Jan 05 2017

January in Madrid

 

January is a good time for visiting Madrid. You will avoid the heat, and the crowds on more turistic places.

 

Photo: Luis Eduardo P Tavares / Flickr.com

 

Inverfest

Inverfest is a music festival organized every January in Madrid. It welcomes the New Year by three weeks of music concerts in Teatro Circo Price. The festival offers music for all tastes, and preferences.

The Inverfest is going on from 12th to 29th of January. You can see the list of concerts, and buy tickets here.

 

Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017

From 23rd to 25th of January is organized the 15th Madrid Fusion International Summit gastronomy festival. This year Argentina will be the guest country, and more than 100 chefs from 15 different countries will be in charge of the program.

Similar to earlier years there will be two conferences related to haute cuisine, the environment, human relations, and so on.

More information here.

 

Rumba by Mayumana

Mayumana transforms and recreates William Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet in a new version for dancers and percussionists. The music is created by Estopa, a Spanish duo.

This visually stunning show has already been seen by over half a million viewers only in Spain. It can be seen in Teatro Rialto in Madrid from 12th January until 12th February.

More information and tickets here

 

Photo: Prensa Ajuntament de Torrent / Flickr.com

 

The Lion King Musical

The musical based on the story of the Lion King is one of the most acclaimed musicals in the world. You can see it in Madrid in Teatro Lope de Vega, where it has been staged since October 2011.

The Lion King is a spectacular show with animated sculptures and color, over 50 actors from all over the world, and music made by talented artists as Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M., and Hans Zimmer. The scenes are definitely Disney, and will entertain you with the well-known magic!

You can buy your tickets here.

 

Planning to travel to Madrid in January, and all but an apartment is already booked? Habitat Apartments offers a wide variety of full equipped apartments all around the city of Madrid. Have a look for example on this great apartment where sleeps comfortably two people. The apartment is located in Valverde St neighborhood.

 

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If you liked this article and want to know more about Habitat Apartments, and to read more travel tips about Madrid, please follow us on our sites of social media. ;)

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Jan 02 2017

January in Barcelona

 

In January Barcelona is calm and peaceful. The at another time crowded streets are now quiet, and perfects for strolling around.

 

Photo: Keith Williamson / Flickr.com

 

Three Kings Parade

“La Cabalgata de Reyes Magos” is celebrated on Thursday 5th January. It’s the biggest Christmas celebration in all over Spain. In Barcelona it’s celebrated with a big parade trough the city.

Although the public holiday and day for opening the Christmas presents is January 6th, is the 5th the day when the Three Wise Man arrives to Barcelona and large focus of the celebrations is then. In the parade the Three Kings throws sweets and gifts to the children, while everyone is on the streets welcoming them back from their long journey to the East.

More information, timetables, and the route map here.

On the Three Kings Day is a tradition to eat a pastry called "Roscón de Reyes".

 

BarGelona Ice-Skating Rink

Until 8th of January it is possible to go Ice-Skating in La Farga in L’Hospitalet, little bit outside Barcelona. In addition to the ice-skating rink there will be for example a café, live music, exhibitions, sporty games, and a recreation area for teens and kids.

 More information, opening times, and prices here.

 

Oh-Barcelona.com / Flickr.com

 

Barcelona Second Hand Market

In Poblenou neighborhood is organized a second hand market on 8th January. All articles will be on sale with only 1 euro! From here you can find everything: clothes, books, magazines, toys… Go, and find treasures!

More information here.

 

Circ Raluy Barcelona

The Circ Raluy circus is a tradition in Barcelona, and it brings a new show every year. It is a historic travelling circus, and it also has a museum of old circus caravans. The Circ Raluy takes place in Port Vell, and will stay there until 10th February.

More information here.

 

Familimiró

Fundació Joan Miró’s program of activities for families is called Familimiró.  It invites families to experiment workshops, shows, and tours. The activities are related to the building, and to the permanent and temporary exhibitions of the Fundació.

