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 2020 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

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona, 2019-2020

Are you planning on spending the New Year in Barcelona and looking for a special way to ring in 2020? Then look no further; we’ve compiled a list of the best parties for you to celebrate the night away with your partner, friends or family.

For locals, the celebration starts at home with a family meal and the traditional eating of 12 grapes at midnight, before hitting the town. However, we’ve selected a range of events starting before and after midnight at restaurants, bars and clubs so you can find the best event for you.

So what are you waiting for, start planning a New Year you’ll never forget in the centre Barcelona!

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona

Fireworks: Plaça Espanya, Av. María Cristina

Unlike other cosmopolitan cities, it was only in 2013 that the tradition of an official outdoor New Year’s event began in Barcelona. Now locals and visitors alike can wrap up and get together to be awed by a fantastic performance of fireworks and music! This family-friendly celebration is free and starts at 9.30 pm. 

Sutton: C/ Tuset, 13

Looking to spend the New Year in style? Then we have the place for you! With tickets starting from €50 (including 3 drinks) and VIP tables starting from €1,000, this New Year’s Eve the exclusive nightclub venue plays host to DJs and artists such as Juanpa Claret, Gerard Roig and Xavi Ques. 

Bling Bling: C/ Tuset, 8–10

One of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs offers you an unforgettable evening starting at 1 am. With a selection of DJs, the option of VIP tables and the best music, ring in the bells with your loved ones at home then get the party started. We’re sure you’ll dance the night away.

Gatsby: C/ Tuset, 19

This themed restaurant come nightclub will take you back to the 1920s. Enjoy an exquisite menu of local and international dishes plus nightlong entertainment with singers, dancers and much more. After dinner, grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor. This luxury space won’t disappoint!

Sala Apolo: C/ Nou de la Rambla, 107

From 01:00 to 05:30 you’ll have access to two exclusive events held at one of Barcelona’s most renowned nightclubs, with over 75 years of clubbing tradition. In the main room, enjoy Nitsa live electronic beats from Shelby Grey, DJ Kosmos and more. In room 2 or “La 2” discover Astin, Nitsa’s house and disco alternative. Early Bird tickets are only €25 – what are you waiting for!

Razzmatazz: C/ dels Almogàvers, 122

With five different rooms, Razzmatazz really does have something for everyone. Choose from two ticket types, with entry either from 22:30 or after midnight, including two drinks and a special edition T-shirt – plus grapes, party favours and cava if you choose to see in the New Year there. Tickets cost €54.50 or €44.50 respectively.

Pacha: Passeig Marítim Barceloneta, 38

Head to the Barcelona seafront to party the night away at Pacha, with a selection of Europe’s most famous DJs. As well as being a nightclub, the Pacha restaurant also offers a dinner right by the sea and includes entry to the club to the exclusive New Year party.

Poble Espanyol
Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13

Starting at 10.30 pm, discover a traditional Spanish street party in the centre of Barcelona at the Poble Espanyol. A standard ticket costing €40 (until December 26) will grant you access to three different outdoor spaces. Grab a VIP table with your friends and loved ones starting from €120. Tickets include four drinks, grapes and party favours.

Catwalk
Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2–4

Catwalk boasts the best of R&B and hip-hop music in an exclusive space located on the seafront. With a range of tickets starting from €30 right up to €3,500, enjoy three rooms, neon lights and an outdoor terrace.

Wherever you choose to celebrate the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we hope you have a blast!

Festes Majors in Barcelona 2020

With another year coming to a close, we’re already thinking about 2020 and the celebrations it will bring with it. 

If you’ve not had the chance to experience a local festival in one of Barcelona’s many buzzing neighbourhoods, we’re sure that 2020 will be your year. With over 70 festivals set to be scheduled, you’ll be certainly spoilt for choice.

As 2020 is just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite festes majorswith their preliminary dates so you can start planning your next trip!

Festa Major de Sant Antoni

Dates:17–26 January 2020

2019 was this festival’s debut year, so we’re sure its second year will be an event not to be missed. Enjoy a range of activities centred around the neighbourhood’s recently renovated market.

Festes de Santa Eulàlia

Dates:7–12 February 2020 (tbc)

Coinciding with the day of former patron saint of Barcelona (12 February), expect to see the centre of Barcelona come alive with castellers(human towers) and an array of parades in her honour.

Festa Major de la Sagrada Família

Dates: April–May 2020 (tbc)

Experience this renowned Gaudi masterpiece with over a week of various events and activities suitable for all ages. 

