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!

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!

 

Barcelona at Christmas: Must see events and must do activities

Whether you´re simply passing through Barcelona in December or planning a more extended stay, we´ve compiled a list of unmissable events to mark the festive season. Keep reading, there are several things to do in Barcelona at Christmas.

Barcelona at Christmas: Must See events and must do activities

  • The Nativity Scene, Plaça de Sant Jaume

Every December Plaça de Sant Jaume comes alive with a giant nativity scene (Pessebre). Whilst all the traditional characters are represented (as well as Catalunya´s traditional Caganer or pooing man), they appear in different guises with the exception of the three kings. The nativity scene takes on a different theme each year and this year sees a more modern twist to the traditional setting with nine giant globes.

nativity-scene-barcelona

  • Christmas Markets in Barcelona

The Christmas market on Avinguda de la Cathedral, known locally as the Fira de Santa Llúcia, is another Barcelona must see at Christmas. It runs from 25th November until 23rd December, and, located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, offers the perfect setting to soak up the festive atmosphere. Here you can get your hands on some Catalan souvenirs such as él caganer (pooing man to go in the Nativity scene) or El Tió de Nadal (present-pooing log). However, if you prefer to pick up your Christmas gifts in a more intimate setting, make your way to smaller markets such as the Sagrada Familia market, The Three Kings Fair on Gran Via or the neighbourhood markets of Sants and Pedrables.

christmas-markets-in-barcelona

 

  • Xocolata amb Xurros in Barcelona

When thinking about chocolate with churros, it´s impossible not to think about the sweetest street in the city, Carrer de Petritxol, next to Plaça del Pi in the Gothic quarter. There you will find the best chocolatiers in the city such as La Dulcinea and La Pallaresa.

chocolate-with-churros-barcelona

  • The Kings Parade, January 5th

The Kings Parade (La Cavalgada de Reis) is a procession where the three kings arrive in Barcelona on their impressive floats with their royal pages. They parade around the whole city handing out thousands of sweets from 18:00-21:00 before continuing their night´s work of delivering presents to children across the world. On this day, children go to bed early in the hope of waking up to find the presents they had asked for in a letter to the kings. According to tradition, children who have behaved badly during the year will receive coal.

the-kings-parade-barcelona

  • Music and More

For a more relaxed way to get into the Christmas spirit, head to Palau de Musica, Liceu Opera House and Cathedral de Santa Maria del Mar for a variety of Christmas concerts. For those visitors with younger children, Poble Espanyol is packed with family-friendly events throughout December.

So, be sure not to miss out on these Barcelona must see Christmas events, there are loads of things to do in Barcelona at Christmas, and remember, we have several apartments in Barcelona that will make your holidays unforgettable, take a look!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

If you’re looking for a Christmas celebration unlike any other you’ve ever experienced, Barcelona is the perfect place for you this holiday season! December is an ideal month in this exotic region; the Barcelona Christmas weather isn’t too chilly, holiday activities are in full swing, and the streets and buildings are lavishly decorated. Exciting festivities, traditional culture, and welcoming locals make Christmas in Barcelona a truly magical time of year.

An Overview of Christmas in Barcelona

The Christmas season in Barcelona officially begins on December 8th, which is known as the Feast of Immaculate Conception, a day centered on the belief that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin.  The majority of families in Barcelona begin decorating for Christmas on this day.  Usually the most prominent Christmas decorations in the typical Barcelona home are the Nativity scenes (complete with the traditional caganer) displaying the stable of Bethlehem.  Christmas Eve (La Nochebuena) is observed with an extravagant dinner to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Christmas Day is celebrated December 25th with gifts and meals; most businesses are closed to honor this day.  The end of the Christmas season is marked by Three Kings’ Day on January 6th; this holiday, even more widely observed than Christmas Day, represents the day the Three Wise Men arrived to visit Jesus and is celebrated by a large parade the evening before.

Things to Do in Barcelona for Christmas

Barcelona Christmas Market:  Christmas fairs and markets are a must-see during Christmas in Barcelona! Some of the most popular markets are Fira de Santa Llúcia, which is filled with beautiful displays and performances, and the Fira de Reis, where you can find a wide selection of goods, candies, and toys (mostly handcrafted).  Many other fairs and Christmas markets are scattered amongst the villages during this season. There’s also the Festival de la Infancia, a fair with activities specifically for children, such as storytelling, games, and crafts.  

Skating:  Another popular activity during Christmas in Barcelona is ice skating; Catalunya Square, an iconic plaza surrounded by monumental buildings, is transformed into a temporary ice rink during the winter seasons and attracts visitors of all ages.   

Lights: Barcelona is well-known for their light exhibits during the holiday season!  Almost 300 streets are adorned with dazzling light displays and every district of the city presents its own towering Christmas tree.

Special Events: The Harbour Swim (Copa Nadal) is a swim across Barcelona’s freezing harbour on Christmas morning.  This tradition dates back to 1907 and has been a sight for spectators to enjoy every year since!  The Three Kings’ Parade is another famous Barcelona Christmas tradition that always occurs on January 5th.  This three-hour procession begins at 6:00pm and follows a 5 kilometer route.  Various artists, such as musicians, dancers, and circus performers, all participate to create this beautiful and traditional festivity.

Celebrate The Tradition of the Barcelona Christmas Log: One of the most unique aspects of Christmas in Barcelona is the tradition of the Caga Tió (the Spanish Christmas poo). A log with a cartoon face is placed by the hearth, and the children of the household present food to the log in exchange for gifts that it poops-out.

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

If any of these sights or events have peaked your interest, Christmas in Barcelona is the perfect winter getaway for you!  bizFlats offers a wide assortment of different lofts, studios and penthouses, apartments and villas to rent in spectacular areas of Barcelona.  Come experience luxurious living in one of the most exhilarating places on earth.  New Years in Barcelona is an amazing experience, as well!

Photo: Núria / Flickr