Christmas in Spain is quite a treat - the action gears up in mid-December and doesn't stop until January 6. There is the giant multi-billion euro lottery, splendid nativity scenes, lots of great food and one of the biggest New Year's Eve celebrations you are likely to see.
As is the case throughout most of the Western world, Christmas first starts to rear its ugly head earlier and earlier each year. Traditional sweets such as turron and marzipan appeared in supermarkets in late October. However, apart from this, little takes place until December.
Remember, winter in Spain can get cold! Read more about Weather in Spain.
See also: Christmas Tours of Spain
Where to Go in Spain at Christmas?
For Lots to Do As much of Spain shuts down at Christmas time in Spain, you'll need to visit one of the bigger cities to be sure of things to do. Try Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia or Malaga.
- Madrid at Christmas
- Christmas in Barcelona
For Warm Weather The south coast of Spain will be the warmest at Christmas, but don't expect beach weather! The Costa del Sol, the Canary Islands and Malaga are the best places for winter sun in Spain.
For a White Christmas White Christmas is not likely in Spain's cities. The most likely place for a white christmas would be at a ski resort, particularly in the Pyrenees. Spain's coldest cities are Burgos and Leon, with Cuenca close behind. None of these have had a white Christmas any time recently.
Things to Do at Christmas in Spain
Spain's Christmas doesn't end until January 6, which is Three Kings Day, especially important for children as traditionally their gifts have come on this day.
Christmas Lottery in Spain - 'El Gordo' 'The Fat One' lottery has the biggest prize fund of any lottery in the world. All of Spain stops for the big draw on December 22 and the lottery, which tends to be played in syndicates as the price of tickets is so high, has turned around the fortunes of whole villages.
Christmas Markets Spain gets in on the act of Christmas markets, with many major squares in Spain filled up with Christmassy trinkets in December. The best place to go in Spain for Christmas markets is Barcelona, because of its unique Catalan Christmas traditions that you won't find elsewhere.
- Christmas Food in Spain The Spanish don't tend to eat turkey at Christmas time. Check out a traditional Christmas Meal in a Spain Restaurant
- Christmas Sweets in Spain Some of the most unique foods to be had in Spain at Christmas is the Christmas sweets.
Visit a Nativity Scene Spain goes to a lot of effort with its nativity scenes ('Belem' in Spanish, which means Bethlehem).
Eat Twelve Grapes at the Stroke of Midnight on New Years Eve
Receive gifts (or at least some candy) from the Three Kings
- Skiing in Spain Yes, it's possible to go skiing in Spain!
Important Days at Christmas in Spain
Main article: Christmas Events in Spain
- December 8 Inmaculada is the religious celebration that kicks of Christmas. Most popular in Seville.
- December 22 Christmas Lottery in Spain - 'El Gordo'
- December 24 Christmas Eve in Spain (Noche Buena in Spanish).
- December 25 Christmas Day in Spain (Navidad in Spanish).
- December 31 New Year's Eve in Spain (Noche Vieja in Spanish).
- January 6 Three Kings Day in Spain
Can't get to Spain for Christmas? Did you know there is a celebration of New Year's Eve in August? See also: How Many Times Can You Celebrate New Year's Eve in Spain?