New Year’s Eve in Catalonia: what to do
From fireworks and music in Barcelona’s Plaça Espanya to torchlit parades in ski resorts in the Pyrenees
If you happen to be in Catalonia on New Year’s Eve, you might be looking for a plan. Here are some suggestions, from street celebrations in Barcelona to torchlit parades in ski resorts in the Pyrenees. We hope you enjoy it.
Barcelona: If you’re looking for fireworks, music and the spectacular
The official New Year celebration in Barcelona takes place on Reina Maria Cristina Avenue, between Montjuïc’s Font Màgica and Plaça Espanya. At 9.30pm, there will be a screening of celebrations from the past, with the actual show starting at 11.30pm. With Catalonia’s National Palace as a backdrop, the spectacular setting is unmatched and is totally free. This year’s show will focus on one of the most iconic elements of the New Year celebration: grapes.
A street celebration outside Barcelona
Starting the year partying in the street surrounded by other people is a popular plan, but you might want to avoid the crowds of people who will gather in Barcelona. There are other options all across Catalonia. Cervera, in Lleida, will have a street celebration with all the traditional elements: bells, the 12 grapes, and cava (Catalonia’s typical sparkling wine).
St. Sylvester race: running with Santa’s hat
Saint Sylvester races are a traditional way to end the year in Catalonia. The biggest one is held in Barcelona, and is called “La Cursa dels Nassos”(The Noses Race). Yet, many towns and villages throughout the country also organize Saint Sylvester races. It is common for participants to dress up, with Santa hats being the most popular item.Sant Cugat del Vallès, near Barcelona, organizes a 10 km race that takes runners through the town and its old quarters.Berga, in northern Catalonia, organizes a 5 km race.
Happy Snow Year: skiing in the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees make Catalonia a perfect destination for mountain-lovers. Most ski resorts are organizing special events to celebrate New Year’s Eve. One of the most popular activities are the torchlit parades, in which participants ski down the mountain carrying torches. Some ski resorts in Catalonia organizing special activities on New Year’s Eve are the resorts ofLa Molina,Boí Taüll andBequeira Beret.
Cozy cottages lost in the Catalan countryside are among the most popular options for big groups of friends. Although most houses might be booked by now, it’s never too late to discover Catalonia’s unique array of rural accommodation. For instance, you can visitMas Els Terrats, in Girona, orMas Llagostera, west of Barcelona. (For more information, have a look atthis compilation of country houses by the Catalan magazine, Descobrir.)
...and if you’re looking for something to do the morning after
There are several activities you can do on January 1. If you don’t go to sleep very late, you could go to the“Aplec del Sol Ixent” in Cadaqués, an idyllic seaside town north of Barcelona where the Catalan artist Salvador Dalí lived for many years. At 7am, people gather to watch the sun rise over the lighthouse. In Barcelona, the so-calledFirst Swim of the Yearbrings hundreds of people to La Barceloneta beach to take a dip, despite the cold. Later, the Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta offers the brave participants soup.