In winter, Barcelona is “the destination”!
Mild temperatures, fascinating traditions and a whole host of cultural and sporting activities. Sounds good, doesn't it? This winter you won't regret visiting Barcelona because you're going to experience it to the full. Barcelona is your destination!
The perfect climate so that nothing will stop you
Barcelona has a very pleasant climate in winter. Its location by the sea means that the temperatures range from 14 to 15 ºC (57-59ºF) during the day and are never lower than 7ºC (44ºF). A warm coat is all you'll need to enjoy exploring the city. The days are usually sunny and perfect for strolling along the beach, exploring the city's parks and gardens, or having a glass of vermouth and a snack on a terrace while you top up your vitamin D… which is always beneficial!
Sport in shades of white… and in other colours too
Do you love winter sports? If so, we've got you covered. Just two hours away from the city, the snow awaits you at the ski resorts in the Pyrenees. You can get to La Molina and Masella easily on the Skibus, and visit both of them with the Alp 2500 ski pass. You can hire skiing equipment and ski wear at the resorts. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe treks, sleigh rides and even balloon rides with stunning views of the snowy landscapes, are just some of the thrilling activities you can do in the Pyrenees. Are you up for the challenge?
If you like outdoor sports but don't want to head for the snow, Barcelona has the natural spaces of Montjuïc and Collserola, which are perfect for doing sport and enjoying nature. In the city you'll also find trim trails and sports amenities with basketball courts, pétanque courts and ping-pong tables. You can also enjoy top-level sporting competitions, like the Barcelona Marathon and the matches played by the city's home teams, Barcelona FC and RCD Espanyol.
And, of course, the sea is still there in winter, so why not make the most of it? You can go sailing, paddle surfing and do some SUP yoga… or even take a dip! Provided you put on your wetsuit, that is!
At Christmas, Barcelona is magical
Christmas is a magical time everywhere, but in Barcelona it goes on for longer! By the end of November, the streets and buildings are lit up and the shop windows decorated with coloured lights. Some of the churches and squares have nativity scenes on display that will simply captivate you, like the famous and innovative one in Plaça Sant Jaume or the traditional Christmas crib at the Museu Frederic Marès.
The Christmas fairs and markets are another unmissable attraction during the festive season. You'll find everything you're looking for: figures for the nativity scene, trees, hand-made items, the typical smiley log, the tió, and the typical food we enjoy over the festive season. And don't forget to buy a caganer, one of the funniest, most traditional figures in our nativity scenes. The city's most famous Christmas market is the Fira de Santa Llúcia by the cathedral, but you can also enjoy the one around the Sagrada Família, the Christmas fair in the old harbour, the Port Vell, and the Epiphany fair, the Fira de Reis, on Gran Via. The city also celebrates Christmas with the Festival de Nadal, which features circus and theatre performances, concerts, workshops and activities for all the family… all over the city!
The New Year's Eve celebrations are one of the Barcelonians' most keenly anticipated events. They start off with the traditional lucky grapes (you have to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of midnight) and the spectacular firework displays on Avinguda de Maria Cristina. Afterwards, the city is yours: there are big parties to see in the New Year at different hotels and restaurants in Barcelona, where there'll be no shortage of food, music and dancing.
Do you remember we said that Christmas lasts longer here? The night of 5th January, when the Three Kings of the Orient visit the city, is the kids' most eagerly awaited time of year. Their parade, on the evening of 5th, is a magical festival of light, music and colour with dreamlike fairytale floats that pass through the streets in the city centre. It's absolutely unmissable.
Home-grown traditions you'll fall in love with
In winter, we celebrate other traditions and festivals, as well as Christmas. Why not enjoy them like a local? For instance, you can't miss the Tres Tombs: a parade of horses and carriages held in honour of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the protector of animals, on 17th January. And, in February, the streets are filled with music, traditional dances, parades of "giants" and "big heads", human tower displays and much more to celebrate the feast day of the city's joint patron saint, Saint Eulàlia. February is also Carnival time: a madcap, fun-filled celebration with fancy dress, parades and processions through the city's different neighbourhoods. And don't forget to try the typical food we eat during these festivities, like the lardon flatbread, coca de llardons, and the egg and pork sausage, botifarra d'ou. And on 3rd March, the neighbourhood of Gràcia is filled with horse-drawn carriages that hand out thousands of sweets to the assembled crowds to celebrate the Festival of Sant Medir. Doesn't it sound sweet?
Winter in Barcelona is really yummy
Catalonia's rich and varied food culture can be enjoyed in winter with traditional dishes that are the embodiment of the region. They are sure to captivate you. At Christmas time, the typical dishes are cannelloni and escudella i carn d'olla, a delicious meat and vegetable stew that every household enjoys.
The city's food markets are filled with fresh, seasonal winter produce, such as artichokes from El Prat. There are thirty-nine of them, so make sure you visit at least one and immerse yourself in a world of aromas and colours!
Calçots are a kind of baby leek and another of the city's wonderful and fascinating culinary traditions. They are cooked over embers and served with an amazing romesco sauce at celebratory get-togethers, known as calçotades, where the people wear bibs so their clothes don't get messy, and really enjoy themselves. Many restaurants in Barcelona serve special calçotada menus, so keep a look out!
But if you have more of a sweet tooth, don't worry. Get ready to discover a delicious elevenses' or teatime snack of churro fritters or melindros (a type of sponge finger) dipped in thick hot chocolate (which, with a dollop of cream on top, is known as a suís) at one of the cafés, known as granjas, that specialise in these toothsome treats. At this time of year, you can also enjoy typical Christmas sweet delights, like turrón nougats, tubular wafers, or neules, and the Epiphany ring cake, the tortell de Reis, all washed down with a nice glass of cava.
The winter sales: make the most of them!
Winter is also time for the sales. The great thing is you can browse the city's wide variety of shops as you wander and admire the city's iconic landmarks. You'll find everything you're looking for. There are shops that are more than 100 years old, shops selling the world's leading brands, items by local designers, sustainable fashion and unique emporiums that you won't find anywhere else. If you prefer to do your shopping under one roof, why not visit one of the city's department stores and shopping centres and make the most of the winter sales?
Booking in advance: a passport that guarantees you the best experiences
Book your favourite city experiences in advance. Some of them are only available in winter, like the Barcelona Christmas Tour, which gives you a close-up view of the Christmas lights in the streets, and the tours of some of the city's iconic buildings that are decked out for the festive season. If you want to get away to the snow, there are lots of tailor-made winter breaks for you to enjoy. If you want to unwind, Aire Ancient Baths Barcelona is a spa housed inside an 18th-century former warehouse building in the city centre. And there's much more besides: visit our virtual shop where you'll find activities for all tastes and ages: food workshops, guided tours, tickets for modernista buildings and museums, theatres, concerts and other entertainments. The list is endless, so make the most of your time in Barcelona!
Agenda: the latest in culture is just a click away
And last of all, no well-planned trip would be complete without enjoying one of the city's current events. From concerts (like the ones held for New Year at L'Auditori, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Liceu) to operas, all kinds of festivals, exhibitions and traditional celebrations, you'll find them all in the Barcelona Agenda, which tells you what's on in the city every day. Make a note!
As you can see, this winter your destination has spoken… and that destination is Barcelona!
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