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

Pauline
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Article updated 5 December, 2017. 0 comments

Destination Barcelona for unforgettable and sunny Christmas 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 Salsas & Co, run by a dedicated French foodie (her breakfasts alone are worth the stay!) Or 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.

A hotel-bakery

The Christmas period is full of magic. Close your eyes, make a wish…and dream that you are waking up in a hotel where bakers are working away to make you warm croissants every morning. This is possible in Barcelona, when the hotel Praktik Bakery will provide you with a special experience you won’t easily forget. More info here.

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. Check out the many offers on Only Apartments where you are sure to find something to meet your needs. And the prices are particularly interesting.

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, Special opening hours from 26th of December to 3rd of January from 9am to 8:30pm (last entry 8pm)
  • Picasso museum: closed on the 25th of December and the 1st of January. Also note the museum will close at 2pm the 24th and 31st of December and also the 5th of January .
  • Miró Foundation: closed the 25th and 26th of December and 1st of January.
  • MNAC: closed the 25th of December and 1st of January
  • Camp Nou: closed the 25th of December and 1st of January, open the 31st of December 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!
  • Oriol Balaguer Chocolate shop: a gorgeous setting, excellent hot chocolates or pieces of chocolate: take a refined little sugar break in the centre of the Born district.

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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About the author

Pauline

Pauline loves books, food and new discoveries. For her articles, she loves finding original and authentic places which are a treat for both the eyes and the tastebuds. Her favourite thing to do in Barcelona? Getting lost in the Old Town and soaking up its unique atmosphere... whilst enjoying the appetising smells emerging from restaurant kitchens! Is there anything better than that?