Spend Christmas in Barcelona in 2023 | Explore Museums, Nativity Scenes, Flamenco Shows, and More!

With shimmering Christmas lights, bustling markets, and clear blue skies, Christmas in Barcelona is sure to blow anyone’s mind. And, if you are thinking about what to do in Barcelona for Christmas, here’s our list of things to do on your holidays in this beautiful city!

Christmas in Barcelona - Why Spend Christmas in Barcelona?

Top 11 things to do on Christmas in Barcelona

Christmas in Barcelona - Christmas light displays

1. Christmas lights in Barcelona

Barcelona is well known for its Christmas lights, known as Els Illums de Nadal. At this time of year, Christmas decorations and lights are seen everywhere in the towns and on the streets. They are turned on at the end of November and remain so until January 6th. These lights span an astounding 100 kilometers and are turned on at 400 various points throughout the city.

Check out the best Christmas light displays here:

Christmas in Barcelona - Christmas markets

2. Christmas markets in Barcelona

Starting towards the end of November, Christmas markets start to appear throughout the city. They are all great places to get into the holiday spirit and get unique gifts and souvenirs. These markets are all filled with Christmas trees, ornaments, and figures for the Pessebres and, of course, caganers.

Check out the best Christmas markets here:

Christmas in Barcelona - Christmas events

3. Christmas events in Barcelona

Barcelona's Christmas season is a lovely time to catch performances by renowned musicians in magnificent locations. You can pick from a wide range of holiday performances, including operas, symphonic pieces, chamber music, blues, and jazz, as well as operas and symphonic works.

Watch the best Christmas events at:

Christmas in Barcelona -Christmas dinner

4. Christmas dinner in Barcelona

A chance to sample some real local cuisine is probably the most thrilling aspect of celebrating one of the largest festivals of the year in Barcelona. From regional specialties you can only find in Spain to must-have Spanish Christmas snacks, you’ll have a wide variety of food options to choose from if you're in Barcelona over the Christmas holiday season. 

Enjoy the best Christmas food at:

Christmas in Barcelona - Flamenco show

5. Enjoy a Flamenco show

Indulging in a beautiful Flamenco dance is a traditional way to celebrate Christmas. With its dashing rhythm, gypsy guitars, and extravagant clothing, Flamenco adds to the spirit of Christmas. Sip in your favorite drink and make the experience unique!

See the best Flamenco performances at:

Christmas in Barcelona - Ice skating

6. Go ice skating

What better way to celebrate Christmas than by donning some skates and going ice skating with the entire family? Though the winters are comparatively mild in Barcelona, you can experience the thrill of ice skating with all its fun, at ice rinks. If you are planning to spend Christmas in Barcelona and you wish to enjoy it differently, this is the best activity.

Check out the top rinks to go ice skating here:

Christmas in Barcelona - Nativity scenes

7. Nativity Scenes in Barcelona

The Nativity Scenes, often known as the "Pessebre," are a major element of Christmas traditions in Barcelona. The Christmas decorations of many Catalan homes typically include a Nativity scene. Characters like El Caganer, Tio de Nadal, and other figures are generally included in these plays that are decorated in a dollhouse-like fashion.

Here is where you can find the best nativity scenes:

Christmas in Barcelona - Christmas eve

8. Spend Christmas Eve in Barcelona

While in Barcelona, you shall also take part in the Midnight Mass at the Cathedral on Christmas Eve. The Christmas service in Barcelona traditionally starts at exactly midnight, but in recent years, depending on the events that go along with the ceremony, the schedule has occasionally been advanced or postponed in particular parishes.

Take part in the midnight masses at:

Christmas in Barcelona - Christmas shopping

9. Christmas shopping in Barcelona

Christmas in Barcelona not only offers a lovely atmosphere and energized vibe, but it's also a fantastic time to shop. There are numerous department stores and specialty businesses that sell everything from gourmet chocolates to fine wines, premium olive oils, and high-quality foods during Christmas in Barcelona. 

The best stores where you can shop during Christmas include: 

Christmas in Barcelona - Museums and sites
Christmas in Barcelona - Swimming on Christmas

11. Enjoy a dip in the sea

Hundreds of people jump into the sea on Christmas day every year to participate in the Barcelona Swimming Club's Christmas Cup, despite the cold weather. The race has become an icon, with many locals taking part, departing from the old harbour near L'Aquàrium and swimming 200 metres in the Mediterranean. If you are in Barcelona on Christmas day, try not to miss this unique experience.

