The Algarve this year is home to the largest nativity in the country, where visitors can view some 5,500 figures that make up the Giant Nativity Scene of Vila Real de Santo António, occupying the entire exhibition area of the António Aleixo Cultural Centre until 6 January. This true work of art evokes elements of the region and reconstructs episodes associated with the Christmas season, attracting thousands of visitors to the old Vila Pombalina each year.
Not far away is another Christmas attraction, the Sal de Castro Marim Nativity Scene, on display at Casa do Sal until 6 January. More than 10 tonnes of the best salt in the world host 4,500 figures alluding to the birth of Jesus and the local culture of the area.
In addition to the numerous Nativity Scene exhibited throughout the region, there is plenty of excitement and food and drink in traditional Christmas markets such as the VILA VITA Christmas Food Market in Porches, Lagoa (from 20 to 22 December).
At night, the good weather invites everyone to go out and enjoy the Christmas lights, highlighting the more than 50 million lights that adorn the streets of the parishes of Albufeira or the lights that shine along the main streets and Olhão buildings, including the typical markets.
This festive season in the Algarve there will also be many concerts to enjoy, from orchestral pieces to choir performances, there are many musical moments dedicated to Christmas. Take your pick from the Christmas Concert of the Choir and Classical Orchestra of the South at Carmo Church, in Tavira (on 22 December, at 6pm). Another Christmas classic is The Nutcracker ballet, composed by Tchaikovski and inspired by the children’s tale, which the Algarve Dance Company will be performing at the Teatro das Figuras, in Faro (14 December, at 9.30pm, and 15 December, at 4.30pm).
And what about the usual year-end spectacle of the cultural programme «365 Algarve», which this year brings a new double-dose circus to Monchique? Between 27 December and 5 January, two tents set up at the local heliport are the venue for several performances by Les Dodos, by the French company Le P’tit Cirk (at 4pm), and by “Forever, Happily ...”, by the Belgian circus Collectif Malunés (at 9.30pm).
More information about these shows and other cultural proposals for the month of December can be found on the programme’s website at www.365algarve.pt.
Other Algarve locations welcome the New Year with memorable outdoor concerts, the New Year’s Eve of Albufeira being one of the most emblematic in the region. Albufeira Carpe Nox 2020, will be a unique multisensory spectacle, with land, sea and air all coming together. At Praia do Pescadores there will be aerial stunts, fireworks over the sea and the music of Amor Electro and The Black Mamba to welcome in 2020.