Best Christmas markets in Spain
Catch the festive spirit in Spain by visiting some of the best Spanish Christmas markets from Madrid, Granada and Seville to Costa Blanca and Barcelona.
It's Christmas in Spain and 'tis the season for Spanish traditions such as munching on turrón, waiting on the winning numbers for El Gordo or heading to the best Christmas markets in Spain to do some holiday shopping. From an assortment of seasonal dulces (sweets) to the infamously comical caganer (pooping) figurines and elaborate Nativity scenes, Christmas markets in Spain have everything you need for preparing an authentic Spanish Christmas or finding Spanish-themed gifts.
Here are some of the most known Christmas markets in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada and Costa del Sol to visit during the holiday season, typically running from December up until the first week of January.
Christmas markets in Barcelona
Fira de Santa Llúcia
Fira de Santa Llúcia is the oldest and biggest Christmas market in Barcelona and arguably the most popular in Spain. Hosted annually along the Avenida de la Catedral in front of the Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic district, earliest records of the market date back to 1786. This year, from 25 November to 23 December 2016, Fira de Santa Llúcia will have close to 300 stalls selling hand-carved Nativity figures including the cheeky caganer found only in Catalonia. Traditional Spanish Christmas activities for adults and children alike will transpire in the market during the whole winter holiday season especially on 11 December, the feast of Santa Llúcia, the fair's namesake.
Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia
Sitting at the gardens at foot of the Sagrada Familia, Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família makes for an impressive setting and offers the opportunity to see Gaudi's mastepiece, the park and the market in one trip. This fair is one of Barcelona's most reknown and classic Christmas markets alongside Fira de Santa Llúcia. Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família runs from 29 November to 23 December 2016 and will have around 120 stalls on offer, a large percentage of which sell Christmas trees, sweets, decorations and mistletoe.
Fira de Reis a la Gran Via
Fira de Reis a la Gran Via is the Spanish Christmas market to visit for all your Reyes Magos (Magic Kings, or Three Wise Men) needs. The market, which is held yearly in Barcelona's Gran Via district, has approximately 300 stalls this year filled with toys the traditional Reyes Magos present such as carbon de azucar (candy coal) and, of course, piles of delicious Roscón de Reyes cakes for breakfast. Fira de Reis a la Gran Via runs from 21 December 2016 to 6 January 2017.
Christmas markets in Madrid
Mercado de Navidad de Plaza Mayor
Madrid’s Plaza Mayor Christmas market has been going since 1860 and many of the stall holders still sell the traditional Belén (Bethlehem) nativity figures alongside fancy dress costumes, joke items and tinsel wigs ready for Día de los Santos Inocentes – Spain's version of April Fools' Day – on 28 December. The Spanish Christmas market is also the place to be for the yearly gag event held in the city centre. More than a hundred stalls line up along the massive square for the annual Mercado de Navidad de Plaza Mayor from 26 November to 31 December 2016.
Feria-Mercado de Artesanie de la Comunidad de Madrid
If handmade gifts are what you're looking for, Madrid's Feria-Mercado de Artesanie de la Comunidad de Madridis the perfect place to begin your search. This Spanish Christmas market, which takes place from 10 December 2016 to 5 January 2017 in Plaza España, specialises in locally crafted items designed and made by more than 200 artisan workshops in Madrid.
Christmas markets in Sevilla
Mercado Navideño de Artesanía de Sevilla
Snow and cold weather does not seem to dampen the magic of the winter season in Sevilla one bit. The city goes all out with the Mercado Navideño de Artesanía de Sevilla Christmas market, which runs from 14 December 2016 to 5 January 2017 in Plaza Nueva right in the centre. The Spanish Christmas market is dedicated to seasonal local crafts in the characteristic Andalusian style. Around 80 wooden chalets feature works of artisans and merchants from the Seville area.
Feria del Belén
A Spanish Christmas market focusing solely on ornaments for Beléns (Nativity scenes) and Christmas trees, the Feria del Belén is one of the most visited Christmas markets in Spain of its kind. It is situated every winter season at the Avenida de la Constitución near Seville's mammoth Gothic cathedral and Archivo General de Indias and takes place this year from 13 November until 23 December 2016.
Mercado Navideño Sevilla Capital
In addition to Christmas decorations and all things needed to recreate the Nativity scene, makeshift shops at Seville's Christmas market Mercado Navideño Sevilla Capital also sell breads, cakes and spirits without which any celebration would be incomplete. Each wooden cabin is specially decorated and designs are only unveiled once the Christmas market begins on 2 December 2016. The market is just outside the large Nervión Plaza, a short stroll from the city centre, and this year's edition ends on 5 January 2017.
Christmas markets in Granada
Granada Christmas market
During Christmas Granada is decked with abundant displays of the traditional Spanish nativity scene, sparkling lights and Christmas trees. Many of the elaborate Belén recreations even feature live actors and real animals, with the most popular one at the Plaza del Carment, or the city hall square.
Granada's Christmas market is another highlight in winter. Located at the central square of Plaza de Bib-Rambla, around the corner from the Renaissance Cathedral, this market provides a classic Christmas experience with stalls offering candles, flowers, unique handmade gifts and sweets, such as churros, in addition to a wide assortment of Spanish Christmas decorations.
Christmas markets in Costa del Sol
Malaga Christmas market
Malaga is well-known for its lavish Christmas lights every winter and you can expect to see the Malaga Spanish Christmas market festooned with twinkling intricate displays. The lights are switched on at 2 November 2016 when the city becomes awashed in colourful lights from stunning light shows, fairy lights along the Marques de Larios roundabout and Calle Larios, and a giant 25-tonne dome glowing with thousands of microLED stars and moons. The display also heralds the beginning of Malaga's main Christmas market in Torremolinos. It remains open for the rest of the Christmas season.
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Updated 2016 / Photo credits: Jesús Corrius (Fira de Santa Llúcia)
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