Plan your Christmas in Barcelona

Getting around
Where to eat
Where to stay
Tips for celebrating
  • Metro: The metro is the fastest and most convenient way to get around the city center.It operates from 5:00 am to 12:00 am,with reduced hours on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
  • Bus: The bus network is extensive and covers the entire city,including the suburbs.Buses run from 5:00 am to 12:00 am,with reduced hours on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
  • Train: The train network connects Barcelona to the rest of Catalonia and Spain.There are several train stations in the city,including Barcelona Sants,the main station.
  • Tram: The tram is a good option for getting around the city center,especially in areas with narrow streets.There are six tram lines that operate from 5:00 am to 12:00 am.
Special Christmas menu at Restaurant
  • Buy a T-Casual card. This is a rechargeable card that gives you unlimited rides on the metro, bus, and tram. It is the most economical option if you are planning to use public transportation more than a few times.
  • Download the TMB App. This app allows you to see real-time bus and metro schedules, plan your trips, and buy tickets.
  • Many restaurants offer special Christmas menus, which may include traditional Catalan dishes such as escudella i carn d'olla (a soup with pasta and meat) and torró (a nougat-like dessert).
  • Some restaurants may also offer prix-fixe menus, which are a set menu at a fixed price. This can be a good option if you're on a budget.
  • If you're looking for a more casual dining experience, there are many tapas bars and cafes that are open on Christmas.
  • Be sure to tip your waiter or waitress. A gratuity of 10-15% is customary.

Top experiences in Barcelona


Frequently asked questions about celebrating Christmas in Barcelona

Is Christmas a good time to visit Barcelona?

As long as you're not looking for snow, Christmas is an excellent time to visit Barcelona. It's a great place to visit during the holidays because of the colorful street decorations and brimming markets.

How do they celebrate Christmas in Barcelona?

The streets will be decked out in lights in the streets, with various outdoor Christmas markets adding to the festive atmosphere. In addition, people also attend midnight masses in churches.

What are some things to do on Christmas in Barcelona?

During Christmas, one can soak in the beauty of Christmas lights, enjoy shopping at Christmas markets, and take part in several other leisure activities.

How do families celebrate Christmas in Barcelona?

The Barcelonian people celebrate Christmas with their family and friends. They attend masses and create nativity scenes. On the Three Kings Day, they also gather to enjoy a feast!

What are some facts about Christmas in Barcelona?

On Christmas Day, at noon, some courageous people plunge into the chilly Mediterranean Sea to compete in a 200-metre race. For over a century, this race has been a tradition.

What is the weather like at Christmas in Barcelona?

In Barcelona, December is one of the coldest months. Temperatures range from 11°C to 14°C daily. The temperature drops to around 5°C at night.

Is Barcelona crowded at Christmas?

December is an excellent month to visit Barcelona. The accommodation costs will be less and you can expect fewer crowds near major attractions.

What’s open in Barcelona on Christmas?

On the day of Christmas, most of the shops and attractions will be functional.

What is the most popular Christmas market in Barcelona?

Fira de Santa Llúcia is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Barcelona. 

Are restaurants open on Christmas in Barcelona?

A lot of restaurants will be open on Christmas day. 

What are the best places to stay in Barcelona on Christmas?

While in Barcelona, visitors can stay in hotels in four central Barcelona city areas such as Plaça de Catalunya, Ciutat Vella district, Eixample district, and Sant Marti.

What should I eat in Barcelona at Christmas?

While in Barcelona, you must try Escudella I carn d'olla, a tasty bowl of pasta shells and galets, a meat and vegetable stew, and "carn d'olla", a meat dish of stuffed capon or turkey.

What are the best restaurants for Christmas in Barcelona?

Some of the best restaurants where you can dine in December include Botafumeiro, Set Portes, Windsor, Ca l’Isidre, etc.

Where can I see the Christmas lights in Barcelona?

You can enjoy the Christmas lights at Streets of Plaça de Catalunya, Corte Ingles, Hotel Majestic, Carrer d'Aragó streets, etc. 

What are some Christmas traditions in Barcelona?

Although the people of Barcelona are generally enthusiastic about their nativity scenes, none of these scenes would be complete without characters such as Caganer, Tió de Nadal, etc.