Hello, December! I´ll try my best to not overdo it with the Christmas lalala during this month. But I make no promises 🙂
Barcelonians are not too big on Christmas, although lately this has changed a bit. Their main winter celebration would be Fiesta de los Reyes, early-January, and they do have some peculiar traditions here in Catalonia around this time, such as a giant stick that literally poops presents while the kids beat him (or something like that and yes, it is true). So, while, the Christmas period is a bit different than what you might know, it is beautiful exactly because of that; at least you can feel amazed (or appalled, to each his/her own 🙂 ), by these traditions completely new to you. *However, the traditional shop until you drop and spend all your money on many (useless) gifts and the giant crowds everywhere are the same here, just as you know them.
Apart from that, I suggest the following mandatory activities if you happen to be in this beautiful city in December. *Oh, the weather is extremely nice, nothing like an usual December in countries that do have winter 🙂
- Indulge in a hot chocolate with “churros” in one of the best places to do that in the whole wide world. My personal favorite is La Nena, in Gracia (although you should not expect the nicest staff ever), but the most hyped one is Chocolateria Petritxol, which is located, surprise, on Calle Petritxol, in Barrio Gótico, hence it is far more popular among tourists.
- December is the time to gain weight around here, it seems, because the traditional dessert is, beside others, the almighty TURRÓN. The Catalan cream one is specific here (duh!), but the base consists of eggs, sugar and almonds. There are many places where you can find it, I can only recommend the Vicens ones, because those are the ones I buy for presents (not a big fan of actually eating them).
- Just wander around the city. Either by day – you can check the Christmas markets, which are really nice. The biggest ones are in front of Sagrada Familia and near the Cathedral. Please, be careful, because they are full of people and you know what that means – a small piece of heaven for pickpockets. There are also smaller and less traditional Christmas markets, like this one, or this one. Or, of course, go out by night, when you can see the lights, but don´t expect too much. Two of the biggest streets were left without festive lights due to some complex bankruptcy issues. However, the small streets of Gracia are pure magic and you must check the big Christmas tree and the Nativity Scene from Plaza de Ayuntamiento (Metro Yellow Line, Jaume I). The photo below is from
last yeartwo years ago, I did not follow my own suggestion yet this year 🙂
- I generally do not recommend visiting Casa Batlló on the inside, I think the price is really not reasonable. On Christmas, though, they usually decorate nicely, with some snow machines and it becomes really amazing.
- You should absolutely go to the beach, there are very few things more beautiful than the sea in December. Just enjoy the silence, the sun and chill!
- There is a Christmas concert inside Sagrada Familia. They organize a lottery each year for a chance to witness this beautiful event (this year the concert is on the 15th of December and you can still apply for the lottery here). Should you be one of the lucky winners, please note that it is FREEZING inside so you might want to put all the clothes you own on 😀
- Palau de la Musica is such a magnificent place and in December it shines even more. There are Christmas concerts and a Christmas gala. You´ll adore this building!
- Small and big shops alike prepare their windows for the occasion and you can be delighted if you walk around Passeig de Gracia, in the Gracia neighbourhood, or in the centre – Pl. Catalunya. There are also some hotels putting their festive clothes on, for instance Hotel Majestic on Pg. de Gracia.
- La Pedrera also has a message to point out with the lights this year (designed by Elisava students, photo below from their page):
- Finally, as you might know, I adore Sant Pau and during this time of the year there is a Christmas show which is superb (info here. It is free!).
So, hopefully you´ll check some of my recommendations and either way, let´s all have an amazing December! ❤️
p.s. Update – followed my advice: