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Christmas 2019 in Barcelona

Don't miss out on the magic of Christmas in Barcelona!

Natale a Barcellona 2019We're used to thinking of Barcelona as a typical city for the summer with plenty of sun, warmth and great beaches, but the capital of Catalonia is also a delightful place in which to spend the Christmas holidays. The Christmas lights are illuminated along all the main city streets, large decorated trees are put up and you will find various Christmas markets with typical products and original ideas for presents.  Cribs are made with traditional figures and businesses are dressed up in the festive spirit.  Visiting Barcelona at Christmas is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience!  Find out more below about the events that are organized in the city at this time of year. 

Christmas Markets

Barcelona, like many other large cities, can't resist the fascination of a typical Christmas market: in fact, in various different areas of the city, stalls are erected where you can find typical foodstuffs, carved objects, handicrafts, decorations for the home, clothes and ideas for presents for both children and adults.  

The most important of these is the Fira de Santa Llucia, which takes place in front of Barcelona's Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter from the end of November until the 23rd December.  One of the most traditional markets is the Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia, which is held right by the basilica's cemetery and welcomes hundreds of artists, artisans and exhibitors.  

Famous for the sale of toys, on the other hand, is the Mercado de los Reyes Magos (Market of the Magi) along the Gran Via which is held from the 20th December until the first days in January whilst the Mercato del Port Vell is on for the whole of December in the Placa del Portal de la Pau.

Brilliant Christmas lights in the city

Christmas isn't Christmas without lights and Barcelona is illuminated throughout December until the feast of the Epiphany.  All along La Rambla, Placa de Catalunya, Plaza Espana and Passeig de Gracia you can enjoy a truly spectacular display of lights and the ceremony of switching on the Christmas lights (Llums de Nadal) is an unmissable event for everyone in Barcelona. 

The Montjuic Fountain also provides an incredible free spectacle throughout the whole Christmas period every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 20:00 until 21:00:  the spectacle of the display of water jets in conjunction with typical Christmas music is not to be missed. 

Christmas Traditions

Caganer di Barcellona 2019This is a part of the world that has plenty of its own special traditions and here you will find two typical protagonists of the Christmas tradition in Barcelona, Caganer and Cagatio.

  • Caganer is an irreverent statue in  the manger, hidden among the other figures and immortalized in the act of defecating with his buttocks to the wind!  This is always included in every representation of the Nativity scene and is considered to be a good omen for the coming year.  It is also said that if you fail to include it in your crib, it will bring bad luck.
  • Cagatio, on the other hand, is a wooden log with eyes and a mouth and is considered to be a true and proper substitute for Santa Claus.  Throughout the whole month of December, he is plied with food and wrapped in warm blankets and then on Christmas day, he is beaten by the children because tradition has it that when he is hit, he "craps" little sweets and presents!  

The Epiphany Procession

For Spanish people, the 6th of January is possibly an even more important date than 25th December.  In Barcelona, a spectacular procession is organized in which people dressed up as the Three Kings arrive by boat in Port Vell and then continue on their way in traditional carriages to the Avenida de la Reina María Cristina, traveling along all the city's most important streets distributing sweets for the children who are watching the procession. 

Useful tips

For anyone who is thinking about organizing a trip during this period and is considering spending Christmas in Barcelona, it is worth being aware of the following information: shops and businesses are open on 24th December, however, on the 25th and 26th December, everything is closed.  You may find some restaurants that are open and some of the attractions are too, such as the Sagrada Familia,  Parc Guell and the Casa Battló.

Public transport still provides a service on public holidays but the timetables may be subject to change so it is worth checking the official website of the Transports Metropolitans carefully to see what is and what isn't operational. 

And to finish off, our advice in order to get the best out of your stay during the Christmas period, is to arrange for your voyage of discovery of the city to take place in the company of an expert guide who speaks your language.  In order to check costs and to make a reservation for this service, you can visit our web page: English Guides in Barcelona.

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