Are you going to celebrate Christmas in Barcelona this year? Great, here is a complete guide with all the activities for 2015/2016.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Barcelona and Catalonia
Usually Northern European cities like Berlin, Vienna or Prague are famous for their Christmas spirit, snowy streets, beautiful markets and events. However if you love sun, warmth and southern vibe, why not spend winter holidays in Catalonia? It has a lot to offer in summer, but in winter it is much less crowded, still warm (Barcelona weather Christmas ranges around +10/+15 during the day) and incredibly sunny. Not to mention plenty of entertainment choices in the city and all around the region. If there is one thing you won’t be able to do in Barcelona at Christmas is to make a snowman. But isn’t it good for a change?
Christmas markets in Barcelona
Markets in Barcelona are as marvellous as in any other big city. There are 3 big traditional Christmas markets and countless number of small and alternative ones for every taste.
Top 3 big markets:
- Fira de Santa Llúcia
The biggest and most popular market in the city. An absolute must-visit! Takes place next to the Cathedral of Barcelona from 27 November until 23 December 2015.
- Mercado de Navidad de la Sagrada Familia
Enjoy the Christmas shopping while admiring the architectural miracle of Gaudi. Everything you need to decorate your home for holidays and much more. Make sure to bring the kids, there is something special for everyone there. From 28 November until 23 December 2015.
- Feria de Reyes de la Gran Via
With more than 160 stalls along the busy street you will definitely find what you are looking for. Delicious food, artisan products, toys and gifts just to name a few. From 18 December 2015 to 6 January 2016, opening hours 11:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 21:00 h.
HIPERMERC’ART by MORITZ 2015 – 1 December until 10 January 2016
The biggest Christmas art fair in Barcelona featuring small format works.
Where: M-Store de la Fábrica Moritz
PALO ALTO MARKET – 5 and 6 December 2015
Barcelona’s favourite market among the young, the hip and all those who love gourmet good, design pieces, cool clothes and music. Best to visit during the day to enjoy the sun.
Where: c/dels Pellaires, 13. Price: 3 EUR.
GIVE PRINT A CHANCE – 5 December 2015, 10h to 21h
Art gallery Print Workers Barcelona organises the 2nd edition of this market dedicated to unique prints: serigraphy, letterpress and risography. More than 25 local and foreign artists will present their works. If you are crazy about design, typography and printed art – it is your place to go.
EL FESTIVALET – 12 and 13 December 2015
Market for artisans and small companies. Great place for buying one of a kind handmade gifts.
Where: Museo Maritimo, Drassanes. Price: 1 EUR.
FANTASTIC BARCELONA – 12 and 13 December 2015
Showroom by EtsyBCN founders. More than 60 small shops and artists are participating and offering everything you can imagine from personalized wallets to eco toys. As always creative, innovative and cool. Free admission and activities.
Where: Main building of Universidad de Barcelona
LOST & FOUND Market –12 and 13 December 201
Announced as “Vintage and second hand curated treasures” this market takes place in the beautiful and spacious Estación de Francia train station.
EL ZAPATO ROJO – 19 and 20 December 2015
10th edition of this market will gather as usual the best fashion, interior and graphic designers in Barcelona. Special play area for the kids, DJ sets and performance are on the agenda.
Christmas Activities in Barcelona
First thing you can do in Barcelona at Christmas is to enjoy the beautiful evening lights – the whole city is illuminated welcoming festive spirit from 27 November 2015 until 6 January 2016.
“Hello, Christmas” in Plaça Catalunya – 19 December 2015 until 4 January 2016
Celebrate a different kind of Christmas in the heart of Barcelona. Winter solstice festival will convert the main city square in a huge stage for performances, workshops, concerts, exhibitions and plenty of magic. Check the full schedule and times here.
