Cursa dels Nassos – End the year on a sporting high running in Barcelona

Let’s face it, 2016 has been an interesting year across the globe and one which many will willingly kiss goodbye to. Why not end on a high with Barcelona’s 10K Cursa dels Nassos on December 31st?

On the last day of each year, Barcelona’s streets buzz with anticipation for the eagerly anticipated Cursa dels Nassos which sees the city become awash with shades of fluorescent Lycra as residents and visitors to the city gather together for this spectacular sporty affair. The race (not to be confused with Sant Cugat’s Sant Silvestre Barcelonesa race which operates on a smaller scale outside the city), is a hugely important fixture on the Catalan calendar and is the second largest of its kind in Spain. The unusually named event honors a legendary figure who is said to have as many noses as days of the year. According to folklore, the noses man (home dels nassos) sheds a nose every day, leaving him with only one nose on New Year’s Eve for when he finally leaves his house. The Cursa dels Nassos is a must for anyone interested in running and welcomes an impressive 14,000 runners (maximum) from over 50 countries every year.

Although the Cursa dels Nassos is a pretty speedy affair (11 athletes completed it in under 30 minutes last year), anyone over the age of 16 can take part by simply registering online and turning up on the day. There is also a race category for people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and wheelchair users. The route starts on Selva de Mar street in the Sant Marti district of Barcelona and takes runners through some of the most beautiful parts of the city. The Cursa dels Nassos is an undeniably brilliant way to spend the last day of the year and, with a 17:30 start time, it leaves you plenty of time to put your glad rags on for the evening’s celebrations.

The tradition of running on New Year’s Eve began in 1925 when a journalist in São Paulo (Brazil), inspired by a night race he had seen in Paris, decided to hold his own event. The race was named La Corrida de São Silvestre de São Paulo. It started at 23:40 on December 31st and finished in the early hours of January 1st 1926. Over the years the race gained in profile until Spaniard Antonio Sabugueiro decided to replicate it in Madrid, creating what is now known as San Silvestre Valle.  Nowadays, similar events are held across Spain in cities such as Beasain and Vitoria.

So, if the Cursa dels Nassos whets your appetite for running and all things Lycra, you’ll be pleased to know that there are loads of organised races taking place in Barcelona during 2017.

Barcelona running events during 2017

  •  February 12th 2017 – eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona

This is Barcelona’s second largest running event which saw 12,493 participants last year and is also open to wheelchair users. Water stations are placed approximately every 5 kilometers and there are bag storage facilities available. Note, there is a maximum completion time of 2 hours 45 minutes, so if your approach to running is slow and steady or you are new to the sport, this might not be the one for you!

edreams-mitja-marato

  •  March 12th 2017 – Zurich Marató de Barcelona

This marathon started in 1977 and is fast becoming an important fixture on the international running calendar for its flat and scenic route around the beautiful city of Barcelona. There are water points, massage services and showers available to runners and refreshment stations available around the course.

Zurich Maraton de Barcelona

  • May 7th – Cursa de Bombers

This 10 kilometer race is a hugely popular event organised by Nike Running and the city of Barcelona which accepts up to 20,000 runners – of which there are usually around 400 firefighters. Traditionally the race involved relay teams of four firemen where each member ran a 2.5 kilometer leg of the route in full firefighting gear weighing up to 20 kg to compete against other teams of firefighters. The Cursa de Bombers is an unmissable event for runners on the international athletics calendar and has been awarded the Bronze Label from the IAAF International Athletics Association.

cursa-de-bombers-barcelona

So, with the Cursa dels Nassos and so many running events on offer in the city, make this New Year’s Eve and 2017 your year to get running!

First Dip of the Year in Barcelona

What better way to welcome in the New Year than a bracing dip in the Mediterranean? Since 1996, hundreds of bold bathers have flocked to Platja de Sant Sebastià for the first dip of the year (Primer Bany de l’Any). Why not join these brave souls on January 1st 2017 at midday as they charge into the sea, clad in only their swimming costumes and the occasional Santa hat?!

The event, organised by el Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, is totally free and is a sure-fire way to rid your cobwebs from the night before! And, if the prospect of an icy dip is a little daunting, you can register at the club´s reception prior to the event for a hot shower afterwards. This is a brilliant affair and a far better alternative to a day spent hibernating under the duvet, cradling a packet of Alka-Seltzer to nurse your hangover.

