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Ring in 2023 with a memorable New Year’s celebration in Barcelona

Thanks to its spectacular light shows at the Magic Fountain and infamous party atmosphere, Barcelona has emerged as one of Europe’s favorite New Year’s destinations.

Nothing sets the mood quite like a sky full of stars lit up in every color of the rainbow, and it’s hard to find a more spectacular light show than what you’ll find in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve on the Spanish “party riviera” is a celebration everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. But before we talk about the best places to celebrate the stroke of midnight, we should note a few important traditions to take into account: 

When you celebrate New Year’s or Cap d’Any in Catalonia, you need to have your grapes close at hand. When the clock strikes twelve, ringing in the new year, you must quickly crush twelve grapes – one for each time the church bells toll. According to the Spaniards, this is supposed to ensure a successful year. 

Then, place a ring or something golden in your champagne glass before you make a toast. This is supposed to guarantee prosperity in the coming year. Since the larger venues often prohibit glass containers, think about bringing along an alternative. 

Last but not least, if you wear red undergarments, it’s supposed to ensure a good love life.

 

Where should you celebrate?

Now, on to the most important question: where should you be at the stroke of midnight in Barcelona? 

Font Magica de Montjuïc, or the Magic Fountain, close to the  Plaça d’Espanya square, is one of the most popular places to be when the clock strikes twelve. This is where the city’s official New Year’s celebration is held, and each year, tens of thousands of local residents and tourists flock to the area (in 2019, there were around 100,000 visitors). The event is family-friendly and admission is free. Come here after enjoying a New Year’s Eve dinner at one of the local restaurants, but remember that you may want to book your table in advance. For early birds, live performances begin around 9:30 pm, and it often pays to arrive early to get a good seat. 

The illuminated Magic Fountain, which was completed in 1929, is naturally the main attraction. Right before the stroke of midnight, the fountain and surrounding area erupt in a spectacular explosion of light and fireworks, accompanied by musical accompaniment from the stages. 

After the celebration, once the grapes have satiated your hunger, chart a beeline course for the nearest nightclub, for example the iconic Poble Espanyol, and dance in the new year. Also here, it’s advisable to book in advance. Placa Catalunya is another lively square where you can count on huge crowds, music, and fireworks. Since it’s not as well-organized as the Magic Fountain, almost anything goes here. Ditto for Las Ramblas, perhaps Barcelona’s most famous street, always a safe bet for anyone looking for huge crowds and lively parties on New Year’s. While it never gets truly cold in Barcelona in the wintertime, you should dress warmly if you plan to celebrate outside as the temperature can drop to around +5 degrees. 

 

Celebrate the New Year a little more peacefully

Would you rather enjoy the Catalonian New Year’s Eve celebration from the peaceful confines of your hotel room? Book a room with a view of the 144-meter-high Torre Glòries (previously known as “Torre Agbar”), one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks. At night, the tower’s 4,000 LED diodes light up, creating a fantastic light show. Another safe alternative is to book a table in one of the city’s rooftop bars to enjoy an unbeatable view of the fireworks. If you’d like to celebrate your New Year’s the traditional Spanish way, there are numerous flamenco shows throughout the city. Palacio del Flamenco is one of the most popular places to celebrate New Year’s Eve with flamenco dancing and a tasty dinner. 

A cooler tradition is the so-called New Year’s Day dip. On this day, many Barcelona residents stroll down to Sant Sebastià Beach to get an invigorating start to the new year. Cheer in the new year with a brisk swim in the Mediterranean or just enjoy the daring spectacle. 

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