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December Festivals in Spain

What to expect if visiting Spain at Christmas time


What's Happening in December in Spain?:

Christmas is the biggest lure in December in Spain, with Madrid and Barcelona unsurprisingly the focus of the activity.

If you know you'll be visiting Madrid or Barcelona, check out these lists instead:

Christmas in Spain

Main article: Christmas in Spain

There will be Christmas markets all over Spain throughout the month, with the bigger ones in the larger cities. There is a website for the Barcelona Christmas Market. There are some interesting traditions in Barcelona, including the Tió de Nadal, also someone crudely known as "Cagatio", which means "shitlog", as he is supposed to "shit" your presents for you. I don't think this particular Christmas tradition will be appearing in any Coca-Cola commercials any time soon. See also: Christmas 2013 in Madrid


  • November 5, 2013 - December 8, 2013
    Event World Press Photo Exhibition 2013 (TBC)
    Where? CCCB in Barcelona
    What? Photojournalism show.
  • Until December 23, 2013
    Event Feria de Belen de Sevilla
    Around Seville Cathedral
    What? Buy or browse nativity scenes.
  • December 3 - 8, 2013
    Event SICAB International Horse Fair

    Where? Seville
    What? Equestrian fair.

  • December 7-23, 2013 (TBC)
    Event Els Grans del Gospel
    Where? Barcelona
    What? Gospel festival.
  • December 8, 2013
    Event Inmaculada
    Where? Everywhere but particularly Seville
    What? Religious ceremony. Christmas starts here!
  • December 12, 2013
    Event 'Noche Vieja Universitaria'
    Where? Salamanca
    What? University New Year's Eve. The city's students get together to celebrate New Year's Eve early, before returning to their families to celebrate the real thing. In 2011 there was a tapas fair in the streets of Salamanca.
  • Mid-December, 2013 (TBC)
    Event Festival de Gospel y Negro Spirituals
    Where? Madrid
    What? Gospel Festival. 2013 dates still to be decided.
  • December 18, 2013 (TBC) - January, 2014
    Event Alegria
    Where? Madrid
    What? The touring Cirque du Soleil show comes to the capital.
  • December 21, 2013
    Event Winter solstice
    Where? All over Spain.
    What? Bonfires in Robledo de Chavela (near Madrid), Olombrada (near Segovia), Castrillo de Don Juan (near Palencia) and Viniegra de Abajo (near La Rioja).
  • December 22, 2013
    Event Buff Epic Run
    Where? Montjuic hill in Barcelona
    What? Costume fun run.
  • December 22, 2013
    Event Christmas Lottery in Spain - 'El Gordo'
    Where? All over Spain
    What? El Gordo, the massive Spanish lottery, is drawn. This lottery is so big, they start selling tickets in August!
  • December 22, 2013 (TBC) (date TBC; usually last Sunday before Christmas)
    Event Migas festival
    Where? Torrax
    What? A celebration of the traditional fried breadcrumbs meal, in Torrax, Costa del Sol. See pictures here: Pictures from Migas festival
  • December 24, 2013
    Event Christmas Eve in Spain
    Where? All over Spain.
    What? A far bigger event than Christmas Day. Most Spaniards spend the evening with the families. Expect most shops to close early on the 24th and remain closed until the morning of the 26th.
  • December 25, 2013
    Event Christmas Day in Spain
    Where? All over Spain
    What? A quiet day, with most shops closed, though many bars open in the afternoon.
  • December 26, 2013
    Event Polar Bear Swim
    Where? Gibraltar
    What? A bracing swim in the chilly Strait of Gibraltar.
  • December 28, 2013
    Event El Baile de los Locos y del Oso
    Where? Fuete Carreteros, near Cordoba.
    What? Musketeers, dancing swordsmen and a man dressed as a bear in this local festival.
  • December 28, 2013
    Event Santos Inocentes
    Where? All over Spain
    What? Spain's version of April Fools' Day. 
  • December 28, 2013 (TBC)
    Event Enfarinats
    What? Flour fight in Ibi, near Alicante. Click on the link for the amazing pictures.
  • Late December 2013 until early 2014 (TBC)
    Event De Cajon Flamenco Festival
    Where? Barcelona
    What? Popular flamenco festival.
  • December 28, 2013 (TBC)
    Event Verdiales festival
    Where? Malaga
    What? Verdiales is a form of flamenco.
  • December 31, 2013
    Event Fun runs.
    Where? Madrid and Barcelona.
    What? Fun Runs take place in Madrid and Barcelona. Madrid has the  San Silvestre Vallecana and Barcelona has the Cursa dels Nassos. See the Cursa dels Nassos race route.
  • December 31, 2013
    Event New Year's Eve (Nochevieja)
    Where? All over Spain
    What? Get twelve grapes and eat them with the gongs at midnight. Unlike in other countries, the Spanish tend to go out after midnight, spending midnight with family friends before the bars open a little later. The alternative is to go to the main square, where there will be a big crowd.

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