25 Apr [:en]Christmas and NYE in Barcelona[:]
Christmas is a special holiday also in Barcelona, even if it is not as important as it is in other parts of Europe.
A lot of (secular) presents are exchanged on Christmas and especially on Epiphany, but at least as important as those is the Christian and ecclesiastical background of the feast – in Barcelona combined with Catalan traditions. The Christmas atmosphere which often ends so abruptly after the 26th of December can be enjoyed for longer in Barcelona. Here the Christmas lighting is not taken down before Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany is more important – especially for the kids – than Christmas Day itself.
Around Christmas, the streets in Barcelona are brightly illuminated, Christmas trees are lavishly decorated and you can buy presents and festive delicacies.
Markets are a real Christmas highlight in a lot of European cities, and you”ll find several dotted across Barcelona during the festive period. By far the largest and most popular is the Fira de Santa Llúcia, located in front of Barcelona Cathedral in Plaça de la Seu. It’s been going since 1786 and with lots of handmade decorations and gift ideas in a stunning setting, it’s the perfect place to get into the festive spirit. This year, the fair begins on 30 November and ends on 23 December.
Barcelona is a fantastic shopping destination, and for Christmas shopping it really does have it all. From street markets to independent boutiques and national institutions like Zara and Mango, there are plenty of options. Plus there are extra shopping days during December during the bank holidays on the 6th and 8th, as well as on Sunday 9th, 16th and 23rd to give you enough time to pick up all your Christmas presents. Two of the most popular shopping streets are Passeig de Gràcia and Portal de l’Angel, but there are so many side streets full of unique things to give as gifts so make sure you explore those too.
For the third year now, Plaça Catalunya is playing host to Europe’s largest open-air ice rink. Open from the end of November until the beginning of January, the price per hour is around 8 euros and it’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. This isn’t the only ice rink in the city – there are also ones in Gràcia and Passeig de Sant Joan, as well as an indoor one in the Pedralbes shopping centre.
The sparkly street lights in Barcelona certainly spread Christmas cheer throughout the city. They can be seen on over 300 streets around the city, with El Corte Inglés store on Plaça Catalunya putting on its own equally impressive twinkly display. Each district of the city also has its own Christmas tree, the most famous being the 12-meter on Plaça Catalunya, covered in little lights and decorations.
Celebrating The New Year in Barcelona
It’s the planet’s biggest party night and rest assured Barcelona doesn’t disappoint when it comes to seeing in the New Year in style. Naturally this being Catalonia, we’ve got our own crazy traditions that make New Year’s Eve completely unique… and it’s worth saying as well that, up until midnight at least, NYE in BCN is a bit more of a family tradition than in other parts of the world… with less emphasis on public revelry.
Whilst many folk do like to gather each year at Placa Catalunya, the heart of the city, there’s no public firework display for example on the scale of London, New York or Sydney, but rather some individual bars and hotels on the beach (where there are also many nightclubs!) will be letting off some pyrotechnics over the Mediterranean. Meanwhile most locals will eat dinner with their families and toast the New Year with Cava at midnight, before heading out to meet friends at bars and clubs in the early hours. This is Barcelona remember so nothing will be shutting early and there’s no need to hurry!