Spain for the holidays has all the coolest ingredients to make your Christmas the best ever: amazing food, ancient cultural traditions, interesting and curious rituals and non-stop festivities, markets and parties. No matter where you are in Spain, make the best out of the holiday season and join the fun with these Christmas highlights. It was a hard to narrow it down...below you'll find our Top 4 cities to visit during the holiday season in Spain.
If you haven’t been to Barcelona since you just landed, this Christmas season would be a good time to do so. For European standards, the winter weather is mild so you´ll still be able to enjoy walking along the Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter and taking in the surreal Gaudi architecture.
Fira de Santa Llúcia is the oldest and most important Christmas markets in Europe. It began back in 1786 and is where Barcelona residents go to buy their Christmas tree and ornaments and Nativity scenes (belenes, in Spanish). Open November 30th – December 23rd at Plaza de la Catedral from 10:30- 20:30. Sundays, it stays open until 21:30.
If you're into nativity scenes or just want to see something truly unique, make sure you head to see the Belén viviente de Corbera de Llobregat, only 30 minutes away from Barcelona. This nativity scene is represented by more than 250 people and is the most visited in the entire province. Only on weekends from November 30th until December 12th.
Christmas Lights. This year Barcelona promises more lights than ever before all around the city, especially on major streets such Las Ramblas, el Paseo de Gracia and la Diagonal. We recommend you have a warm drink on the terrace at the Hotel Condes, which offers amazing views of Barcelona all lit up. Another good place to see the light show is from the Torre Agbar.
For more information, visit this website dedicated to Christmas in Barcelona.
Last year Málaga was voted the best Spanish city to spend the Christmas holidays. Like Barcelona and Madrid, Málaga has its own light show, accompanied by groups of Christmas carolers, famous in all Andalucía. Along Larios Street, 600,000 lights will be turned on every day at 6:30pm.
Málaga also has its good Christmas markets but the highlights of the city happen on January 5th, when the entire city shuts down to make way for the Procession of the Three Kings. To get a good view, make sure to study their route and get prepared for a multitude of people and lots of noise. It begins at 5pm sharp on January 5th.
Valencia also greets Christmas travelers with good weather, the real paella, of course and an excellent light show. The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is beautifully decorated as well as Calle San Vicente Martir and Calle La Paz.
Nativity scenes, food markets and roasted chestnut stalls are some of the highlights in the city. Make sure to try the turrones, marzipan and polvorones, which are unique to Valencia.
A good place to try them is at one of the many Christmas markets like the one at Plaza de la Reina, the largest in the city and the only one that is organized by local artisans.
Make sure you visit the Christmas in Valencia website for more information. And remember, Valencia is just an AVE ride away from Madrid and Barcelona and who knows, you might even be able to take a swim in the Mediterranean.
Christmas in the capital is one of the best in Spain. With its traditional Christmas markets (make sure you visit the Plaza Mayor), and one of the largest and best exhibits of nativity scenes in the entire country, right at City Hall.
During the holiday season, the cultural center of Conde Duque is transformed into a giant circus, theatre, concert hall and workshops for the entire family.
If you enjoy music, don´t miss out on the amazing Christmas concerts and choirs held at many churches throughout the city.
Madrid has a special bus – a double decker – that takes you for a ride along the streets that have the best Christmas lights in the city. Make sure you bundle up, especially if you want the good views, from up top. Buses leave every 15 minutes from Plaza de Colón, another must-see square with its gigantic Christmas tree in Sol.
Another Christmas highlight in Madrid is the Procession of the Three Kings. Think Carnival in Brazil in terms of amazingly decorated floats but without the topless samba dancing.
For a more artsy and hipster Christmas scene, head over to El Matadero.
There is so much going on in Madrid during Christmas, they even have a website dedicated to it.