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Last minute change of plans

We had planned to fly into Barcelona on Dec. 24th and spend 5 days. Due to the political situation which appears to be more volatile by the minute, we are going to instead fly over to Lisbon and spend our 5 days in the region before meeting up with friends in Nazare for NYs. My question. Will restaurants be open on Christmas Day? I thought about booking an apt for the 4 of us but not sure we will have time to find groceries if things are closed due to holidays. A hotel might be a better choice if they have a restaurant. Also, with one day and night to spend before we get to Nazare, after leaving Lisbon, thoughts on where to go. Coimbra? Evora? Or Obidos/ coastal area. We are renting a car after leaving Lisbon. Thank you

Posted by
921 posts

You are correct in thinking restaurants will be closed, but grocery stores would be open on 24 December - but likely would close early. If you can grocery shop by early afternoon, an apartment would work. If not, a hotel restaurant is likely your best option.
Coimbra would be my choice over Obidos. Óbidos is much smaller and pretty much nothing but tourist stuff. Coimbra is a real city and is charming. You would have a lot to do, many very good restaurants and large hotels that are more likely to have decent restaurants. Evora is great but a bit out of the way between Lisbon and Porto.

Posted by
80 posts

Hello @cbdansby,

I'm glad you've chosen to come to Portugal as an alternative to Barcelona :)
You'll find some restaurants open on Christmas day for sure but you can also buy your groceries until 5 or 6 p.m., especially in large supermarkets like Continente, Pingo Doce or Jumbo...
I agree that Coimbra is a great location to visit and with lots of places discover, however this town is 110 km north of Nazaré so I believe it wouldn't be the best choice to go from Lisbon to Coimbra and then Nazaré...
A place that you could consider and that is closer to Nazaré is the beautiful town of Tomar - there you can explore it's historic centre and the amazing castle and Convent of Christ (World Heritage).
Óbidos is also a great alternative and from there you can also go to Peniche or Rio Maior salt pans for short visits. The good thing is that Óbidos is located on the way to Nazaré, so you won't spend additional time on driving :)

Enjoy Portugal :)