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Where to Go in December in Spain

The Best Cities to Visit around Christmas in Spain


December in Spain, as in most of the West, is dominated by Christmas and New Year's Eve. As a result, there are less events going on around Spain. A lot of Spaniards go home to visit their families in the villages, leaving some of the cities a little quieter than usual.

On this page you'll find details of what events there are going on in Spain in December to help you decide where to visit.

See also:

National Events in Spain in December

The following events will take place all over the country:
  • El Gordo Lottery Draw
    Spain has the biggest lottery in the world (by total prize fund). The vast majority of the population has a stake in the lottery, either as part of a syndicate or with an individual ticket. Every year, on December 22, TVs and radios will be tuned in to hear the results (which takes several hours). Get a ticket and join in the fun anywhere in the country. Read more on El Gordo Lottery in Spain.


  • Christmas
    Christmas in Spain is a family affair. Christmas Eve is the bigger event, with families gathering for an extended meal. Check out this Christmas Meal I had in Spain one year. Restaurants may be closed on one or both of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and will almost certainly require reservations if they are open. Madrid and Barcelona, as the biggest cities, have the most life to them around this time. Read more on Christmas in Spain.


  • New Year's Eve
    New Year's Eve is also largely a family event. The stroke of midnight is either spend in the main square of a city or at home. Most bars will be closed, opening around 1am for a night of revelry. Wherever you choose to celebrate, make sure you have twelve grapes to eat at each gong of midnight. Read more on New Year's Eve in Spain.

And here's the more specific list:

Best Places to Visit in Spain in January

1. Barcelona

Christmas in Barcelona
Image: (c) Chris Hupp

Barcelona's events calendar in December isn't as full as most months as most people retreat from the cold and spend time with their families, but there's still more going on than elsewhere in Spain.

Events in Barcelona in December

  • World Press Photo Exhibit at the CCCB.
  • There are Christmas markets throughout Spain but one of the biggest is in Barcelona.
  • Gospel Greats music festival.
  • Two fun runs: the Buff Epic Run, a costumed fun run, and the Cursa dels nassos.
  • De Cajon flamenco festival. (Starts at the very end of month.)

Read more about

Where to Stay in Barcelona in December

2. Seville

Christmas will be fun in Seville, but the city has a unique event of its own this month.

Events in Seville in December

See the traditional Dance of the Seises at Seville's cathedral in the Inmaculada festival.

See also:

Where to Stay in Seville in December

3. Madrid

Image: (c) Damian Corrigan

As with Barcelona, there aren't that many events going on in Madrid this month, but Christmas is at its biggest and grandest in the capital. Particularly, you will find it easier to eat at a restaurant on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day here than in the rest of the country.

Events in Madrid in December

  • Gospel Festival (TBC for 2012)
  • Winter solstice bonfires in Robledo de Chavela (near Madrid)
  • San Silvestre Vallecana fun run on New Year's Eve.

See more:

Where to Stay in Madrid in December

4. Costa del Sol

If you have access to a car, the Costa del Sol has a few events spread out over the region that are worth a look. The Costa del Sol is usually seen as a summer destination, but if you aren't desperate for beaches then there is still plenty to do in the region, even in winter.

Events in Costa del Sol in December

  • Torrax migas festival - a festival to celebrate a single dish - the peasants' favorite, fried breadcrumbs dish called 'migas'.
  • Malaga Verdiales festival - a festival to celebrate a type of flamenco.
  • Gibraltar Polar Bear Swim - swim with the locals in the chilly Strait of Gibraltar on Boxing Day (December 26)

See also: Malaga City Guide

Where to Stay in Costa del Sol in December

These events are spread along the south coast of Spain. Staying in Malaga is your best bet if you want to hit up these festivals.

5. Salamanca

Students in Salamanca take over Christmas!

Events in Salamanca in December

Salamanca is a student town, so a lot of the city's inhabitants go away for Christmas and New Year. So they can celebrate with their friends, they host an early New Year's celebration in the town square for everyone to get involved in.

Where to Stay in Salamanca in December

See also: Salamanca City Guide

6. Fuente Carreteros, near Cordoba

Events in Fuente Carreteros in December

Just one interesting event here: El Baile de los Locos y El Oso with musketeers, swordsmen and a dancing man dressed as a bear.

Where to Stay Near Fuente Carreteros in December

To reach Fuente Carreteros from Cordoba, you'll need a car, but with little accommodation Fuente Carreteros itself, this is your best bet.

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