Without doubt, one of the main attractions of being in Barcelona, just as in any predominantly Christian city, during the month of December is that of the preparations, cultural events and festivities surrounding Christmas. From 1st December, and depending on the year sometimes even the week before, the streets are lit up, and Christmas markets are set up in the streets around the city, which gives Barcelona a wonderful atmosphere around this time. In December the city’s main shops and shopping centres open on Sundays, which is still unusual for Spain, and shops remain open on 6th and 8th December, which are both public holidays in Spain. This enables people to do their Christmas shopping on days when the shops would otherwise be closed. The only days in December when the shops close are 25th and 26th December, with the exception of those situated in the Maremagnum centre. It’s very likely that museums and tourist sights will also remain closed on these days, or their opening hours will at least be reduced. On 24th and 31st December (Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve), it’s normal for businesses to close somewhat earlier than normal.
Festivities, events and activities in December
The Barcelona’s Christmas Markets
There are many Christmas markets set up around the city, of which the best and most interesting are those of the Fira de Santa Llúcia, the Fira de Reis and at the Sagrada Familia, in the Plaça de la Sagrada Familia itself.
In front of the Cathedral and outside the Sagrada Familia.
€ Free of charge.
Fira de Santa Llúcia
Fira de Reis
Sagrada Familia Christmas Market
6th and 8th December
On 6th December, the ‘Día de la Constitución Española’, and on 8th December, the ‘Día de la Inmaculada Concepción’, public holidays are celebrated throughout Spain. As they are so close to Christmas, shops and businesses usually decide to remain open on one of the days, so that there isn’t too much disruption to services at this busy time of year. You’ll see many more people in the streets on these days, as a lot of people take advantage of the day off work to do their Christmas shopping.
There are no organised events.
Sagrada Familia visit + Park Güell visit + tourist bus tour + Transfer from the airport
The Medieval Market in Vic, and the Fira de l’Avet d’Espinelves
Taking advantage of the two public holidays of 6th and 8th December, two of the most important and awaited events in December are organised over this period. Curiously, they don’t take place in Barcelona itself, but in the city of Vic and in the small town of Espinelves, both in the region of Osona.
The Medieval Market
The historic centre of Vic is transformed into an authentic medieval city, with many stalls where you can buy artisan products, arts and crafts, and culinary delights. You’ll also find the stall holders beautifully dressed in medieval costumes. Activities are organised, the vast majority aimed at children, like pony trekking, and various theatrical shows in the streets. You can get to Vic from Barcelona by train, and the journey should take less than 1½ hours.
Fira de l’Avet (The Fir Tree Fair)
This takes place in a fantastic location, the small but charming town of Espinelves. The true centrepiece of the fair is the fir tree, which is of course one of the iconic symbols of Christmas, but you’ll also find many more things, like stalls full of gastronomic delights, arts and crafts. To get to Espinelves from Barcelona you can drive, or catch the train to Vic, then a bus from there (the bus company is Sagalés).
Vic and Espinelves.
€ Free of charge.
Fira de Reis
Soon before the Christmas Markets finish, the historic Fira de Reis (in English literally the ‘Kings’ Fair’), is set up. The fair is made up of toy stalls, plus those dedicated to jewellery, crafts and accessories. At the top of each street you’ll also find the typical ‘churrerías’ or ‘xurreries’, where you can pick up a portion of churros, chips, or a hot chocolate to help shake off the cold.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.
€ Free of charge.
Christmas and New Year Concerts
Various churches, concert halls and theatres.
€ Varies according to the concert and the venue..
For several years Barcelona has joined in the tradition that is enjoyed throughout the world of setting up ice rinks round the city during the Christmas period. These can be found in some of the commercial centres, as well as in the relatively new ‘Bargelona’, set up in La Farga, a commercial center of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat
Various locations in Barcelona and the surrounding area..
€ €7 for 30 minutes. (this is the price at Bargelona). You can buy vouchers for the ice rinks in the city centre.
La Ciutat dels Somnis (Children’s Festival)
At the end of December the Ciutat dels Somnis Children Festival; as its name suggests, it’s dedicated to the youngest audiences. The festival is almost as eagerly anticipated as the arrival of the Wise Men on 6th January, as all sorts of activities are organised for the children to enjoy and to be kept entertained.
Fira Barcelona – Montjuïc.
New Year’s Eve
Since December 2013 an official New Year’s Eve celebration has been set up in Barcelona. It’s organised next to the Magic Fountain at Montjuïc, and the fireworks and music are the stars of the show. To make the most of the 12 chimes at midnight, don’t forget to take your traditional 12 grapes with you! Another option for seeing the New Year in is to do so in the hotel where you’re staying, as many hotels organise a special dinner and entertainment running late into the night. You could also buy a ticket for one of the parties organised by the best-known nightclubs in the city, or for the smaller bars that usually arrange some entertainment too.
Magic Fountain at Montjuïc.
€ Free of charge.
Hotels and other accommodation in December
During December many people, both residents in Barcelona and those who come to spend a few days in the city, make the most of it and go on a guided tour. In some cases there are specific tours to show you the most festive parts of the city while at other times there are different types of tours. If you are interested in going on a personalised tour in English, at irBarcelona we manage and find the best official tourist guides in Barcelona and Catalonia for each one of them.
Book your guided tour and get more information by contacting us.
Transport and tourist cards
Weather and temperature in December
Along with January and February, the temperatures in Barcelona in December are the coldest of the year. However, temperatures don’t reach the lows of many other European cities. On certain days temperatures as low as 0º are sometimes recorded, but this is very unusual. It’s therefore very rare that it snows in Barcelona, except in the highest points of the city such as Montjuïc mountain and especially Tibidabo.
Climate statistics for DecemberAverage maximum temperature: 14.1ºC.
Average minimum temperature: 5ºC.
Average overall temperature: 9.7ºC.
Average rainfall: 51mm.
Sunrise: 07:58 (1st December) – 08:17 (31st December).
Sunset: 17:23 (1st December) – 17:32 (31st December).
Advice, advantages and drawbacks
We don’t see many disadvantages in going to Barcelona in December, except that the temperature will of course be considerably lower than at other times of the year, and the prices of flights and accommodation will be higher around Christmas and New Year. The advantages surely focus around being in a wonderful city like Barcelona at this special time of year.
Opening hours of museums and places of interest: On 25th and 26th December most of the museums close their doors, and others reduce their opening hours, so bear in mind that this may affect you, if you are planning to visit any of them. We recommend that you visit our museums section, and check opening hours beforehand.