Things to do in Barcelona in December 

Which are the best things to do in Barcelona in December?  The Christmas agenda is jam-packed with fun and interesting things to do and see.  Below we select a few things to do you can’t miss:

Things to do in Barcelona in December: Christmas Concerts

As you’d expect, Barcelona has many open-air concerts during the festive season. Plaça del Rei hosts some of the best ones on a medieval square.  It is situated in the Gothic Quarter and you will also find the Palau Reial (Royal Palace), Tinell Salo, the Chapel of St. Agatha and the Torre del Rey Martí.  Also most of the city’s churches have things to do in December such as traditional religious events and classical music recitals. We recommend the St. Stephen’s Day Christmas concert at the magnificent Palau de la Música concert hall in Barcelona. A beloved annual Christmas event in Barcelona by The Orfeó Català choir and other choirs.

Things to do in Barcelona in December 

If architecture and music is your thing during your stay, then you must include this a visit to El Palau de la Música.  Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, El Palau Música Catalana is styled in a similar theme to that of Gaudí’s work, but more functional in contrast to many other buildings built in the modernism style throughout the city.  The design of the Palau is typical of Catalan modernism.

Visit the most important Christmas Markets in Barcelona

Barcelona organizes many traditional and not-so tradition Christmas Markets (Mercats de Nadal).  They’re excellent places to get some great Catalan traditional gifts, Christmas themed decorations and artisan food products.  They are one of the most important things to do in Barcelona in December and are open throughout the holiday period.  We recommend the oldest market, Fira de Santa Llúcia at Barcelona Cathedral or the largest one, Fira de Reis a la Gran Vía, which run along this main road between its junctions with Carrer Calabria and Carrer Comte Urgell.  For more information read our article about the oldest Christmas Markets in Barcelona

Things to do in Barcelona in December 

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the city’s busy New Year Celebrations, then your things to do in Barcelona in December list must include a visit to Plaça Espanya to fully experience the Catalan New Year traditions.  Get there early as the crowds will be massive as they wait for midnight to come and see in the New Year with grapes and cava – when the midnight bells toll you must eat a grape with every dong, and simultaneously take a sip of cava, 12 times in total, to ensure you have a lucky and prosperous 2018.  There will also be the best fireworks show the city has to offer.

New year's Eve in Barcelona - Plaça Espanya

Christmas Shopping

If you are here in the search for the perfect gift for loved ones, then a visit to one of Barcelona’s shopping hotspots has to be among the things to do in Barcelona in December.  We recommend the luxury shops all along the Passeig de Gràcia for top-end items.  If you have time, there is the famous La Roca Shopping Village located just outside the visit for more top brands and luxury gifts at factory outlet prices.  Plaça de Catalunya is also a great place to discover traditional Catalan Christmas themes and high street retail brands situated around the city’s largest square. 

Christmas Shopping in Barcelona

Barcelona Michelin Star Tapas Walking Tour

Things to do in Barcelona in December has to include Tapas, and what better way to experience the best tapas with Barcelona’s Michelin Star Tapas Experience.  Your guide will take you to two very different restaurants, which are owned by Michelin-starred chefs and that represent different regions of Spain to try various tapas dishes and wines.  The tour last for three hours and whilst also getting to sample some the best tapas in the city, the guide will also share some other culinary places of interest to discover during your stay.

So If you are choosing Barcelona as your Christmas destination this year, then there is no better option for your stay than renting one of our cozy apartments.  Please see our selection here and book your accommodation with us.

Fira de Santa Llúcia, the oldest Barcelona Christmas Market

A visit to a Barcelona Christmas Market is the best way to sample the city’s Christmas Spirit.  The oldest one in the city is the Fira de Santa Llúcia – situated in front of the Barcelona Cathedral at Avinguda de la Catedral.  It’s right in the centre of city and full of seasonal hustle and bustle, while brimming with traditional Catalan Christmas trinkets and decorations for house and garden.


Barcelona Christmas Ma
This Barcelona Christmas Market was created to celebrate the feast day of Santa LLúcia on December 13, but has now grown into a major part of the city’s Yuletide celebrations.  This year, it runs from November 24, through to December 23 while also celebrating its 231st anniversary.

What to find in this Barcelona Christmas Market

There are over 250 stalls which are arranged in 4 distinct sections; Nativity Scenes & Figurines, Greenery and Plants (which includes fresh mistletoe for romantic visitors), Crafts & Fabrics and Traditional Musical Instruments.

It still is a very traditional Christmas market, but over time the Fira de Santa Llúcia has grown and grown.  Today, it supplies additional products like toys and games for the children as well as decorations, hand crafted gifts and artisan products.  Expect to see the traditional specialty on display, turrón, a baked cake of nougat made of honey, egg white and sugar with toasted almonds, or nuts with a rice paper coating. Buy two, so at least one gets to make its way home with you!

