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Advent calendar

by Sandra Nobre


Are you counting the days to Christmas? How about making the most of the time and starting shopping and making preparations now? Making a calendar could help. One task a day would do you good! With time, you can choose better, save more and surprise people with your originality.




The traditional neighbourhood markets are complemented at this time of year by the Christmas markets, which are sprouting like mushrooms in Lisbon and Porto. At traditional markets, you can buy dried fruits, spices and sweets - now is a good time to buy things for a food hamper, especially when they are regional products, flowers and aromatic herbs closer to Christmas itself, or merchandising, such as cloth bags, tiles and other curios; at Christmas markets, you can find ideas for jewellery, illustration, design, decoration and fashion, where the focus is more on handicrafts and local artists, or antiques and knick-knacks. At either market, you are sure to find a more sustainable and meaningful gift. It may be hard to contain your urge to shop, but it’s nothing that a shopping list can't solve.



. .. In Lisbon

At the Lisbon Timeout Market, you can also use vouchers for the Cookery School, for "people who don't know how to fry an egg" or those who think they are "Michelin-starred chefs". The vouchers are valid for six months and you can book online at Ticketline. There's no excuse for anyone to stay away from the cooker.
Avenida 24 de Julho – every day -

Mercado Crafts & Design features artists’ ideas and new brands with their own identity; for those who like to combine novelty and creativity.
Jardim da Estrela – 3&4 and 17&18 Dec.; first weekend of the month, except in January

. .. In Porto


The recently reopened Bolhão Market has a merchandising shop with some irresistible items: from posters made from aluminium composite board, by Projeto Ruído, alluding to the themes "Memory" and "Tradition", to the Flora e Mercúrio tiles, inspired by the two statues at the entrance to the market, by painter and illustrator Pedro Podre.
Rua Formosa, 322 – Closed Sundays and Public Holidays –

Porto Belo Market

This is a classic, where you can find vinyl, old books, second-hand clothes, handmade soaps and traditional toys. While you're looking for "the" present, you're guaranteed a trip back in time to the 20th century - yes, it was a few years ago now...
Praça Carlos Alberto - Every Saturday




Ding Dong

This is somewhere that makes you feel at home, even if it looks like a five-star hotel (Lisbon) or an industrial loft (Porto). The procession of exclusive brand items is a feast for the eyes. And if you think everything is expensive, think again! There are small decorative pieces that are affordable and will make all the difference as a set. The brand recently launched its own line of scents and candles for the home, with hints of wood, fig, sandalwood and lilies, one of those gifts that you could give to (almost) every adult on your shopping list.

Rua da Imprensa à Estrela, 17, Lisbon
Rua Roberto Ivens, 44, Matosinhos
Closed Sundays –




A mysterious apothecary devised a brand that has been handed down to the present day, containing the same essence: natural beauty recipes, produced by hand in Portugal. The results have created a cult around Benamôr and some of its products, such as the miraculous face cream, Laranjinha, the energising hand cream, the rosemary-based purifying foot cream or the micellar rose water. Each shop has its own identity built around a range of products, with a delightful mix of colours and aromas.

Rua da Escola Politécnica, 8 / Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 20A – Lisbon
Rua das Flores, 43 r/c
Every day


Stores that are little treasure chests

In business since the days when ox carts climbed Clérigos hill and Rabelo boats brought the wine down river, Fernandes, Mattos & Ca., Lda. - Fábrica e Armazém das Carmelitas, in Porto, started out as a draper’s. Since 1886, the business has reinvented itself while retaining the atmosphere and original architecture and continuing in the hands of the same family. It's like entering an old attic where everything is a pleasant surprise and will bring a smile, including traditional toys, Portuguese brands, ornaments and contemporary articles with a vintage design. And socks, of course, for the more classic gift-giver.

Fernandes, Mattos & Ca., Lda. – Fábrica e Armazém das Carmelitas
Rua das Carmelitas, 108, Porto –

With its contemporary feel, Banema Studio provokes a similar surprise reaction with its selection of fragrances, candles, blankets, decorative cushions, ceramics, books, stationary and games. A gift for everyone is one that relieves those moments of boredom, games that have 52 challenges for the family, to attempt at the dining table or to spark the imagination by using mime. A treat.

Banema Studio
Rua Coelho da Rocha, 27C, Lisbon or Rua Adolfo Casais Monteiro, 123, Porto
Online store:




Jogos Santa Casa

If you wish your partner all the luck in the world, you can take the idea literally. This is a gift whose effect may multiply... or remain just a good intention. A bet on the Euromillions lottery costs €2.50 and on Totoloto just €0.80; the prize may be much higher. And there is also the classic Christmas lottery, for €15.00 a punt. It's a good last-minute bet and they also come with a gift envelope.





Christmas is not complete without chocolate. Arcádia has been keeping the tradition alive since 1933 and, in addition to the sweets, candies and cat's tongues that made it famous, there are also snowmen, holly, pine trees and Christmas stars in delicious packages, with the tradition continuing in the recipes and manufacturing process. Oh, and there is a limited edition Advent Calendar box of chocolates with 24 flavours for the next 24 days; what better way to start the countdown?

Rua da Misericórdia, 72, Lisbon
Rua do Almada, 63, Porto


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