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Christmas and New Year eve in Barcelona

New Year in BarcelonaHow do Spanish and Catalans celebrate Christmas and New Year´s Eve?

Planning to visit Barcelona for Christmas? Here is a list of things to consider so you can be prepared and know what traditions to expect:


  • Weather
  • Vocabulary
  • Streets and areas
  • Traditions
  • Food
  • Shopping
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation

Weather

Even though the weather in Barcelona is pleasant for most of the year, in December it gets colder, but still the average temperature is  9,2ºC.Don´t expect sunshine every day, however on average there are only 2 rainfall days during the month. The chances of snow in Barcelona are very low, it’s a very rare thing to see snow at sea level in Barcelona.

Average ºC Max. ºC Min. ºC Rainfall days
December 9,2 12,4 5,9 2
Annual average 17,4 20,1 14,7 83

Vocabulary:

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” – “Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou”(Catalan) – “Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo”(Spanish)

Streets and areas:

Christmas in Barcelona is definitely a big celebration, you can sense the holiday spirit  in shops, streets and boulevards decorated with Christmas lights.

Plaza de Catalunya is your first place to see for impressive displays, especially those on “El Corte Ingles” the department store. The Ramblas and Portal de l’Angel are also known for their festive lights. You will find countless festive activities on many streets in Barcelona like concerts, children’s choirs and more. There will be Christmas trees situated in different areas, however there is no general one, normally there are Christmas trees on “Plaza de la Bonanova” and “Avenida de Sant Ramon Nonato”.

Traditions:

Caganer

Caganer statue

A Caganer is a small statue found in Barcelona.Caganer is Catalan for “shitter”. Included in Catalonian nativity scenes, this strange object can be found in stalls throughout the region during December. Traditionally, the Caganer is a figure of a Catalan man in traditional dress going to the toilet! It is meant to be a symbol of good luck for the New Year. However, in recent years, the Catalan figure has been substituted for famous faces.

Tio de Nadal:

New Year Tio De Nadal

Quintessentially Catalan, the ‘Caga Tio’ can be found in homes all over the region. It is a small log with a face painted on one end. During each day of December, children feed it sweet treats and cover it in a red blanket to take care of it. Finally, on Christmas Eve or Day, children break into the log to enjoy the delicacies to be found inside its blanket. Sometimes, the log will then be used as fuel to warm the house, ‘repaying’ the warmth it has received there.

Christmas Food:

As Barcelona is on the Mediterranean coast, obviously the seafood dishes are important part of Christmas food. Usually the Christmas dinner starts with salmon or prawn dish, which is followed by a hot bowl of homemade soup. The main meal consists traditionally of roast lamb and seafood or “carn d’olla” which is a meat dish of stuffed capon or turkey. During the colder winter months soup is quite common dish for dinner time. The most famous one is sopa de galets which contains meat, vegetables and pasta.Dessert could be traditional “torrons,” turron is very popular during this period. The most traditional turron is nougat with almonds. Polvorones are also popular. These are sweets made from almond paste.

Shopping:

Some shops will be open, however, as a general rule shops are closed during public holidays. However shops have a special trading license that operates up until and including the 24th December. For Christmas day and Boxing Day all shops will be closed. If you will be staying in self catering accommodation it is therefore a good idea to purchase your groceries before the 25th December.

Accommodation:

Are you looking for accommodation in Barcelona? I would advice you to stay in holiday apartments, which you can rent for days, weeks or months. Vacation offer you the possibility of a more relaxing, private and free stay. With more space, flexibility, comfort and a more economic price per person, this form of accommodation will allow feeling more integrated and giving you a taste of living in the city.

Transportation:

You can have a look at some services for tourists in Barcelona like airport transfer or hire.

As regards the metro, on Saturdays and New Year’s Eve there will be uninterrupted service throughout the night but on the 24th, Christmas Eve, trains will stop running at 11 pm.

TMB will be laying on more buses for city centre routes and those covering the main shopping districts, while the Bicing bikes will dress up for Christmas with a decorative sticker on the mudguard.

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