Bon Nadal! Welcome to Christmas in Barcelona


César González Palomo 


Like so many European cities and towns, as of the last week in November, Catalonia‘s capital dons its Yuletide best and does its best to transform the dark, chilly days of winter into a festive celebration, lasting through January 6 (the “12th day of Christmas“, also eagerly awaited by all the children of Spain for the visit of the gift-giving Three Magi).

So you’re looking for a holiday getaway next year, the mix of culture, history, dining, shopping, and nightlife is supercharged by Christmas charm and cheer. Come check out some of Barcelona‘s top offerings:


Childhood Festival


Between 27 and 30 December, the Ciutat dels Somnis (literally, “City of Dreams”) on Montjuïc Hill host the Festival de la Infancia, geared toward ages four to 12 with a bevy of activities revolving around professions. Do they want to be a firefighter or a chef when they grow up? Here they can get a taste of it!

Sant Jaume Square Nativity Scene


The anchor of Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (Old Town), the square that’s home to the city hall and Generalitat, Catalonia‘s parliament, through 2 February also hosts a Holy Family manger with a contemporary twist. It’s composed of 25 enormous polymer figures designed by Catalan architect Jordi Darder, offering different perspectives and interplays of light.  Quite a sight!

St. Stephen’s Day


It may be Boxing Day in Britain, but here 26 December is the Dia de Sant Esteve throughout Catalonia – also a day off for all and sundry, and a time for families to spend together. A standout dish served today is canelons, pasta prepared with leftovers from the Christmas meal.

St. Lucy’s Fair


Barcelona’s signature (and oldest) Christmas market, the Feria de Santa Llucía, runs from late November to 23 December along the pedestrian Porta del Angel down to the square in front of the Gothic cathedral, with 300 stalls offering Christmas paraphernalia, handicrafts, holiday sweets, and Catalan delicacies.

Catalonia Square Events


The iconic Plaça de Catalunya anchoring the north end of the Rambles is the site of a number of enjoyable special events for all tastes, including the Responsible Consumer Fair from 22 December till 4 January, which aims to educate the public in the ways of ecofriendly, sustainable consumption. And 22 to 31 December sees a whole series of family-friendly performances including theatre, sport, dance, storytelling, and music.