Celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Algarve, Portugal, is a vibrant and unforgettable experience that combines the beauty of this coastal paradise with lively festivities. While the parties may not be as big as those in Lisbon or Porto, there is plenty happening across the whole of the Algarve.
From spectacular fireworks lighting up the night sky to special dinners at hotels and bustling parties, the Algarve offers a range of options to ring in the new year. Whether you’re looking for a nightlife extravaganza, a family-friendly celebration, or simply contemplating extending your stay after Christmas, the Algarve has something for everyone during this joyous season.
If you’re not sure what to do for NYE, here are a few suggestions:
- Street party or fireworks at a large town or city (such as Albufeira, Portimão, or Faro).
- A São Silvestre menu (many restaurants and hotels will put on a São Silvestre men, which is sometimes also called a Réveillon or Passagem de Ano menu.
What It’s Like
Although New Year’s Eve is a lot livelier than the rest of winter (and in particular, Christmas a few days before) it’s still a fairly quiet time of the year to visit. This has its pros and cons: while you won’t have to queue for a table at most restaurants, there’s also the chance that the restaurant you’re thinking of going to will have closed up for the winter.
Of course, many places will make a special effort to be open for New Year’s Eve. Food is an important part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations for most Portuguese people, if not the most important part. Most New Year’s Eve events will include a dinner of at least three courses, but usually a lot more than that.
Places to Celebrate NYE
Most towns and cities across the Algarve will put on some form of NYE celebrations, typically involving a street party or concert that’s followed by fireworks at midnight. Some of the most popular places to ring in the new year include Faro, Albufeira, and Portimão.
For the biggest and liveliest NYE option, Albufeira is the place to be. Unlike the rest of the Algarve, which can be fairly quiet around Christmas, Albufeira usually stays buzzing with activity. And, on NYE there’s even more activity than usual as thousands of people from across the Algarve, Portugal, and even further afield come to celebrate NYE here.
Expect between 50,000 – 80,000 people at the fireworks display on Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach). Afterward, the bars and clubs stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Armação de Pêra
Another party-destination, Armação de Pêra will have live music on Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach) until midnight when there will be a firework’s display. After that, there will be live music (DJ) until around 3 am.
Along with most of the other towns in the Algarve, Lagos also hosts its own fireworks display which you can watch from the Marina. Bring your own bubbly and join in the fun! This is more low-key than the events in Albufeira, but there’s always still enough people to create a very enjoyable atmosphere.
New Year’s Eve in Portimão is always a lively event with fireworks, entertainment, and food stalls along the river front. In the hours leading up to the midnight fireworks there’s live music along Zona Ribeirinha de Portimão, and then the party usually continues in the nightclubs around Praia da Rocha and Alvor.
Live music from 22:30 in Praça do Mar, followed by fireworks at midnight.
As with all of the other major towns and cities on the Algarve, Faro always has its own New Year’s Eve party. Live music starts at 10pm, with a brief pause for the fireworks piromusic show, followed by a DJ and more partying.
Weather-wise, it’s usually fairly pleasant with some winter sun during the day and then cold at night. Expect average daily temperatures of around 12-13°C during the day, which is usually pleasant to walk around with just a light jumper or coat on.
When celebrating New Year’s Eve at home in Portugal, a rich tapestry of traditions awaits, ensuring a memorable start to the year ahead. Here’s a glimpse into some of these cherished customs:
- 12 Grapes for Wishes: As the clock chimes midnight, the tradition dictates that you consume 12 grapes, one for each stroke, while whispering a personal wish for the upcoming year with each grape. It’s typical to drink sparkling wine as well, which in Portugal is called Espumante.
- Blue Underwear: Superstition adds a touch of whimsy; wearing blue underwear is believed to bring good luck, especially if your wishes include material wealth, and placing a note in your pocket symbolizes your aspirations.
- Noisy Revelry: Post-midnight, in various locales, revelers step outside, or onto their balconies, and create a cacophony of sound by banging pots and pans. This boisterous noise-making serves a dual purpose, celebrating the new year’s arrival and symbolically warding off any lingering negativity from the year gone by.
These customs add depth and flavor to the New Year’s Eve festivities in Portugal, ensuring that the transition into the new year is not only delicious but also full of hope and joy.
New Year’s Day
As with most places, New Year’s Day is usually a much quiet affair. If you don’t feel like taking a dip in the sea for charity (get in touch with the Holiday Inn in Armação de Pêra for more details) there’s always the option of a quiet and, most importantly, dry New Year’s Day walk along one of the Algarve’s many beautiful beaches