New Year’s in Barcelona: traditions and events not to miss
Article updated 14 November, 2018.
Spending New Year's evening in Barcelona? Great idea! Here's everything you need to know to ring in the New Year in style.
Barcelona is a very festive city so it’s a great destination for New Year’s eve.
New Year’s traditions in Barcelona
Like anywhere else, the night of the 31st of December (called the “nochevieja”, or Old Night) means party in Barcelona. Dinner is with family or friends, and then you drink and dance to the end of the night.
However, there are some specific Spanish traditions that you might want to adopt!
- 12 grapes: This is the best known and the most widely followed tradition. You eat a grape on every stroke of midnight, so one for each month of the year. If you spend New Year’s in a restaurant or nightclub, you will be given grapes. Be careful not to choke!
- A ring in your glass of Cava: In Catalonia, you don’t drink Champagne, but Cava, the local sparkling white wine of which the region is very proud. To attract money and prosperity in the new year you say cheers with a ring inside your glass of Cava. Or at least there’s no harm in trying…
- Red lingerie: according to superstition, wearing red lingerie on New Year’s eve brings good luck and happiness in love.
And finally, don’t forget your resolutions. No doubt you will keep them this year!
The main New Years events in Barcelona
Light and sound show at the magical fountains of Montjuïc
The city organises a large arts performance at the Montjuïc magical fountains and a sound and light show at 9pm.
The celebration takes place on avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina and it is free to all.
Be careful of pickpockets…keep an eye on your belongings!
- For more info (in Spanish), click here.
- Be sure to get there early. Although the show is designed to be visible from far away, it’s always better to be close to the action.
- If you are coming and/or going by metro, prepare to queue to get in and out of the station. We would actually advise you to get off at a station before Plaça Espanya and walk the rest of the way. You’ll end up getting there faster.
- Why? For the spectacle
- How much? Free
- When? 31st of December 9:30pm to 10 past midnight
- Where? Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, metro Espanya (L1, L3)
For a sneak peak at the type of show you can expect, here is a video from New Year’s Eve 2014:
New Year’s in Poble Espanyol
You might already have heard of Poble Espanyol, a unique space in Barcelona, built for the 1929 World Expo. It is like a little village, as its streets and squares are reproductions of particularly emblematic ones from Spanish cities. It’s not the most authentic space but it is certainly pleasant.
- The atmosphere really heats up in Poble Espanyol on the 31st of December: the biggest hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today are heard from 10:30pm to 6am.
- You can choose from 4 places: the Plaza Mayor (the biggest square in Poble Espanyol), the main tent, the VIP area and the VIP Premium area.
- Why? For a different kind of party
- How much? General entry: €35 or €40 in pre-sale, €60 at the door. VIP entry €60 or €70 pre-sale. €80 at the door (limited to 200 people)
- When? 31st of December, 10:30pm to 6am
- Where? Poble Espanyol, metro Espanya (L1, L3)
Alternative and charity festival
The festa cap d’any or New Year’s Eve party is an initiative that was born 12 years ago of the intention of a group of friends to celebrate the arrival of the new year in a different way.
It is defined as a party with good music and a pleasant atmosphere, and far from the exorbitant prices of most of the nightclubs.
This year there are two locations, Mr. Lobo and the D9 (for a smaller group).
Why it’s a good plan:
- Part of the profits are for the NGO “Amics de la Gent Gran”.
- There is a strict limit on the number of people, to ensure that everyone has their space to dance and enjoy!
- At the end of the party, they give breakfast to everyone!
- Why? For the solidarity
- How much? From €29
- When? 31st of December
- Where? Carrer Almogàvers, 88, metro Marina (L1) ou Bogatell (L4)
For further information, click here.
Illuminations of the Torre Agbar
- If you’re in Poblenou and/or you have a view of the Torre Agbar, you will see it is particularly pretty on New Year’s eve, as it marks every stroke of midnight by lighting up in a different way. Which is useful to help you time your grapes!
- However, there is no music or pyrotechnic display to go with it. It’s worth checking out if you can see it from your apartment or hotel room (like at the Silken Diagonal for example).
- The metro runs all night.
- Be careful of pickpockets who tend to circle large public gatherings.
- Alcohol controls are tightened on New Year’s eve so think before you plan to drive. .
- Remember to book ahead unless you are sure you are opting for a free public celebration.
- Final tip: see our article on New Year’s restaurant menus and alternatives for partying! It will help you to organise your evening!
Enjoy and happy New Year in 2019!
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