of Santa Claus and the inauguration of the lighting, in which the main highlight is the majestic Castle of Leiria, which also has fun and entertainment for the little ones. Elves` playground, with an ice rink at Largo Papa Paulo VI, Market of Sant'Ana, with theatrical and musical shows, Square Rodrigues Lobo, with Santa Claus hose, Largo Goa, Damão e Diu, with a carousel, and Luís de Camões garden with Solidário garden and a Train track are other attraction poles. Year after year, this initiative has captivated visitors and given another movement to the city center.
Óbidos, Christmas Vila
If the capital is home to Christmas City, some 60 kilometers away, but still in the Leiria district, we find the charming Vila Natal de Óbidos. This medieval town surrounded by walls is a beautiful setting to host this family celebration, in which children deserve all the attention and in which the Castle assumes, of course, an important role. Mostly held outdoors, the event is flooded with the contagious joy of Christmas and lots of magic, shows, entertainment and fun. Santa Claus' House, an ice rink and ramp, a train, a magic carousel, trampolines and various games are some of the activities that make children's eyes shine. Outside the enclosure there is usually a Ferris wheel. To warm up the chilliest adults, there is no shortage of places to drink the typical ginjinha of the village, while the younger ones can enjoy sweets such as chocolate sponge cake.
The Ferris wheel is just one of the attractions of this theme and amusement park with free entry, which means that all roads in the capital of Portugal lead to Parque Eduardo VII during the month of December for those who spend Christmas with children. An ecological ice rink, Santa Claus house, a large Christmas tree, about 20 meters high, a Christmas train, carousels and traveling entertainment are the other “ingredients” that transform this emblematic park in central Lisbon in a magical place for children. There is also usually a Christmas market, with around 10,000 square meters spread over an open space, where adults can buy original gifts, including handicrafts, regional products and sweets, clothing or accessories. Fun, animation, good mood and lots of music are guaranteed and will certainly generate hours well spent with the family.
Redondo, Christmas is here
Also further south there are suggestions for activities to be carried out during the Christmas holidays with children. This is the case of the beautiful village of Redondo, in the Évora district, which usually prepares a set of activities that fill the children with joy and infect those who accompany them. The “Christmas is here” initiative takes place, as a rule, on the first three weekends of December in Praça da República and Praça D. Diniz, next to the historic center. Christmas lighting, ice rink, carriage rides, Santa Claus House, complete with photos together with the “owner”, street entertainment, musical shows or the interpretation of the “most beautiful Christmas songs” are some of the attractions. In Praça da República there is usually a Christmas tree, as well as a nativity scene. The Castle walls are also usually lit during Christmas, which gives it an additional beauty. In parallel, there is a Christmas Market with local products and delicacies typical of the festive season.