Whilst not for the faint-hearted (medically speaking), proponents of icy dips claim that the health benefits are numerous. Swimming in cold water can help your immune system, improve libido and boost circulation. Some even claim to experience a natural high so surely that´s reason enough to tempt you!first-dip-of-the-year-in-barcelona

  • Join Europe´s Popular New Year´s Day Tradition

By taking part in Barcelona´s Primer Bany de l’Any, you’ll join the tradition of thousands of people who mark the start of the New Year with a dip in the sea, rivers or lakes and, with an average water temperature of 13 degrees in January, Barcelona provides a comparatively gentle winter bathing experience!

For over 30 years, bathers have braved the freezing waters off Barry Island (Wales) for a New Year´s Day swim and in Edinburgh (Scotland), locals take part in the Loony Dook –  an icy plunge into the River Forth where the water is decidedly chilly! Similarly, in Rzeszów (Poland) bathers refuse to be deterred by the bitingly cold waters year on year.

first-dip-of-the-year-in-barry-island

The Netherlands boasts over 60 locations for a New Year´s Day plunge, and insist there is no better way to start the year. With a whopping 25,000 participants each January, the Dutch are arguably the champions of this watery tradition. The largest scale event is the annual nieuwjaarsduik in Scheveningen which welcomes approximately 10,000 swimmers.

first-dip-of-the-year-in-the-netherlands

So, what are you waiting for?! Get 2017 off to a great start and make this January 1st a day to remember by heading to Barcelona for a New Year’s Day dip!

Christmas Bath in Barcelona

Christmas Catalan Dishes

Barcelona does Christmas undeniably well. Whereas in many European cities, you are likely to have Christmas tat and poor Santa-imitations thrust upon you, the Catalans celebrate in style and yuletide joy is often accompanied by a range of delicious Catalan dishes and sweet treats. In Catalonia Christmas begins on 24th December and continues until Epiphany (Dia dels Tres Reis d’Orient) on 6th January when the presents arrive, providing ample time to fill your boots with some local culinary delights.

On Christmas Eve, We celebrate El Tío de Nadal (a Christmas log which poos presents) and whilst there are no traditional Catalan dishes to mark the occasion, no self-respecting Catalan would celebrate without having stocked up on Neulas (Catalan biscuits usually eaten with Cava) and Turró (a sweet food found in a variety of guises but its most original form is similar to that of nougat). Be sure to pick up your own share of these tantalising treats in any of the Christmas markets dotted around Barcelona.neules

December 25th in Barcelona is one big gastronomic treat. Catalan dishes served on Christmas day include escudella i carn d’olla (a sensational soup comprised of lamb, pig´s ear or cheek, potatoes, chicken, butifarra or Catalan sausage and Galets, a kind of pasta with a shape of a shell) , followed by pollastre farcit (oven roasted chicken stuffed with seasonal chestnuts and sausage meat). These Catalan dishes are washed down with Cava and sweet treats such as dried fruits and nuts, “Turrons” and “Neules”. You´ll also find giant Galets (pasta shells) along the streets of Barcelona in December which make great photo opportunities!

Escudella i Carn D'olla

Celebrations continue on St Steven´s Day (26th December) with family gatherings and once again, the opportunity to extend the Christmas waistlines with leftovers from the day before used to make “canelons”.canelons

Celebrate New Years Eve like a true Catalan with the surprisingly-tricky-to-master grape countdown in which you pop one grape in your mouth for every clock chime. Considered to ensure good luck for the year ahead, make sure you you don´t miss out – you can even buy packs of 12 deseeded grapes for the occasion! There are many theories attached to this tradition, but the most common explanation arises from the over-production of grapes around 1900. New Years Day hangovers aren´t usually soothed by a particular Catalan dish but stuffed chicken often crops up on the menu.uvas de Fin de año

Finally, the 6th January (Dia de Reis) provides yet another perfect excuse to indulge with El Tortell de Reis. This colourful, O-shaped cake is usually stuffed with marzipan or cream and glazed with fruit and contains two hidden surprises: a figurine of one of the threee kings and a fava, or dried field bean (yes, you read correctly, a bean!). Whoever is lucky enough to find the king gets to wear a paper crown whereas the less fortunate finder of the bean has to pay for the cake!

tortell-de-reis

So, loosen the belt and prepare to indulge. Catalan Christmas cuisine won’t fail to disappoint!

