What To Do On Christmas Day In Barcelona
THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Barcelona in Christmas can be disappointing if you don’t plan your trip properly. Most people will quickly guess that being a traditionally Catholic country (even if young generations don’t attend mass that much anymore), December 25 is going to be a bank holiday and most things will be closed: no shops, some sites closing too, even some restaurants not opening!
But what most travelers are not aware of is that in Barcelona December 26 is also holiday, so that’s also another day not to be left to improvisation! Every year we have guests coming to Barcelona in Christmas, and we have to figure out how to organize their tours so we minimize the impact of the closed sites.
And of course, we also want to help them enjoy their short time in the city as much is possible despite the holidays!
Here is what is open in Barcelona on Christmas day (things to do):
What? Didn’t I say before there are no shops, markets or department stores open on Christmas Day or Dec 26? Yes, they are mostly closed. However, there is one shopping mall legally open both days: Maremagnum, by the Port Vell marina.
How come this one is open? Well, the Spanish law allows stores located within airports and ports to stay open 365 days a year, and since the shopping mall is located in the Marina… for every law there is a loophole!
Many locals, after a long 4 hour Christmas or Boxing Day family meal want to relax and meet their friends for a while. But it’s cold outside, and not so many cafés are open. This is why they head to the movies! In Barcelona there are several movie theaters that offer movies in their original version, and most of them are in English.
For mainstream commercial films head to the Olympic Village to find Yelmo Icaria. For rare European and Asian independent films, your destination will be the Verdi cinemas in Gràcia. And in Renoir Floridablanca you’ll find some of both.
Getting lost in the Old Town
The weather in Barcelona at Christmas can be cold, but if you are not afraid of that, it can be an unforgettable experience to walk around the Old Town in the afternoon: the crowds of tourists will be gone, and the backstreets and plazas will be deserted.
Yes, you won’t be able to enter patios nor churches, and there won’t be many opportunities to enter a café if you need a break, but if you have an adventurous soul, we encourage you to walk around paying attention to an any little detail: curious door knockers, gorgeous medieval windows, fantastic gargoyles and unexpected sculptures decorating buildings. Plus it’s a great place to see in Barcelona at Christmas: so much is going on there!
Take a walk in the park
The Barcelona parks and gardens are open every day until sunset, and many of them are worth exploring! The Ciutadella Park, for instance, was created for the world fair in 1888 and it features a lake, a waterfall, a greenhouse and a great botanical collection of trees and bushes. You can also get lost in the cypress tree maze of the Parc del Laberint in the Horta district (Dec 25 only open until 2pm, Dec 26 until 6pm). And… great news! Gaudí’s Park Guell is also open both days!
Hot Chocolate and Churros
Barcelona Christmas traditions don’t usually include hot chocolate right after having a pantagruelic Christmas meal: local are too stuffed! But that’s probably not gonna be your case, and after all, hot chocolate and churros are the thing to do in winter in Barcelona! Unfortunately, the famous hot chocolate cafés in Petritxol street will be closed, but you can head to Bar Núria, instead.
This famous bar at the top of La Rambla has been part of the local landscape since it opened in 1930, and it’s known to be open every day, any time. That’s why generations of Barcelonans have headed here after long nights out for some hot chocolate to beat the hang over. But you don’t need to party the whole night long to enjoy their churros: they are still great any other time of the day!
Watch people swim in the Barcelona Port
For over 100 years, the Club Natacio Barcelona swimming club has been organizing an open-water race in the Barcelona Port every Christmas morning. The itinerary starts and ends in front of the Columbus statue at the end of La Rambla, and it consists of swimming 100 m (328f t) in straight line all the way to a buoy and back. If you are a swimmer, register to participate!
AND BONUS! What tourist sites and museums are open in Barcelona in Christmas?
Museums and Tourist Sites open in Barcelona at Christmas:
- December 25th: Casa Batlló, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia church (only until 2pm), Miró Museum (until 2.30pm), Aquarium
- December 26th: Same as above, plus La Pedrera (Casa Milà) and Palau de la Música Catalana.
Sorry, the Picasso Museum is closed both days, and during mass no visitors will be allowed in the Cathedral of Saint Eulàlia also both days.
If you are going to be for Barcelona in Christmas, what’s your plan for Dec 25 and 26?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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2 thoughts on “What To Do On Christmas Day In Barcelona”
Hello, thank you so much for this article it was really helpful! I am arriving in Barcelona (from Australia, but I would have been in London for a few days beforehand) on Christmas Eve, around midday and plan on getting the airport bus to my accommodation (not booked yet – but tossing up between Born and Gracia). Will we be able to grab a casual dinner and drink somewhere that night, or will most things be shut? Ditto again for the next day, will there be any casual restaurants / cafes open for food and drinks, or will it be limited to large chains / hotels / prix fixe pre-booked lunches?
Thanks in advance and thanks for organising this blog!
Hi! Thanks for commenting!
On December 24 lunch shouldn’t be a problem but for dinner on Christmas eve you’ll only find either sad fast-food restaurants or nice ones with all the tables already booked.
I strongly recommend you make a reservation enough in advance because it’s not fun to wander the streets of an unknown city when you are hungry… Here you’ll find some ideas (the post is written with December 25 in mind, but it also applies to December 24 and 26, which is another local holiday here):
I hope it helps!
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