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Christmas on the Algarve

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To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on

or

A WARM WINTER BREAK

Trade the British winter for a week in Portuguese paradise with a festive escape to the stunning Algarve.  

Unwind over the Christmas period in the warm weather, with temperatures often reaching the high teens Celsius, and comfort of Portugal’s breath-taking south coast. Explore a city in technicolour with a guided tour of the country’s capital, Lisbon, and soak in the vibrant spirit of ‘The City of Seven Hills’. Discover the real Algarve with optional excursions to some of the area’s lesser-known treasures. From exploring the rolling woodland mountains of Monchique to the slow-paced coastal towns overlooking Cape St. Vincent, there’ll be no shortage of natural beauty to enjoy in Portugal’s mild winter sun. 



What does this price include?

  • Seven nights’ half-board accommodation at the four-star Hotel Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa, Albufeira
  • Seven breakfasts and dinners (drinks included)
  • Festive dinner on Christmas Eve in the hotel
  • Celebratory dinner on Christmas Day
  • Guided excursion to Lisbon
  • Day trip to Faro, Tavira, and Olhao
  • Return flights to Faro
  • Coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
  • One piece of hold luggage per person

Your Itinerary

View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip

  • Depart the UK for your flight to Faro, and upon arriving at the airport, meet your friendly tour manager. You’ll then make the short journey along the south coast to Albufeira, where you’ll spend the rest of the day in comfort as you settle into your hotel. Feel free to explore the city’s old town or take a walk along one of the nearby beaches before enjoying dinner and drinks at the hotel in the evening.  

  • After your breakfast, enjoy the day at your own pace. Perhaps take the time to get your bearings in your new surroundings, lounge by the two outdoor swimming pools, or enjoy a treatment at the spa.  

    Alternatively, explore the natural splendour of Portugal’s south coast, or step back through its storied past as you visit the old town. The city’s cobbled streets are a world away from its frenetic strip, filled with a wide variety of alfresco eateries and artisan market stalls. You can also stop at Albufeira’s neo-classical Castelo de Paderne, an ancient fortress which once hosted Roman, Moorish, and Portuguese armies.  

    Return to your hotel this evening where you’ll be served dinner with drinks.  

  • Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to travel to the Cape St. Vincent region, mainland Europe’s southwestern most point. 

    You’ll have the chance to visit Lagos’ Aldeia Natal, which simply translates as Christmas Village. Here, you’ll find festive fun aplenty with a picturesque crafts market dominating the Praca do Infante, perfect for picking up some last-minute gifts. Taking a step away from your guided tour, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the opulent Igreja de Santo Antonio in the city’s historic quarter. Adorned in gilded decor and vaulted ceilings, this 16th-century church is home to some of the finest woodwork in Portugal and is certainly worth exploring.  

    No December visit to the Algarve would be complete without experiencing Lagos resident, Jose Cortes’, fully automated nativity scene, which can be found in the Lagos Cultural Centre throughout the festive period. Taking over 10 years to build, this mechanical marvel is a sight to behold.  

    Later today, discover the beauty of Portugal’s most southerly village, Sagres, and explore its rugged landscape, steeped in a culture and military history. This area reflects traditional Portuguese living, adorned in the natural beauty of Cape St. Vincent. See the Sagres Fortaleza, a 15th-century fortress, stroll around the lively fishing harbour, and take in the spectacular views from the towering cliffs above the sea. 

    Once back in Albufeira, settle into the hotel’s dining area again for a well-earned meal this evening. 

     

  • Once you’ve eaten your breakfast, mark Christmas Eve with a tour of Tavira, Faro, and Olhao along the Algarve’s eastern stretch. 

    Your first stop today will be the Algarve’s municipal capital, Faro. A city with a rich and colourful history, Faro has been a hub of civilisation nestled within the Algarve for millennia. The area’s salt-water lagoons have lured travellers to their shores for centuries, and, even today, you can see why.  

    Now adorned with Moorish charm and vibrant metropolitan areas, Faro offers a unique balance between the Gothic sights of its historic square, its trendy boutiques and shopping areas, and the surrounding natural landscape. 

    After a morning of exploring the Algarve’s capital, you’ll be whisked away to Olhao, where you’ll have the chance to experience Portugal at its most authentic. Firmly in the throes of Christmas, the coastal town’s winter fairs and nativity displays usually remain in place until 6 January, so you’ll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in true Portuguese culture and festivity. 

    The redbrick Mercado de Olhao, a local market, promises a vast array of fresh produce to snack on as you meander through the city’s streets. You can also get a glimpse of the region’s diverse wildlife and natural beauty around its salt lagoon, Ria Formosa. The eagle-eyed among you might even spy the nature park’s grazing flamingos or one its elusive chameleons! 