Festa Major del Casc Antic

Dates:June 2020 (tbc)

No one can deny that Barcelona’s old quarter has a unique charm – so why not discover its more traditional side. Head to Sant Pere and Santa Caterina i la Ribera to see castellers, parades of giant puppets and the modestsardanes dance.

Festa Major del Raval

Dates:June 2020 (tbc)

In honour of the neighbourhood’s patron saint, this bright and colourful festival in the centre of Barcelona stands out thanks to its castellers and artisans selling local craft products.

Festa Major del Poble-sec

Dates:July 2020 (tbc)

The festival of Poble-sec will take you on a journey through its most emblematic, local locations, from the Semblador square and the El Molino theatre. Be sure not to miss its blazing correfoc fire run.

Festa Major de Gràcia

Dates: 15–22August 2020

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of all the festes majors of Barcelona, discover how the streets of Gràcia are transformed by the local residents with decorations of every colour.

Festa Major de Sants

Dates:August–September 2020 (tbc)

From concerts, decorations and correfocs, the Festa Major de Santstransforms this residential and professional district for a week of celebrations in honour of patron saint Bartholomew. 

Festa Major de Poblenou

Dates:11–20 September 2020

One of the largest of the festivals with around 500 activities, this event is not to be missed. Discover the magnificent cercavilaparade, sign up to run the 5 or 10 km race or take part in some of the artistic workshops that run alongside this celebration.

Festa Major de la Rambla

Dates:September 2020 (tbc)

This special celebration of one of Barcelona’s most renowned landmarks sees the façades of its buildings decorated with fresh flowers. What’s more, museums in the area are free during these celebratory dates.

Festes de la Mercè

Dates:18–24 September 2020

In honour of the patron saint of Barcelona, the entire city comes together to celebrate with popular culture, live music, castellers,correfocs and much more. There’s something for everyone at a range of locations throughout the city centre.

Festa Major de la Barceloneta

Dates:September 2020 (tbc)

In this beachside festival that celebrates the best of one of Barcelona’s most traditional neighbourhoods. We recommend catching a havaneresconcert (colonial songs sung by local groups) on the beach.

Is the festa majorof your favourite neighbourhood missing? Don’t worry; very soon the entire list of Barcelona’s local festivals will be published here, where you will also be able to check their exact locations on the map. 

We hope to see you there!

A Guide to Christmas Concerts in Barcelona

The nights are drawing in earlier, the mornings are chillier and soon lights of every colour will illuminate the streets of Barcelona. 

This can only mean one thing! Christmas is almost upon us.  And if you’re spending Christmas in Barcelona this year, we can recommend a different plan to ensure you make the most of time with your loved ones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and preparing for the many family gatherings and meals, take some time out to enjoy a unique musical experiences.

christmas concerts in barcelona

We’ve compiled this short guide to concerts during the festive season for you to sit back and be regaled by local choirs and orchestras. What better way to get in the festive mood!

Christmas on Broadway

Where: L’Auditori

When: Friday 20 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Join the Symphonic Orchestra of Barcelona on a journey through the musicals of Broadway in a fantastic gala show to kick off the festive season in style. With music from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2015), Lloyd Webber (2017) and Bernstein (2018), there’s something for everyone.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 December 2019

Enjoy this Christmas classic surrounded by loved ones. Music by Albert Guinovart together with Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Amics de la Unió children’s choir.

Star Wars & OCM: Original Soundtracks by John Williams

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 19 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Relive some of John William’s most emblematic soundtracks from the big screen including Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List. We’re sure that you’ll laugh, cry and be entertained by the favourites of this renowned and prize-winning composer.

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Various dates from 5–22 December 2019

This December enjoy a unique double opera session of two acclaimed Royal Opera House productions. These two Italian classics set in the 1950s will be performed side by side in what is sure to be an epic evening of emblematic opera.

The Magic World of Hans Zimmer

Where: L’Auditori

When: Wednesday, 25 December 2019

What better way to spend the most magical day of the year than enjoying music from some of the most epic films of the century. From The Lion King, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more, bring this special day to a close surrounded by your loved ones.

St. Stephen’s Choral Concert: Christmas at the Palau

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 26 December 2019

Take part in this festive tradition of Catalonia with this unique concert held every St. Stephen’s Day. The charming melodies of the Orfeó Català and a combination of choirs are sure to bring the whole family together in an enchanting venue.

If you’re spending Christmas season in Barcelona, we’re sure one of these magical concerts will make for an unforgettable experience with your loved ones.

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.