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.
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
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 PlaçaEspanya 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.
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.
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.
Are you willing to find Street Art in Barcelona? Barcelona is certainly famous for its contemporary arts, especially modern street art. It is prolific throughout the city whether it’s illegal graffiti or commissioned pieces by some of the city’s famous artists like El Pez, who now tours the world painting large murals in every continent.
It’s not just spray-paint art though. Today’s street art uses anything and everything to display a message or communicate a feeling. The most common forms of Barcelona’s Street Art are just as likely to be mosaics or stencils and some even use recycled materials collected from the street’s refuse.
It changes every night too! The best place to view some of the best and more historic street art pieces on your Barcelona trip are actually on shop shutters. But they are normally only visible at night after the shops shut, or on a Sunday. Below we have suggested some areas in the city where you will see major pieces of Barcelona’s Street Art work… maybe even in action!
Barcelona Street Art in El Raval
If you take a trek through this district, Barcelona’s Street Art is everywhere. A good place to start is the MACBA – the Barcelona Contemporary Museum of Modern Art – but no need to go inside, just scout around the surrounding area to see really fantastic pieces of work! There are also a lot of older pieces as you move deeper into the Raval district.
Street Art in Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies
Easy to find, just head to the where you see the 3 big chimneys breaking the skyline on Avinguda del Paral-lel . Art creation is actually encouraged here, so you are allowed to paint, so you should be able to see and talk with some of the artists as they paint. Head further down Paral-lel where it meets Plaça de les Drassanes, you will find another public park space called Jardin Walter Benjamin. Artists can paint legally here as well and there are always new and interesting murals on display.
Street Art The Gothic & Born Quarters
Start at Carrer Ataulf (with Carrer Templars) and then head into Carrer Milans. By just walking along these two streets alone, you could potentially take hours to see all the art within them. There are also some old treasures by legendary Barcelona Street Artists El Pez, Kram & Bombzone. The Born is nearby. Just cross Via Laietana and head down to Carrer de l’Argenteria. The art is not only on the street, visit some of the local galleries that exhibit and sell work by Barcelona’s street artists.
Street Art Walking Tour
There is even a world famous Barcelona Street art walking tour – the Barcelona Street Style Tour. It has reviews by virtually every newspaper culture section on the planet. We highly recommend it! Also it’s free, but if you feel the tour gave good value, you can always donate when it ends. You would expect to pay about €8-10 for any informative and enjoyable walking tour. They even have an additional bicycle tour that takes you to Poble-Nou, where some of the city’s largest murals are.
Barcelona’s Street Art brings many visitors and artists to the city every year. To make your stay more enjoyable, why not see our selection of holiday rental apartments in the areas mentioned above to be right in the middle of all the action.
Today Casa Vicens open its doors to the public for the first time in its 130-year history. The opening is one year over schedule due to some painstaking restoration work, but definitely worth the wait.
Casa Vicens, the first home designed by Gaudí
The building is the first home designed by the great Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. The house was finished in 1885 and has always been a family home or summer house. It was commissioned for a local merchant Manel Vicens i Montaner. After he passed away, his widow sold it to the Jover family in 1899 and they resided in it, handing it down the family through the years.
In 2014 Casa Vicens was bought by MoraBanc & Amura Capital investing €4 million to bring the building back to its former glory. The restoration process began in 2015 and fully conserves all the original features and rooms. The figure for the actual purchase of the building is undisclosed.
Discover Casa Vicens
The new museum will pay homage to the famed architect and visitors will also learn more about Gaudí’s background; his life before designing Casa Vicens, his intellectual influences and his inspiration both during and after his studies.
The ceramic glaze brickwork on the exterior is influenced by Arabic and Medieval styles, also incorporating Gaudí’s personal decorative and symbolic themes. These were only discovered after removing a layer of white paint used to cover some of the original decoration and papiermache artwork.
The house retains a gallery, dining room and a smoking room which adjoin the gardens and newly installed side entrance all on the ground floor. The main façade features the reconstruction of the original fountain with its circular base for collecting the water, a main body and metal structure. As a result of various works over the years, the whole piece had disappeared, so the reconstruction of the fountain is based on photographs.
