Yes, the Christmas spirit is in the air in Lisbon and Madrid. Could it be because it’s cold? Could it be because of the Christmas music filling the city centres of the Portuguese and Spanish capitals? Hmm, maybe… But one thing’s for sure: without traditional Christmas lights, this festive period wouldn’t be as magical in any part of the world, and the capitals of the Iberian Peninsula are no exception! Thanks to their history and their long-standing buildings, these cities transform into settings fit for a fairy-tale. Come with us and discover the areas of these two cities where you can best admire their beautiful Christmas lights!
The Tagus reflects a proud city in all its finery
In the Portuguese capital, it’s traditional for over 30 streets to be decorated with Christmas lights fit for the festive period from mid-November to Three Kings’ Day on 6th January. By the river, several decorated areas of the city can be seen reflected in the water, particularly the Praça do Comércio, which is home every year to one of the country’s largest Christmas trees, equivalent in size to a 10-storey building and one of the high points of Lisbon’s Christmas lights.
Avenidas Novas renews its charm at Christmas time
Forming the so-called ‘central axis’ of Lisbon, which stretches down to the square at Marquês de Pombal and the famous Avenida de Liberdade – the frontrunner in this beauty contest of colour and light – the Avenidas Novas area is another of the city’s highlights at this time of year, boasting some of the Lisbon’s most beautiful buildings adorned with lights. From there, the Alvalade neighbourhood is just a stone’s throw away and, in this area, which still preserves a certain 1950s charm, the Avenida de Roma takes on a new glow, running down to the Avenida Almirante Reis and passing through the Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques in a stream of light which flows into the multi-cultural square in Martim Moniz.
The Baixa Lisboeta displays the grandeur of its Christmas decorations
The Baxia Lisboeta and Chiado area undoubtedly ups its shine at Christmas time. Adding to its already unparalleled beauty, this area combines the charm of local businesses with the characteristic beauty of the Christmas spirit, experienced amongst aromas, colours and flavours, all wrapped up in Christmas music. Make sure not to miss the decorations in the Campo de Ourique neighbourhood, either, which adopt a comforting aura, characteristic of this residential area’s welcoming side.
Christmas combined with a light parade in Madrid Río
In Madrid, at this time of year, the scene is similarly magical and inspiring. Multi-coloured lights flood the city from November until Three Kings’ Day, on 6th January, breathing new life into its main tourist attractions. In the midst, there is also a festival to marked the arrival of winter, on 21st December, with a light parade in Madrid Río even before Christmas day which, as we know, is actually celebrated in Spain on 6th January, the last day of the period, which is also the day when families and friends exchange presents.
Multi-coloured lights and shapes reveal an unforgettable city
Decorative lights in Madrid are always a surprise. You can explore Calle Alcalá, from Cibeles fountain to the Puerta de Alcalá, under a sky covered with star-shaped lights, stroll down Calle Serrano, decorated with patterns which reflect the street’s fashionable shops, or be dazzled by the fir-tree decorations in the Red de San Luis, Calle de Fuencarral and Callao and Colón squares. Beyond the main tourist hotspots, you can find lights in a variety of shapes and forms across the city, representing strings, bells and holly, amongst others, and revealing an unforgettable city!
Still wondering whether Christmas is one of the best times of year to explore Lisbon and Madrid? Discover all the magic of Christmas in the Portuguese and Spanish capitals in a tuk tuk. Click here to find out about the tours around Lisbon and Madrid and embark on a real Christmas adventure, straight from the most fantastic of dreams! Be amazed by the beauty of Christmas on the Iberian Peninsula and we promise that you’ll want to do it all over again.