New Year's Eve in Madrid and Barcelona
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, then come and celebrate New Year's Eve in Madrid and Barcelona. You will have a great time in these two cities 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. What is more, if you manage to eat all the grapes on time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. It is everyone's most awaited moment on New Year's Eve and the striking of the clock is even broadcast on live television.
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 them. Laughter, jokes, congratulations, good wishes… This is just the beginning though – hours and hours of fun lie ahead. The streets fill with groups of friends and young people, and cars honking their horns to greet the New Year. You will see that it is impossible not to get carried away by the general excitement.
At pubs, bars and clubs in both cities there are New Year's parties with dancing until dawn. There are also many hotels and restaurants that organise special New Year's Eve celebrations, including a special menu for 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.
On the following day, New Year's Day, you can take it easy – the shops are closed and most bars and restaurants too. Take the opportunity to walk around the city centre and see how different it looks without the crowds.
New Year's Eve in Madrid
There is one place that is especially famous for this tradition: Puerta del Sol, the square in central Madrid. In the Spanish capital, thousands of people converge in front of the clock in Puerta del Sol to eat twelve grapes and see in the New Year. The square turns into one big party and the atmosphere is amazing. Confetti and streamers everywhere, music, party blowers, and trumpets blaring, people dressed up with wigs, hats and masks; and above all, everyone is up for a good time, with parties all over town.
To finish off the night, before you go to bed, people like to top up their energy with hot chocolate and churros. They taste great at that time of the morning! In Madrid it is traditional to have them in a well-known hot-chocolate bar in the centre, La Chocolatería de San Ginés.
If taking public transport, remember that in Madrid bus and metro services finish earlier than usual on the night of 31 December, and start later on the morning of the 1st.
New Year's Eve in Barcelona
In Barcelona, the official New Year's Eve party is around the magic fountain of Montjüic. The light and sound shows begin around 9 pm, and continue until the celebrations really kick off at midnight.
If taking public transport, remember that the Barcelona Metro keeps running all night long. If you prefer to catch a taxi, phoning well in advance is strongly recommended.
And if you really want an original way to start the year, an odd tradition has emerged in Barcelona every 1 January. Hundreds of people gather on Sant Sebastià beach for the first dip of the year in the Mediterranean. Are you in? Be there at 12 noon.