What to do in Barcelona in January 2020

This blog post was originally posted on December 9, 2014, and was updated on December 4, 2019.

Christmas has come and gone, but Barcelona isn’t slowing down anytime soon as the new year kicks in.

The first week of January is full of Reyes celebrations (more on that in a bit), but that’s not all. January is one of Barcelona’s most exciting months in terms of traditional festivities and local events. It’s also the city’s coldest month, but when “coldest” means an average of 13 degrees Celsius (about 55 Fahrenheit), we’re hardly complaining.

As low season unofficially kicks off, consider traveling responsibly and visiting Barcelona in January—we’ve got plenty of sunshine and there’s always something going on.

If you're visiting Barcelona in January, you're in luck. It's low season, so tourist crowds will be few and far between, but there are plenty of traditional fun events taking place throughout the month. Here's what's on our agenda! #Barcelona #Spain #January #Catalonia #travel #holidays #festivals

Photo Credit: Andre Chêdas, Text Overlay: Devour Barcelona Food Tours

Follow the Reyes parade

Forget Santa Claus—here in Spain, the real stars of the show come Navidad are the reyes magos, or the Three Kings. Every January 6, children across the country jump out of bed and rush to the living room, eager to see what gifts the kings have left for them.

The magic starts the day before, though, when the kings arrive in Barcelona by boat. (Yes, you read that right!) They then embark on a parade route through the city.

To catch the excitement from the moment it begins, head to Port Vell around 4:30 p.m. on January 5 to welcome the kings as they dock their ship. After a greeting and short speech courtesy of the mayor, the kings will take to the streets of Barcelona in a 3-hour-long parade that every child in town eagerly anticipates. Even if you’re not a kid, it’s still a fun and festive event to add to your agenda if you’re visiting Barcelona in January!

One of the most popular events in Barcelona in January is the Three Kings' Parade! Kids and adults alike love this festive celebration on January 5.
The young and young-at-heart alike flock to the streets of Barcelona on January 5, eager to greet the kings as they arrive in town. Photo credit: Ajuntament Barcelona

Feel the heat of La Festa de Sant Antoni

The holidays may be officially over after Reyes, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The following weekend, it’s party time once again—only in Gracia, though, where residents celebrate the St. Anthony Festival.

Once a local celebration in a small town on the island of Mallorca, the festival has made its way to Barcelona. Here, it’s become one of the Gracia neighborhood’s most emblematic events and one of the coolest things to do in Barcelona in January.

This isn’t just your average neighborhood festival. Mallorcan traditions and customs take on a Catalan twist throughout the weeklong event, with giants and castellers aplenty. The very last night is a pyrotechnical extravaganza, with enormous bonfires and a firecracker-lit run known as the correfoc.

2020 dates: January 11–20

Want to check out the amazing castellers in action? The video below will leave you breathless!

See the traditional Festa dels Tres Tombs

The Tres Tombs parade is no ordinary street procession (and trust us, Spain has a lot of them). Namely, you’ll see a lot more four-legged friends tagging along as part of the fun.

The traditional parade stems from a custom in which farmers from nearby villages brought their animals to Barcelona in order to be blessed by a priest. That’s still the main idea here, but with a cute twist: nowadays, many locals also bring their pets to be blessed, too! It takes place every year on the Saturday following St. Anthony’s feast day (January 17). Even if you’re not traveling with your furry friend, you can’t miss this fun and festive event!

2020 date: January 18

One of the most unique events taking place in Barcelona in January is the Tres Tombs procession. Hundreds of locals come out to have their pets blessed by a priest as part of an age-old tradition.
The Tres Tombs festival still retains the feel of a rural village procession despite taking place in the heart of busy Barcelona. Photo credit: Joan GGK

Find great deals in the rebajas

It’s no secret that Spain—and especially Barcelona—is a shopper’s paradise. Very few other places in Europe can boast such trendy styles and brands for relatively fair prices (in most cases). And twice a year, the retail madness goes into full swing with the national semi-annual sales, known as rebajas (or rebaixes in Catalan).

After Reyes, every store in town will start offering unbeatable discounts, with prices dropping lower and lower each week. Shopping lovers visiting Barcelona in January won’t want to miss this!

Take your first swim of the year

We’ve saved what just might be the craziest event happening in Barcelona in January for last. After the New Year’s Eve festivities die down, hundreds of brave souls make their way to Sant Sebastià Beach at 12 p.m. on January 1 to take their first swim of the new year. In fact, the event is called just that: el primer baño del año, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

If you’re ready to brave the chilly waters, remember that plenty of warm food and drinks await you onshore once you’re done—the delicious post-swim warm-ups might just be what it takes to convince us to take part!

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