12 Things to Do in Porto in December

Historical and gastronomic tours, skating rinks, plans for the last night of the year... Discover all that Portugal's second largest city has to offer during December.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

12 Things to Do in Porto in December

Inside the Porto Christmas tree | ©Eduardo Vales

Although December is the winter season, during your visit you will find many things to do in Oporto. You can enjoy cultural, recreational and gastronomic activities. In addition, you have many options to enjoy the nightlife in the city. Everything will depend on your interests.

During your tour through the streets of Porto you will find several skating rinks for you to enjoy an experience on ice, as well as Christmas markets where you can buy souvenirs and souvenirs. You can also attend circus shows and silent movies, which only take place in December, taste wine and enjoy traditional food.

1. Enjoy the illumination and learn about Porto's history by taking a night tour

By night at Christmas| ©Pete Eaton
By night at Christmas| ©Pete Eaton

If you want to make the most of your 3-day visit to Porto in December, you should incorporate a night tour of the city into your itinerary. With this tour you will learn about the history hidden in the squares and monuments of this city while enjoying the beautiful Christmas decorations and hundreds of colorful lights in the streets.

To do this activity you can join a night tour, in which an experienced local guide will take you on foot or by bike through the main streets of Porto. You will get to know the historical sites and fashionable places and discover the best Christmas decorations.

But, if you prefer to do the tour at your own pace, then a good option is to hop on one of Porto's tourist buses. You will have the chance to get off at the sites that catch your attention, explore them, take pictures and resume the route on another bus.

Christmas celebration atmosphere

In any of the cases you will see giant illuminated letters with words such as Family, Love, Porto, Festa, among others.

Also, in the Aliados Square, you will find a huge Christmas tree with a height of 30 meters and you will enjoy a pleasant atmosphere of celebration.

Certainly, it is an activity that can not miss among the 10 things to do in Oporto with children.

Book a tour on the tourist bus

2. Taste the Port wine in a tasting session

Taylor's House| ©Taylor D
Taylor's House| ©Taylor D

During your visit to Oporto in December you can't miss tasting one of the exquisite wines produced in the city. The recommended serving temperature for these wines is between 6 and 12ºC, so the cold weather of the year is a good opportunity to do a tasting and enjoy the varied notes of this drink of the gods.

In this sense, you will be able to visit some wineries on your own, such as Casa Taylor's, considered one of the oldest in the city and producer of various styles of Port wine. There, between 10:00 and 19:00 hours, you will have the opportunity to do several tastings and taste some cheeses.

But, if you prefer a more intimate and complete activity, you can opt for one of these interesting options:

Book your visit to a winery

3. Climb the Clérigos Tower and enjoy a night view of the city at Christmas time

Clérigos Tower| ©Fran Gonzales
Clérigos Tower| ©Fran Gonzales

Visiting the Clérigos Tower during this winter month is a good opportunity to admire the urban panorama at Christmas, which, after 6:00 p.m., is illuminated and offers an attractive visual spectacle. At 76 meters high, the building is considered the tallest tower in the city.

After climbing the 225 steps you will reach the top of the bell tower and see a close-up view of the Clérigos church, as well as a privileged view of the entire city. You can also take the opportunity to enter the building's exhibition hall and admire a permanent exhibition of clothing, furniture and paintings from the 18th to the 19th century.

Since the Clérigos Tower is an emblem of the city, it is an obligatory stop on the various tours that bring you closer to its history. I recommend you book a guided tour of Porto or purchase a place on a bike tour to get to know the details of this magnificent building.

Useful information

  • Price: from 6€ per person.
  • When: every day (9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
  • Where: Clérigos Tower.

Book a guided tour of Porto

4. Enjoy New Year's Eve in Oporto

Cruise around Porto| ©Cayetano Gros
Cruise around Porto| ©Cayetano Gros

If you plan to spend New Year's Eve in this coastal city, you will have several options to have fun: cruises on the Oporto River, parties in the middle of the street or in discos until dawn, or you can opt for a quieter evening on the terrace of a bar or restaurant. You can also opt for a quieter evening on the terrace of a bar or restaurant.

You can go to the following streets:

  • Avenida Dos Aliados: this is the favorite meeting point for locals and tourists. There, you will enjoy the countdown, a fireworks show, surprise artists and DJs.
  • The Ribeira or Galerias de Paris: this is an area composed of several streets where you will find bars and nightclubs with free admission.

But if you want to celebrate New Year's Eve in a quieter and less noisy way, you can go to one of the terraces of Ribeirinha, where you can enjoy a traditional menu while watching the fireworks coming from the Avenida Dos Aliados.

