The best things to do during Christmas in Barcelona
Are you spending Christmas in Barcelona? Barcelona offers much more Christmas activities that you'd imagine, from weird Catalan traditions like the Caga Tio to traditional Christmas markets and decorations worth seeing at least once in your life!
Don't miss on getting into the Christmas mood and come enjoy Barcelona in ways you wouldn't imagine! These are just a few of the typical traditions and activities you and your family will enjoy if you are visiting the city this December!
Visit the Christmas markets in Barcelona
The best Christmas market in Barcelona is undoubtedly the Fira de Santa Llúcia, opposite the Cathedral in the Gothic district. The square in front of the Sagrada Família also fills with festive stalls offering traditional Christmas figurines, nativity scenes, and artisans’ gifts. These traditional markets are a great place to do some shopping for Christmas decorations in Barcelona!+
Experience the weirdest Catalan traditions
There are plenty of Christmas traditions in Barcelona, but perhaps the most interesting are the ones surrounding… poop. One of them is the Caga Tio, a smiling Christmas log with a red barretina hat that children must feed until it poops presents. On Christmas Eve, the little ones beat him with a stick and sing songs commanding the Caga Tio to let out plenty of candy, nuts, figs, and other Christmas snacks.
Another peculiar Catalan tradition that involves excrements is the Caganer or “the pooper”. This figure included in Nativity scenes depicts a peasant in traditional Catalan attire and a squatting position, discretely defecating near the birth of Jesus. Try to spot it in all the Nativity scenes you see around town! Or even buy your own one at the Christmas markets!
Stroll under the Barcelona Christmas lights
Once Barcelona’s street decorations are switched on at the end of November, there’s no denying that Christmas is just around the corner. Look out for the pretty lights in small streets if the Gothic and Born districts, the fairy lights that decorate Paseo de Gracia and the large wall of electrified color along Gran Via avenue.
If you want to see something more spectacular than the traditional Barcelona Christmas lights, we recommend you visit Els Llums de Sant Pau, a magical lights’ event held at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau complex, a World Heritage Site.
Do some Christmas shopping in Barcelona
Festive window displays beckon shoppers into their colorful decorated consumer wonderlands. Shops are normally closed on Sundays and public holidays in Catalonia, but during the month of December, many will open on the 6th, 8th, 17th, and 24th.
Take a bite of Spanish turrón
This traditional Christmas sweet is made with honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds or other nuts. Turrón de Jijona is a soft blend with ground almonds and oil, which makes it stickier. Turrón de Alicante is a hard block made with whole almonds. There are many other modern variations with additional ingredients such as chocolate, puffed rice, and candied fruits.
Celebrate Christmas Day and Saint Stephen’s Day
On 25th December, Spanish people gather around the table to celebrate Christmas. The traditional dish that every family eats on Christmas Day is a special broth called escudella, containing giant pasta shells filled with carn d’olla, the meat cooked in the broth. If you don’t know what to do in Barcelona on Christmas day, find a good restaurant the escudella on the menu and try this comforting dish.
The day after Christmas, Catalan people keep celebrating for Saint Stephen’s Day, a unique holiday in the region. On the 26th, people in Barcelona eat cannelloni made from the Christmas leftovers. The dish consists of pasta stuffed with the meat in a béchamel sauce topped with cheese and browned under the grill. It's rounded off with cava and sweet nougats, or turrons. Perfect to celebrate the magic of Christmas around the table.
Welcome the Three Kings
If you want to participate in another special Christmas tradition in Barcelona, it’s time to wait for The Three Kings. Every year they arrive on 5th January and, before they begin delivering their presents, you’ll be able to welcome them and see their spectacular show, the Three Kings Parade (Cavalcada dels Reis), marching through the streets of Barcelona.
On the 5th, Children must go to bed early to give the Kings time to deliver the eagerly awaited gifts. The children who haven’t been good during the year will receive dreaded pieces of coal in sweet form. Don’t forget to leave out some food and drink for the Kings and their camels. They’ve got at a long night’s work ahead of them!
Accommodation for Christmas in Barcelona
If you want to enjoy an unforgettable and comfortable Christmas in Barcelona, what better way than in your own apartment in the city centre? At YouStylish we offer the best rental apartments in Barcelona, located near the most emblematic sights in the city and all the Christmas fun.
Stay near Sagrada Familia, in the charming streets of El Born or uptown Barcelona. We have apartments to suit all families and groups of guests, fully furnished and equipped with everything you need during your stay in the city. Check out our apartments for rent in Barcelona and find the one that suits you best!
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