Puerta del Sol square, Madrid, on New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve in Spain


New Year's Eve in Spain

In Spain, 31 December is a very special celebration, where the fun and partying go on well into the early hours. If you want to get the year off to a good start, come and celebrate New Year’s Eve in Spain. You will have a great time eating the traditional 'lucky grapes' - and on into the small hours!

Would you like to know how we see in the New Year in Spain? Eating twelve grapes. Tradition has it that you have to eat them one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on 31 December. If you manage to eat all the grapes in time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. Whether or not you believe in magic, try the experience – it’s great fun. The grapes are the most anticipated moment of New Year’s Eve. The chiming of the clock is broadcast on TV all over Spain. On this day, family or friends usually get together for a delicious dinner and then have the twelve grapes. In many towns and villages people go to a central square or an iconic place where there is a large clock, to eat the grapes together and share the last minutes of the old year. If you would like to take part in this event, ask at the town’s Tourist Office for detailed information.

Glass with twelve grapes on New Year's Eve

The striking of the clock in Puerta del Sol Square

Without a doubt, there is one place in Spain that is especially famous for this tradition: Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Thousands of people gather every New Year’s Eve below the clock to celebrate the arrival of the new year, transforming the square into a huge shared party. The atmosphere is fantastic: confetti and streamers everywhere, music, party blowers, people dressed up with wigs, hats and masks; and above all, everyone is up for a good time. After eating the grapes there is a shared explosion of joy. Bottles of cava are uncorked and everyone toasts with friends, family and the people around. Laughter, jokes, congratulations, good wishes… This is just the beginning though – hours and hours of fun lie ahead. You will see that it is impossible not to be carried away by the general excitement. But remember that if you decide to spend New Year's Eve in Puerta del Sol, you need to arrive at the square a few hours in advance, as capacity is limited.

Detail of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid and the Christmas tree

Some practical advice

The streets fill with groups of young people, music playing and cars honking their horns to greet the New Year. At bars and clubs, there are New Year’s parties with dancing until dawn. Many hotels and restaurants also organise special New Year's Eve celebrations, including dinner, grapes, dancing and entertainment. If you decide to go for one of these, you should book your table or buy your ticket for the party in advance.There are usually changes to public transport timetables on these dates. If taking public transport, remember that bus and metro services usually finish earlier than usual on the night of 31 December, and start later on the morning of the 1st. If you want a taxi on that night it’s advisable to order one by phone in advance, because in the early morning there will be considerable demand.

Celebratory sparklers

How long do the New Year celebrations last? Until your body gives up. To finish off the night, before going to bed, people like to top up their energy with traditional hot chocolate and churros. They’ll really hit the spot! On the following day, New Year's Day, you can take it easy – the shops are closed and most bars and restaurants too. A walk in the park or an afternoon at the cinema are a great way to spend the day.Do you want to do something different for New Year’s Eve? Join in the party in Spain. It will be a celebration you will never forget.

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