Come wintertime, warm weather might be in short supply in Barcelona, but there’s definitely no lack of things to do. From celebrations, to skiing, here are a few ideas to keep your chilly Spanish holiday filled with good times.
Ski in Andorra
If you’ve got a couple open days in your winter Barcelona itinerary, consider heading to another country to hit the slopes – seriously. At only about 2.5 to 3 hours away by car, and a little more by bus, you can get to the ski resorts of Andorra. The miniature nation is located in the Pyrenees — sandwiched between France and Spain – and roughly 2.5 times the size of Washington DC. The country, whose official language is Catalan (but where Spanish and French are spoken widely), is a tax-free haven, so beyond just ski slopes, it’s also a famous destination for purchasing other goodies like jewelry.
Three Kings Day
If you happen to be in Barcelona after New Year’s, consider extending your holiday celebration by participating in Three Kings Day. The Wise Men arrive on the night of January 5thby boat, and then traverse the city streets in a parade, before setting off with their camels to deliver gifts to all the children, Santa-style, that night.
Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia
As one of Barcelona’s two patron saints, Santa Eulàlia – often called the children’s saint — is especially important. Around February 12thof every year, the city fills with celebrations, including concerts, children’s activities like story telling and puppet shows, and other famous traditions such as the parade of giants (gegants), and folk dancing called sardanes.
Participate in a Calçotada
Come late winter, Catalonia’s famous calçot will start making appearances in vegetable markets around the region. Locals mark the arrival of the gigantic green onion during a celebration called a calçotada. During this event, the calçots are strung on a wire, and then draped over hot coals until their outsides are charred like well-cooked marshmallows. Once served, everyone peels the flakey black skin off the onion before dipping it into romesco sauce (a thick red mixture of peppers, nuts and other ingredients), and then into their mouths. If you can’t find a calçotada to get in on, rest assured that you will encounter the prized seasonal delicacy served up at restaurants in Barcelona and elsewhere in the region.
- Contributed by Erin Ridley