Christmas in Poble Espanyol – 19 and 20 December 2015
Come with the kids to the Spanish Village, El Poble Espanyol, in all its traditional Christmas splendour to see the navity scene performance, concerts, workshops and visit the Papa Noel’s (Santa Claus) big house to hand in the letter in person!
New Year’s Eve Countdown – 31 December 2015, 21:30h
The main celebration takes place around the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. No words can describe the festive atmosphere, fun, music, light show and the fireworks. It might be the best New Year’s Eve you have ever had.
Arrival of the 3 Kings – 5 January 2016, 18:00 – 21:00h
As every year the Magic Kings will arrive in Barcelona in a cortege along with magic creatures, surprises and tons of sweets for everyone. They will deliver the presents for kids which are opened on 6 of December in the morning. It is a spectacular parade with music, lights and decoration: even if you don’t have kids make sure to come to one of the big streets, it is worth seeing.
Christmas Traditions in Barcelona
Nativity Scene in Pl. Sant Jaume – 27 November until 6 January 2016
Wonderful Christmas interactive installation recreating the scene of birth of Jesus full of magic. Visit the square to discover the origins of this holiday, it will fascinate adults and kids alike.
Opening hours: 10h to 21h daily
You cannot have a nativity scene without a caganer. A character only found in nativity scenes in Catalonia and the Valencia region. Putting one of these figures in the scene is believed to bring good luck. The caganer’s fame is such that, these days he is given the face of famous people in the news and people from the world of entertainment. Peculiar, weird, surprising, you name it, we agree. But still fun!
This Catalan tradition might appear strange at the first sight, but kids absolutely love it. “According to tradition, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we have to start feeding the Christmas Tió, a magic log that poos presents on Christmas Eve, although he might poo coal if the children have behaved badly!”
In Barcelona you can see how the whole thing with the magic log Tió works daily from 28 November until 16 December in the Cathedral square from 10:30 – 13:30 Monday to Saturday, and 10:30 till 13:30, 16:30 till 19:00h Sundays and public holidays. For children under 12 years old to participate. Free of charge.
On 25 December in Catalunya it is usual to get together with family and loved ones to enjoy a festive meal, which usually includes pasta shell soup, escudella, and the typical sweets: turrons and neules, among other delicious treats.
The Feast of St. Stephen, as known in Barcelona, is another day for getting together with relatives, especially those you didn’t spend Christmas Day with, and savouring the typical St. Stephen’s cannelloni.
It is typical at Christmas for theatres of all sizes to put on Els pastorets. This stage production, which dates back to the 17th century, combines scenes from the birth of Jesus with a dispute between angels and devils.
HOLY INNOCENTS’ DAY
Holy Innocents’ Day, when practical jokes and pranks can catch you by surprise at every turn, is held on 28 December every year. In many countries it is celebrated in April and known as April’s fool day, but Catalunya proudly holds this tradition. Beware and watch your back!
The countdown to the end of the year is marked by the last twelve chimes which are eagerly followed by everyone. As each chime sounds everyone eats a grape – and some are wearing red underwear. For luck, of course.
FIRST SWIM OF THE YEAR
A relatively new tradition dating back to a couple of decades, the first swim of the year has been part of Barcelona’s start-of-the-year rituals. It is a way of entering the New Year through sport, health and energy. This collective plunge into the Mediterranean, only for those unafraid of winter sea temperatures, is usually held at midday on 1 January. Grab your towel and a thermos with hot tea!
THE THREE KINGS FROM THE EAST
Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar are the Three Kings from the East who, on 5 January go from house to house to bring presents to all the children who previously had written them a letter. Traditionally the presents are opened on 6 January, known as Kings’ Day, in the morning. These three characters are inspired by the magi or wise men who took presents to the infant Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament.
Barcelona at Christmas is an enchanting, magical place among the best in Europe to visit during the holidays with its own traditions and celebrations. Come to Barcelona, and BLL Concierge will make sure to organise an unforgettable holiday for you and your family.
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