Barcelona has many things to do at Christmas including Christmas fairs, Christmas markets, concerts, nativitiy scenes and circus and fun-fairs for the children among the many festive things to do for families and children. Barcelona is also a perfect for Christmas shopping.
In the Catalan language we say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” like this: “Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou.” And in Spanish we say “Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo.”
The Spanish and Catalan people celebrate Barcelona Christmas with their own special traditions and customs, which end on 6th January, which is Three Kings Day (Epiphany).
In Barcelona and Spain we celebrate Christmas Day on 25th of December (El dia de Nadal / El día de Navidad) with a Christmas lunch, but the biggest Christmas celebrations are on the 5th and 6th of January, when the Three Kings (Tres Reis Mags) arrive loaded with presents for the children.
Christmas concerts & events for families and children
Barcelona’s central square hosts a Christmas festival with many family activities and shows to celebrate Christmas and the winter solstice from 17th December 2016 to 4th January 2017. The Plaza Catalunya fair also features a Responsible Consumption Market and a big mechanical ballet dancer to annouce activities like the collection of letter collections by the Three Kings and many other acitivities.
Barcelona has many classical, gospel and ballet Christmas concerts in December including wonderful performances of Handel’s Messiah at the Basílica de Santa María del Mar. For other Barcelona concerts check out the websites of the concert venues Palau de la Musica and Liceu Opera House.
On Christmas Eve you can join midnight mass at the majestic gothic basilica Santa Maria del Mar where just before midnight you can hear the 5 minute singing of “El cant de la Sibil·la.”
Christmas at Poble Espanyol Spanish village
Don’t miss one of the most visited Christmas attractions in the city which is the Spanish Village Poble Espanyol. It is walking distance from the Montjuïc magic fountain. From December 23rd to January 5th – from 11am to 6pm – Poble Espanyol is overflowing with traditional Spanish Christmas atmosphere offering activities for the whole family. Experience the magic of Spanish Christmas in the decorated streets and plazas of Poble Espanyol. Find handmade gifts at the many handicraft workshops. Children have the chance to meet the Three Kings in their Magical World and deliver their Christmas letters in person. Children can also leave a message in the Wishing Tree and the little ones can hang their pacifiers in a magic tree. There are many childrens’s workshops (magic, king key-ring, magic tree, candle and Christmas balls), a gymkhana all through the enclosure, children’s play area, a Playmobil® Christmas diorama and music and dance performances. All this at the Poble Espanyol Christmas festival.
Children in Barcelona at Christmas can enjoy the annual Festival de la Infància at the Fira Montjuïc exhibition area on Plaza Espanya. The Festival de la Infància is an indoor annual festival and exhibition for families and children during the Christmas season featuring games, sports, an ice rink, karaoke, workshops, concerts for children and families. Over 100 companies and 200,000 visitors usually participate.
Christmas at Port Aventura theme park. Portaventura is a very big theme park located 1 hour south of Barcelona. Port Aventura becomes a Christmas wonderland from 19th November to 8th January and can be a festive experience for children during a Christmas visit to Barcelona. Port Aventura has resorts hotels and a full programme of Christmas packages, activities and shows including an ice show, Christmas festival and Christmas Parade and more.
Barcelona Christmas markets
Barcelona’s old city has many craft fairs during December and of course many Christmas markets. The oldest, biggest and most traditional of the Barcelona Christmas markets is La Fira de Santa Llúcia (in Spanish “Feria de Santa Lucia.”) This wonderful Christmas market is on the Avenida de la Catedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic area of Barcelona. The earliest recorded Christmas market by the cathedral in Barcelona took place in 1786, so in 2016 it will be the 230th edition of Barcelona’s favourite Christmas market. The Avenida de la Catedral and small streets by the cathedral have almost 300 market stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts.
Most of the Santa Lucia Christmas market stalls sell “figuritas de Belén”, which are the little figures that you can buy to make your own crib scenes called “Pessebres”. The “figuritas de Belén” are not cheap and if you want the full set with the Holy Family, shepherds, huts and sheep and maybe a stream, wooden bridges, palm trees, a few camels and three wise men and of course the cheeky Catalan caganer figure, then you should probably buy a Spanish lottery ticket for the Spanish Christmas lottery El Gordo, the world’s biggest lottery,
Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas market
Saint Lucia Christmas market
Dates : Friday 25th November to Friday 23rd December 2016
Opening times: open daily from 10.30 to 22.30.
Place: at Barcelona cathedral on Avenida de la Catedral
The Fira de Santa Llúcia is the biggest Christmas market in Barcelona on “Avenida de la Catedral” in front of Barcelona’s cathedral in the Gothic quarter. Special days include Saturday 17/12 one day festival “Diada de les tradicions nadalencs” which has extra Christmas activities for children including the “Barcelona Christmas Face” called “Carassa de Nadal de Barcelona” and a special Christmas concert. From 28th November there are special “Tió gegant” activities for the children. Sunday 11th December in Advent is “Dia de Santa Llúcia – Saint Lucy.
Sagrada Familia Christmas market
Event date: Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2016
Christmas market at Sagrada Familia church. Traditional Christmas market with around 120 stalls at La Sagrada Familia church in Eixample area of Barcelona. On two Saturdays from 18 to 20.00 Santa Claus pays a visit to collect letters from the children and hand out balloons and cookies.
Three Kings Fair
Fira de Reis a la Gran Via
Christmas market on Gran Via street Barcelona
Event date: Wed 21st December to Fri 6th January 2017
Event times: from 11.00 to 22.00
Event location: On Gran Via street from streets Muntaner to Calabria
La feria de Reyes de la Gran Via, also called “Sant Tomàs i Reis” (St Thomas and Kings) and also sometimes called the Twelfth Night Fair, is one of Barcelona´s biggest Christmas and New Year markets for gifts and toys. The Fira de Reis a la Gran Via Christmas Market has around 300 markets stalls mostly with toys and other traditional “Reyes” gifts like “carbon de azucar” (candy coal).
Plaça de Catalunya Christmas fair
Dates: 17th December 2016 to 4th January 2017
Christmas fair on central Plaça de Catalunya with many activities for families and children. Also include the Responsible Consumption Fair which is a sustainable and fair trade Christmas festival promoted and organised by the Barcelona city council. What a wonderful idea although the name could be a little more catchy! The “Fira de Consum Responsable” offers sustainable and handmade gifts, services and activities by companies and entities to promote responsible consumption and local products.
Barcelona Children’s Festival
Place: Fira Montjuic exhibition centre – Halls 1, 2 and 3
Dates: Tuesday 27th December 2016 to Wed 4th January 2017
Mercat de Nadal de Pedralbes
Place: Plaça Monestir de Pedralbes, Pedralbes area of Barcelona
Dates: Sunday 27th November 2016
Lovely 1 day Christmas market at Pedralbes monastery where you can also enjoy guided visits of the monastery and enjoy Christmas carol singing.
There are also lovely Christmas markets and fairs in towns and village near Barcelona.