Spend your winter in Barcelona: uncover the top ten things to do in Barcelona in winter
Have you been dreaming of a trip to Barcelona? This one-of-its-kind Mediterranean metropolis that lures both a cash-strapped backpacker and a well-healed jet-setter? In fact, it is not just palm-fringed beaches, long broad avenues, and warm summers that make it so pleasant to swim in the warm Mediterranean...
It is also its magnificent winters, with its stunning Christmas markets, un-hinged carnivals, and occasional snow, so beautiful in the drop-dead Catalan capital, illuminated with Christmas lights, the ubiquitous Christmas tree; Tio de Nadal tradition, and many other Barcelona Christmas traditions, featuring Santa Claus, nativity scenes, and many more.
Head to uncover Barcelona for Christmas and its prime Barcelona Christmas shopping venues, and its landmarks such as Barcelona Cathedral.
But first, check out our guide to the top ten things to do in Barcelona in winter and add the stunning locales to your itinerary.
- Make a trip to Barcelona Christmas markets, jazzed up with Barcelona christmas decorations
- Head to La Fira de Santa Llúcia, a centuries-old market that traces its past to the end 18th century, and sits right next to the Barcelona cathedral, one of the city's main tourist attractions.
Spend your Spain Christmas shopping around the open-air bazaar, and splash away on the Christmas eve souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
Or make a trip to La Sagrada Familia Christmas Fair, one of the best Christmas market venues, for a New Year' eve shopping spree, one of the best remedies from tedium in the festive season, or launch your Christmas holiday season at Grand Via de las Corts Catalans, with a shopping binge at a market place where you are spoilt for choice, with a much more variety than at other various outdoor Christmas markets in Catalonia.
Note that whereas the first two bazaars start in the last week of November, the last, taking place at Grand Via, occurs from mid-December to the day of Epiphany, in 2024 falling on January 6, a nice occasion to close your winter holiday season 2024.
Also, don't miss out on Christmas light displays making a visit to Barcelona's Christmas markets a fun experience that will drown you in color and light.
- Launch your Christmas season with a visit to one of the city's many bookstores
Even though many think of Barcelona Christmas in terms of outside Christmas-time processions, general revelry of the carnivals, and the like there are many more things to experience during your Christmas and New Year's Eve Barcelona sojourn.
For example, hunt for the literary gems hidden along rows and rows inside the city's best boostores.
First, pay a v isit to Central Book Store Chain. Its branches are scattered around town, and are arguably some of the Catalan capital's best locales to purchase books.
Even the best Christmas markets may be not as interesting to visit in Barcelona in winter as booksellers like Jaimes, the French bookstore that caters to the demanding literary tastes of the local Francophone community, or Gracia, a book shop located in the eponymous area, known as one of the city's most hip districts.
- Guzzle on Catalan mulled wine during a visit to Gracia
But Gracia is much more than its namesake bookstore. It is a veritable hidden gem, accessed via the metro. Here you can find 19-th century boulevards, cool art venues dotted along the area's bustling arteries, cool Catalan bistros, serving ambrosial tapas, and wine bars, which serve as a perfect setting for a glass of mulled wine on your bank holiday in Barcelona, as they say a Christmas cup of mulled wine can never lead astray.
- Attend Barcelona christmas festivities
As the Christmas lights turn pop on November 24th and the Christmas fairs pop up all around the city's main landmarks, you can feel Christmas spirit oozing out of every Barcelona's nook and cranny.
But there is a more solemn side to Christmas eve in Barcelona then a desultory shopping spree around the city's Christmas bazaars.
You can pay a visit to one of Barcelona's prayer houses to witness the solemn Christmas ceremony and attend the Christmas Midnight Mass.
Best for this occasion, be it out of the act of religious worship or simply of an outsider's tribute to local custom, are the following cathedrals.
First, there is Basilica de Sagrada Familia, a marvellous place of worship to take part in a Christmas eve mass at; or other great religious sites such as Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona cathedral, or at other places of worship in Barcelona.
- Pay a visit to other Barcelona winter & Christmas events such as Mardi Gras Carnival
Even though there is a lot of traditional stuff going on for Christmas, with Santa Claus, Christmas log, and Christmas letters, there is much to discover beyond the festive atmosphere of Fira de Santa Illucia Christmas Market.
Head to the Magic City Christmas Event, taking place on Placa Catalunya, one of the best Christmas-themed events in Barcelona, or pay a visit to Gaudi's art nouveau site selection.
Make your way to Casa Mila, Casa Battlo, Casa Vicens, Park Guell, or the famed Basilica Sagrada Familia, with its marvelous Christmas market, and festive atmosphere.
- Succumb to the holiday spirit and go to the city's stunning ice rink
Have you though that the only thing to do in Barcelona in terms of sport is football, in addition to attending La Liga games of FC Barcelona or RCD Espanyol or playing football yourself, you can go ice-skating at the FC Barcelona ice rink.
Apart from this humongous sports facility, you can race over ice, at a number of other Barcelona ice rinks for your Christmas eve ice marathon.
First, there is La Farga Ice Rink, ; then there is Skating Club Ice Rink, and, finally, there is L'Illa Diagonal Ice Rink.
- Try out the ambrosial Catalan fare by eating meat and vegetable stew and other Christmas food
But it is not just architectural marvels and winter sports facilities, as well as Christmas-related events, Barcelona is also about food and its mouth-watering Christmas food especially.
Munch on ambrosial tapas in the city's numerous tapas parlors, or go to a local watering hole to tipple on a bottle of Do Penedes, one of the most signature Catalan wines, prized by outsiders and locals alike.
Don't miss out on the ambrosial Catalan fish stew, and other seafood, as well as the region's signature vegetable and other dishes and such Christmas-only delicacies like sopa de galets, canelos, rectangular sheets of pasta stuffed with beef, turró, and neules, the famed Catalan biscuits.
- Spend Christmas day on the beach, so nice to celebrate the Christmas period
Even though the majority of travellers to Barcelona prefer to visit the city's beaches in the high summer season, some opt for a winter beach laze.
Head to Barcelona beaches over Christmas to take delight in the scarcity of beach goers during the daytime at some beaches, and throngs of revelers on the New Year's eve and Christmas Eve.
- Close your Christmas season with a visit to Three Kings parade
Held in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain on the fifth of January, the festive atmosphere of the city of Barcelona's main Christmas event can only be matched by its oecumenical appeal.
The crowd, led by three kings will be allowed into the city during a ceremony featuring the city's mayor handing over the key to the city's gates to the procession, for them to be able to pay a visit to each and every home in Barcelona and presents the households with gifts.
Start celebrating Christmas in Barcelona at the Three Kings parade, held in different parts of the city with the final ceremonies unfolding at around 4 pm, at Port Vell, where the Wise Men are greeted by the city's Mayor, to usher in the mystery of the Christmas and its all-enveloping magic.
All in all, a marvellous spectacle to behold in anticipation of the festivities.
- Take part in the Spanish Christmas lottery, El Gordo
- Take part in the Spanish Christmas lottery, one of the main winter Barcelona tourist attractions to make your holiday season memorable.
El Gordo Lottery is one-of-its-kind to join fellow Barcelona lovers in their festive lottery activities.
With a whopping prize of 2.5 billion, the main lottery in Spain is the world's biggest, and is a veritable drag on a travel-famished lovers of luck and gain.
Barcelona is a unique city to visit over winter. There are not just winter Christmas markets, Christmas lights, Christmas day masses, and other Christmas traditions that make Barcelona a pleasant site to visit in winter. It is also its balmy climate and low tourist footfall that make Christmas holidays in Barcelona so pleasant.