At the beginning of December, I went for my traditional walk to see Lisbon Christmas lights! For the third consecutive year, I did the same itinerary to watch and photograph Christmas decoration in the city!
Christmas is my favourite holiday, not only for its meaning of loving the fellow man, getting together with the family and for my good memories of Christmas time on my childhood.
In Rio de Janeiro, where I came from, there is no tradition of Christmas decoration on the streets, and maybe that’s why Christmas lights fascinate me so much. This year, nor my husband, neither my son joined me on this journey to see the Christmas lights. And, although, this is a nice walk to do with the family, I was happy for being alone and walking on my rhythm, stopping to take photos whenever I wanted.
I started my tour at the bottom of Parque Eduardo VII, just next to Marques do Pombal roundabout. Walked along Avenida da Liberdade toward “Pombaline Downtown”, passing by Restauradores, Rossio, Praça da Figueira, Rua Augusta, Praça do Comércio, Praça do Município and finally Chiado.
This is an accessible track for adults and kids. The complete course is only 3,6 km long. The only ascents are in the last stretch of the way from Praça do Município to Chiado. But young kids who don’t use the stroller any longer and the elderly might get a little tired. My suggestion is to start walking as soon as the lights are switched on, around 6pm, and make small breaks along the way.
Let’s get to know my itinerary to see Lisbon Christmas lights!
1) Parque Eduardo VII, Marquês de Pombal roundabout to Praça D. Pedro IV (Rossio) – 1,8 km
I get off the subway at Marques do Pombal station (blue line) and walked to Wonderland Lisboa entrance, in Parque Eduardo VII.
Wonderland Lisboa has free admission and is the largest Christmas event in Great Lisbon. There you will find a ferry wheel, an ice skating rink, many games, a Christmas market and the Santa Claus house. I just took some pictures of the entrance and the Ferris wheel and started walking along Avenida da Liberdade, towards Downtown.
The most charming Avenue in Lisbon is fully decorated with lighting balls rang on its trees, adding an additional dose of charm to this venue.
Before reaching Rossio square, if anyone needs a little break for going to the bathroom or a quick coffee, there are some good places. Café Delta Q in Avenida da Liberdade and Padaria Portuguesa at Restauradores square are nice choices for a quick break.
Keep walking, passing by Rossio Railway station, the beautiful building on your right, and finally arriving at Praça D. Pedro IV, or Rossio, its most popular name.
On your left, you will see the beautiful lightened facade of Theater D. Maria I, where you should stop for a photo!
Spend some time in this square, enjoying the Christmas atmosphere, the Christmas Market that will be there until December 22nd and take a selfie with your family by Rossio Christmas tree.
2) From Rossio to Praça do Comércio (750m)
From Rossio, I walked to Confeitaria Nacional to have a cup of coffee with a pastel de nata (the Portuguese custard tart). Unfortunately, the store had just closed as it was already past 8pm. It was a pity because Confeitaria Nacional is one of those traditional stores filled with history and many delicacies! It is worth a visit! I had to keep on my way to Praça do Comércio, going to Rua Augusta.
Rua Augusta, the most crowded street in Baixa Pombalina, got gorgeous Christmas lights which change colours, from yellow, blue, green, purple and red. I compare the atmosphere of Rua Augusta to the one in Copacabana sidewalk in Rio de Janeiro, not only for the number of tourists but also for the street artists making their performances to earn some cash. Dancers, musicians, human statues, you can see a little bit of everything there.
Experience the joyful atmosphere but don’t forget to take care of your belongings. Many pickpockets take advantage of the crowds to rob distracted tourists.
Have special attention to your children too! At this time of the year, this region gets even more crowded, so hold your little ones’ hands so that they don’t get lost.
On this street, you will find Casa Portuguesa dos Pastéis de Bacalhau, where you can taste the delicious pastel de bacalhau filled with the Serra da Estrela cheese. Make your order at the cashier and take your pastel de bacalhau. If you have time, take a seat on the mezzanine floor. It is usually more peaceful than the tables outside the store on Rua Augusta.
After walking under Rua Augusta Arch, I finally reached my second goal, Praça do Comércio and its 30-meter high Christmas tree. This is the place to spend some time, take pictures and enjoy the moment.
The large open space of Praça do Comércio is the perfect place to let kids run around a little bit.
3)From Praça do Comércio to Praça do Município (270m)
I continued my tour to Praça do Município walking along Rua do Arsenal and crossing Rua Áurea.
Praça do Município is not a very popular spot among tourists, but you can’t skip it. This is a charming square where you can observe the stunning Lisbon City Hall building and the interesting geometric pattern of the Portuguese pavement.
The Christmas lights add an extra charm to this square.
Time to accomplish my last goal and reach my final destination: Praça Luís de Camões in Chiado.
4) From Praça do Município to Chiado (750 m)
Baixa Pombalina is a flat region, so the walk until here is quite easy for everyone, even for those pushing strollers or accompanied by elderly people.
But Chiado is set on a higher level, and those with any difficulty in walking might need an extra effort to arrive there. Walk by Rua Nova do Almada but take care with the slippery Portuguese pavement.
One alternative is going up by Rua do Crucifixo and climb the Santo Espírito da Pedreira stairs, which will take you right next to Shopping Armazens do Chiado.
On Rua Garret search for the best angle to capture the beautiful decoration and lights of Armazens do Chiado facade! I’m sure kids will be delighted with the reindeers and all the lights. I was!!!!
Following Rua Garret, the magic level only increases. You will have to control yourself not to stop for a photo every five steps.
Like you, many other tourists will be doing the same, taking a thousand photos, so expect some crowd over here!
And finally, my final destination, the red Christmas ball at Praça Luís de Camões!
Although Chiado decoration is beautiful, I confess I miss the cute Santa Claus from last year.
And you, what did you like most?
Here I finished my stroll. It was already past 9 pm and although I wanted to eat something around here the crowds on the streets made me give up this idea.
Some suggestions for a quick break
Pastelaria Alcoa - R. Garrett 37, 1200-309
Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata - Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108 Lisboa
Amorino Gelato Rua Garrett 49, 1100-203 Lisboa
Some precious tips!
Wear comfortable walking shoes;
Dress adequate clothes! Weather can vary a lot along the day. Check the weather forecast before going out;
Take your cell phone or camera fully charged. You will take a lot of pictures, and you don’t want to take the risk of running out of battery before you finish your walk.
Did you like this tour? So, if you are in Lisbon for Christmas experience this walking tour with your family to see the Christmas lights.
Enjoy your time and Merry Christmas!