New Year’s Eve in Lisbon is really special. It is a city where you may find yourself in the midst of beautiful festivities without much planning and without a big budget.
Over the past few years, Lisbon has become increasingly popular for people seeking to celebrate the New Year. It is warmer than other European cities, less expensive and – given that Lisbon is so charming any day of the year – it definitely makes a great place to start the new year.
Different people celebrate New Year’s Eve in different ways. Some people prefer a long dinner interrupted by a toast to the new year when midnight arrives. Others are more into wild parties and crazy concerts. And it also changes according to one’s mood.
One year I feel like a big party with loads of people; another year I would opt for a small dinner with two or three close friends.
The good news is Lisbon has it all: from the quiet romantic dinners, to magical fireworks in the main squares, to clubs where the parties don’t stop till the next day.
Fireworks by the Tejo River
The city’s main fireworks display is my favorite part of New Year’s Eve in Lisbon. It is always a real wonder to behold, combining artistic technique, beautiful colors, and the scenic backdrop of the Tejo River all at once. The Commerce Square is where most people go to welcome the new year while watching the magical fireworks rise out of the tops of neoclassical buildings, experiencing this stunning vista up close.
However, you can also get a high view of the fireworks from the different viewpoints of Lisbon (miradouros). Make sure you wrap up warm. Even though Lisbon is relatively warmer than Northern European countries, nowhere in Europe is warm enough for sitting outdoors for a long time without the right clothes in December/January.
(Editor’s note: The Tejo River is the Tagus River in English.)
Clubs and Discos
If you still have energy for more after the fireworks and you believe the night is still young, then maybe you should go dancing in one of Lisbon’s top clubs. LuxFragil is the go-to place for House and Techno music in Lisbon. The best DJs from across Europe and the whole world regularly perform in Lux. This year they have two live DJ sets which start from 11 p.m. onwards.
If you feel like putting on something dressy and enjoying a “chic” New Year’s Eve party, then Silk Club is the place for you. It has an amazing view over Lisbon, cool music, and a fancy clubbing atmosphere. You will have to make reservations in advance, though.
Le Reveillon no Convento do Beato
It has become an increasingly popular Lisbon thing to have a New Year’s Eve dinner in the historical Convent of Beato. This beautiful piece of architecture which dates back to the 15th century is now used for all sorts of events and is well-known for its NYE parties. You would need to call in advance to find out what their program is for this year.
River cruise and dinner
There are many options for dinners served on different boats across the river Tejo, which afford you an amazing view of the city from the water. This option also allows you to watch the fireworks in Lisbon from the boat. I have heard many good things about the Confeitaria Nacional River Cruise, although I haven’t tried it out myself. Confeitaria Nacional itself is a well-known pastry shop and a cafe that dates back to the 19th century. They also serve a really good lunch. Needless to mention how great their pastries are.
A chill dinner?
Now, if all of the above sounds like too much for you, I hear you. I have those moments too. And I also wonder what is wrong with going to bed at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve? Why does it have to be a wild night till 6 in the morning? However, you can still make something really special out of a dinner to celebrate the new year, whether you will follow that with some party time or with heading straight to bed.
For a more affordable option – yet probably the most delicious of all the above – definitely reserve a table at Come Prima. I would have never shared that recommendation if I hadn’t made other plans already for New Year’s Eve. It is such a precious place with amazing Italian food, an exquisite atmosphere, and an exceptional wine list. It makes the perfect chill finale for 2022!
Whichever way you decide to celebrate, being in Lisbon at the turn of the year has always felt right to me. It is a city that brings you into the new year with optimism, regardless of where you are at in life at the moment.
I hope everyone finds a way to feel the same this year.
See more of Sarah’s work here in Dispatches’ archives.
Read more about Lisbon here.
Sarah Nagaty has a PhD in cultural studies, She’s lived in Portugal for six years.
As a student of cultural studies, Sarah is drawn to what connects people from different backgrounds to new cultures and places, how they relate to their new surroundings and what kind of activities they could engage with in their new hometowns.