Among the many religious and more modern gift ideas, a few of the more traditional decorations items are on display and for sale.  However, no Barcelona Christmas market would be complete without the infamous Caganer figures, a key fixture for the Catalan nativity scene, referred to as ‘El Pesebre’.  This normally depicts a peasant defecating and the Caganer’s exact origins are pretty much unknown.  But there he is, often hidden away in the far corner of a nativity scene, typically nowhere near the manger or main characters.  The Catalan tradition is to have children find the hidden figure.

El Caganer - Barcelona Christmas Market

This leads to another fascinating tradition… the Tió de Nadal or Christmas log.  The children will recite a famous song about el Tió de Nadal and before beating the Tió all the kids have to leave the room to pray, asking for the Tió to deliver a lot of presents.  This makes the perfect excuse for the relatives to do the trick and put the presents under a blanket behind the Tió while the kids are praying.  The Tió is not for large gifts, as they are brought by the three Kings on January 6th, but they are used more for smaller, communal gifts, treats and dried fruits that are shared by the whole brood… all of which are on offer at this Barcelona Christmas market.

Tió de Nadal - Fira de Santa Llúcia

How to get to Fira de Santa Llúcia

Due to the traffic jams during christmas holidays, we recommend you to get there using public transport. If you take the Metro, you can stop in Jaume I station (L4) and walk 3 minutes until the Cathedral.

Also you can stop in Plaça Catalunya, go down Portal de l’Àngel and have a walk in the main shopping street of the city until you get to the Cathedral (10 minutes walking)

The best way to discover this Barcelona’s Christmas Market is to rent a beautiful apartment in the city centre close by all the Christmas action, then please see our apartments in Barcelona here and book your festive vacation in Barcelona with us.

 

La Mercè 2017, the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda

La Mercè 2017 is the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda, uniting all of its neighbourhoods and serving as the city’s Festa Major.  This year it aims to extend further throughout the city by adding even more new venues and activities.

Every year, Barcelona invites a city from around the world to jointly celebrate the festival.  This year Icelandic capital Reykjavik has been invited to be this year’s special guest city and will be honoured throughout La Mercè.

Overall, it is a religious festival that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and observes the holy feast day of Our Lady of Mercy.  It is the biggest weeklong festival in the city and an age-old tradition, but there are very up-to-date activity items as well, such as specialty markets, art displays and musical performances for example.

Gegants & Capgrossos – La Mercè 2017 

Catalunya has a great tradition for processions of giants or bigheads, which are tall, hollow structures with very large papier-mâché heads, each with a unique identity and character.  They are carried on top of people’s shoulders in a parade as they dance and run at the crowds.  Also, there are the Bestiari – which are figures of medieval, folkloric creatures.  This parade happens on the first day of the La Mercé celebrations.

Gegants Procession, September 22, Palau de la Virreina on La Rambla, 99, at 19:00h

The Correfoc – La Mercè 2017 
The famous fire run is always on September 24 – the actual saint’s day for La Mercé.  Performers dressed as devils and fiery dragons dance in a long procession through the city.  Hordes of “diables” hoist pitchforks, or forquilles, above their heads, with spinning fireworks attached that spray in all directions.  If you’re going to get a close-up photograph, then protective clothing is advised.  There is also an early fire run for children.

Correfoc (Adults), September 23, Via Laietana at 20:15h
Correfoc (Children) September 23, Via Laietana at 18:30h

Castellers – La Mercè 2017 

The Catalans are very good at building human structures. In fact he last few world records – 10 persons high – have been have been set in the region.  Participants, or Catsellers, climb on top of each other, interlocked into a delicate balancing act to get people to reach into the sky as far as possible.  The human tower is supported by a large number of people at the bottom, and then it’s a race to reach the highest point in strict formation before the structure breaks.

Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 11:30h
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 12:30h

 

BAM
Barcelona Acció Musical has been running for over 20 years and hosts more contemporary rock and pop music concerts.  It runs in parallel to the main festival, and as Reykjavik is the partner city for this year’s La Mercé, then a contingent of its artists will perform, as well as national and internal artists.  Concerts usually take place at Plaza Real, Plaza Catalunya and at the MACBA, among many other intimate places and open-air venues around the city.

BAM, September 22-25, various venues
http://lameva.barcelona.cat/bam/en

AMICS DE LES ARTS CANET ROCK. FOTO: DAVID BORRAT. 04-07-15. CANET DE MAR. DIARI ARA

Piromusical – La Mercè 2017 
This is a critically acclaimed, professional fireworks display that takes place on the last night of La Mercè 2017 on Avinguda reina Maria Cristina.  You need to arrive early for the big finale, as thousands of people gather to watch this spectacular show.

Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.

Piromusical, September 25, Avinguda de Reina Maria Cristina (Plaça Espanya) at 22:00h

The La Mercè Festival is a great way to see Barcelona at its best.  Your stay could be much more convenient with your own apartment.  Check our website for an excellent selection of short-term holiday rentals so that your stay in the city is as comfortable as possible.

Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.