Updated Mar 09 2021
In spite of the disadvantage of being one of the coldest months of the year, in January Barcelona offers two advantages above those that you’ll experience throughout the rest of the year. The first is that of continuing the Christmas celebrations in the first week of the year, which end on 6th January with celebrating the Día de Reyes – a major holiday in Spain. The second advantage is that of making the most of the discounts in the winter sales, that start on 7th January. Unlike most Sundays of the year, the shops open their doors on the first Sunday after the sales start, so that anyone who wants to can pick up a bargain!
Public holidays, events and things to do in January
New Year Day
New Year’s Day is one of the main public holidays of the year in Barcelona, when all the shops in the city close, with the exception of the Maremagnum shopping centre, which is open every day of the year, and a few shops in El Born and the Gothic Quarter. If you’re planning to go to a restaurant on New Year’s Day, we recommend booking in advance, because many people choose to eat out today and you may otherwise find that the restaurant of your choice is fully booked. You could also go to one of the New Year concerts, although note that these concerts are often organised just a few days in advance.
There aren’t any formal organised celebrations on New Year’s Day (but there are on New Year’s Eve).
The Procession of the Kings (Cabalgata de Reyes)
Although most of the city’s districts organise their own ‘Cabalgata de Reyes’ procession, the biggest and most spectacular is Barcelona’s official procession. It takes place on the afternoon of 5th January and during the event the city’s officials welcome the Three Kings, who arrive by boat at Barcelona’s port. They then process through the streets of the city on decorated floats that are full of presents, much to the delight of the children, who know that if they have behaved well throughout the previous year they will receive the long-awaited gifts the following day, that they have asked for in their letters.
Through the streets of Barcelona.
€ Free of charge.
Epiphany (Día de Reyes)
On 6th January Epiphany (Día de Reyes) is celebrated in Barcelona. It’s a public holiday, so shops close with the exception of those already mentioned in Maremagnum and some of the shops in Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, and the Gothic Quarter. The day takes the form of different celebrations in each household, as opposed to official celebrations organised by the city. The opening hours of many museums, buildings and tourist sights are often affected, so we recommend checking in advance if you’re planning to visit any attractions.
There aren’t any organised celebrations as such..
The winter sales start on 7th January. These can last for a couple of months, depending on the shop, so if your visit to Barcelona falls at this time of year we recommend making the most of the opportunity to pick up a bargain. The discounts vary depending on the season and the shop, but they often start at 30% and sometimes even 50%. As the weeks go by the discounts increase, but of course the variety of products and sizes available decreases, which often means that it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for towards the end of the sales.
From 7th January to 28th February.
In the shops throughout the city.
Festa Major de Sant Antoni i Els Tres Tombs
The popular festival of Els Tres Tombs (The Three Turns) is celebrated on 17th January, which is ‘Sant Antoni Abad’ day, the patron saint of animals. It’s the day on which the local festivities start in the district of Sant Antoni, which is named after the saint. In spite of not being a public holiday as such, it’s one of the most popular festivals amongst the children. On this day, in various parts of the Sant Antoni and Sant Andreu districts, horses process through the streets pulling carriages. It was traditional for the horses to walk the route three times, hence the rough translation ‘The Three Turns’. It’s now customary for sweets to be thrown from the carriages. But 17th January only marks the start of the festivities, which continue for around a week, in which family activities, concerts, gastronomic tastings and the traditions are the main features. Without a doubt, it’s a great opportunity to see the real Barcelona, away from the tourist trail.
Sant Antoni and Sant Andreu districts..
Hotels and other accommodation in January
Transport and tourist cards
Sagrada Familia + Park Güell + Hop on Hop off Bus + Airport Transfer
Barcelona Card Express
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Weather and temperature in Barcelona in January
Barcelona’s average minimum temperatures are at their lowest in January, so if you’re visiting at this time of year you do need to make sure you pack your winter clothes. With regard to rainfall, January is actually the month with the 3rd lowest rainfall, so you would be unlucky to suffer bad weather in this way. On some occasions the temperatures can go as low as 0ºC or below, and snow is possible in the city centre itself. We recommend going to one of the city’s parks, such as Park Güell if it does snow, or to one of the viewpoints such as the Turó de la Rovira, because the city covered in snow is one of the most beautiful images you could be fortunate enough to have.
Climate statistics for JanuaryAverage maximum temperature: 13.7ºC.
Average minimum temperature: 4.1ºC.
Average overall temperature: 8.8ºC.
Average rainfall: 40mm.
Sunrise: 08:17 (1st January) – 08:04 (31st January).
Sunset: 17:33 (1st January) – 18:06 (31st January).
Advice, advantages and drawbacks
Fira de Reis: Between 1st and 5th January it’s still possible to se the Fira de Reis (the New Year’s market). If you’re in the city during any of these days we recommend starting the tour on the Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes where it crosses with Carrer Muntaner, and walking down the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes away from Plaça de Catalunya from there. Even though the stalls end before you get to Plaça España, it worth walking up there, as you’ll be able to have a drink at the top of Las Arenas shopping centre whilst admiring the fantastic views of Montjuïc from its viewpoint.
Enjoying the end of the Christmas and New Year festivities: in contrast to what happens in many countries where Christmas is celebrated, in Spain the festivities continue up to 6th January thanks to the procession of the Three Kings on the evening of 5th January, and the Día de Reyes (Epiphany) on 6th January.
The sales: you can make the most of the winter sales to pick up a bargain.
Fewer visitors to the city: January is one of the quietest months for tourists in Barcelona, so we recommend making the most of this advantage, avoiding the queues and visiting some of the most popular sites that are otherwise swarming with visitors.
The cold:. it’s not a disadvantage as such for visiting the city, especially if you’re used to the cold, but we do admit that it’s not the ideal temperature in which to enjoy Barcelona’s many charms to the full.
Hours of daylight: In spite of the fact that it starts to get dark later than in December, sunset is still much earlier than in other months of the year and in order to fit in all the sights within the hours of daylight you’ll have to hurry more than in spring or summer.