What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

Many people come to Barcelona to escape the cold during the Christmas period, but it’s also a great place to enjoy an alternative holiday experience. There are many things to do in Barcelona for Christmas, from beautiful Christmas markets to wandering through the sparkling Christmas lights. Come and enjoy the festive spirit while enjoying tapas, vermouth, and sunshine.

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Travel Guide for the best things to do in Barcelona for Christmas. Discover unique experiences and some of the best christmas markets in Europe.

CHECK OUT MY OTHER GUIDES ON CHRISTMAS TRAVEL

  • Barcelona Christmas Markets

    Barcelona Christmas Markets

    When you think of Barcelona, you don’t usually think of Christmas markets. Paella, football, or tapas usually comes to mind first, not sparkling fairy lights and Christmas trees. It’s a destination that you should definitely add to your Christmas bucket list. Barcelona is beautiful at Christmas time, especially the Barcelona Christmas markets. The lights are…


BARCELONA CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

When visiting Barcelona during the Christmas period it helps to have some context around their Christmas traditions. The Catalan Christmas traditions are unique and you won’t find anything else like them. So how does Barcelona celebrate Christmas?

CAGA TÍO

Caga Tio translates to Uncle Poo and is one of the strangest Christmas traditions you’ll ever discover. The story goes that you have to go to the forest and search for a particular log (you can actually book fun experiences to do this). The log is wearing a little Catalan hat and a blanket, and his name is Caga Tio. You bring this log back to your house and feed it Turrón, a Catalan sweet that’s similar to Nougat. On Christmas Eve the children then get given sticks and beat Caga Tio until he poops out presents. The bigger ones are set up so that the presents are hidden under the blanket, so the children can see him getting fatter as they feed him. There’s even a song you sing while you beat him, which my husband finds hilarious.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

CAGENER

In Spain, they create fantastic and highly detailed nativity scenes for Christmas. In Catalonia, they go further and add a Caganer to their scene. What is a Caganer you might be asking? Well, it’s a farmer taking a dump in a field. To have a Caganer is to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year. I know, it’s really weird. This tradition has now evolved into Christmas stalls selling anyone from politicians to celebrities taking the famous dump. Have someone who loves football? Buy them the Messi Caganer. Someone else likes Disney, don’t worry they’ve got that covered as well.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

TURRÓN

Turrón is a type of Nougat made in Spain. In Catalonia, it has an important job as the food of Caga Tio. If you buy a Caga Tio, you should also buy Turrón so that you can make him fat and get more presents. It’s very tasty, so make sure to feed yourself at the same time. You can buy this in any sweet shop, market, or normal supermarket.

WEATHER IN BARCELONA FOR CHRISTMAS

The weather in Barcelona during December is usually sunny. It can get down to a low of four degrees during the night time, but the day time maximums can range from thirteen to twenty degrees. When the suns out you don’t even need your thick winter jacket. Come and enjoy the magic of the holiday season while not losing feeling in your fingers and toes. Weather in Barcelona for Christmas can be great, so you can plan indoor and outdoor activities.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

WHAT TO DO IN BARCELONA FOR CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS MARKETS

1 LA FIRA DE SANTA LLUCIA – BARCELONA CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS MARKET

Where
Avenida de la Catedral. Find the Barcelona Cathedral and you’ll find the markets.
When
Dates: 28 November – 23 December 2024
Opening Times: 1030 – 2230 Monday – Sunday
What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

This is the biggest and oldest Christmas market in Barcelona. Over 300 hundred stalls are squeezed into the plaza before the Barcelona Cathedral. Here you can buy your traditional Catalan Christmas presents like the Caga Tio or Caganer, and also do shopping for Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. At night time, with the lights all lit up, it’s a magical experience. This also means it can get very busy, so be patient and watch your stuff, there are pickpockets in the area. If you don’t want to be rubbing shoulders, go during the day or when it first opens. All the colours in the stalls are still magical, there are just fewer people to share it with. You can find more information in my Barcelona Christmas Markets guide.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

2 FIRA DE NADAL A LA SAGRADA FAMILIA – SAGRADA FAMILIA CHRISTMAS MARKET

Where
Placa Sagrada Familia. It is the park at the back of Sagrada Familia.
When
Dates: 29 November – 23 December 2019
Opening Times: 1030 – 2230 Monday – Sunday
What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