    Your final stop today will be palm-covered Tavira, which offers the very best of Portugal’s culinary heritage. As Portugal’s UNESCO-listed representative for its Mediterranean cuisine, Tavira’s fresh seafood is the perfect thing to tide you over as you explore the city. Immerse yourself in the area’s history at Ponte Antiga de Tavira, an original Roman bridge, or Castelo de Tavira, a medieval castle.  

    Upon your return to the hotel, enjoy a festive dinner with drinks in the company of your fellow travellers. 

  • Enjoy Christmas Day however you see fit today as you’ll have some well-earned free time. While many of the area’s usual shops and amenities will be closed, much like they are back in the UK, your hotel will operate normally. 

    To make the most of Portugal’s warmer December climate, with average temperatures of 17°c, take a walk along Albufeira’s local beaches or relax around the heated outdoor swimming pools.  

    However you choose to spend your day, settle back into your hotel this evening for your Portuguese Christmas dinner, helping you to round out your Christmas celebration in style.  

  • Fuel yourself for the day with breakfast before heading off to Portugal’s historic capital city. 

    Experience Lisbon under the lights as the city remains in the throes of the festive season. The Portuguese capital is ideal for exploring on foot, so you can take your time absorbing Lisbon’s rich history and Pombaline charm and seeking out some of its best sights. Don’t miss the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which celebrates Portuguese exploration from the Tagus riverfront, or Lisbon Cathedral, dominating the city skyline.  

    As your tour leads you along the Tagus waterfront, keep a watch for some of Lisbon’s most recognisable landmarks. Glimpse into Portugal’s imperial history with the Torre de Belem, which acted as the gateway into Lisbon from its river fortifications, and gaze upon the imposing walls of the city’s 11-century Moorish fort, Castello de Sao Jorge. 

    With an afternoon of festive sightseeing almost over, make your way back to Rossio Square, officially known as King Pedro VI’s Square, to keep the festivities alive in the early evening. Witness a kaleidoscope of colour as Lisbon’s patterned streets glow with over two million Christmas lights. Crown your time in Portugal’s capital city with a visit to Lisbon’s largest commercial plaza, the Terreiro do Paco, which is home to one of the largest Christmas trees in Europe (30 feet tall to be precise).  

    With many retailers operating at normal business hours, with Boxing Day rarely celebrated in Portugal, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do some late Christmas shopping as your tour of Lisbon draws to a close. Why not sample a traditional Bolo Rei (King Cake), a light fruitcake named after the three kings of the nativity story as you wander? 

     

    After a busy day in Lisbon, your day will culminate in a special festive dinner with your fellow guests, complimented by drinks. 

  • Enjoy your breakfast and another day of relaxation or choose to join an optional excursion to the Algarve’s original capital, Silves. Though it has modernised over the years, this Moorish stronghold town still retains elements of its rich history today. The imposing redbrick walls of Castello de Silves and grand facade of the Se Cathedral allude to the city’s past, providing an impressive backdrop for your visit. For a final sprinkling of festive magic, a visit to the city’s Al-Mutamid Square for the annual Allegria do Natal celebration, aptly ‘Christmas Joy’ in English, promises to round out your tour in a memorable way. 

    On to your final stop of this excursion, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the decorated streets of the Algarve’s woodland in Monchique. This secluded mountain town offers panoramic views from its hiking trails, and you’ll find a collection of independent shops, offering hand-crafted goods, along its cobbled streets. If you have the chance after a morning of walking Monchique’s winding paths, relax amidst the region’s pristine natural landscape at the nearby Fonte des Amores, a spring water fountain.  

    Round out your trip in good company as you settle in for your final dinner at the hotel.  

  • Bid the Algarve adieu today as you transfer to Faro airport for your return flight with festive memories that are sure to last a lifetime.  

Dates & Prices

To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on

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Hotels

Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa, Albufeira

The Vila Gale is located in the heart of Albufeira, just a few minutes walk from Fisherman's Beach.

View Hotel

Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 45 minutes.

  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • Rules may have changed since you last travelled to European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure. You do require government issued passport to travel.

    Names - It is very important that all passenger names are exactly as per your passport although we do not require middle names.

    Passport - Your passport must meet two requirements to travel to an EU country and to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It must be: Less than 10 years old on the day you return home (please check the "date of issue") and valid for at least 3 months after the day you return home (please check the "expiry date").

    Visa - You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    European Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) - Commencing in late 2023 or 2024, all citizens of the United Kingdom will require a ETIAS electronic form completed prior to their arrival into the EU and Schengen member countries. The cost for this travel authorisation will be €7.00 per person with exceptions for under 18’s and over 70’s. The latest information and further details can be found at www.etias.com.

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