5 "vilas de Natal" Christmas fairs you should visit in 2019

"Vilas de Natal" / Wikipedia
"Vilas de Natal" / Wikipedia
10 December 2019, Marilia Poiares

The most magical season of the year is on its way, and with it the "vilas" or Christmas fairs in Portugal. Ornaments, decorations, sweets and cakes, hot chocolate, Santa Claus, street markets, plays, magic trains, lights, Christmas trees... all this and much more are at the heart of these small village fairs which you absolutely must visit in Portugal this winter.

If December really is the most wonderful time of the year for you, read on and discover 5 "vilas de Natal" in Portugal in 2019.

Vila de Natal in Óbidos

Within the walls of Óbidos, the streets will be full of magic until the 5th of January 2020. Virtual reality simulators mix with real ski slopes and ice-skating rinks in this special vila Christmas market, not to mention a Crimbo train to ride, mazes to get lost in, animals to pet, games, face paintings and carousels galore. There’s even a giant Ferris wheel, and these are just some of the attractions that will delight children and adults alike.

Another very special element of the Óbidos Christmas Village are its shows: "Quando ainda não havia Natal" (When there was no Christmas yet), "Equilibrium", "Back to the moon" (a puppet show) and several Christmas concerts.

How to get there:

  • By car: motorways A8 (Lisbon-Leiria) and A15 (Óbidos-Santarém), as well as the IP6 (Peniche-Óbidos), all lead to Óbidos. Take exit A8 North - Exit 16 - Gaeiras/Óbidos or A8 Sul - Saída 15 - Óbidos to get straight to the car parks of the event.
  • By bus: www.rede-expressos.pt
  • By train: www.cp.pt

Tickets and prices:

  • Children’s Ticket (≥3 years): 5 euros
  • OVN Plus Child’s Ticket: 6 euros (includes the Ferris wheel)
  • General Admission (≥12 years): 7 euros
  • OVN Plus Adult Ticket: 8 euros (includes the Ferris wheel)
  • Group Ticket (more than 20 people): 5.50 euros/person

You can consult more prices and buy your ticket here.

Website: www.obidosvilanatal.pt

Vila de Natal in Cascais

For 27 days (from the 5th of December to the 1st of January), the Marechal Carmona Park, in Cascais, receives its magic Christmas Village, with the theme "Viagem à Magia do Natal" (The Journey to Christmas Magic).

While the kids are having fun at Father Christmas' House, in the Enchanted Forest with the reindeer, in the Tree House, at the Christmas Tree and in the Snow Globe, on the carousel or on the ice rink, the grownups also have some attractions they can enjoy. They can relive the Nativity story of the birth of Jesus with the three Wise Men, plus a Roman camp with Legionnaires and Gladiators, or just escape to do some shopping at the Christmas market.

And if you still have enough strength, head over to the ice skating rink or the Radical Ramp.

How to get there:

  • By car: follow the A5 motorway, exiting at Cascais-Birre and then continue along the N-19. At the first roundabout, take the first exit; at the second roundabout, take the second exit; turn onto 25 de Abril Street and keep going until you reach another roundabout; there, take the first exit to Av. da República where you will find the event ground.
  • By bus: busCas 427, Carreiras MobiCascais (www.scotturb.com)
  • By train: Cascais station is just 800 metres from the fair (www.cp.pt)

Tickets and prices:

  • 0-2 years: Free
  • 3-11 years: 6,50 euros
  • 12-65 years: 7,50 euros
  • 65 years: 6,50 euros
  • Family pack: 4 tickets (26 euros), 5 tickets (32,50 euros), 6 tickets (39 euros)

You can consult more prices and buy your ticket here.

Website: www.cascaischristmasvillage.pt

Perlim in Santa Maria da Feira

"Perlim - Uma Quinta de Sonhos" is the largest Christmas theme park in Portugal. It truly is a gateway to a world of magic, located in Santa Maria da Feira in Quinta do Castelo.

On the night of the 29th of November, Santa Claus landed in Santa Maria da Feira with a nocturnal rainbow, created with fireworks and, until the 5th of January, the park is the ideal destination to celebrate Christmas as a family. Perlim's musical shows and scenery seem to have come from the children's imagination, with stories, sweets, decorations, a lot of colour and, without a doubt, an abundance of Christmas spirit.

How to get there:

  • By car: highway A1 (Porto/Lisbon), exit towards "Feira"; A29 (Aveiro/Porto), exit for "Feira", A32 (Gaia/Oliveira de Azeméis), exit to "Feira".

Tickets and prices:

  • 0-2 years: Free
  • 3-12 years: 6 euros
  • 13-64 years: 7 euros
  • Over 65 years old: 6 euros

You can consult special prices, group prices and buy your tickets here.

Website: www.perlim.pt

Cabeça, Aldeia Natal in Serra da Estrela

"Cabeça, Aldeia de Natal" will take place between the 7th of December and the 1st of January, in an idyllic setting, the village of Cabeça, in the heart of Serra da Estrela.

This event promises to bring Christmas to this mountainous area, with creations inspired by the Christmas imagination. All the decorations used are sustainable, made by the inhabitants of the village with natural materials, collected responsibly taking the environment and biodiversity into account. The wool, which is used to cover the surfaces to look like snow, is typical of the region and is given away by the local textile companies.

The programme hasn't been finalised yet, but you can expect decorated streets, flea markets, a Nativity scene, a Chocolate House, cooking workshops, themed walks through the village and Christmas workshops where you can buy baubles, trees and other decorations created by the people who live there.

How to get there:

  • From Porto: follow the A1 road to Albergaria. Exit and join the A25 in direction Viseu/Vilar Formoso. Continue until you take the exit Viseu and from there, go in the direction of Nelas on the N231. When you reach Nelas, continue to Seia on the same road.
  • From Lisbon: take the A1 northbound to Coimbra. Exit and enter the IP3 towards Viseu. Follow this road until you reach the Nelas exit and when you reach that town, continue on to Seia on the N231.

Website: www.cabecaaldeianatal.wordpress.com

Presépio in Penela

During the month of December, Penela is filled with a lively Christmas spirit that invades the 11th century medieval castle, Quinta das Lapas and the Espinhal Market. Apart from the exhibitions and flea markets, you can find fun and excitement for the whole family: a Christmas train, an ice rink, an innovative playground, an exhibition of model railways, stories, concerts and even a game for your mobile phone that guides visitors through the streets of Penela.

How to get there:

  • By car: to arrive, follow one of these roads - IC3 (TOMAR / COIMBRA / TOMAR); IC8 (CASTELO BRANCO / POMBAL – Coimbra exit); A1 (PORTO / LISBOA / PORTO – Condeixa exit); or A13 (CONDEIXA / PENELA/TOMAR – Penela exit).

Tickets and prices:

Weekdays

    • 0–5 years: Free
    • 6-12 years: 2 euros
    • Adults: 3 euros
    • Families (2 adults + 2 children): 7 euros

Weekends and holidays

    • 0–5 years: Free
    • 6-12 years: 2 euros (weekdays), 3 euros (weekends)
    • Adults: 3 euros (weekdays), 4 euros (weekends)
    • Families (2 adults + 2 children): 7 euros (weekdays), 10 euros (weekend)

You can consult more prices and buy your ticket here.

Website: www.penelapresepio.com

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