Called Nochevieja in Spanish or Cap d’Any in Catalan, Barcelona’s New Year’s celebrations are similar to many others being held in Europe’s best nightlife cities. The difference is that Barcelona’s late night culture makes the countdown to midnight the beginning of the party, not the end – plus, a few fun Spanish traditions make it a unique experience.
Do you have red undies on?
An old Spanish tradition dictates you need to be wearing red underwear when the clock strikes midnight to ensure good luck for the forthcoming year. This tradition seems pretty specific, so investing a few dollars in red underwear is probably a good plan. Plus, wearing the red underwear gives you lots of interesting conversation starters with with fellow revelers. It is also said to be good luck to eat 12 grapes (one every second as the clock strikes 12). Though this seems like a choking hazard, locals and visitors alike will be seen shoveling grapes into their mouths to evade bad juju.
Where to countdown:
Barcelona in years past has not had an official fireworks display. This, however, won’t stop you from smelling the discharged gunpowder you know you love. Locals love putting on their own pyrotechnical displays from streets, balconies and rooftops.
Placa de Catalunya usually packs in the crowds, with upwards of 50,000 people gathering to count down the minutes to midnight. Make sure you plan ahead and bring plastic cups for your celebratory beverages. The police have been known to crack down on glass bottles (for all the obvious reasons).
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic also has a New Year’s countdown. This fountain draws crowds all year round, and New Year’s is no exception. In 2014, there was a major fireworks show at the fountain after the clock struck midnight.
After the clock strikes midnight…
Most club entrances for New Year’s will be around 20 Euros. The trendy W Hotel may be a go-to place if you are channeling your inner high roller and cover charges don’t matter. Their 26th floor Eclipse bar, which looks down on the boardwalk and beach, has an epic New Year’s bash with live music, stunning views and more until 6am.
If the club scene isn’t your thing, the neighborhood bars and pubs all stay open very late anyway – we like the Placa Reial off of the bustling Las Ramblas as a great NYE destination. Even on a regular night, Las Ramblas has a certain circus-like atmosphere that makes it charming. Each evening, mimes, tarot readers, and musicians ply their trades competing for your attention on this busy street.
What to drink
Cava, Spanish sparkling wine, is a must. Mix it with orange juice and our “mimosa” becomes the Spanish Agua de Valencia. If you want an easy to pronounce and easy to consume cocktail, opt for the cubalibre – rum and coke or gin and coke. Stick with the rum version unless you are feeling a particular hankering for gin.
Get to Barcelona with EF College Break
Our 12 day London, Paris & Barcelona trip departs on December 29th, spending 4 days in Barcelona before moving on to Paris and then London. It’s an ideal way to see Barcelona and take in a uniquely Spanish & Catalan New Year’s party.