Christmas in America is pretty much over the minute the clock strikes 12 AM on the 26th of December. Spain, however celebrates Christmas or Navidad all the way until the 6th of January. This day marks the feast of epiphany or the feast of the three kings in the Catholic calendar and usually signals the end of Christmas.
I got to spend Christmas in Spain last year and really enjoyed the extended celebrations. Here are some of the cities I visited in Spain during Christmas and the festivities in each city.
While most streets were decorated with some form of lights or festive symbols, the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla were perhaps some of the most decorated places.
The candy stalls at Mercado de La Boqueria had such delightful looking christmas treats. I spent quite a bit of time admiring these.
I also had a chance to listen to The Song of Sibyl or El Cant de la Sibil (In Catalan) at the Barcelona Cathedral just before midnight on Christmas Eve. The Song of Sibyl is a liturgical chant that has been sung uninterruptedly since medieval times in this region. This was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010. There was a massive crowd gathered at the Cathedral to listen to the chant. This was followed by mid night service.
Plaça de Catalunya had a small pop up Christmas market on the 24th. However, it didn’t look too interesting from a distance.
Tips – Certain places were closed on the 24th of December so keep this day as a walking sightseeing day than a day to visit places.
Madrid really topped Barcelona is terms of Christmas celebrations and decorations.
Every street leading up to and from Puerta del Sol was lit up and decorated. Puerta del Sol itself had a giant Christmas tree decorated solely with lights. In fact, most of the little squares had their own version of a christmas tree.
If you happen to be in Madrid for Christmas, peep in to the window display at La Mallorquina, a pastry shop in Puerta del Sol for some inviting Christmas goodies. Their pastries are amazing and worth every calorie!
A little up the street for Puerta del Sol, the iconic Plaza Mayor was also highly decorated with a large Christmas tree. It also had a quaint little Christmas market with brightly painted stalls.
Another street to walk around and admire the decor is Gran Via, which is Madrid’s famous shopping street.
Being the small town that it is, Cordoba was not as grandiose as Madrid in terms of decor but is still worth seeing. Cordoba is well known for its patios and white walls covered with blue flower pots. During Christmas some of the regular pink and red flowers are replaced by bright red poinsettia. Check out my Cordoba post HERE to see exactly where to find these patios and flower walls.
A few streets in around Plaza de las Tendillas were also light up but the scale was definitely not as grand as Madrid.
I really enjoyed walking through the tiny streets of Granada and the decorations on the streets. What was nice about Granada’s street decor was that they had really given some thought into the shapes and patterns of the decor. Instead of hanging lights in a straight line, they had gone the extra mile to create unique designs and patterns with the lights which I fully appreciated. You can find these decor in and around the streets and squares of the Cathedral.
Sevilla/Seville simple took my breath away and was the clear winner from all the places! Here’s why;
Sevilla is an Andalusian town just like Cordoba and Granada. Rich in history and culture, the region of Andalusia to me in the true soul of Spain. This coupled with the fact that they had not spared any effort in their holiday festivities, really made them a clear winner in my eyes. The lavishness of the Christmas decor was truly a sight to be behold. If you are going to Spain in December and had to pick one place, I would highly recommend Sevilla.
You can see some of Sevilla finest decor from Plaza Nueva and Plaza de San Francisco all the way down the Avenue of the Constitution.
All side roads and streets leading to and from the Avenue of the Constitution were also beautifully decorated in keeping with the Christmas spirit.
If you are going to be in Sevilla during New years, I highly recommend booking a restaurant in advance for New Years eve dinner.
Overall, Spain is a great place to be during Christmas, especially if you are looking for a true Christmas experience with relatively warm weather.
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