5 places to spend Christmas in Spain: Lights, markets & nativity scenes
When you think of Christmas, sunny Spain may not be the first place that comes to mind. If you’re looking for something different, however, there are a few spots around the country to explore and discover the magic of one of the year’s most important seasons.
In the northwestern town of Vigo, you might need a pair of sunglasses to take in the amount of bright, multicoloured Christmas lights. With 30 lit-up streets, the light installations begin in the month of October. The mayor’s promise to go “all-out” isn’t an understatement. The plan is to have a skating rink, giant snowman, a Ferris Wheel and even a snow machine to ensure guests will experience a white Christmas while checkout out the markets.
The Christmas lights in Barcelona and the unique celebrations of Catalonia make it a wonderful place to experience the festivities. Each barrio (neighbourhood) decorates differently with lights each year and there are plenty of markets, such as the Fira de Santa Llúcia to discover funny Catalan traditions like the caganer and caga tió.
You cannot miss the enormous tree that lights up the Puerta del Sol every year. The main Christmas market of Madrid in the Plaza Mayor is a huge attraction that includes over 100 stalls full of sweets, decorations, fir trees, nativity figurines and artisanal objects. But this market is not the only one there is. There are the popup Mercadillo del Gato for items like clothing, jewelry, crafts and decorations, the We Love Animals Market, the Designer Xmas Vibes, and one along Paseo de Recoletos. With their Cabalgata de Reyes and decorations around the city, Madrid is a beautiful place to visit during the festive season.
The Christmas lights of Calle Larios in Málaga are practically world-renowned. Every year, the large arching structure over the shopping street features different colours and motifs. Follow a route of nativity scenes scattered around the art-loving city that extends to the neighbouring Mollina which houses the largest museum of nativity scenes in the world. The most famous in Málaga are the Belén del Ayuntamiento and Belén de la Catedral.
Sevilla is a city in the south of Spain that takes Christmas very seriously. Within its neighbourhoods, you can find a few nativity scenes, 10 Christmas trees and over 300 streets decorated with lights. The Plaza de San Francisco will be lit up by 8 10-metre tall angels this year and the famous Mercado Navideño de Arteseanía (Artisanal Christmas Market) is celebrating its 20th edition. The streets of Sevilla are lit from the 29th of November up until the 6th of January.
How excited are you to explore Spain during the festive season? Have you visited any of these cities? Let us know if we missed any!