Christmas and New Year by the sea
Sailing boat tours, nautical activities, brunches with sea views, museums, culture and all kinds of activities related to the sea. Do you fancy a Christmas with a Mediterranean flavour? Make a note of all the things Barcelona has to offer without straying far from the sea. You'll even be able to welcome the Three Kings when they arrive!
The good news is that you can celebrate Christmas in Barcelona with lots of activities related to the sea. But bear in mind that every part of the city throws itself into the Christmas spirit. This means that you'll have to plan ahead to make sure you can combine all the nautical activities with markets, nativity scenes and important celebrations like the Christmas Festival in Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça de la Universitat and the New Year's Eve party in Plaça d'Espanya, which is an absolute must. Discover all the different things you can do this Christmas with the sea in the spotlight.
Nautical activities for all tastes
The city's pleasant climate means that sea-lovers can enjoy it all year round. Can you picture yourself starting the day paddle surfing or kayaking on the peaceful waters of the Mediterranean? If so, you can book this activity for adults and kids with a single click. If yoga's more your thing, you can book a fun SUP yoga session. This combination of paddleboarding and yoga is a great way to start the day before you begin exploring the city among the Christmas lights and nativity scenes. If you're a thrill-seeker, you can go on a scuba-diving session for beginners on the Barcelona coast in the town of Mataró.
Even those people who refuse to set foot on the beach after September will eventually surrender to the pleasures of the sea in winter. You can't miss one of the many sailing boat tours that take place in Barcelona in December and January. You'll find one to suit all tastes: from a light brunch or snack or a glass of vermouth and a snack on a sailing boat to an evening with a gin and tonic, live music or amazing experiences, like a sailing boat trip with a night-time bike tour through the streets decked out with their Christmas lights.
And make sure you set time aside to visit one of the city's most magical places: the Fishermen's Guild building on the clocktower wharf, the Moll del Rellotge, in the old harbour, Port Vell, which is steeped in the history and traditions of fishing.
Hotels and restaurants with views
After a busy start to the day, it's time for an energy boost as you enjoy Mediterranean food by the sea accompanied by dreamlike views. On the terrace of the Hotel W Barcelona you'll be able to enjoy a meal so close to the sea that you'll be able to smell it. But if it's views you're after, you can't miss the Torre d'Alta Mar, a superb restaurant with panoramic vistas, 75 metres above the city. The Hotel Arts is an iconic landmark on the Barcelona skyline and also has a great choice of dining options that will give you close-up views of the sea.
There are so many hotels and restaurants overlooking the sea where you can have a snack, meal, cocktail, breakfast, brunch or whatever takes your fancy. The Duquesa de Cardona, The Serras and Sofitel Barcelona Skipper are just some of them. If you want to delight your tastebuds with the traditional flavours of the sea, the Barceloneta will steal your heart, as will Cal Pinxo Platja, with its magnificent views of the port and the cheerful, bustling atmosphere of the neighbourhood. At Arenal you can sample fish and rice dishes right on the beach.
On Christmas Day, Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day in Barcelona), New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Epiphany (6th January), the city's hotels and restaurants serve up special festive menus, with dishes like the hearty broth, escudella, and cannelloni. There's something to suit all tastes, from traditional fare to the most innovative creations.
A spot of maritime culture
As a port and maritime city, Barcelona has many cultural attractions associated with the sea. In fact, the city's relationship with the sea is one of the key personality traits of this buzzing, multicultural metropolis, where life revolves around the rhythm of the waves. Why not visit the city's maritime museum, the Museu Marítim, and see for yourself? Or ride the lift to the top of the Columbus Monument and realise how small you are when you see the vast city at your feet. If you're travelling with kids, make sure you visit L'Aquàrium, and the Palau de Mar building, home to the Museu d'Història de Catalunya, which traces the region's historic links to the sea throughout the centuries.
The main event
In 2024, Barcelona will be hosting the 37th America's Cup, the world's oldest sailing competition. The city is already getting ready and you can visit the America's Cup Experience, the first official exhibition centre where you can learn about the rules, the teams and the secrets of the technology that makes the boats fly over the water.
If a day's sport, dining and culture by the sea isn't enough, the Gothic Quarter and the Born neighbourhood offer a great choice of shops where you can buy gifts or hone your Christmas look. If you want to wear the most fashionable eyewear at your Christmas dinner you're sure to find it at Etnia. Are you thinking about hosting a buffet with snacks to share with your guests? Let the knowledgeable team at Vila Viniteca advise you and take away a selection of the finest wines, cheeses and cured meats and sausages from around the world. You'll find comfortable footwear at Toni Pons, which will be perfect for exploring the city, and if you want a non-stop shopping session overlooking the sea, you couldn't do better than the Centre Comercial Maremagnum. And, we can't talk about shopping without mentioning the Christmas Fair in the old harbour, Port Vell, where you'll find the finest local accessories and handcrafted items.
A thrilling calendar
At Christmas, there's no shortage of things to do. The bravest among you can sign up for the classic first swim of the year organised by the swimming club, the Club Natació Atlètic Barceloneta, and held right in front of its headquarters. Or you could enrol for the traditional Copa Nadal, which has been held every year since 1907 on 25th December, and consists of swimming the 200 m across the old harbour, Port Vell. And don't forget the Three Kings will be arriving in Barcelona on the sea, as they do every year, before going on a procession with their retinue through the main streets of the city. Why not come along and welcome them?
A Christmas market with so much charm
The Christmas market, the Fira de Nadal, in Barcelona's old harbour, the Port Vell, surrounded by boats and smell of the ocean, fill the city with a special charm during the festive season. You'll find a wide range of hand-made items and decorations along with seasonal food. The wooden cabins, the big wheel and a tree lit up with LED lights create a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.
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