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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
So, you´re stopping off in one of the best cities in the world and have a mere 24 hours to savor the sights, sounds and tastes of Catalonia´s capital. Fear not, we´ve compiled some suggestions for what to do in Barcelona in one day to ensure you don´t miss out on any of the best bits.
Barcelona´s public transport network is efficient and super easy to navigate. If you (and your travelling companion) and planning to take several journeys either by bus or metro throughout your brief stay, we recommend buying a T10 travel card from any metro station. A T10 for zone one comes in at just under 10 Euro and one ticket can be used by multiple people on both the metro and buses for 10 journeys around the city. However, if you´re planning to get around mainly on foot as per our recommended route, a single journey will only set you back €2.15 so this could be your best option.
Our ´What to do in Barcelona in one day´ route starts off at La Sagrada Família where you can marvel Antoni Gaudí’s most impressive piece of work. This spectacular building is easily accessible by metro or bus and is well worth a visit. If you are pressed for time, you could simply admire the cathedral from outside, but for those keen to enter, we strongly recommend buying tickets online in advance to avoid the lengthy queues http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tickets/.
After that, hop on the metro (L5) until the stop Diagonal. From here, head down one of the city’s most emblematic streets, Passeig de Gràcia, where you’ll find some of Barcelona’s best examples of modernist buildings. This grand street, akin to an open-air architectural museum, will take you past some of Gaudi´s best known works, including La Pedrera, La Casa Amatller or Casa Batlló until you reach Plaça Catalunya.
Plaça Catalunya backs onto Barcelona´s most famous street, La Rambla, famed for its lively atmosphere, street performers, resident artists, cafes, bars and restaurants. A gentle stroll down La Rambla will take you past some of Barcelona´s most iconic buildings and structures, such as the beautiful market La Boqueria and el Gran Teatre del Liceu. La Boqueria is an explosion of colour and smells and is an absolute must for any foodies. Simply peruse the food stalls and soak up the atmosphere or pull up a chair at one of the bars and order yourself a coffee or some Cava and tapas.
Slightly further down La Rambla is the El Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona´s opera house), which was founded in 1847. Once you reach El Teatre del Liceu, turn left down the street Carrer de la Palla until you reach the Cathedral square. Barcelona´s beautiful cathedral is as impressive from the inside as it is the outside so make sure you step in and admire its Gothic and Baroque features from up close! Next, make your way into the adjoining cloister. This secluded area is a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the Gothic quarter´s streets and is dedicated to the city´s co-patron saint, Saint Eulàlia of Barcelona who lost her life during the Roman era after refusing to dismiss Jesus as the son of God. In her honour, the cloister still keeps 13 white geese (Eulàlia´s age at the time of her death).
Next up on our ´What to do in Barcelona in 1 day´ tour, we suggest you walk down Via Laietana until you reach the street Jaume I. Once on Jaume I, turn left to behold Plaça Sant Jaume and the old Roman walls that once encompassed the city formerly known as Barcino. From here, get back on Via Laietana until you reach the charming Carrer de l’Argentería, which will take you down to the beautiful church of Santa María del Mar (made famous throughout the world thanks to Ildefonso Falcones´ novel Cathedral of the Sea).
After a busy morning, you´ll be in need of some lunchtime sustenance and when in Barcelona that can only mean one thing; Paella! Right by Santa Maria del Mal you´ll find Passeig del Born which is home to La Vinya del Senyor which serves up a mouthwateringly delicious paella. Here you´ll also find several delightful tapas spots.
After you´ve filled your boots, walk off the post-lunchtime slump in Barcelona´s old fishing quarter, La Barceloneta. Head to the street Palau de Mar and then make your way down Passeig de Joan Borbó until you reach the city beach of Sant Sebastià. You´ll also notice lots of restaurants along the way. Our particular favourite is La Mar Salada where they serve up on of the best paellas in Barcelona.
Also if you want to explore Barcelona’s nightlife, save money and drink like a local, try this revolutionary App: TomaBida, the App that allows you to discover Barcelona’s best Bar and get a free drink a day! With the BizFlats code, you have this offers for you:
– 4.99€ for a 3-day visitor pass (which means 3 free drinks worth up to 30€ total)
– 6.99€ for a 7-day visitor pass (which means 7 free drinks worth up to 70€ total)
So there you have it – an action-packed itinerary for what to do in Barcelona in 1 day. We hope you enjoy your short stay! And, if you are looking for accommodation, remember that here at Bizflats we have apartments which are guaranteed to make your time in Barcelona unforgettable.
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 Nassosis 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!
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.
May 7th – Cursa de Bombers
This 10 kilometer race is a hugely popular event organised by Nike Runningand 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Fans of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly guises wishing to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona are in for a treat. We´ve scoured Catalonia´s capital for the best spooky celebrations on offer and have scouted out some great fancy dress shops to ensure that you are dressed to impress.
Whilst not traditionally a Catalan tradition, Halloween is now celebrated in Barcelona in the days leading up to 31st October. The celebrations also extend to 1st November for All Saint´s Day where you can also enjoy La Castanyada (chestnut festival) which sees people gather together to remember the deceased and eat seasonal fruits, such as chestnuts.
With so much on offer, choosing where to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona can present quite a challenge. Read on for our selection of the best events on offer.
5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona
Film fans wanting to spook themselves on the creepiest night of the year should head to cinema Phenomena for a Halloween-themed movie marathon on October 31st. Films such as Child’s Play and Pet Sematary will be shown in original version with Spanish subtitles.
Halloween in Port Aventura
For a more action-packed Halloween, visit Port Aventura theme park for the usual thrill-seeking rides as well as special Halloween-themed parades, performances, a haunted lake and creepy forest.
From 29-31 October, Enigmatium restaurant offers a truly spooky dining experience with mysterious cocktails and Halloween-themed dishes. Diners will also experience live, interactive theatre shows. Visitors with children should visit the family-friendly events on 30th October and 1st November. Booking is recommended.
Poble Espanyol for grown ups and for kids:
Dance the night away in Poble Espanyol on 29th October at “Un Brunch terrorifico”. The attraction, which comprises architectural styles from across Spain, will play host to DJs and musicians for a night of Halloween-themed fun from 16:00-04:00.
On Saturday it’s time for families to celebrate Halloween. There will be workshops, activities outfit contests and much more.
Party fans could visit Razzmatazz, a very famous disco in the city, for Razzlloween on 31st October from 1am onwards.
Where to hire/buy your outfits in Barcelona:
No Halloween celebration would be complete without a creepy costume. Famous costume hire store Menkes(Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 642) has a brilliant range of costumes to hire to get you in the party mood. Atuendo for Fun (Roger de Llúria,25) is similarly equipped with a variety of hire costumes to suit your party needs.
For those wishing to purchase an outfit, we recommend visiting La Bolsera (Xuclà,15) but if you are simply looking to accessorise, head to one of the Claire’s stores at various locations across the city.
Once you’ve got your hands on the perfect outfit and picked your party destination, we are sure that Halloween in Barcelona won’t disappoint!