Top 9 destinations to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Spain.
Have you been wondering where to meet Christmas in Spain? Here is a guide to the top ten locales to visit during your hibernal sojourn in Spain to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
Go to Barcelona to uncover Spanish christmas traditions
First and foremost there is Barcelona, the pearl of the Mediterranean. Known as one of the most bustling metropolises, it is a perfect destination to go shopping, head for a romantic escapade with your significant other over Christmas, or take a tour of local Christmas-related sites, and celebrate Christmas like a local in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, a region with a distinct culture and language.
If in Barcelona during the Christmas time head to the city's magnificent FC Barcelona Ice Rink, attend the Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of Barcelona, and pay a visit to the city's many Christmas markets, with Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas Market, situated near the prayer house and the Christmas bazaar situated beside Sagrada de la Familia being the most renowned, or just head to the Barcelonnette beach to kick back and take a chill pill, for you to relax during your Christmas times.
But it is for sure the Three Kings Parade, taking place on the 5th of January, where three wise men enter the city to bring gifts to the baby Christ, with the mayor of the city dutifully letting them in through the city's gates.
All in all, whereas you can celebrate Spanish Christmas anywhere in Spain, making merry over Christmas Day in Catalonia is a great way to marvel at the region's capital's unique Christmas decorations, attend the midnight mass in Catalan, unfolding in the Sagrada Familia cathedral to mark the holiday season, complete with the Christmas tree profusion, nativity scene depictions, Christmas lights, sexed-up shop windows, wise kings, holy innocents.
Note that spending Christmas in Spain, be it in Catalonia or Castilla, gives you a once-of-its-kind chance to participate in, arguably, the world's biggest Christmas lottery and purchase lottery tickets that may well make you rich.
Visit Valencia on the New Year's eve and Christmas in Spain
Another great destination to spend winter months and especially Christmas Eve is Valencia, the capital of the eponymous province.
Celebrate Feliz Navidad in Valencia,where you can blend the old European charm of its older districts and the striking modernity enveloped in greenery in its lush Turia River Gardens and its Ciutat des Arts.
What is more, you can celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve by eating out on the city's signature-dish, paella, which originated here.
Or walk El Cabanyal or Malvarossa Beaches where you can take delight in the communion with the sea, refreshing with its briny allure.
For sure, a must if you visit Valencia during the Christmas time, attend La Misa del Gallo, the midnight mass held all over the Spanish-speaking world.
Don't miss out the city's Christmas markets, held at Mercado de Tapinería, one of the best locations in the city to celebrate Christmas in Spain.
Also, don't lose out on going ice skating on the ice rink that is put up every winter on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, with Christmas trees, and nativity scenes suggestive Festive season is here for good.
Delight in Christmas meal in on the New Year's Eve in Lloret de Mar
Even though predominantly thought of as a summer destination, Spanish people love to escape town and set out for the seaside even in winter.
In spite of footfall being still fairly scarce, it is still a nice spot by the sea, with cheaper accommodation prices, and great restaurants to tuck into suckling pig, munch on toasted almonds, or delight in the ambrosial Roscón de Reyes.
What is more, you can venture outside and discover other cool places that are full of tourists in summer yet are so under-visited during winter.
Go for a Christmas eve and Christmas day at Alicante to celebrate your Spanish Christmas
The gem of Costa Blanca, known for its frenetic nightlife, Alicante may seem to some an unusual destination to visit in winter.
Yet, since the climate is balmy even during the winter months, and the number of tourists is significantly lower, Alicante is a cool destination for a winter trip.
Apart from visiting the city's castles like its Santa Barbara Castle, there are many winter-specific tourists attractions in Alicante.
For example, you can see the fireworks on Promenada Explanada de Espana; go shopping gor Christmas gifts in the city's many shops or bask in the sun on the city's many beaches, sun drenched even during the summer months, a spirits-boosting contrast after the occasional bleak gloom of hibernal San Sebastián or La Coruna.
Celebrate the Night Jesus Was Born and Kings day in Marbella
Another southern jewel of Spanish tourist crown, the sea resort of Marbella is a one-of-its-kind destination for a winter sojourn.
It is not just that the temperatures are pleasantly warm, in stark contrast with the oft oppressive summers of Costa del Sol, it is often the great infrastructure that lures to Marbella.
Here you can play tennis in its new tennis courts, go to a gym, play football, and even do watersports right in the middle of winter.
AHead for a shopping spree in Porto Banus, whose clothing boutiques are open throughout the year, waiting for their lot of fashionistas, or to many of the home ware stores, restaurants and cafes located by its marina, not to mention vast shopping opportunities of humongous retailers like Corto Ingles.
Note that whereas many of the beach clubs such as Nikki Beach Marbella are usually closed in winter, some of them will flung their doors open for special occasions such as New Year.
Go to Bilbao while visiting Spain and see people play pranks and go to the midnight mass, a catholic tradition
Make a trip to Bilbao for a one-of-its-kind Christmas in Spain adventure. During your Christmas eve in the capital of the Basque country, you can not only pay a visit to one of the world's coolest museums, Guggenheim, specialized in modern & contemporary art, but also some other unique Bilbao sites, so pleasant to visit in winter.