Book a cruise on the Douro River

5. Get excited with a fado show

Fado|©Dave Coombs
Fado|©Dave Coombs

Fado is a typical Portuguese musical genre that stands out for its great emotionality and expressiveness. Each performance is unique, because the artists usually improvise and add personal nuances to the interpretations, which are accompanied by Portuguese guitar and classical guitar.

Take shelter from the winter cold enjoying a fado show that will give you goose bumps while you enjoy a glass of port wine is a plan that you can not miss. I assure you that you will be thrilled.

In addition, this show, which by the way is considered intangible cultural heritage of humanity, is performed in an intimate way, so you can even interact with the musicians and live a much closer experience.

Book a ticket for a Fado show

6. Get out of Porto and discover other areas of Portugal

Aveiro, Portugal|©Bradclin Photography
Aveiro, Portugal|©Bradclin Photography

Portugal is a country that hides many charms: its gastronomy, its people, its music, its beautiful language... and, undoubtedly, its buildings and nature.

If you are going to be in Porto for a sufficient number of days or if you already know the area and want to explore more, here are some ideas that are perfect for December, because the temperatures are not extremely cold and you will not find crowds or overcrowding:

  • Book a trip to Aveiro from Porto: the city of Aveiro is known as the Portuguese Venice because of its canals. In addition, the bright colors and tiles of its houses and buildings will not leave you indifferent. This tour also includes a ride on a traditional "moliceiro" boat.
  • Book an excursion to Braga and Guimarães: on this 9-hour tour you will get to know two of the most beautiful cities in northern Portugal with spectacular historic centers. The tour includes a typical Portuguese lunch.
  • Book an excursion to the Douro Valley: this 9-hour excursion includes a boat trip on the Douro River, a visit to 2 wineries with tasting in each one and a delicious lunch. A unique opportunity to contemplate the spectacular nature of the Portuguese Douro.
  • Book an excursion to the Peneda-Gerês National Park: you have the opportunity to visit the only national park in Portugal, a spectacle for the senses full of idyllic landscapes, waterfalls, valleys, viewpoints, massifs, meadows...

Book a trip to Aveiro from Porto

7. Come to a skating rink and enjoy this fun activity in December

Skating rink in Porto| ©Fran Gonzales
Skating rink in Porto| ©Fran Gonzales

If you are an ice skating enthusiast or just want to do something different during your stay in the city, you will be interested to know that the month of December is full of winter activities in Porto.

Among other things, you will find some skating rinks installed in the main squares of this town.

  • Battle Square: every year they set up a skating rink with lights, decorations, skate rental and music. It is an ideal environment for adults and children. In addition, this square has a church with interesting mosaics, while in the surroundings you will find some restaurants and historic buildings.

  • Mouzinho Albuquerque Square and D. Joao I Square: every day in December and until the first week of January, there are rinks open between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm approximately, although these schedules may change annually and depending on the installation visited.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 3,5€ per person.
  • When: from December 1 to the first week of January.
  • Where: Battle Square, Mouzinho Albuquerque Square and D. Joao I Square.

8. Visit the Christmas markets in Oporto in December

Artesanatus Market| ©Wells T
Artesanatus Market| ©Wells T

Christmas markets are a good option if you don't know what to see and do in Porto in 4 days or more. You will find this series of stalls distributed all over the city, all of them, with many things to buy: handicrafts, street food, textiles, souvenirs, etc.

  • Artesanatus Market. one of the main markets of the city, is located in D. Joao I Square and gathers dozens of artisans from the different regions of Portugal.
  • Natal de Matosinhos Market, in the Basilio Teles Park, from mid-November to mid-December.
  • Arts and Crafts Market, on Dom Afonso Henriques Avenue. During the whole month of December you will find decorations and textiles.
  • Serralves Natal Market, installed in Serralves Park during the first week of December.
  • WOW Natal Market, are markets that remain open until the first week of January at the WOW Museum. Ideal if you are also going to be in Oporto in January and want to take advantage of discounts on products purchased.

There are also some intermittent Christmas markets, which you can find on weekends, such as the Christmas Design Market outside the Crystal Palace, among others.

Information of interest

  • Price: free admission.
  • When: last week of November until the first week of January.
  • Where: D. Joao I Square, Basilio Teles Park, Serralves Park, WOW Museum, Crystal Palace, among other places in the city.

9. Enjoy silent movies with live music during the month of December in Oporto

Cinema Trindade| ©Tiago Resen
Cinema Trindade| ©Tiago Resen

In your visit to Oporto during the month of December you will find really interesting activities. For example, the silent movies with live music, performed for free in cinemas and churches in the city.

