A Self-Guided Map of Porto’s Christmas Lights in 2022
by Lana Katsaros and Bernardo Henriques
If you are wondering where to find a self-guided Christmas walking tour of Porto, you are in the right place. Below is a Porto walking tour, mapped out for those seeking a do-it-yourself tour of the Christmas lights, decor and festivities around the city.
Christmas across Europe is going to be a little different this year. With an increased sensitivity towards effectively using energy, many countries have posed strict energy consumption guidelines, and that restriction includes Christmas lights.
Portugal is no exception but fear not! Porto will be celebrating with the typical, enchanting Christmas decor and there will be plenty of places to stroll and get lost in the magic of it all. Though Portugal's major cities will participate in the merriment, there will be just a few minor edits regarding how long the lights stay on each night and the stretch of weeks the lights will be available to view will be limited by just a little.
Where can you see Christmas lights in Porto?
Firstly, keep in mind that in 2022 the lights will be available between November 30th and January 6th at the following times:
Sunday to Thursday from 18:00 until 23:00,
Friday and Saturday, on holiday eve as well as on Christmas day and New Year’s Eve from 18:00 until 24:00,
This 2.5km self-guided Christmas light tour of Porto takes about 2 hours to complete if you do not make any stops.
Main spots on the walking tour:
1. São Bento Railway Station
2. Praça Almeida Garrett
3. Praça da Liberdade
4. Clérigos Promenade
5. Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes
6. Avenida dos Aliados
8. Rua de Santa Catarina
9. Praça da Batalha
10. Rua 31 de Janeiro
1. This Christmas lights walking tour starts at São Bento Railway Station, considered as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world and the only one in Europe that has more visitors than passengers! The station was opened in 1916 and the atrium is covered by a magnificent set of 20 thousand azulejo tiles designed by Jorge Colaço. The evening is the ideal time to visit in contrast to the restless movement of passengers and tourists during the day.
2. Outside the station admire the lights on Praça Almeida Garrett.
3. Walk north and then west past Praça da Liberdade towards Clérigos Tower, the 18th century ex-libris of Porto and the tallest building in the city, 75m above the ground and finished in 1763.
4. The Clérigos Promenade in front is all lit-up! Crossing the Promenade you will pass in front Lello Bookstore with its stunning Art Nouveau style façade from 1881 and named as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
5. Continue to Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, a square that is decorated for your enjoyment.
6. Then, walk along Rua da Fábrica towards Avenida dos Aliados. This is where the people of Porto often meet to celebrate occasions. But before you venture too far, warm up inside the famous Café Guarany (established in 1933) for a rest and some warmth. Towards the top of this large avenue, there’s what some may consider the biggest attraction: 30 meter high tree dressed in 31,600 lights and flanked with new animated light technology.
7. From here, and heading north towards the Mercado do Bolhão area, you will see some of the most emblematic historic shops in the city: Casa Januário (a delicatessen from 1926), Santos & Irmãos (a frame workshop from 1858), O Pretinho do Japão (a grocery from 1950), Casa Natal (a grocery from 1900), A Favorita do Bolhão (a grocery from 1934) and Casa dos Linhos (an embroidery from 1860).
8. Turn right at the beautiful Capela das Almas, a chapel built in the 18th century and externally decorated in 1929 with 16 thousand tiles (azulejos), and walk into the lit-up and busy Rua de Santa Catarina, the main pedestrian shopping street in Porto. Here, international stores coexist with Art Nouveau gems, such as Pérola do Bolhão (a grocery from 1917), Majestic Café, from 1921 and one of the most beautiful in the world or Reis & Filhos (a jewellery from 1880).
9. Upon reaching the beautiful Church of Santo Ildefonso, built in the early 18th century with a façade covered in tiles designed by Jorge Colaço, head south right next to Praça da Batalha. This is a great stop along your walking tour, especially if you are walking with children. Among the 40-stall market, you will find lots of Christmas lights and merriment, entertainment for children, and a place to rest and have a drink or snack. You can also easily view the gorgeous Santo Ildefonso Church from the square.
10. Head back towards the Church of Santo Ildefonso and turn left into Rua 31 de Janeiro, back to the beginning of the walk. This street is all lit-up and you will be passing by more historical shops including Machado Joalheiros (a jewellery from 1880) and Casa Vicent (a Art Nouveau gem from 1914).
Porto’s Christmas lights map
Other spots worth visiting:
11. Largo do Padrão
12. República Square
13. Rua de Miguel Bombarda
14. Palácio de Cristal Gardens
15. The Streets of Boavista
11. Largo do Padrão is a square known for it’s holiday cheer. In just a seven minute walk, you can enjoy even more of the 2.5 million lights on display. It’s a straight shot to get there from Batalha Square.
12. República Square typically hosts a flea market, but abd during this time it will be all lit up and hosting open air vendors for the holidays.
13. Porto has a new festive focus this year for Christmas: Palácio de Cristal Gardens.
The gardens will host a plethora of activities for old and young alike. A snow tent will be taking residence on the grounds, along with workshops, music and theatre shows, Santa himself, and of course plenty of lights, decor and shopping.
14. A short walk north from Palácio de Cristal Gardens to Rua de Miguel Bombarda and you will be in the creative district known as the city's most artistic quarter. Rua de Miguel Bombarda will delight you with unique, alternative offerings. Most Christmas activity happens on the intersection with Rua da Boa Nova.
15. Get lost in the lit streets of the Boavista neighborhood. This area has become sort of a downtown during the non-holiday months. During Christmas time, one can weave the charming streets that intertwine homes and shopping into one cohesive and cozy neighborhood.
Related Blog Article: A Self-Guided Map of Lisbon’s Christmas Lights in 2022