Sagrada Familia is always a must-see when visiting Barcelona, and the experience just gets better in December with the Sagrada Familia Christmas market. It circles the park in Plaça Sagrada Familia and is filled with lights, Christmas trees, and traditional Catalan presents. There’s also more food at this market, with sweets and churros sold in food trucks, and there’s a bar further into the park for drinks and tapas (I wouldn’t really recommend the food). Santa visits this Barcelona Christmas market on the 21st and 22 December. The children can give him their letters and get photos with him. The best part about the market is having Sagrada Familia as a backdrop. It’s a beautiful, unique church and will make your photos a little bit more special.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

3 FIRA NADAL PORT VELL – PORT VELL CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

Where
Barcelona Port Vell (old Port). The Plaza del Portal de la Pau
When
Dates: 4 November – 7 December 2024
Opening Times: 1000 – 2100 Monday – Friday
Opening Times: 1000 – 2200 Sunday – Saturday

The Port Vell Christmas Village is one of the best Christmas Markets in Barcelona and is the only one that runs past Christmas to Three Kings Day. If you’re looking for a Christmas market experience like you would get in Germany or Austria, then this is the closest one. Here you can get mulled wine, which is not popular or common in Barcelona and is not sold at any of the other markets. You can also buy pretzels and empanadas and they have a street food section with lots of different options.

What’s also great about this market is the many kids’ activities that they have. All of them are themed around the Port. When we went you could control a remote control crane to unload a barge, boat-themed arts and crafts, and a room full of mix-and-match stickers. There’s also a Caga Tío for some Catalan fun.

4 Fira de Reyes – Barcelona Kings Fair

Where
Gran Via les Corts Catalanes. From streets Calabria to Muntaner.
When
Dates: 17 November – Three Kings Day 7 January 2024
Opening Times: 1000 – 2100

The Barcelona Kings Fair stretches down the pedestrian walkway of Gran Via Les Corts Catalanes. This is to cater to the Spanish version of Christmas, which is called Three Kings Day and happens in early January. This is where a lot of gift shopping is done. Many of the market stalls seem to be a bit repetitive, but you can find some gems.

GIANT CAGA TIO

In the Plaça between the Barcelona Cathedral and the Santa Llucia Christmas Market is a giant Caga Tio. This is a fun Catalan tradition that the kids can have a go at. Line up with the little ones and they can have a go at whacking Caga Tio to shake some presents out of him. They all sing the song together and get a little gift at the end. No one will have holiday photos quite like yours if you give this a go. If you want a Caga Tio souvenir to remember this by just head to the Christmas market behind you and grab one of the many Caga Tio’s on sale.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

CHRISTMAS TREE AND DECORATIONS IN PLAÇA SANT JAUME

Plaça Sant Jaume is one of the beating hearts of Barcelona, as this is where the government offices are. In this square they have a giant Christmas tree all lit up with decorations. The city hall is lit with lights at night time to accompany it. There’s usually something going on here, whether it’s Gegants (Catalan Giants), Castellers (human towers), or protests. They also have a miniature city all lit up, and at night time it looks super beautiful.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas
What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AT SANT PAU

When
Mid November – mid January / 6:00pm – 9:30pm

The Hospital Sant Pau lights up at Christmas with a stunning Christmas lights display. The event is called Els Llums de Sant Pau. You have to book tickets, which can be done online. You risk it being sold out if you wait to buy them at the door. Sant Pau is beautiful on its own, but with the added lights of Christmas, it’s magical.

Sant Pau also has an indoor skating rink set up in the basement. Skating through the arched columns is one of the best things to do in Barcelona for Christmas.

BARCELONA CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Barcelona does Christmas lights right! On the last Thursday of November, they get turned on and the city is transformed into a magical, glittering world. There are many places to see them and some of the hotels get in on the excitement. If you’re in Barcelona for the holiday season you should go for a walk to see them.

Passeig de Gracia is the best place to see Christmas lights. The whole road is lit up with streamers of lights and glowing blue butterflies. It’s really magical and makes the holiday season come alive. You can also see Casa Batlló lit up in different colours and spotlights.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

The suburb Gracia is a local area in Barcelona known for its bars and restaurants. It also does beautiful light shows, especially on Travessera de Gracia, which they close on Saturday nights. On Thursday when the lights are turned on they do a traditional drumming show with glowing birds (still haven’t been able to find out what the significance of the birds is).

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

Las Rambles gets decked out with Christmas lights every December. This turns the already beautiful walkway into a treelined light show. It’s the perfect place to wander for stereotypical souvenirs of Barcelona. In December they sell snow globes of Sagrada Familia.

What To Do In Barcelona For Christmas

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Discover the best things to do in Barcelona for Christmas. Find out what to do in Barcelona for Christmas.
Find out what to do in Barcelona for Christmas. Discover the best christmas markets and Catalan traditions for Christmas.