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.
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!
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
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!