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Bon Nadal, Bones Festes! Want to get holiday mood, indulge yourself in the festivities, feel that special holiday magic that only comes once a year? Welcome to the magical Christmas activities in Barcelona! YES, I get it. Christmas this year is a little….different in 2020. Read on for magical Christmas activities in Barcelona, 2020. Let’s make the best of what we have. Seriously!
The Pessebre, or Nativity Scene, in Plaça Sant Jaume changes every year. This year, the city is going to reflect on what the nativity scene in Barcelona has meant in recent years. Sooo…the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona is putting on the exhibition “10 years of nativity scenes in Plaça de Sant Jaume”, a reflection of past pessebres.
As described on the website: “…the exhibition is in itself a nativity scene that revolves around five of the main figures: the angel, the kings, the birth, the animals, and the caganer.” How meta! This will be interesting.
Learn more of the 2020 Nativity scene here.
SCHEDULE: December 1 – January 5, 2021
Christmas festivities for families will be held at the spacious and social-distance-friendly Parc Forúm. It’s a 10,000 m2 installation with 8 different spaces. The visit is about 50 minutes long, and guests are expected to follow a linear path. Kids can see the toy workshop area, where Christmas gifts are being stored, classified and wrapped. Other surprises are in store, so stay tuned here as the website is not up yet! It’s compulsory to make a reservation to visit, starting on December 15.
SCHEDULE: 11 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm on December 28, 29, and 30 and January 2, 3 and 4. On December 31 and January 5 it will be open only in the morning.
Just the sheer scale alone makes a grown man squeal with Christmas delight. Ornaments as big as a large beach ball? Yeah!
You can find a huge tree at the Moll de La Fusta, where there will be a towering 31-meter-tall Christmas tree and three figures of kings.
The bright Christmas lights give the city that special winter wonderland touch. It helps since it doesn’t snow in Barcelona! See the lights around Plaça del Ángel, Plaça Catalunya, and pretty much every neighborhood throughout Barcelona! This year in 2020, for the first time, the local food markets will also be decorated in Christmas lights.
The official ceremony kicks off on November 26, 2020, at 6 pm at the Plaça Comercial in Born.
Several Christmas markets pop up around Barcelona, and the Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia shares a spectacular space in front of the famous Sagrada Familia basilica. With about 100 stalls, the Christmas market sells holiday decorations, Christmas trees, nativity scenes, handmade toys, and the traditional caganers and caga tiós. This Covid year, they’re following safety protocols: having a 30% capacity of visitors, limiting entrances, and also having hand sanitizing gel available.
2020 SCHEDULE: November 28 – December 23
It is ON in 2020! The mother of all Barcelona Christmas markets, the Santa Llúcia fair, dresses up the plaza right in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. The famed market fills up fast on a weekend, so much that you’ll feel like cattle going through. If you’re a browser, you probably won’t mind going at a snail’s pace and looking at the decorated stalls. This year, they’re having less Christmas stands to avoid crowds.
The Fira de Santa Llúcia also has a program of activities, including a gigantic tió de Nadal for children to beat with a stick and a Carassa de Nadal (a big head) who spits out candy for the kids.
Nestled in the Barri Gótic, Granja La Pallaresa has a reputation for having the best hot chocolate in town. You can also order whipped cream by the plateful and scoop it up to top your drink. Paired with xurros or melindros, this drink makes for a rich, filling snack. And their waiters wear white shirts and black bow ties — a nice touch, methinks.
For New Year’s Eve, many people usually gather at the Magic Fountain at Plaça Espanya, this year will be different. The city’s 10 districts will be lighting up 12 palm trees at midnight, followed by a pyrotechnic show. TO RING IN AN AMAZING 2021 or else we are all going to lose it!
The hangover after the parade is on January 6. It’s when children open their presents and eat a Three Kings cake, or a Tortell de Reis (Catalan), Roscón de Reyes (Spanish). You might bite into a tiny prize nestled inside, such as a ceramic figurine, as to which you are considered to be one lucky duck. But if bite into a bean, you have to pay for the cake! Personally, I’ve tried my hand and making a Three Kings’ Cake and failed. Go to the nearest bakery to pick one up!
Now go spend Christmas with people you love. Or go solo if that’s what it takes this year. That’s it for now! Sending a MUAC MUAC to you and yours!
I hope this inspires you to enjoy Barcelona this Christmas try to make the most of our situation. What do you think of these Christmas events amidst the pandemic? Are you planning to do any of them? Let me know in the comments!
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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