The countdown begins: 12 plans for Christmas in Barcelona to complete your wishlist.
Do you want to find out why Christmas in Barcelona is so amazing? Well, here's a spoiler: the city is transformed into a big showcase of things to do that will leave you speechless, including street music performances, food and local sweet treats, Christmas lights and a spectacular show to usher in the New Year after the 12 chimes of midnight. By the way, 12 is the magic number that will guide us on our countdown featuring the 12 reasons that will persuade you to come and experience Christmas in Barcelona. Shall we begin?
12: FEEL THE THRILL OF THE SUSTAINABLE AND SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
The Christmas spirit really begins to take hold of Barcelona on 24th November when the Christmas lights are switched on. This is a special date for Barcelonians when more than 4 km of lights illuminate the city's streets and squares. Look up and thrill to the unique and sustainable designs (all of them energy efficient) that will light up the nights in Barcelona. The city's most magnificent boulevard, Passeig de Gràcia, celebrates its bicentenary this year, and to mark the occasion, this Christmas, the centrepiece will be a replica of the star on top of the spire of the Virgin Mary at the Sagrada Família.
11: VISIT BARCELONA'S CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND FAIRS: THRILLING HISTORY AND TRADITIONS
Barcelona's Christmas markets and fairs are truly charming and a visit will immerse you in an unforgettable experience! Buying a tree is a tradition, but the most fun part is to browse the different stalls and choose from a wide variety of typical Christmas items, from the smiley Christmas log, known as a tió, and figures for the crib to the funny little pooping character, the caganer. But where's the best place to start? You can't miss the Fira de Santa Llúcia, in front of Barcelona Cathedral, which is the city's oldest and most popular Christmas fair. The Fira de la Sagrada Família in front of the basilica, becomes an amazing Christmas scene. There is also a Christmas fair on the waterfront in the old harbour, the Port Vell, featuring a tree with LED lights, a floating nativity scene and a big wheel as its centrepiece. The Epiphany fair, the Fira de Reis, on Gran Via, gives you the opportunity to browse the stalls selling costume jewellery, decorative items, ceramics, sweets, churro fritters, toys… and on the eve of Epiphany, 5th January, it stays open until midnight!
10. EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL THAT FILLS THE STREETS WITH MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
In Barcelona, you'll never get bored at Christmas because the streets, markets and squares are packed with activities for everyone. You'll be spoilt for choice! Theatre, painting workshops, building games, music and concerts, urban and digital art, opera, a season of more than 100 concerts and performances…
The city stages all kinds of concerts throughout the Christmas season, ranging from classical music at iconic venues like the opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the concert halls, the Palau de la Música Catalana and L'Auditori, to traditional Christmas carols at major landmarks, including the Sagrada Família, as well as 100 free concerts in different styles and genres at municipal markets and in the streets of the city's ten districts. Have you decided which one you're going to?
9: TAKE A SELFIE ON THE BUS TURÍSTIC AS YOU TOUR THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
The double-decker Christmas Bus Turístic brings together the experience of discovering the city in a convenient way and the magic of Christmas: during the trip, you'll be able to admire the city's most spectacular Christmas lights, some of them truly unique, as you soak up the welcoming festive spirit that fills the city. We want to see you shine!
8. MAKE ROOM IN YOUR DIARY FOR CHRISTMAS CULTURAL EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Visiting museums, galleries, architecture and landmarks is a pleasure in its own right, and at Christmas time, they open their doors to the magic with a special programme of events, including workshops, exhibitions and unique tours. Discover the city's cultural experiences on our festive agenda with the added bonus of Christmas. Your diary will be filled to bursting!
7. MAKE A NATIVITY SCENE OR DISCOVER SOME TRULY SPECTACULAR ONES
No Barcelona home would be complete at Christmas without the nativity scene featuring the figures who were present at the birth of Christ and the adoration of the Magi and the shepherds. Every year, at the city's Christmas markets, you can buy figures to add to and renew the nativity scene. Assembling the crib in the family living room is one of the most eagerly awaited activities of the year, and the highlight is deciding the ideal spot to put the little pooping figure, the caganer. Nativity scenes are such an important part of Christmas in Barcelona that you'll also find them inside the cathedral, in Plaça Sant Jaume, at city hall and at the Museu Frederic Marès. Some of them also come to life, like the living nativity at the Poble Espanyol and in different towns and villages in Catalonia. Don't miss them!
