The Portugal News highlights five fantastic Christmas markets you are not going to want to miss this festive season:

Quinta Shopping Christmas Market

The Quinta do Lago Christmas Market will make its grand return on the 3rd of December with a fantastic festive programme. This event has it all, with quality family time at its forefront and kicking off the day at 10am is the Christmas Cookie Decorating Workshop for children aged 3 years and above. Followed by an incredible Christmas Market from 3pm until 5pm which is the perfect combination of delicious gastronomy, wine, regional and traditional products as well as handicrafts. After exploring the market and doing some Christmas shopping, enjoy the heart-warming illumination that takes place at 5pm, where you can see the lighting of the Quinta do Lago tree. There will be mulled wine for the adults and plenty of hot chocolate and Christmas surprises for the youngest members of the family.

Vila Vita Christmas – Food Market

Are you looking for an enchanting Christmas market? Then look no further! Vila Vita’s Christmas Food Market is the perfect place to get in the festive spirit so bring along the whole family. Running from the 8th to the 11th of December from 1pm until 8pm at Vila Vita Biergarten, in Porches, this authentic Christmas market transports you to Christmas markets in Northern Europe. Additionally, their market includes Christmas trinkets which will delight shoppers along with a wonderful cosy atmosphere, with live music. Foodies are sure to delight with the delicious Bavarian gastronomic delicacies, which includes homemade sausages and raclette, along with traditional mulled wine! Additionally, there will be lots of entertainment for the youngest members of the family, including a bouncy castle. With free entrance, what are you waiting for?

Silves “Alegria do Natal”

Festive cheer comes to the historic city of Silves from the 3rd of December to the 8th of January, where Praça Al-Muthamid will encapsulate the joy of Christmas, with free entry to all from 2pm until 8pm. There will be a wide range of novelties and entertainment for the whole family, which includes an ice rink, a merry-go-round, inflatables, a Christmas train and even Santa’s grotto, which promises a visit from the man himself. There will also be Christmas shows which includes the Magic Circus of Christmas, by Cardinali Live Entertainment, the Christmas concerts with the Ensemble São Bernardo, Ensemble Saint Dominic’s Gospel Choir and the full formation of the Algarve Jazz Orchestra, finally there will be a Christmas musical based on Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Additionally, there will be the usual Christmas market located in the square, which includes plenty of food and handicrafts, perfect for Christmas shopping.

Bethlehem Village

Experience the meaning of Christmas with a more traditional event at Bethlehem Village where you can enjoy an interactive enactment of the Biblical Christmas story. Organised by the International Evangelical Church of the Algarve, their church property, is literally transformed into the ancient village of Bethlehem, on the 2nd and 3rd of December from 7pm to 10pm and on the 4th of December from 4pm to 7pm at Estrada da Estação, Rua Varzia da Mão, Vale Judeu in Loulé. You will be taken back in time through a guided tour of the birth of Jesus, available in Portuguese and English, where you will meet the wise men, King Herod, the Innkeeper and of course all the animals at the Manger. Additionally, there will be Christmas carols from the São Brás Salvation Army and a fantastic market set up in the village, with plenty of delightful food and bric-a-brac stalls. Finally, there will be a Christmas carol service on the 4th of December at 8pm inside the main church building.

Artisanal Christmas Market in Lagos

Experience the magic of Christmas in Lagos from the 3rd of December as they bring a diverse program for the whole family. They will have a Christmas village at the iconic Praça do Infante, which includes Santa's Grotto, a market, ice rink and entertainment for the little ones, which includes storytelling sessions at the Municipal Library and a performance from the Lagos Children’s Choir at 3pm.

Additionally, there will be a fantastic handicraft market at Mercado de Levante in Lagos on the 10th of December from 5pm to 9pm and also on the 11th of December from 2pm until 9pm. There will be plenty of regional and traditional products as well as lots of sweet treats and Christmas entertainment. The Lagos Cultural Centre brings a traditional exhibition of the "José Cortes' Nativity scene" as well as several shows and local associations performing at various locations.

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