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Celebrating Christmas in Barcelona is a unique experience. For one thing, where else can get presents from the Catalan Christmas log, the tió de nadal? Obviously, Christmas events are run a little differently this year. I really think the city did their best to make the most of our little situation. Without further ado, here are FUN Christmas activities for kids in Barcelona 2020!
You must reserve in advance for many of these activities, starting on December 14 or 15. Set your phone reminders! Double-check if they’re still being held also.
This year, Plaça Catalunya is holding different activities. In the morning, they’ll have “family mornings” for kids ages 4 to 12. It will include activities involving culture, literature, the visual arts, learning, knowledge, science, movement and sports! The late afternoons and evenings will have perfoming arts like circus acts, musical performances, and dance taking place on a stage. They’ll also show a modern version of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
YOU MUST RESERVE IN ADVANCE!
Info: Nadal at Plaça Catalunya. SCHEDULE: from December 19 to December 30.
The best and largest Christmas market in Barcelona, the Santa Llúcia market is the place to get you drunk on the holiday spirit. This year marks the 234th year! You’ll find rows and rows of holiday-laden stalls in Plaça de La Seu, the plaza of the Barcelona Cathedral. Kids will love looking at the nativity scenes with miniature utensils and chairs, dazzling ball ornaments, and Christmas trees and hand-weaved wreaths. And who can’t not chuckle when we see the caganers and tiós de nadal?
Come early – because by 12pm, this place gets crowded on weekends. Covid-19 Protocol: the fair will be enclosed with fences, with two signposted entrances and exits. There are also 121 stands instead of 281. stands.
Santa Llúcia Fair website. November 27 – December 31.
One of my favorite activities is to check out the Carassa de Nadal procession on the weekends. This “big head” on wheels parades around the Santa Llúcia market, followed by a music band and some friends throwing confetti. And watch kids run to the floor when he spits out candy.
Covid-19 Protocol: This year, he’ll be on stage at the Fira de Santa Llúcia. He won’t be throwing out candy but will be distributing bags. Kids can take a photo with him too!
La Carassa de Nadal. SCHEDULE: Weekends on Dec 12-13, and 19-20.
At the Santa Llúcia Fair, kids can beat the huge tió de Nadal, or caga tió. If you don’t know who he is, he’s a traditional Catalan figure — a log perched on two sticks with a happy face on it. And he poops presents for kids on Christmas Eve. To find the tió gegant, climb the steps that lead up to the Barcelona Cathedral — on Santa Llúcia fair side.
This year, there will also be a tió in Sant Antoni market. Kids can sing in his year, and projection of nativity scenes light up behind them. It’s a different approach!
Tió gegant of Santa Llúcia website November 28, November 29, December 5-8, December 12-13, December 19
Tió gegant of Sant Antoni market November 26-December 30, except December 25-26
Visit the holiday stalls at the Christmas fair at the Sagrada Familia church. Not a bad backdrop for your holiday shopping, right? It’s similar to the Santa Llúcia fair, where they sell nativity scenes, Christmas trees and decorations, and handmade gifts like jewelry or warm slippers. Or try warm crepes or sugar-covered nuts.
Covid-19 protocol: Entrances and capacity will be controlled. Hand sanitizer will also be available. Read more about the Sagrada Familiar market in this post!
Official website. November 28 – December 23, Weekdays and holidays 10am – 9pm. Weekends 10am – 10pm.
If your kids can stay up past midnight, check out the special New Year’s Eve show. Since this year’s pyrotechnic show at Plaça Espanya fountain is canceled, the Barcelona City Council is putting on “decentralized” shows. Twelve palm tree fireworks will be set off in the different districts of Barcelona. It will be a citywide 15-minute fireworks display. It will also be broadcast on TV.
For the full Christmas schedule, visit the Magic Fountain New Year’s eve event!
You can visit the famous Magi via a route lasting 30 minutes. Discover the magic secrets of the royal entourage while discovering the magic machines, floats, costumes, and fantastic creatures! You’ll also be able to deliver your Christmas wishlist and put in the postbox! Bookings can be made starting on December 15.
Magic of the Orient at the Forum. December 28-31, January 2-5
Every year, a huge Nativity Scene is set up in the Plaça de Sant Jaume by the Barcelona City Council. And every year, they mix it up from traditional to modern interpretations of the Nativity.
This year (2020), they’ll be putting an exposition commemorating past Nativity scenes from the last 10 years. Access will be controlled to prevent any crowds.
Info: Plaça Sant Jaume pessebre website. SCHEDULE: November 28 – February 2.
If you want to see a traditional Nativity Scene, go to Frederic Mares Museum, where you can see it at the museum terrace. (IT’S FREE!) SCHEDULE: November 29, 6:30 pm (inauguration) to February 2. Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 7pm.; Sundays and holidays 11am to 8pm. December 24 – January 6, it closes at 9pm. Museu Frederic Mares official website here.
It is on this year! We all know that Santa has a workshop in the North Pole. Well, the Three Kings have their factory and warehouse right here at Fabra i Coats. See the workers prepare the gifts to be delivered on the Twelfth Night. From the outside, three floors will be decorated with colorful lights. And you can see the presents move across a conveyor belt, ready to be shipped and delivered come the Eve of Three Kings’ Day. It’s free, and prior registration is required.
Covid-19 protocol: Information is sparse. This event is not hugely publicized, so double-check if it’s really happening!
Now someone help me explain. “Mommy, why does my toy say ‘Made in China’?”.
Fabra i Coats website. December 28-30. January 2-4. 5pm – 9pm. Last entrance is at 8:45pm.
If you’ve never been to Poble Espanyol, you’ll love seeing a small world of the villages of Spain. But for Christmas, they’ve got events throughout the holiday season.
Poble Espanyol gives kids a fun time with the caga tió, a Christmas market, swing dancing, music, and Santa’s house. It also has a pessebre vivent, or a living Nativity scene. Real people dress up in character as Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and the usual cast of the three Kings, shepherds, and even goats and donkeys. And it’s all set in a realistic agrarian backdrop, stable and blocks of hay included.
Info: Poble Espanyol official website. Free for kids ages 4 and under. December 5-8, December 12, December 19-January 5
At this highly anticipated event, the Three Kings and their entourage usually parade on a large, elaborate float and wave to the crowds of excited children. In the floats before them, we’re greeted by hundreds of beautifully costumed characters, magical creatures, dancing and singing their way through the streets of Barcelona.
Covid-19 protocol: You can watch the Three Kings in Barcelona on TV this year – as there will be NO public. Locations are being held secret, so they expect you to tune in on RTVE, beteve, and TV3.
For the second consecutive year, Port Vell will hold a Christmas event at Moll de La Fusta. It also has a show of lights to the rhythm of the music each afternoon, a beautiful aquatic nativity scene, and the arrival of the Three Kings. Take a photo of the largest Christmas tree in Catalonia, towering 31 meters!
Info: Fira de Nadal at Port Vell, December 2-January 6. Entering the tree area is from 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Think you’ll be doing any of these activities in Barcelona? Have you been to Barcelona during Christmas?
California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).
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