6. IN BARCELONA, CHRISTMAS GOES ON FOR LONGER
In addition to the big celebration on 25th December, on Christmas Eve, the kids take part in a uniquely Catalan tradition involving a log with a smiley face, known as a tió. They feed the log from the beginning of December and cover it with a blanket so it doesn't get cold. All this pampering means that, on the night of 24th December, the little ones get their reward in the form of sweets and toys. On 26th December, we celebrate Sant Stephen's Day with the famous (and delicious) cannelloni made from the Christmas left-overs. A marathon of celebrations!
5. BOOK A TABLE AND DISCOVER THE LOCAL CHRISTMAS FARE
Barcelona's Christmas fare is a balanced blend of tradition and exquisite flavours. Typical dishes, like the delicious broth, escudella, and cannelloni, are an essential part of every festive dinner table. And when it's time for dessert, we bring out the delicious turrón nougats, tubular wafers, known as neules, and the ring cake eaten at Epiphany, the tortell de Reis, all washed down with the finest cava. Don't miss out on this traditional fare, as the Catalans would eat it at home, or as part of a banquet at one of the many restaurants and hotels that serve special menus on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
4. FIND THE PERFECT GIFT IN BARCELONA
Barcelona captivates you with its buildings, streets, secret spots, squares and heritage landmarks. And the best way to experience it is to wander through its beautiful streets, which are also a big open-air shopping centre. At Christmas, the shops are decked out in all their finery and their windows feature a wide variety of decorations. Every neighbourhood has its own retail district specially decorated for Christmas. Shopping centres and department stores recreate the Christmas spirit in a truly original way and organise activities. And if you still haven't bought that special gift, here you'll find the most genuine shops and some of Barcelona's most amazing experiences. Make your Christmas shopping something truly unique!
3. ENJOY DOING SPORT AT CHRISTMAS WITH EXTRA FUN
If you enjoy doing sport, why stop at Christmas? On 25th December, Barcelona's swimming club, the Club Natació, hosts the Christmas Cup in the old harbour, the Port Vell. This is the oldest open-water swimming race in Spain and covers a distance of 200 metres. On 31st December, the city holds another curious event, the Cursa dels Nassos (Race of the Noses), which is named after a mythical character who has as many noses as there are days of the year. On the following day, you can gauge your fitness levels by taking part in the group swim in the Mediterranean organised by the Club Natació Barceloneta. And the International Epiphany Hockey Tournament kicks off on 5th January. As you can see, Christmas is also time for sport and fun!
2. STAY IN BARCELONA ON NEW YEAR'S EVE AND ENJOY THE FIRST BREAKFAST OF THE NEW YEAR
Tick tock, tick tock… The excitement is almost too much! The year is ending and it's time to welcome in the New Year. A great place to celebrate is Avinguda Maria Cristina, which hosts the traditional New Year's Eve party. Join the hundreds of Barcelonians who gather on the avenue to eat a grape on each chime of midnight and raise a toast with a glass of cava. And when the most eagerly awaited moment arrives, a firework display fills the city sky. The hotels and restaurants in Barcelona also organise parties to celebrate the New Year in style until the early hours of the morning. Has it been a long night? You can top up your energy levels with a delicious breakfast of churro fritters and a cup of thick hot chocolate at one of the churrerías in Barcelona and at the stalls at the Epiphany fairs.
1. FOLLOW THEIR MAJESTIES, THE THREE WISE MEN
And we come to the end of our countdown with the final, and most eagerly awaited event of the Christmas season in Barcelona: the visit of the Three Wise Men. Three likeable gentlemen who travel by camel from the Orient and arrive in the Barcelona's old harbour, Port Vell, by boat on the evening of 5th January to leave presents in every home. Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar go on a procession through the streets on spectacular floats accompanied by royal pages and fairy-tale characters, transforming the centre of Barcelona into a dreamlike spectacle. And as the Wise Men's stay in the city is such a big event, the day before they arrive, the kids can visit their workshop to see exactly where the magic happens.
The big Barcelona festive showcase opens its doors for you to experience an amazing Christmas. We hope you'll join us!
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