The first floor of Casa Vicens is home to a permanent collection of Gaudí’s papers where visitors can discover several original pieces of his thoughts on architecture. Anyone who knows Gaudí’s work will be aware that he rarely wrote about his opinions on architecture and design, so these are special treats for enthusiasts indeed.
There is also a live audiovisual projection about the architect, and depending on what time of year, there will be temporary exhibtions and other activities dedicated to different parts of Gaudí’s life and work. Apart from Gaudí’s social, cultural and artistic context, visitors will be able to find out more about his projects prior to building this house – such as school projects, his city projects, religious projects and his first building and furniture designs.
Casa Vicens is a Unesco World Heritage Site, named among other works he designed such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Palau de la Música and Hospital de Sant Pau. It is located in the western part Gràcia and it is expected that approximately 150,000 people will visit the museum every year.
La Roca Village is a shopping concept operated by multi-national luxury retail group, Chic, who boast 11 such sites at cities like London, Paris, Munich, Shanghai, as well as several in Spain. More of a Spanish architecture styled village than a shopping mall, La Roca Village is treasure trove of more than 130 outlets by top brands such as Moncler, Michael Kors, Armani, Boss, Gucci, Hackett, Jimmy Choo or Versace, all brimming with luxury articles available at low prices, sometimes saving up to 60% off high street prices.
Located in the region of El Vallès Oriental on the outskirts of Granollers – a large industrial town just outside of Barcelona where the famous Montmeló Formula One track is – La Roca Village offers a great day out for young couples, groups, singles or families. It is a tourist destination in its own right due to the stunning design and innovative experience.
It’s open seven days a week, 10am till 9pm, but normally closed for holidays such as Christmas Day, King’s Day… check their website before planning your day trip. Private shopping services include an all-store baggage-guarding scheme and even a personal adviser service for complete makeovers. There are more additional activities such as a gift card services.
There are plenty of fine eating establishments scattered around the shopping village with food for every taste with a beautiful play area for younger ones at its centre. So how do you get there?
How to get to La Roca Village by Car
La Roca is easily accessible from the “Autopista del Mediterráneo” or AP7. This motorway stretches all the way from the Spanish/French border in the North connecting through to Valencia and Vera in the southern part of the peninsula. Leave the AP7 Motorway at Exit 12A (Cardedeu) and follow the signs for Centre Comercial (GPS Lat. 41.610694, Long. 2.343342). Prices for small to medium car rentals from leading companies such as Europcar, for example, start from 29 euro per day.
How to get to La Roca Village by train
Very regular services from City’s main rail station Sants connecting to Granollers, the stop near the shopping village, every 30 minutes. From there, regular bus services or taxis will help you complete your trip with a 5-minute journey to the shopping complex. It’s a well-trodden path to La Roca, so this is an easy option basically door-to-door.
City Centre Coach
The most direct way is by the Shopping Express shuttle bus – operated by La Roca themselves and pre-booking is advised due to limited seat numbers. Return trips cost €20 each for adults, children 3-12 at €10 and children under 3 travel for free Passeig de Gracia, 6. Usually by booking online, there are also plenty of discount opportunities in the shops, cafeterias and restaurants on offer.
Sagales, a local coach service, also operates a direct route and has extra stops at the Mango Outlet and Nike Factory Store. Children under 4 travel for free and adult returns are €20 at the departure point on Carrer Casp, 34. Again, pre-booking is advised and will also earn you some further discount on your travel ticket costs.
If shopping is your thing, then Barcelona is definitely your place. Find your ‘base camp’ from our selection of fine rental apartments throughout the city, and shop till you drop!
f you spend 4 or 5 days in Barcelona you can also plan several Barcelona day trips that you will love, for example a day out in Sitges.
Located just a short way outside Barcelona, to the west and taking a 40-minute journey on the local rail service either from Franca, Sants or Passeig de Gràcia rail stations, is the romantic and historic village of Sitges, a perfect destination for any Barcelona day trip.
