Will you be spending Christmas in Barcelona this year? Lucky you! The Catalan capital may be a bit colder during this time of the year, but it’s vibrant and beautiful as ever and romantic as never before. Here’s what not to miss when celebrating Christmas in Barcelona, according to the ladies of Things to do in Barcelona.
Luces de Navidad (Christmas lights)
Have an evening walk through the center and get enchanted by the luces de Navidad, the colorful Christmas lights. The huge lightning of Corte Inglés on Plaça Catalunya is impossible to miss and the lights at Portal d’Angel turn your last-minute Christmas shopping into a cozy experience. Although the letters hanging above Gran Vía are repeated every year and some locals opt for a change, they are a guaranteed Instagram-success. Another favorite is the beautiful Plaça Reial
Feria de Santa Llucía
In front of the big cathedral in the gothic quarter you can visit Barcelona’s biggest Christmas market, Feria de Santa Llucía. You probably won’t be looking for a Christmas tree, but there’s enough other stuff to see and buy. How about a caganer (link) or other figures to put in the nativity scene? Little children (link: https://thingstodoinbarcelona.com/kids/) can grab a palo to hit the famous Catalan Tio de Nadal, just next to the cathedral.
Belenes (nativity scenes)
Housing the town hall and regional government, Plaça de Sant Jaume is normally Barcelona’s political center. But in December, the nativity scene takes over the square. Don’t expect a classic belen here: the alternative figures often cause some fuss among the locals. On Plaça Sant Jaume you can also find Barcelona’s biggest Christmas tree.
Misa del Gallo (Midnight Mass)
Most churches in Barcelona, like Santa María del Mar in the neighborhood of El Born and the gothic cathedral at Pla de la Seu, open doors in the night of 24 December for the traditional midnight mass. The famous Sagrada Família has no midnight miss, but on the 25th of December there’s a mass anyone can visit (for free).
Unlike other Spanish regions, the 26th of December is also an official holiday in Catalonia: San Esteban (Saint Stephen). The day itself has no direct link to Christmas, but the typical food eaten on the 26th does. Most Catalan families eat canelones, pasta rolls filled with the leftovers of the day before. The dish is also served in most restaurants that offer a San Esteban menu on this day.