Portugal’s nightlife is exciting and diverse and has something for every taste. So whether you are looking for a quiet meal followed by a stroll on the beach or dancing to the early hours, you will be sure to find it all. You can find every kind of nightlife including activities of a more local nature like folk music where you can get the opportunity to enjoy some traditional Portuguese culture.
Portugal has a pulsating night life and there are a wide range of clubs and discos doing everything from hardcore techno parties to 60s nights. Many clubs don’t open till 23.30 and you can generally party until 6 or 7 in the morning. The dress code is usually quite relaxed although some places don’t like jeans and trainers, so check before you go. It is difficult to say what the most popular clubs are as the hotspots tend to change all the time, and also a lot of smaller clubs come and go every season, so the best thing to do is to ask around or keep your eyes open for flyers and posters. Some big clubs worth mentioning though in the Algarve are Kadoc near Vilamoura and Locomia near Albufeira. In Lisbon the waterfront has become one of the hippest places in the city and the nightclubs Jardim do Tabaco and Lux (partly owned by Hollywood actor John Malkovich) are definitely good places to dance the night away.
The Algarve has a great variety of bars including many Irish and British pubs to cater for the many UK tourists. One of the more well known places for partying and pub crawls is The Strip in Albufeira where you can spend a whole day (and night) going from one bar to the other. Nikki Beach in either Vilamoura or Portimao is another place to go if you like drinks and lounging on a warm summer day and night. Lisbon also has a wide range of bars and clubs. The area of Bairro Alto is a particularly good place to do some bar-hopping and has every type of bar from fancy, sleek establishments to really cosy and relaxing taverns.
Portugal has all kinds of different restaurants from fast food chains to fine dining so whether you fancy casual dining or Michelin star food, you will be able to get your culinary desires fulfilled no matter what area of Portugal you are in. There are obviously also many traditional Portuguese restaurants or traditional food from other countries like India, Germany, Britain, Italy or France and of course, due to the location on the coast, also fish restaurants where you can get the most delicious fresh fish or sea food. The mild climate of the Algarve enables late dinners outside and the best way to find your favourite restaurant is probably to take a stroll along the marina, the beach or the main street of your area and let the smells and menus inspire you.
If you like gambling, Portugal can also provide that kind of entertainment. In the Algarve there are three larger casinos situated in Praia da Rocha, Monte Gordo and Vilamoura. They usually offer different entertainment shows as well as gaming rooms and you can normally indulge yourself till the early hours. Men are generally required to wear jacket and tie and foreign guests will normally be asked to produce their passports upon entry.
If you are in the Lisbon area Casino Lisboa in the city centre or Casino Estoril are the places to go. Casino Estoril is situated at the seaside resort of Estoril near Cascais. The casino, which is part of a large leisure and entertainment complex, is reputedly the biggest in Europe.
In Porto and the North of Portugal you will find Casino da Póvoa and Casino Espinho, both offering everything from slot machines to Black Jack and American roulette.
Folk music and dance
If you want to experience some more traditional Portuguese nightlife, try and find a place where they play authentic fado music or perform the regional folk dancing. The latter is usually performed in accompaniment with acoustic instruments and makes nice entertainment for the evening. If you are in Lisbon, go to the area of Barrio de Alfama or Bairro Alto, both famous neighbourhoods for listening to traditional Fado music and home to some of the finest Fado cafes in the city.
In general, no matter what area you are in, you will be able to find restaurants and bars that regularly have traditional live music or dance. Often the best way to find a place suitable for you is to ask at the local tourist office in your area.