When you are spending your Christmas holidays in Barcelona, do not expect to find snow or frost like in many other European cities. Nonetheless, Barcelona has a unique Christmas spirit with its markets and its own traditions. It is a good option if you want to escape the darkness and cold of northern latitudes.
If you want to buy some typical Catalan Christmas figurines for your nativity scene, go to Fira de Santa Llúcia and get the comical ‘caganer’, a figurine of a person with their pants down, ready to go to the toilet. ‘Caganers’ can have anybody´s face, so might find Obama, Messi or even Trump ones. This market normally takes place in front of the cathedral between the end of November and the 23rd of December.
Another interesting market is Fira de Reis, where you can buy all kinds of toys for the little ones. This market is held on the one of the main streets of the city, Gran Via, and it usually runs from mid-December until the 6th of January.
You are reading this correctly. Barcelona has an outdoors ice skating ring named Bargelona which is open between the 25th of November and the 8th of January and held in La Farga. Although not in the city centre, it is easily accessible by metro. Locals go to practice their ice skating skills in enjoyable weather, making the rest of Europe rather jealous.
Every European city is famous for their lights during this festive period, and Barcelona is no different. Enjoy walking through streets like Passeig de Gràcia or Portal de l’Àngel and getting carried away by the Christmas spirit.
A bit of sport before New Year´s Eve
If you want to take one last shot at embracing a healthy lifestyle before the end of the year, join the popular race “Cursa dels Nassos” on the afternoon of 31st of December. Some people take this race seriously, but others think of it as a way to start New Yea’s Eve celebrations by running in silly costumes. Expect to meet some real-life Pikachus this year.
New Year’s Eve celebrations
Go to the magic fountain (or “font màgica” in Catalan) in Montjuïc Mountain to enjoy a marvellous, colourful display. At 12 o’clock, join in the Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes, representing luck for every month ahead. Concerts are also held here, but don’t expect them to finish late.
Wise Kings parade
The famous Spanish “Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos” parade takes place in the evening of the 5th of January. Adults and kids take to the streets of the city to welcome the Three Wise Men before they bring presents to children at night. Contrary to most of the world, Spanish children receive their Christmas gifts the morning of the 6th of January. The parade goes through the main streets of Barcelona with loud music playing, sweets thrown from various floats. It is entertainment for all ages.