This Barcelona day trip couldn’t be easier to do. It will cost approximately €9 Euro (day return) on the train, usually 4 every hour, dropping visitors off at one of the most beautiful and fabled villages situated on the Catalunya’s Costa Dorada. Simply alight and stroll into the town from Sitges rail station, the stunning beaches are not too far away. There is so much history here, so where do you start?
Foremost, Sitges is famous as a party town. The first ever Pacha nightclub in the world – created 10 years before Ibiza – was founded here. But let’s not forget it’s annual Carnaval – one of the biggest in the world – its frequent fiestas, major film festival or the Corpus Christi.
Going even further back in time, the Romans occupied the village and it was a major point of trade and festival. In fact, according to the Museu de Sitges, “since ancient times, the site of Sitges has been associated with a small Roman town mentioned in classical sources called Subur.” Basically after the centurions were paid in salt (from Las Salinas in Ibiza) they took a short cruise to Sitges to spend their wages in true soldier fashion.
Pretty much, this is still what happens today, and Sitges now occupies an even more special place on the global map – the pink map to be precise. Best described as poly-sexual, Sitges is probably the world’s number one destination for the LGBT community.
The most famous street is Carrer del Pecat (Sin Street) as it is known here. Its real name is Carrer Primer de Maig de 1838, and it is here where artists such as Dali and Picasso used to meet and hang out in their younger years during the 1960’s.
At the bottom of Carrer del Pecat is the beach, one of 17. This one is called playa de la Ribera and home to El Chiringuito… quite literally the first ever chiringuito built in Spain. Turn to the right and walk up the beachfront a little way and you will come to a fine beachfront restaurant called Pic Nic. Perfect for a fresh fish lunch and to pick at some tapas specialties. Pulpo Gallega, sepia, patatas bravas and fresh bread with tomàquet are always on the menu and this selection of dishes should cost about €25 per person.
After the sustenance, the energy kicks in! Use your time wisely on this Barcelona day trip and see some of the sights. Follow the path down to the bottom of the church and the old town. Take the steps up to the old quarter and you will find the magnificent church – dedicated to the town’s patron saints, Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla, or drop into the recently refurbished Cau Ferrat Museum.
A suggested route for this day trip is to follow in footsteps of Sitges’ fanciful fore father, Modernist artist and most beloved Santiago Rusiñol. Enjoy a healthy stroll high above Playa Sant Sebastian to marvel at the graveyard and viewpoint that looks down to Port Aiguadolce.
The rest of my day maybe spent sampling the artisanal wares of the many shops that Sitges has hidden down its back streets, with each and every one unashamedly paying homage to Sitges’ mix of maritime and melancholic glamour. Check out the numerous interior design, curiosity and antique shops, carelessly scattered between the village’s many cobbled streets.
Before you end your Barcelona day trip and make your back to the city, stop to ‘whet your whistle’ at the locals favourite watering hole, El Cable, on Carrer Barcelona with Carrer Santiago Rusiñol. The libations here are almost as famous as the town’s fearsome film festival.
Whatever your thoughts are on this historic hideaway during your Barcelona day trip, one thing’s for certain – you’ll be sure to wave it goodbye, many times again. For your stay in Barcelona, please do visit our page to see a great selection of fine apartments.
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
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
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.
Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia: restaurants with one star
Today it’s time to talk about the Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia with one star. Recently we published an article about Michelin starred restaurants in Barcelona with one star to be your definitive guide of all the gastronomical wonders in the city. But Barcelona doesn’t have all the glory, there are even more one-star Michelin restaurants surrounding the city in Catalonia’s beautiful villages and countryside.
For a day or two away from the city, Els Casals is the perfect destination. It is located outside Sagàs, a picturesque village nestled in the Pre-Pyrenees valley. The country house hotel/restaurant is situated on lush farm land and sprawling gardens. Els Casals is down to earth fine dining – all the ingredients come from the farm itself, or from families nearby (Tatjé‘s family’s pigeon, boneless and roasted orange duck from Bessa’s family).
This gorgeous converted farmhouse is a scenic hour’s drive from Barcelona. The dining room is a romantic haven of stone walls and soft lighting. Their tasting menu samples a vast range of their culinary talents from Grandmother’s canneloni to sliced roast veal and foie, each garnished with a different herb.
