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Mónica Da Silva: The perfect route for checking out the best Christmas Markets in Lisbon

Christmas markets have expanded all over the world and I’m very glad they did because they are a tradition during the winter. Lisbon is not an exception! For the last few years, Christmas markets in Lisbon have grown in number and size, offering more options for eating, drinking and gift-shopping.

Plus, the other advantage of having these markets in Lisbon is that you will not be freezing in extreme cold weather. 

I personally don’t support the privatization of such spaces because I know that there are a lot of families in Lisbon whose children would love to enjoy these events but their parents can’t afford a 10 euro ticket for each kid. So, in this post I’m only covering entrance-free markets in which, even if you can’t afford shopping, you’ll have concerts, workshops and activities for everyone! 

1st stop: Almada Feliz, the earth-friendly market 

Praça São João Batista I open until Christmas Eve

My route started on my side of Lisbon and I must say, year after year this is my favorite market and it’s not only because I live in this town. Its size is perfect; there isn’t either an overwhelming amount of stalls or people so you can enjoy it, walk peacefully and take your time to shop and get to know a bit more about what you’re buying. Furthermore, the organizers carefully select the participants who are artists, artisans and agricultors whose products are produced or created in a sustainable way. 

It is also a family-friendly market. There are concerts, stand-up shows, exhibitions, workshops, plays, circus (animal-free, obviously), an ice-skating rink and there is the small Santa’s house where children can sit and listen to amazing stories narrated by Santa’s helpers.

The market stalls will be there until Christmas Eve, but there will be free concerts and movie showings until through New Year’s Eve.

2nd stop: Rossio Christmas market

Praça Dom Pedro IV I open until 23 December

From Almada, you can easily take the ferry to the other side of Lisbon where there are more markets, and the trip only takes 10 minutes. Our first stop on this side of the river is the Rossio Christmas Market and, even though it only has around 60 stalls, it tends to get extremely crowded at night because it is located in a very popular area for tourists. However, the square is quite big and the stalls are well organized, so it is possible to walk around but I’d recommend anyone to avoid visiting this market during the peak hours. 

One of the highlights of the markets is for the little ones: There is a small Christmas train running from 3 p.m. on and the children can take a ride around the square on it for free! Besides that, this market offers a wide variety of local and national products, and there are stalls of artists and artisans with jewelry, woodwork, soaps, clothes and more that you can choose from if you’re still looking for Christmas gifts.

This market is open everyday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

3rd stop: Wonderland Lisboa

Parque Eduardo VII I open now until New Year’s Day

This market is the most popular among locals, and visiting is a must!

It is also one of the biggest Christmas markets in Lisbon and its location is super accessible. You can actually walk for 25 minutes from Rossio market to this one, or take a bus or the subway for a 10 minute trip. Throughout the years, the highlight of this market has always been the enormous Ferris wheel with an amazing view over Lisbon and the river, and 2023 is no exception. There is a mix of national and international food and drinks: you can easily drink some mulled wine and then go for a ginja

This market also has the most instagrammable Christmas tree with a 19-meter high tree this year and an ice rink where you can skate for free during the first 20 minutes! Obviously most of these markets are better when visited at night, but I feel that this one especially feels the most magical at night because the park where it’s located offers an amazing view over Lisbon and the river. Also, because it is a recurrent spot for big events such as the yearly book fair, the logistics are pinned down and, although there were a lot of people there, it was comfortable to walk around at your own pace. 

4th (and final) stop: The Christmas Kingdom in Sintra

Largo Rainha Dona Amélia I open until 30 December

Going to Sintra from Wonderland Lisboa is very simple, you only need to take the subway and then a train to Sintra. It is not a short trip, though. It takes about one hour, but I assure you that it is completely worth it. If you prefer, you could also go by car as there are several parking spots available whose location you can check on Sintra’s website and the trip will take about half an hour. There are different entrances to the market depending on the place where you parked, and it is a very very big market, the biggest on this list, actually, so I’d recommend you to check their map on their website and plan your route in advance. 

Once you’re there, get ready for the full Christmas market in Lisbon experience. There are tons of workshops, exhibitions, shows and concerts going on every day. There is also an ice rink and a small bus that takes children and adults around the streets for free on the weekends. This market also has a wonderful initiative: although the entrance is free, they are asking for donations of non-perishable food for people, and blankets and animal food for dogs and cats. These donations go to a local NGO and are distributed during the months of December and January to local people and stray animals.

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Read more about Lisbon here in Dispatches archives.

Read more from Mónica here.

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Mónica da Silva is half-Venezuelan, half Portuguese and has lived in Venezuela, Portugal, Spain and Germany. She has studies linguistics and has a Bachelor’s Degree in European Studies. Besides contributing to Dispatches, she works remotely as an English teacher, which allows her to be on the move as often as she wants. 

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