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Christmas and New Years holidays in Portugal

We are arriving in Lisbon on 11/29 and plan to stay there until 12/8( will tak some day train trips while there) but would then like to travel to the Algarve for warmer weather and thought during the upcoming holiday season.
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We are not in top notch physical condition but do enjoy seeing the country and love dining in nice restaurants. Also would like to consider some cooking classes while in Portugal.

Posted by
922 posts

It’s difficult for me to understand exactly what you are asking. You might want to ask specific questions to illicit responses.

Posted by
3 posts

I was really looking for suggestions of portugal towns that would be a good place to explore over the holidays and maybe some suggestions of areas to explore for cooking classes. We have flights set to arrive11/29 and reservations for only a week in Lisbon.

But I keep reading about Lisbon and it seems it may not have been a wise choice unless you are in top physical condition as for walking and sightseeing. So we think we might be wise to move down to the algave fore the next two weeks

Posted by
16796 posts

I would not change the plan. In Lisbon, you have many varieties of public transport to help you get around the city and even taxis are pretty affordable.

I don't believe that the Algarve is warmer than the rest of Portugal - it's just popular when the weather is warm. Beach towns in winter can be pretty dead, especially the smallest of those.

Posted by
4069 posts

Sorry, Laura is incorrect - the Algarve is 170 miles further south than Lisbon, so it will be a few degrees warmer and the eastern end will be slightly less windy. However, many places on the Algarve such as Lagos, Carvoeiro, Tavira etc are hilly and have cobbled streets, which are not ideal for those with mobility issues. Cabanas, mostly a purpose built tourist town near Tavira is flat, but the rail station is a mile up hill if you are going to be reliant on public transport. Much of the accommodation here has already been booked for Christmas.

Laura is correct in that many smaller places on the Algarve such as Salema will be dead in December.

Personally, I would stay closer to Lisbon or visit the area between Lisbon and Porto, which is flatter.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks to all for your suggestions we are really excited about seeing your country and enjoying your foods

Think we will get rail passes and try to see the area. Although we are not beach people we are seeking warmer weather in a pretty country. So we are leaning on spending some to
E in trevera or Lagos. Someone said Porto would be cold but said it is really beautiful.

Posted by
922 posts

Depending on where you are from, most of Portugal will be warmer during December. The biggest issue with winter in Portugal is the rain. And we really need it this year because of a really severe drought. But, rarely does it rain nonstop for a whole day.

You will find cooking classes for certain in Lisbon but I’m not so certain about other areas, except for possibly Porto. I took a class with Cooking Lisbon that was nice. Not much in the way of actual lessons, but it was hands on with the cooking and shopping in a Mercado and was fun.
You mentioned getting a rail pass. The trains in Portugal are very inexpensive without a pass. And, if you book your tickets from a week to 30 days in advance, you get 40% off. I’ve taken the train from Lisbon to Lagos a couple of times for about 24€ round trip. The website is cp.pt
And, yes, Lisbon is hilly, but there are areas that are flatter - and elevators/escalators to help with the hills. And, a number of day trips from Lisbon that can easily fill your time. There will likely be days that are sunny and warm enough to enjoy eating outside and enjoying the views.