5 things to do in Barcelona, Spain this Christmas

Barcelona is a beautiful city any time of the year, but at Christmas it really sparkles with markets and festive events.

You won’t experience a white Christmas in Barcelona, as it very rarely snows in the Catalan capital. However, the city does go all out [VIDEO]to celebrate this time of year, with Christmas markets and enjoyable events.

One of the more unusual Catalan traditions is the Caganar, a statuette of a person relieving his bowels. These are often found in nativity scenes in Barcelona and are on sale at the various Christmas markets.

While it might sound a little disgusting, the Caganar practice dates back to the pagan ritual of fertilising the soil and these days the funny characters are considered to be good luck. Many celebrities and politicians have been honoured each Christmas with their own Caganars, including Lionel Messi, Bart Simpson, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Another different event [VIDEO] is Catalonia and Spain's "Three Kings" parade, which is enjoyed at the end of the Christmas festivities.

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1. Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas Fair – Av. de la Catedral, 8, Barcelona, Spain

This is the city’s main Christmas market and has been running for more than 225 years. The fair is located below Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral. Most of the stalls sell festive decorations and nativity scene figures, but there is also a selection of handmade craft items and seasonal tree and plants on sale, including the iconic poinsettia. The Santa Llúcia market starts at the end of November and closes on 23 December.

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Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia – Carrer Mallorca, 401, Barcelona, Spain

This beautiful, traditional Christmas fair is held in front of Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia church. Here you will find around 120 stalls selling festive decorations and the famous Caganars, as mentioned above and pictured here. Children are often treated to the sight of Santa Claus, who visits the market to collect their letters and hand them balloons and sweets. The market runs up to 24 December and is open every day.

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Copa de Nadal de Natació Harbour Swim – Portal de la Pau at Port Vell, Barcelona

According to Barcelona Yellow, this Christmas Day event sees participants jumping into Barcelona Harbour to win a cup in a swimming race. Bear in mind, it might not snow in Barcelona, but the Mediterranean is icy in winter. The annual event has been held each year since 1907 and can be watched in warm comfort from the area below the Christopher Columbus statue at noon.

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Magic Fountain: Font Mágica de Montjuïc – Plaça de Carles Buïgas, 1, Barcelona, Spain

This magical fountain is located on Montjuïc Hill and offers a light, music and water show any time of the year. The top attraction is free to view and is a perfect option for the Christmas period. The fountain was built specially for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. According to Barcelona’s official website, the fountain produces approximately 7 billion combinations of light and water.

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Three Kings Parade, Barcelona – Port Vell, Rambla de Mar, s/n, Barcelona

While some gifts are exchanged over the Christmas period, the main event in Catalonia and Spain is held the day before Epiphany, on 5 January. This spectacular parade features the Three Kings arriving in Port Vell on a galleon and touring the city with float participants throwing sweets to the children. The event starts at around 4 PM as the floats arrive in the port. On the same day, children are treated to their main Christmas presents.

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