To enjoy this show you can go to Cinema Trindade, Círculo Católico Operário do Porto, Fundação Inatel, Cine Passos Manuel and Casa das Artes. Show times usually vary, so you will have to check the information from the last week of November.

This is certainly an activity that you can incorporate into your itinerary to visit Porto in 2 days if you are in the city during the first half of December.

Useful information

  • Price: free admission.
  • When: the first half of December.
  • Where: Cinema Trindade, Círculo Católico Operário do Porto, Fundação Inatel, Cine Passos Manuel and at Casa das Artes de Porto.

10. Taste the traditional gastronomy of December in Porto

Bolo Rei| ©Mark Atkinson
Bolo Rei| ©Mark Atkinson

During the month of December you will find some traditional foods of this winter season, which you will not be able to taste when visiting Porto in summer or other season of the year.

Therefore, touring the city's pastry shops, cafes and restaurants is a good idea, whether you do it at your own pace or by taking one of the best gastronomic tours in Oporto.

Whichever option you choose, you will find the following meals among the main options:

  • Caldo verde: this is a preparation that combines Galician cabbage, salt, potatoes, garlic and sausage. In addition, it is accompanied with corn flour bread.
  • Papas de sarrabulho: this preparation is originally from Oporto and you can find it in any restaurant you decide to visit. It consists of a soup with ham, cumin, sausage, bread, lemon, chicken, pork and pork blood. It is also typical of December because of the pig slaughtering that takes place during this month.
  • Bolo Rei: this is a sponge cake filled with candied fruit and whose exterior is in the shape of a crown. You can find it in any bakery or café during the whole month of December and until Christmas.
  • Slices: it consists of slices of bread moistened in wine, milk and egg, which are then fried in oil and sprinkled with sugar.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 60€ per person (guided tour).
  • When: every day in December.
  • Where: restaurants, pastry shops and cafes in the city of Porto.

11. Enjoy a circus show at Coliseu Porto Ageas during the second half of December

Coliseu Porto Ageas| ©James D
Coliseu Porto Ageas| ©James D

Every year, in the theater and concert hall "Coliseu Porto Ageas", there is a circus show that merges the real world with the world of illusions. In this way, you will see tightrope walkers, trapeze artists and acrobats on stage and enjoy live music.

The show takes place every day in the second half of December. The schedules usually vary, so you should check all the updated information, just at the beginning of the month, on the official website of Coliseu Porto Ageas.

Each edition offers different surprises: Portuguese circus artists of great worldwide recognition, illusionists, musicians, clowns, parkour, among others. In any case, you should know that you will enjoy a display of talent, amazing pirouettes and a very funny repertoire.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 10€ per person.
  • When: Every day in the second half of December.
  • Where: theater and concert hall: "Coliseu Porto Ageas".

12. Participate in the San Silvestre 10K race during your visit to Porto in December

San Silvestre 10K race| ©george17168
San Silvestre 10K race| ©george17168

If you are in Porto on December 31 and you are a marathon or outdoor walking enthusiast, then don't hesitate for a moment and take part in the annual San Silvestre race.

This is a sporting event with more than 20 years of tradition, which takes place on Avenida dos Aliados.

According to your physical condition, you can choose between a 10K course, known as the family race, or a 6K mini marathon, with no finish line ranking. Ultimately, the goal is to have fun while observing the streets of Porto from another perspective.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 15€ per person.
  • When: December 31st.
  • Where: Avenida dos Aliados.

Temperatures in Porto in December

Christmas in Porto| ©Eduardo Vales
Christmas in Porto| ©Eduardo Vales

December in Porto is not too cold, as the city is very close to sea level. Therefore, it is unlikely to experience a drop in temperature to 0ºC. Nor will you see the thermometer reading 1ºC or more than 13ºC. In fact, the average temperatures range between 10ºC.

The weather in Porto during the winter is characterized by being mild, wet and cold, due to the fact that the city combines an oceanic and Mediterranean climate.

Therefore, in December the temperature usually rises during the day and drops in the evening hours, but it is usually only 1ºC. In addition, this winter period is marked by a lot of wind and rainy days.

What to pack to visit Porto in December?

Luggage| ©Anete Lūsiņa
Luggage| ©Anete Lūsiņa

If you plan to visit the city during this month, you will have to pack clothes that will protect you from the cold: thick coats, long pants, shirts, sweaters and wool or thermal socks, among others.

It is also important to bring waterproof clothing, closed shoes and shoes with good traction. In addition, an umbrella is a must during your visit, since in December there are several rainy days and you do not know at what time of the day precipitation will occur.