SANTA LLUCIA FAIR AND ALL THE OTHERS
Many families have made visiting a Christmas market part of their pre-Christmas family traditions. Taking the kids to the market, wandering around the stalls and marveling about the Christmas decorations and the lights, maybe allowing them to buy one or two items that they’ll carefully pick, and all in all, enjoying a good time together. That’s at least what we do here. And if you are visiting Barcelona during the Christmas season, you might want to join the locals and check out our local Christmas markets as well. You might not need to buy Christmas decorations (well, some people do: they collect them from all the different places they travel to), but you might find some cool gift to bring back home. So in today’s post we are telling you where to go to participate in the Christmas markets and fairs in Catalonia!
These are our favorite Christmas markets in Barcelona:
Santa Llúcia Fair in front of the Cathedral
The Fira de Santa Llucia is the oldest Christmas market in Barcelona has been celebrated in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona since 1786, occupying most of the Avinguda de la Catedral. Depending on the year, it starts towards the end of November and keeps going until December 24th. You’ll find here over 280 stalls selling all kind of Christmas decoration: nativity figures along with cork and moss to decorate your nativity, Christmas tree balls, Catalan tió trunks, fir trees, Christmas lights, mistletoe, poinsettias and other Christmas greenery, and much, much more. Plus next to it there is also a crafts market selling handmade clothes, jewelry and home decor items. Your kids will be delighted to participate in the traditional Tió hitting and get some candy “pooped” by a giant tió.
Christmas Fair in front of the Sagrada Familia church
In 1962 some vendors from the Santa Llúcia market decided it had become too large and uncomfortable (it hadn’t yet moved to the larger esplanade where it takes place now, as it was still done in the much smaller space right in front of the Cathedral gate), and decided to create a new Christmas market somewhere else. And what better location than the other largest church in town? That’s how the Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia started in this area of the Eixample District. You’ll find it during the same dates as the Santa Llúcia market, along the sides of Marina and Mallorca streets of the park in front of the Passion Façade of the Sagrada Familia and in some avenues of the park as well. Although it’s only half as big as the other Christmas market in Barcelona, you’ll find a similar assortment of products.
Toy market in Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes
The largest toy market in Barcelona during the Christmas season takes place in the longest street of the city (with a very long name, too!): Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, in the section between Calabria and Muntaner streets, and it starts the week before Christmas and lasts until January 5th, as that evening is when the 3 Wise Men bring presents to the local kids. For the highest convenience of Santa’s Elves and the Wine Men Pages, this market is open all day long from 11AM until 10PM – perfect for last-minute shopping! Locals love to bring their kids to get gift ideas for their letters, and then have some hot chocolate and churros at some of the stalls that are set up specially for the market. You’ll also find handmade gifts for the grown ups, as well.
Nativities market in Olot
There can’t be a Catalan Christmas without a Nativity. We’ve already told you a couple of places where you can find your little figures in Barcelona, but if you want to get a more up-skilled product, a delicate handcraft to display at home or to donate to your church, take the Teisa Bus to get to the town of Olot (or rent a car: it’s a quite easy ride), a city that has been famous for their Nativity figure manufacture for a couple of centuries. During the closest weekend to December 8th, the Immaculate Day, you’ll find the Fira del Pessebre set up along St. Esteve street, gathering the best and most traditional craft nativity makers in the area. You’ll also find a Christmas market in the old streets of the city center and a crafts market where to find handmade gifts as well as gourmet food products.
Rooster Fair in Vilafranca del Penedès
Roosters are one of the symbols of Catalan Christmas, same as turkey are key for American Thanksgiving. In this fair celebrated since 1664 you’ll be able to discover gorgeous local breeds that will be used for Christmas meals, such as the Penedès black rooster. And you won’t just be able to walk around stalls of live poultry in the mercat d’aviram section, but also taste dozens of culinary preparations where rooster is the star. And since the area is famous for their wines as well, you’ll also find a wine market and a Christmas shop where you’ll be able to prepare for the upcoming celebrations. This market is celebrated on the last weekend before Christmas, around St. Thomas day. You can easily get to Vilafranca by RENFE suburban train.
AND BONUS! Did you know there is also a Fir Tree Market in Catalonia?
Fir Tree Market in Espinelves
And what would Christmas be without a Christmas tree? The first week of December takes place the Fira de l’Avet in the cozy village of Espinelves, about 1.5 hour drive from Barcelona, in a privileged location in the heart of the Montseny mountains, surrounded by fir tree, chestnut and oak tree woods. There’s no better setting for getting your Christmas tree: we recommend the Masjoanis and the Picea Excelsa local varieties, that can be planted back in your yard after Christmas is over. This popular market has been celebrated for over 35 years and you’ll also find a craft market to get handmade gifts and artisan foods. Our tip: if you like hiking, leave your car in the nearby town of Viladrau and take the well indicated path through the woods that starts next to the cemetery and takes you all the way to Espinelves in a couple of hours of light walk, to avoid the nerve-wracking experience of trying to park next to the fair.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: will you be visiting any Barcelona Christmas fairs?