Christmas and New Years in Barcelona: our advice for the holidays

Christmas decoration

Barcelona is always a great holiday destination, even during the end of year holidays! If you’ve planned to come and stay at the end of December-beginning of January, here is everything you need to know.

Preparing for your end of year trip to Barcelona

Book your plain, train or coach ticket

The end of year holidays are low season in Barcelona. However we advise you to book your plane, train or coach ticket as early as possible as the prices always go up during school holiday time.

Find all our advice and top tips for planes in the following article:

Planning to travel by car? Our tips for parking in cheap car parks are found here.

Book a cosy hotel

Your choice of hotel will be particularly important at this time of year, as it will be your little cocoon to return to and warm up after a day outside. Here are some places we recommend for the end of year holidays:

A friendly Bed & Breakfast

The Bed & Breakfast model is without a doubt very friendly and particularly adapted to the cold season. You will be welcomed by your host, who can tell you about their relationship to the city, and give you all their own top tips.

We love La Casa Gran, opened by a Catalan fan of art and architecture.

Also Vrabac, located just by the Ramblas in the Gothic district is absolutely magnificent. Although the welcome here can be a little less friendly, as it is more like a hotel, it is still a favourite for us!

A hotel at the last minute

Booking a room at the last minute can also be a good plan, as hotels lower the prices to fill the empty rooms.

An elegant and welcoming hotel

For even more refinement, book a stay at the hotel Ofelias, a superb 4-star.

A family apartment

If you’re bringing the family, an apartment where everyone can stay is the cheapest and friendliest solution. We recommend you the real estate agency we describe in this article.

Packing for Christmas in Barcelona

Once you have booked your travel and accommodation, you might well wonder what you should put in your suitcase. It is Winter, but Barcelona is still a Mediterranean city with a mild climate.

The days at the end of December-beginning of January are generally sunny with average temperatures between 13 and 15º. I remember one Christmas eve where I was wearing just a shirt outdoors! However, the sun heats up a lot during the day, so it can plummet at night and you should bring a few warm clothes.

  • It’s good to dress in multiple light layers so you can add and remove them as needed throughout the day.

Organising your tours and activities

Depending on holidays

In Barcelona the end of year holidays are the 25th and 26th of December and the 1st and 6th of January. Shops will be closed on this day and everything will work a little more slowly (including public transport).

However the main tourist attractions remain open, although some have shorter opening hours.

  • Parc Güell: usual opening hours, 8:30am to 6:30pm (last entry 5:30pm)
  • Casa Batlló: usual opening hours, 9an to 9pm (last entry 8pm)
  • Sagrada Familia: 9am to 2pm
  • Pedrera: closed the 25th of December 2018 and from 7th to 13th January 2019. Special opening hours: 1st January from 11am to 8:30pm, from 26th of December to 3rd of January from 9am to 8:30pm (last entry 8pm) and night visits from 9pm to 11pm.
  • Picasso museum: closed on the 25th of December and the 1st of January. Special opening hours: .
  • Miró Foundation: closed the 25th and 26th of December and 1st of January. December 27th to 30th from 10am to 7pm and December 31st, 5th and 6th January from 10am to 3pm.
  • MNAC: closed the 25th of December and 1st of January
  • Camp Nou: closed the 25th of December and 1st of January. Special opening hours: from December 17th to January 6th from 9.30am to 7.30pm.

And of course you always have the option to stroll along the seafront or among the shopping streets of Barcelona to admire the Christmas lights.

Depending on the weather

Although the weather is generally mild in Winter with cool temperatures but sunny days, it does sometimes rain. But don’t panic! We have devised a warming programme that will make you love the bad weather, which you can find here!

Warm up with a tasty treat

Tourism can be very tiring! If you need to put your feet up somewhere warm, we have a few suggestions:

  • Caelum: this tearoom is particularly pleasant in Winter. Head downstairs and you enter the site of the city’s old Jewish baths, a place full of charm and stone vaults. Settle down and order a hot drink accompanied by a slice of pie or a cake (it’s important to spoil yourself at Christmas).
  • Viader: if you feel like a Barcelona-style hot chocolate, then get yourself to Viader, a hundred-year old café with an established reputation, and order a suís accompanied by melindros, the local sponge finger biscuits.
  • La Nena: you can also enjoy very good hot chocolate with churros at la Nena, in the Gràcia neghbourhood. It’s a great place for kids!

Enjoy the end of year celebrations Barcelona-style

If you’re in Barcelona on Christmas eve, you can celebrate Christmas in style, discover the Catalan traditions and Christmas markets as well as the special Christmas eve menu in our dedicated Christmas food article.

Finally, remember that the party doesn’t end at New Year’s in Spain. In fact the 6th of January (epiphany or Kings’ day) is more important than Christmas. On this occasion, children also receive gifts. Barcelona becomes an immense playground from the evening of the 5th of January when the three kings arrive at the port by boat and throw sweets at the thousands of children who have come to see their parade. Find out more here.

Happy holidays!

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