One of those is Mount Arxanda: once you jump into the cable car and the ride starts marvel at the magnificent landscape that makes Bilbao one of the most scenic settings in Spain for Christmas and a perfect spot to bring along your significant other or family.
Note that the temperatures rarely go below zero, and usually hover around 10-15 degrees.
Set out for a trip to Madrid, for Spanish christmas
Known as the best spot in Spain to mark Christmas, the city is home to some signature Christmas in Spain events.
For example, it is here that the kingdom's main Three Kings procession takes place, featuring wise men coming to town to bring gifts, causing widespread commotion and public jubilation.
When in Madrid over Christmas, you can pay a visit to the city's non-pareil Christmas markets, the man of which are situated on Plaza Mayor, Plaza de España, or Plaza de Santa Cruz.
Don't miss out on special Spain Christmas treats such as chestnuts and churros.
Or indulge in hot chocolate at top local cafes such as San Ginés or Valor to try out its signature churros, washed down with the traditional local favourite, hot chocolate; and then proceed to one of the city's zippy ice rinks.
Then, once it is New Year go to Madrid's main square, Puerto Del Sol for one of the winter's main events, New Year Eve Puerto Del Sol Festivities.
Here you can witness the countdown, the boisterous revelry of the locals, and even eat 12 grapes for good luck once at midnight, and then head to terrace bars so popular with locals.
Some of the best terrace bars that are open in winter are Gymage Lounge Resort, a watering hole of choice for a tipple afficionado , along with others such as the following:
- EL VIAJERO ROOFTO, a spacious open-air rooftop terrace, on top of a resort, with a cool seating area and a pool, nice DJs sessions, and delectable cocktails.
- Doña Luz, a nice rooftop terrace renowned for its ambrosial emponados and truly mouth-watering brownies, along with nice ice-cold beverages.
- La Terraza de Oscar, an en vogue laid-back lounge, perched atop the Room Mate Oscar Hotel roof, and featuring a swimming pool, skyline vistas & yummy Saturday brunch.
- Azotea del Círculo, a haute-de-gamme restaurant, prized for ground-breakingly innovative cuisine, delicious cocktails and for a truly refined soiree-a-deux.
Finally, head for a day out of Madrid for a tript to Sierra de Madrid, with its snow-capped mountains and cool mountainscapes.
Ski at Baquiera Beret, a nice treat to all the children and adults
Whereas there is no chalets proper in Sierra Nevada, partly due to its southern location, Baquiera Beret has all the trappings of a northern ski resort.
Located, in the Pyreenes, the storied mountain range that separates Spain from France, the ski station is a rival to the well-entrenched de luxe destinations such as Courchevel and Saint Moritz.
Note that is not as easy to visit as Sierra Neva. You can either fly to Toulouse, a five hours' ride away, Spain and order a private transfer to go to Baquiera Beret from there, or go to Barcelona from where it is also possible to order a private transfer.
Explore Sierra Nevada, one of the best destination to visit during Spanish Christmas holiday season
Unveil the magic of the Andalusian mountains, on your voyage to the South of Spain.
Situated in Granada, a province in Southern Spain, the skiing resort boasts one of Europe's highest altitudes, gob-smacking vistas, and cutting-edge infrastructure.
It is not just speeding down its slopes, of all levels of complexity, it is also snow-boarding, and hanging out with amigos in its bars, and restaurants or going for a shopping spree with family.
As Christmas in Spain is a family affair, one of the best choices during your trip to Sierra Nevada is to rent out a cabin between Sierra Nevada and Grenada for a chance to welcome New Year and Christmas in a close-knit of friends and family.
Bonus How to get to Sierra Nevada
- By Train/Bus to Granada:
- Take a high-speed train (AVE) from Madrid's Atocha train station to Granada. The journey takes around 3 hours, and there are multiple daily departures. Alternatively, you can take a long-distance bus from Madrid to Granada, which takes approximately 4-5 hours.
- From Granada to Sierra Nevada:
- Once you arrive in Granada, you have a few options to get to Sierra Nevada, which is about 30 kilometers away from the city:
- a. Private Shuttle Service: Many private shuttle companies offer transfers from Granada to Sierra Nevada. These shuttle services are convenient, and you can book them in advance to secure your spot. Note that booking a ride with Andy is one of the best solutions when it comes to inter-region private transfers for Christmas in Spain.
- b. Rental Car: Renting a car in Granada is also an option if you prefer the flexibility of having your own vehicle. The drive from Granada to Sierra Nevada takes approximately 45 minutes.
- c. Public Bus: There are regular public bus services that run from Granada to Sierra Nevada during the ski season. Check the schedules in advance, as they may vary depending on the time of year.
- Within Sierra Nevada:
- Once you arrive at Sierra Nevada, most accommodation and ski facilities are easily accessible by walking. The resort is well-organized and designed for skiers and snowboarders to move around conveniently.
Note that is not just Christmas that is celebrated throughout Spain, it is also Dia de Los or the Day of the Dead, which tumbles on 1st and 2nd of November.