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Consider Portugal or Belfast this Christmas

If you’re considering going on an adventure abroad with your family this Christmas, there are lots of cheap flights UK to choose from. Flights to Portugal will take you to an alternative and exotic Christmas on the beach, or fly to Belfast airport in Ireland for some great old-fashioned hearty local food and drink this festive season. Whichever affordable winter destination tickles your fancy, there’s great food, dining and great shopping ready and waiting to be enjoyed.

Portugal’s Algarve is a hot coastal summer destination that’s all too often overlooked during the colder months of the year. If you choose to visit the stunning beachside location this December, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the country’s own Christmas traditions, stylish local hotels, and fine wines and dishes in pleasantly warm temperatures. As Portugal is a Catholic country you can still expect Christmas trees and lights. But some of the local customs and delicacies may surprise and delight you. For instance, why not try Portuguese favourite Barbeito Rainwater red wine Reserva for your Christmas menu?

The Portuguese celebrate the actual day of Christmas on Christmas Eve with a big family dinner of salted cod followed by fried cinnamon bread. This leaves Christmas day open for relaxing. The people in Portugal spend more on their Christmas cards and they are each wrapped individually. This is because the Portuguese exclusively send these valued items to close family members, so don’t be offended if you don’t receive any.

Although you’ll also be hard pressed to track down a traditional mince pie, you can enjoy delicious Algarve-style boxes of marzipan and fig sweets and cakes as a tasty replacement.

However, if you’re looking for a highly conventional take on Christmas, Belfast is the place to go. The Christmas holidays really bring out the best in Ireland, so expect a full-on seasonal celebration. In the run up to the big day you can visit the free Christmas market to indulge in some tasty street food and see Father Christmas in the Victoria Square Winter Wonderland, or you can go shopping at the Christmas Craft Fair in St George’s Market for personalised Christmas cards and handcrafted home decorations.

There is ample top quality local winter produce for you to sample in Belfast’s many restaurants. If you haven’t already been tempted, now is the time to sample Ireland’s finest dishes of soda breads, potato cakes and that iron-rich favourite, Guinness.

If you’re staying on for Christmas day, be sure to visit a local church for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It’s a lively and extremely popular event that unites religious communities with hymns, Bible readings and cheer in abundance. But not to fear if you’re not sticking about, as there will be plenty of carollers singing on the streets in the run up to the big day.

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