Dazzling fireworks, spellbinding fado shows, scenic river cruises: this is how to ring in the New Year, Lisbon style

Culminating in a crescendo of popping espumante corks, New Year’s Eve in Lisbon is nothing short of spectacular. On the broad sweep of the Praça do Comércio, the atmosphere is electric as fireworks bloom across the night sky, while in Alfama, cosy fado bars offer a more intimate way to celebrate. From romantic river cruises to theatrical gala dinners, discover the loveliest ways to ring in the New Year in Lisbon.

Watch Fireworks Light Up The Skies

Each year before the stroke of midnight, thousands gather on the elegant expanse of the Praça do Comércio to marvel at a dazzling display of fireworks. This legendary square has been the centre of Lisbon life for centuries and there’s nowhere better to immerse yourself in the heart of local spirit. At 10pm, live local bands start up, rousing anticipation for the countdown. Then, as the clock strikes 12, a shimmering phantasmagory of colour lights up the night, twinkling high above the plaza’s commanding Rua Augusta Arch and Tagus River.

Soak Up The Sounds Of Fado

Nostalgic and evocative, fado is Portugal’s signature sound. Songs of love, loss and longing have been plucked from guitar strings in Lisbon’s characterful, dimly lit cellar bars and tiny restaurants since the 18th century. Lisboans love catching a local performance any time of year, but at New Year’s Eve, special shows take place in the Portuguese capital’s finest fado venues. Clube de Fado in Alfama, and O Faia and Café Luso in Bairro Alto are some of the best. Savour a delicious thick hunk of bacalhau, the local salted cod, as you enjoy a performance.

Glide Out Across The Tagus

There’s no better front-row seat for the fireworks than on the River Tagus. Step aboard a river cruise to witness the New Year celebrations as you sail up the wide river mouth that splices the city in two. Witness Lisbon’s iconic landmarks, such as Belém Tower and the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, beautifully illuminated against the night sky. Most New Year’s Eve river cruises include a sumptuous dinner and drinks, with plenty of on-board musical entertainment as an elegant soundtrack to the evening.

Enjoy A Night Of Dinner And Dancing

For a theatrical New Year’s Eve party of epic proportions, Corinthia Lisbon puts on a glittering annual New Year’s Eve gala to see out the year in style. Inspired by a unique theme every year, the all-singing, all-dancing evening of spectacular entertainment stars a host of incredible performances from singers, dancers and acrobats. The extravaganza launches in the evening with a cocktail reception and continues with a decadent gala dinner alongside sensational acts, with music and dancing seeing guests well into the early hours.

Eat 12 Raisins

A unique Portuguese tradition, eating 12 raisins one by one at each stroke of the clock—representing the 12 months to come—is the customary way to usher in the next year. The Portuguese believe the tradition brings prosperity and luck. Wherever you happen to spend New Year’s Eve in Lisbon, you’ll find bowls of raisins everywhere you look, so have a handful ready for when the bells start to chime.