In our opinion, Christmas really is one of the most wonderful times of the year in Barcelona. From the life-sized nativity scenes dotted throughout the city’s squares to the pageantry of the Three Kings’ Parade on the evening of the 5th January, the mystery and exoticism of Barcelona at this time of year is unparalleled. Here is our Christmas inventory for keeping the children happy and staying merry in the festive season.
The Ubiquitous Caga Tió
Though it may lower the tone, we mention him at the top of our list, as Catalunya’s Christmas countdown is yet to begin until one spots this curious chap peeping out from a public square or windowsill on high.
One of the region’s more obscure festive customs, the Caga Tió is a friendly wooden log with two short stumpy front legs sporting a cheeky grin and a traditional red Catalan hat. A much admired phenomenon in homes, primary schools and Christmas fairs across Catalunya, children deposit raisins and other delicious treats to “fatten him up” throughout December.
Then, when the time comes, our poor friend is then abruptly walloped with a stick (much like a piñata) whilst the children sing, until the blanket covering his posterior is lifted to unveil a pile of gifts! The Ayuntamiento de Barcelona’s official Caga Tió occupies the Plaza de la Catedral opposite the Gothic Cathedral. Expect a lengthy queue at peak times – he is mighty popular! He will be pooping treats for the under 12s during December.
Els Llums de Sant Pau
The gardens of Sant Pau will be transformed into a luminous magical wonderland – a 1km trail of Christmas lights for all the family to enjoy. We recommend you book your tickets online.
WHEN: 21 November 2023 – 14 January 2024
WHERE: C/de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
More information and tickets HERE
Theatre – El Petit Príncep
The musical El Petit Príncep returns to Barcelona for the 9th year. Suitable for age four and up, the production combines different musical styles with the latest visual techniques. Through the use of mappings, projections and animations, the spectator is transported to different magical worlds. An aviator, crashes with his aeroplane in the middle of the Sahara desert. While he is trying to repair it, a little boy appears and asks him to draw a sheep. The author learns that The Little Prince comes from asteroid B-612 where he has left behind three volcanoes and a rose. Before reaching Earth, he has visited other planets and met some very odd people: a king, a conceited man, a drunkard, a lamplighter, a geographer…..
The show is in Catalan and running time is 90 minutes.
WHEN: 5 December 2023 until 10 December 2023
WHERE: Teatro Barts, Avinguda del Paral·lel, 62
Buy your tickets HERE
Christmas at Poble Espanyol
Experience the magic of Christmas at Poble Espanyol
Children will be able to personally hand in their Christmas letters at Santa’s Grotto (until 24 December) or to the Three Wise Men (from 26 December).
Other events include:
Rock & Kids Christmas!
Rock concerts adapted for the little ones! The best songs of Guns Roses, The Police, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Motörhead, ACDC and Iron Maiden at the Hivernacle of Poble Espanyol. A selection of rock tribute bands adapted for families will be playing on 3, 8, 17, 28 December and on 3, 7 & 8 January.
Sàndal Produccions presents the premiere of Winter, a dance, theatre and acrobatics show starring young dancers aged between 16 and 20. It is the story of Alice, who, after the disappearance of Winter and Christmas, will move heaven and earth to recover them. This stage show can be seen during the Christmas season and until 29 January. Tickets include access to the Christmas activities throughout the venue.
WHEN: 3 to 11 December, 17 & 18 December, 22 to 29 December (except 25 December) and 2 to 8 January
WHERE: Poble Espanyol, Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13
Find more information HERE
Christmas Wreath Making Workshops
Learn how to make your very own Christmas wreath. Workshops normally include materials and by the end you will have a beautiful wreath to decorate your home.
Numerous locations, various dates, times and prices, over the Christmas period.
Alblanc Atelier, C/Badajoz, 90, 08005 Barcelona
Hip & Love, Creueta 65, piso 1, 08202 Sabadell
Lito & Lola, C/ Laforja 95, 08021, Barcelona
Fira Santa Llúcia
This long-established Christmas fair has taken over the vast square beneath the imposing silhouette of Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral since 1786. You will find the largest collection of Nativity figurines for sale in Catalunya, carved and painted by artisans from across the region. Be like a local and carefully select your chosen statuettes from the comprehensive medley, which range from the classic miniature baby Jesus to the outlandish Caganer. A quintessentially Catalan figure, the Caganer is a mysterious character who squats in the corner of the nativity stable (said to bring a fertile harvest). This defecating trickster comes in many forms – from well-known footballers and politicians to a typical Catalan peasant.
The Fira Santa Llúcia itself runs from 24th November until 23rd December but there are also specific events including:
Giant Tió de Santa Llúcia – activity for children under 12
2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 y 17 de diciembre de 11:00 a 14:00 y de 16:30 a 19:30 h.
5, 7 y 16 de diciembre de 16:30 a 19:30 h.
Port Vell Christmas Fair
Port Vell Christmas Fair can be found at the foot of the statue of Christopher Columbus. There you’ll find an illuminated Christmas tree, 31 metres high! Throughout the 30 days there will be shows and activities for all audiences – children and adults – including workshops, free musical shows and an illuminated nativity scene. There will also be a large ferris wheel 65 metres high.
WHEN: 5 December 2023 – 7 January 2024
Find more information HERE
Visit a Nativity Scene
The Nativity Scenes, often known as the Pessebre, are a major element of Christmas traditions in Barcelona. The nativity scene in Plaça de Sant Jaume takes up a quarter of the square and each year the design changes – some years is is quite traditional and other years to has a modern and contemporary take.
WHEN: 1 December to 5 January
Living nativity scenes are a Christmas tradition which has become firmly rooted in Catalonia. Each of them has its own unique characteristics. One of the leading examples takes place every year in Corbera de Llobregat with over 200 actors taking the roles of the people in each scene in the beautiful surroundings of the “Penya del Corb”.
WHEN: 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 23, 26 & 30 December & 13 January at 18.00, 19.00 & 21.00h
3, 10, 17, 27, 28 & 29 December & 7 January at 18.00 & 19.00h
25 December & 1st January at 19.00 & 20.00h
5 January at 18.00 & 19.00h (Three Wise Men arrival)
Find more information about tickets and location HERE
Cabalgata de los Reyes
Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar and their entourage of fantastical creatures arrive at Moll de la Fusta, where the mayor of Barcelona will greet them and from there they parade through the streets of Barcelona on regal floats, throwing sweets to excited children lining the streets until their final destination at the Magic Fountain at Monjuïc.
WHEN: 5th January – 16.00 h boat arrival and 18.00 h start of procession which generally lasts about 3 hours
The procession make a tour from Av. Marquès de l’Argentera to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, with the following planned schedule:
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