At this point you are thinking "New Year's Eve? But I still want to enjoy the last days of sun". But remember that one time when you wanted to have an unforgettable New Year's Eve but didn't book anything until late December, when everything was already booked or with very high prices?
To avoid the stress of a last minute New Year's Eve booking, our advice is: plan ahead. Despite being a small country, Portugal offers a wide variety of regions and environments for every taste, from a relaxed celebration at Alentejo or Douro, party in the big cities like Lisbon, Porto and Funchal or even a New Year's Eve at the beach in Algarve.
Here's some inspiration for a New Year's Eve in Portugal you won't forget:
New Years Eve in the City - Porto and Lisbon
New Year's Eve is a great time to discover Porto and Lisbon. In Porto the last night of the year is celebrated with free concerts in the main streets and squares and a firework display by the river, near the typical Ribeira neighbourhood, when people gather around both margins of the Douro to watch the celebrations in the river.
In Lisbon, the City Council also promotes a big celebration party in Praça do Comércio (also known as Terreiro do Paço) one of the prime squares of the city, with concerts and fireworks. Parque das Nações and near Torre de Belém also provide great entertainment offers and if you are willing to have an amazing view over the city and the fireworks by the Tejo River, Castelo de São Jorge, one of the highest places of the city, open up to the public to midnight.
New Year's Eve in the Douro Region
The Douro region is a great choice every time of the year, but on the last days of December you can enjoy Douro from other point of view: the warmth of a luxury hotel and the celebration by the fireplace tasting some of the best wines produced in the region, never losing the river and its vineyards out of sight. We recommend a 3-day tour in Douro for the New Year's Eve or, if you prefer you can choose a New Year's Eve cruise in the Douro River, just before it turns 2017.
Last Day of the Year in the Quiet Alentejo
The weather in Alentejo never gets too cold, making it a good destination for the last days of the year. You can enjoy the starry sky of Alentejo in one of the many wine estates or you can choose to celebrate in the city. In Évora, everyone gathers in the streets to celebrate the arrival of a new year. Don't forget to taste the local wine and food of Alentejo, some of the most characteristic flavours of the Portuguese cuisine.
New Year's Eve Celebration at the Beach in the Algarve
Algarve is the region in Portugal that attracts more visitors and the last days of the year make no exception. The weather in the Algarve makes it possible to celebrate outside, inviting for a commemoration on the beach or in the comfort of a private terrace with a glass of champagne in one of the best luxury hotels in Algarve.
New Year's Eve in Madeira Island
New Year's Eve is one of best times of the year to visit Madeira. In Funchal, the fireworks display thoughout the city, both in the amphitheater and in the sea, lasts for more than 10 minutes and is one of the best in Portugal, attracting thousands of visitors each year, being mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the "The Biggest Fireworks Display in the World".
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.