Venture an hour north of Barcelona to the foothills of the Pyrenees for a breath of fresh air. Fonda Sala has had its Michelin star for longer than most and its dining room reflects its timeless dedication to fine food and wine, free of any fads or pretension, but still at the forefront of innovative cuisine with dishes like sweet and sour wild rabbit.
To the north of Barcelona, not far from the Montserrat monastery you can find L’Ó, a modern hotel/restaurant nestled amongst the medieval houses and churches that mark the area. The town in which L’Ò is situated, Sant Fruitós de Bages, has its own monastery and the food at this restaurant is indeed worthy of the gods; slow-cooked baby goat shoulder with mushrooms and truffle, and oyster with ponzu sauce, apple and codium.
Another restaurant worth venturing out of Barcelona for, Santa Coloma de Gramenet is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers the most affordable tasting menu (dinner Tuesday to Thursday and lunch Tuesday to Friday) at just 40€ per person. Dishes like solid mojito, Campari & orange stuffed olive and Mojito truffle signal a restaurant that is not afraid to experiment.
In a converted farmhouse about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, Can Jubany offers a sumptuous choice of menus, from their own signature dishes (Catalan cured sausage ‘llonganissa’ and crispy pancetta), a gastronomic tour of Catalonia (pigeon rice with pork belly and sausage) and their sublime meal (Salad of red shrimps from Palamós with a thousand islands sauce ice cream).
If you fancy a day on the coast, head to El Masnou, just past Badalona. It’s less than a 30 minute drive away and features seafood of the highest quality such as slow-cooked red tuna belly with potato cream and “allioli” of avocado, basil, spinach and sesame as well as Duck Royale with foie gras. It’s renowned for its vermut too, so be sure to start with the local aperitif or have a light lunch of burrata with pear and walnuts or steak tartar.
Just plan a daytrip away from Barcelona and taste the best of the rest from Michelin’s one-star A-list in Catalonia!
These Barcelona Apps will give you all the guidance you need. There is no need to wander around the city with your nose buried in a guide book!
Barcelona Apps: Transport
Virtual Bus Touristic App
Plan where you want to hop off by taking a ride on the virtual-reality version of this iconic bus tour first.
This easy-to-use Barcelona app allows you to plan your route using the city’s combined bus, metro, train and tram network. Simply put in your start and end points and it will give you a list of options, the time each will take and when your first connection is due.
Simply enter your destination and how you want to pay you’ll soon be sent a picture of the driver who is on their way to you.
Barcelona Apps: Sightseeing
The official guide to BarcelonaApp
A traditional city guide on your phone. Includes all the information you need as a tourist in Barcelona.
This Barcelona app details the accessibility of famous sights and museums as well as the more day to day amenities such as banks, supermarkets and restaurants.
iBarcelona – Smartour App
The ultimate Barcelona app for the smart phone generation. If you don’t know where to start, follow their recommended itinerary or see what local events are near your apartment.
Find everything you need to know about the galleries in the Association of Art Galleries of Catalonia (GGAC), from exhibition dates and opening hours to information about featured artists. The geolocation capability helps you find galleries near your apartment.
Scan the code next to the famous works to find out the story behind it. For an artistic spin on sightseeing, you can also walk a mile (or more!) in Miro’s shoes and take a look at his former residences around Barcelona.
Barcelona Metro Walks App
This Barcelona app will guide you around Barcelona’s surrounding neighbourhoods by public transport and on foot. The audio guide will show you the real Barcelona by explaining its history and development.
Jordi, a local architect and interior designer will give you a tour of a former industrial neighbourhood, now a urban hub of innovation.
Be transported back to Barcelona’s golden age with this Barcelona app, admire the Romanesque and Gothic architecture which dominates the old part of the city.
Gaudí’s Barcelona App
This Barcelona app not only gives you practical information about these iconic sights, an architect and interior designer describes them in fascinating detail with music and sound effects.
Barcelona Apps: Food
Barcelona Restaurants App
Makes choosing a restaurant from the multitude of mouth-watering possibilities easy, listing a selection of the city’s most recommended restaurants near your apartment.
So step into the 21st century and step out of your apartment with these helpful Barcelona apps.