Are you in Lisbon on New Year’s Eve?
Le Réveillon, São Silvestre, Passagem de Ano or New Year’s Eve?
No matter what people calls the last day/evening of the year – and no matter where you are – in our opinion it’s over hyped.
Most of the time the ‘party’ never lives up to people’s expectations.
At home our NYE is ‘just another Friday’
We dropped the NYE parties many years ago, Today we either take things as they come or arrange a more ‘upscaled’ dinner party with a few foodie friends. That never fails.
We did the same during our travels many years ago – dropped the parties. When we did, we always ended up feeling like strangers, intruders and/or spectators at other people’s parties. Instead we either book a table at a good restaurant or we plan to be near the fireworks and eat whatever is available. Or both – in case you have good restaurants around the firework.
So if you recognize this situation and feelings, you’ll probably also agree on this: What you really need to know,when you are in a new and ‘unknown’ city on NYE, is where the fireworks are, and then plan accordingly.
So if you find yourself in Lisbon for NYE 2018/19 the following may be useful reading.
Where is the firework?
Like in most other international cities there is one place to be in downtown for the NYE fireworks. In Lisbon this place is Praça do Comércio.
Usually the party starts here on the 29th with music, performances and fun.
On the 31st the program starts around 9 pm with local live acts and fireworks at (surprise!) midnight. After the last BANG the party goes on until early morning with a mix of local rock bands and DJs.
At the time of writing the detailed program is not published. But keep an eye on Visit Lisboa who promises a night to remember.
This event is very popular among the locals.
NOTE: Terreiro do Paço is the closest Metro BUT it usually closes at 10:30 pm – after then the nearest is stations at Cais do Sodré and Baixa-Chiado 5-10 min walk away.
Where to be – if you only want the firework, not the crowd
If you like to get pushed around by a semi stoned crowd with plastic cups of draught beer dressed up for fun, then Praça do Comércio is the place to be.
If you (like us) are too old for that – but still like the ambiance from all the happy people, book a table at one of the many restaurants with outdoor serving at the square. All of them have out-door heaters. This is an expensive solution – but worth it, if you want to be in the middle of everything.
An equally expensive alternative, but away from the crowd, are the roof top restaurants in Lisbon around town (many of the in the international hotels) or on of the restaurants with a view. Our own Via Graca (fine and authentic dining) 2 minutes from Tings is a good option. So is Chapito (Casual and relaxed) only 10 minutes walk from us. Both places have NYE menus.
If you want to stay away from the crowd BUT still want to enjoy the amazing fireworks, it’s all about viewpoints. They are free, lively and (most of them) very local.
The – without doubt – best view is from Cacilhas on ‘the other’ side of Tejo River only 10 minutes by boat from Cais do Sodré. Here you have a lot of seafood restaurants close to the boat (last boat back is usually at 2 pm).
Lisbon’s Miradouros are the perfect solutions for photographers
Other places are Lisbon’s many Miradouros – especially the ones facing south. Castello is amazing and so is our own Miradouro da Senhora do Monte just outside our door (out top photo of Castello is a mobile shot from our NYE 2017). Both are in walking distance from Lisbon’s party neighbourhoods.
At Miradouro Park Eduardo VII at the other end of down town, behind Marquês de Pombal, you get the most fantastic panorama view of all Lisbon with the firework in the back.
NOTE: If you want to go to the Miradouros there are 2 important things to remember. 1) Be there in time – people start arriving around 10:30 pm & 2) Bring your own drinks.
If you don’t care about the fireworks and ‘just’ want a good restaurant
This advice is based on our own experience.
We LOVE food and are very picky when it comes to restaurants – and don’t mind going to places in UBER/taxi distance from downtown.
Like most of the locals, we always make reservations for the late seating. This is the rule-of-thumb except for NYE where even some of the best restaurants close in time for the staff to join the fun. So before making a reservation – make sure that the restaurants make a count-down break and stays open after midnight.
If ýou try to be on the safe side and make an early reservation, and then go to one of the viewpoints after dinner, remember one thing: The whole city wants the same – It’s impossible to get taxis/UBER/trams/buses etc.
So, choose a restaurant in walking distance!
If you don’t want to worry about dinner, drinks, pink wigs and balloons
Like the rest of the world most of Lisbon’s international five star hotel arrange NYE parties. A few years ago we had an excellent dinner at Sheraton’s Panorama – we don’t know if their kitchen is still good – but the view may be the best in town.
We have never attended any of these NYE parties and really can’t recommend any of them. Check out the 5 Star hotel’s websites for information.
The local NYE events are a more exotic alternative to the five star hotels
The all included NYE mega parties that happen every year may be a good alternative if you don’t want to worry about anything.
We would never dream of going there ourselves, BUT we are 100 % sure that it’s fun – especially if you are a group of friends.
These events below are the ones that pops-up when we ask around.
… All About Lisbon has a list with more events.
What we will do this year?
In case you want to know. We either book a table at a good restaurant or spend the whole day cooking our own dinner.
See you in 2019 – if not before 🙂
Annette & Thomas