Vila Real de Santo António’s massive nativity scene

A massive nativity scene that is displayed each year in the Algarve city of Vila Real de Santo António was our destination today.  Marc and I missed seeing this last year by one day and were determined to see if this time around.   We were not at all disappointed, in fact, we were left a bit speechless with the magnitude.

The 220 sqm scene took more than 40 days and 2500 hours to create.  Work on the tiny figures and individual scenes started a year ago.  It includes over 20 tons of sand, 4 tons of stone powder and 2,500 kilos of cork with almost five thousand figurines on display.

There also is 160 square meters of moss and a giant platform under which all the technical stuff goes on for the animation, water features and illumination. The fun of this Nativity scene is in the mechanical figures and other moving parts.  Birds flying, hoeing, raking, axes, water wheels, chickens bobbing for food, etc..  It was so alive!!  Photos don’t really do it justice but…… are a few to give you an idea.

Well worth the drive.  It’s going to be on until January 6th so we’ll probably take James, Chloe and Henry when they arrive, if interested.

We walked to one of our favourite restaurant finds from last year only to sadly discover it is no longer.  The windows all papered up!  We headed back to the car then onward to another place outside town that we had always said we should stop at!

A full morning and afternoon for us.  We took our time driving home and on arrival, a fire was started to take the humidity out of the room.  A pot of chicken stock is simmering on the stove, the scent is wonderful and Marc broke down and put on some Christmas music for me…………a few days earlier than our agreed timeframe.   He is not a Grinch……..and to prove that…………..


12 thoughts on “Vila Real de Santo António’s massive nativity scene

  1. I am speechless! This Nativity village is simply beautiful!! And, I could smell the piri piri chicken from here! I can’t help thinking about how much Benoît enjoyed having it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We think of Benoit everytime we eat it.


  2. I adore Marc’s styl’n hat 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the great pictures and story.Love

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


  4. Oh wow!!! What a marvelous Nativity scene!! The work that had to have gone into it is amazing. I LMAO @ the toilet with a person ON IT!!! LOL They really went all out. What a treat to be there in person and see it.

    I love to see the old chimney still sitting there. Someone has a heart to have kept it.
    The decorated lamp is beautiful.

    Oh myyyy, those homemade chips look wonderful. Some of those and that peri peri chicken would be great right about now.

    LOLOL @ Marc in the hat. He should get it!

    Love and Hugs,


    1. Did you notice that right next t the man in the outhouse is a man peeing on the tree? LOL. It was all quite spectacular.


      1. No! I didn’t see that, I’ll have to go look now. LOL


  5. Wow! The nativity creation is nothing short of phenomenal! I would have loved to have seen it…really appreciated videos on FB. So sacred in parts, so real in each scene, illustrates the joy, simplicity and gifts of an amazing people! Loved it…thanks for your attention to detail! The toilet…Ha!Ha!
    The architecture, the doors, food of Portugal are getting closer every day!
    Now that Marc has the red pants, and red hat, he’s just in need of a red coat and beard and he could give the guy on the roof top a break for a while! LOL!!!
    I just love this blog! xoxo


    1. Yes, this creation is amazingly true to detail. Did you notice that right next t the man in the outhouse is a man peeing on the tree? LOL. It was all quite spectacular. As for the hat, Marc did not purchase it, just tried it on.


  6. What detail in the various displays! I would have loved to have been there to see it in person.


    1. It’s one of those things you could easily see a few times and still not notice all the detail. We look forward to taking James, Chloe and Henry…….we can get to enjoy it all over again.


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