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Christmas and new year in Spain Italy and Portugal

Hello !! I’m travelling to Spain ( Madrid) on 23 December and planning to celebrate Christmas and new year in Spain Italy and Portugal .. please guide me where is best Christmas Nd new year I can plan and what places I should go .. I’M renting the car also to travel cross borders .i’m Here till 4Jan, 2020.. so please suggest places to explore and where should I celebrate Christmas and new year ?? Spain?? Italy ?? Portugal

Posted by
622 posts

Most folks take their religious holidays and family time quite seriously in Europe, other than in resort destinations like ski areas or the beach. Practically speaking you will spend Christmas in Spain, because many things will start to shut down on Christmas Eve, and stay closed for several days. Trains of course will run, but will be crowded. You can still have a great time, but book the hotels and possibly dinner reservations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as soon as possible. Start your adventures on the 26th. Given the time available, skip Italy on this trip, you will waste too much time getting there and back if you are arriving and departing from Spain.

Posted by
2568 posts

9 days?... sorry but, IMHO, you're looking at this totally wrong. You have got no time to visit three countries in 9 days. Period.

I would stick to one and enjoy my visit. Each one you've mentioned has plenty of heritage, history, landscapes, towns and cities to warrant much more than 9 days. Unless you're only after "ticking a list", pick one destination, focus on ONE region within that country and discover the many things you can do.

My advice anyway.

Posted by
18752 posts

Hating cold weather, I'd head south to Andalucía, seeing at least Seville, Cordoba and Granada. I don't know what sort of closures you'll run into over the holidays, but full-day closures are usually displayed on the individual sights' websites. Toledo is magnificent and worth a couple of nights along the way. It will be chillier there.

Posted by
1240 posts

You don't say where you will be departing from. Is it also Madrid? This makes a big difference to what you plan.

I'm a little surprised by the idea of hiring a car to "cross borders". Are you aware of how dear it is, usually, to pick-up in one country and drop-off in another? Some form of round trip would save this expense.

Driving makes a lot of sense if you want the flexibility to see smaller towns as a road trip. But you don't have a lot of time available and given the season you'd be hitting those smallest towns & villages at their quietest and, in some cases, pretty much closed-up to visitors.

Given the time you have and the season, I'd stick to larger cities where there will still be lots of sights open and celebrations going on, plus public transport between them available. I'd forget Italy. So, assuming you start and end in Madrid, I think your choices are west to Lisbon, east to Barcelona or south to Sevilla/Cordoba.

Posted by
2177 posts

I agree will all above, with 9 nights available you simply do not have enough time to properly visit 3 countries, stay in Spain and actually enjoy your time, else it will become a marathon race!

I'd try to extend your trip until Jan 6th, this is because in Spain the main holiday we celebrate in not Christmas but rather the Three Kings Day on the 6th. Know that on the night of Jan 5th most cities in Spain have a big parade of the Three Kings (Cabalgata De Los Reyes Magos), it will be a great festive experience in our local culture. There are really big Three Kings parades in Barcelona and Madrid.

FYI most restaurants will be closed on Christmas Eve (24) in Spain. Christmas Eve is a very familiar time for us, spent in one's house with the family. Even in big cities, it is almost impossible to find Spanish restaurants open on Christmas Eve. Try different cuisines, for example a Chinese restaurant or a Turkish restaurant. You will have a higher probability of finding those kinds of restaurants open on the 24th. Definitely reserve a table in advance for Christmas Eve and Day as well.

Also, be sure not to miss our Christmas markets in Spain! Our Christmas market tradition is a little know part of our culture. Since we mainly celebrate the Three Kings Day (Jan 6), you will find most of our Christmas Markets are still up into early Jan. For example, in Barcelona I'd recommend the Saint Lucia Christmas Market and in Madrid the Plaza Mayor Christmas Market

Here are some English languages article about some of our Christmas Markets in Spain:

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone for taking out time and pouring me with suggestions it means a lot .
I understand 9 days time is pretty less to travel ..
I have flight from delhi to Rome and then connecting flight to Madrid . I’m thinking of getting down at Rome on 23rd as I heard in Italy the Christmas is more interresting then in Spain . So I can be In Rome , Milan till new year and then end of year and starting in Spain.. dropping Portugal in this trip because don’t have much time .Kindly suggest and bit awkward do we have some options in Rome where families invite tourist to celebrate with Christmas with them . Kindly suggesting m on eight track now , because I just get time off from my work only in December every year and I want to utilise this time to core