 

Most Famous Ski Resorts near Barcelona

Winter in Barcelona can be the perfect plan: Architecture, gastronomy, culture, beach and moreover, a day trip or a weekend to Ski!  We´ve put together a list of Ski Resorts near Barcelona within a drive or train. Keep reading to know which are the most famos catalan ski resorts. Time to hit the slopes!

Ski Resorts near Barcelona

  • Baqueira-Beret Ski resort

Baqueira-Beret ski resort is the biggest ski resort in Spain and boasts a wealth of trendy clientele. Set in Vall d’Aran in the Pyrenees and with a whopping altitude of over 120km and 33 ski lifts, it´s well worth the four hour drive from Barcelona. Snowfall here is pretty heavy and consistent throughout the winter months and there is great skiing on offer for all levels, including some eye-popping black runs off the top of the 2516m peak of Tuc Deth Dossau.

Baqueira-Beret has a wide variety of activities to suit your skitour Barcelona needs, such as ski classes or Heli-skiing, alpine skiing, snowboard, telemark, and Nordic. The apre-ski scene here is fab so after an energetic day on the slopes, you can reward yourself with a tipple or two! With an adult day ski pass costing 49 Euro it´s slightly pricier than some of the other resorts in the neighbouring areas but we think it´s well worth splashing out.

baqueira-beret-ski-resort

  • La Molina Ski Resort

Talking about Ski Resorts near Barcelona, If you are looking for something a little closer to Barcelona than a 4 hours ride, we highly recommend the resorts of La Molina (also accessible by train) and Masella. Both resorts are approximately a two hour drive from Barcelona. Spain´s oldest ski destination, La Molina, is the perfect spot for short ski breaks or even a day trip. It has around 67 kilometrers of ski-worthy slopes and also boasts additional activities such as ski Segway. However, if Apre-Ski is your thing, then perhaps this resort isn´t for you. It´s small and offers very few hotels (our favourite is Guitart Hotel La Molina Resort and Spa) but with a ski lift pass at around 40 Euro per day it won´t break the bank.

la-molina-ski-resort-near-barcelona

  • La Masella Ski Resort

A Ski trip from Barcelona could also take you to the giddy heights of La Masella. Much like its neighbour, La Masella isn´t for those wishing to paint the town red after a day on the slopes. So whilst Masella is unlikely to satisfy the needs of party animals, it is easy to get to and offers over 70 kilometres of brilliant slopes. An adult day lift pass in peak season will only set you back 43 Euro, so we think it’s well worth a visit.

la_masella_estacio_esqui

  • Grandvalira Ski Resort

If you are a pro, this is your ski resort: Grandvalira. This resort, which is the biggest Ski area in Andorra, has 110 pistes and an enormous skiable area of 205 kilometres! With peaks in this areas averaging out at 2500, the views won´t fail to disappoint. You can get here by train or car and for the coolest accommodation, head to the nearby villages of Soldeu and El Tarter. An adult day lift pass here costs around 47 Euro.

Grandvalira ski resort

  • Espot Ski Resort

This small ski station in the Lleida Pyrenees mountains is part of SkiPallars (a ski pass for two separate stations). It features 22 ski runs spread across 22.5 Km, 6 lifts, a children’s park and facilities such as snow cannons and is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from Barcelona. There are several packages available, but an adult (beginner) pass starts from 18 Euro.

espot-ski-resort

  • Vall de Núria Ski Resort

Vall de Núria is a charming resort accessible only by a train which departs from Ribes de Freser. The journey itself makes Vall de Núria worth the visit as it covers 12.5Km and climbs a staggering 1,000 meters in around 40 minutes. With 11 pistes catering for a variety of levels as well as a Children´s snow park, and amenities within the surrounding areas, Vall de Núria makes for an ideal ski getaway. There are various price packages available but a railway pass plus ski pass costs upwards of 27 Euro.

vall-de-nuria-ski-resort

So, ski fans, what are you waiting for? Hit the slopes and let’s Ski!