5 tips to enjoy Christmas without snow

The best thing about Christmas (well, apart from reindeer and presents)? Snow of course! Bing Crosby couldn’t have put it better: ‘May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.’ X-mas is about snowball fights, romantic snow walks and making a snowman. Therefore, snow is basically essential. How else would that reindeer sleigh move?

In the Algarve there’s not that much (read: zero) chance of a white Christmas… So how to enjoy the X-mas festivities in the sun? Enjoy the Algarve gives five tips.

Background picture by Angelo Esslinger 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2017


1. Swim with Santa

If Santa would live in the Algarve instead of the North Pole, he’d definitely go for a swim more often. Dress up like Santa and celebrate X-mas by going for a swim in Armação de Pêra on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25. Meet at the beach at 11am and have a hot drink at the Holiday Inn hotel afterwards. The event is free, but donations for local charities Espaço Amigo and A Gaivota are gratefully accepted.

Don’t want to get your Santa suit wet? There’s another swim on New Year’s Day, Monday 1st of January, where you can wear your pyjamas. The freshest way to start 2018!

Picture below by Dave Sheldrake


2. Eat bolo rei

Forget about Christmas pudding. In Portugal, you’ll get bolo rei for dessert; a cake with a large hole in the centre and candied fruits on top. It’s called king’s cake because it looks like a crown. Want to try making a bolo rei yourself? Check out a recipe here.

The traditional Portuguese Christmas Eve meal, called consoada, usually consists of bacalhau with vegetables and boiled potatoes. Meat is eaten on Christmas Day; in the Algarve, this used to be pork although turkey is getting more and more popular.

Picture below by Comte0


3. Drink mulled wine under an orange tree

There’s something special about drinking mulled wine in the snow, using the cup to warm your fingers. But when you think about it, it’s actually more special to drink mulled wine on a sunny Portuguese square that’s lined with orange trees. (Another bonus: you can make the Glühwein fruitier by squeezing in some orange juice).

Don’t like to heat up your wine? Have a chilled vinho verde or check here for more about Portuguese wine. Want to make wine cocktails? Click here.


4. Go to the Missa do Gallo

The Missa do Gallo (translation: the mass of the rooster) is Portugal’s version of Midnight Mass and is celebrated in church on Christmas Eve (December 24th). It already exists a couple of centuries and is called ‘Missa do Gallo’ because midnight was referred to as ‘the time when the cock crows’.

During this service, usually after the communion has taken place, people can come up to the altar to kiss an image of baby Jesus, which is then placed in the church’ crib.

Picture below by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira


5. Don’t annoy the singers

In Portugal, from just after Christmas up until the first weeks of January, groups of so-called Janeiras singers will move from house to house, singing their wishes for the New Year. It’s a tradition to invite those singers into your house and offer them something to eat and drink.

Beware: if you somehow manage to annoy the Janeiras singers, by refusing to let them in or offering them food that isn’t up to standard, they’ll retaliate by making up insulting songs about you.

Picture below by Marques Maia


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2017

Posted in 5 algarvy things.