 

Photo: Malouette / Flickr.com

 

Want to do something else on your vacation in Barcelona? From this blog post you will find our top 10 things what to do.

 

Planning to travel to Barcelona in January, and all but an apartment is already reserved? Habitat Apartments offers a wide variety of fully equipped apartments all around the city of Barcelona. Have a look for example on this brand new apartment, where sleeps comfortable six persons. The apartment is located in the exclusive Eixample neighborhood.

 

Paseo de Gracia Chic

If you liked this article and want to know more about Habitat Apartments, and read more travel tips about Barcelona, please follow us on our sites of social media. ;)

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Dec 01 2016

December in Barcelona

 

Barcelona is bustling of events and happenings in December. Christmas reaches every corner of this beautiful city.

 

Photo: Jesús Corrius / Flickr.com

 

Christmas Shopping

 

Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas Market

This is the biggest and most popular Christmas market in Barcelona. There will be almost 300 market stands, and they are grouped into four sections. The Fira de Santa Llúcia is held in the Gothic Quarter in front of the Cathedral, few steps away from the metro Jaume 1. It’s open from 27th of November until 23rd of December, every day from 10.30 am until 8 pm, except on weekends until 9.30 pm.

More information and details here.

 

Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia

This market with almost 120 market stands is held in front of the Sagrada Familia from late November until Christmas Eve in December, and will be open daily from 10 am until 10 pm.

 

The Three Kings Fair

The Three Kings Fair market is the biggest Christmas and New Years market for toys. It has around 300 market stands, mostly toys but also other traditional “Reyes” gifts.

The market starts in the middle of December and is held until 6th of January, on the street of Gran Via between the streets of Muntaner and Calabria.

 

Also there will be more, smaller Christmas markets in many other squares of Barcelona.

 

Christmas Lights and Trees

There are Christmas lights in almost 400 locations around Barcelona, and they will be turned on from late November until beginning of January.

 

Placa Catalunya

Around Placa Catalunya there will be some of the most impressive Christmas lights. Have a look on the surrounding streets as well, Portal de l’Angel is famous of its light decorations.

Next to Placa Catalunya is the Corte Inglés deparment store, and it’s known from its impressive Christmas lights. The shopping center is usually decorating the whole outside wall with spectacular lights.

 

Las Ramblas

From Placa Catalunya you can walk all the way down to the sea along the Las Ramblas walking street. The theme of the Christmas lights will vary every year, so you can never know in advance what kind of lights there will be.

Stop by the surrounding areas of Sant Antoni market, there will be some impressive lights, too.

 

Magic Fountain in Montjüic

The Magic Fountain has a special Christmas light and sound show every Friday and Saturday from November to the early January. The shows starts at 19, 19.30 and 20 pm, and lasts 30 minutes each.

 

Placa Espanya, neighborhood of Vila de Gracia, Torre Agbar, and streets of Ronda de Sant Pere and Passeig de Gracia are also usually having beautiful and plentiful Christmas decoration.

 

Christmas trees

On Avenida Portal de l'Angel in front of the Corte Inglés shopping center is the Barcelona's biggest Christmas tree

Another famous Christmas tree is placed on Placa de Sant Jaume in the Gothic Quarter. From there you will also find one of the Barcelona's official Nativity Scenes, "pessembre" in Catalan.

 

Photo: Fabricio de Paula / Flickr.com

 

Things to do and see in Christmas

Caganer

“The pooping man”, is a Catalan Christmas tradition. It often is as a character in the Catalonian Nativity Scenes and it is children’s fun to find the figure from there. The poop of the Caganer is said to bring good luck, as it fertilizes the earth, and along with that brings good luck for the New Year.

 

Caga Tió

Caga Tió, also known as Tió de Nadal, is a “poop log” which poops Christmas presents for the children. They feed the log every evening with Turrón, and keep him warm with a red blanket. On Christmas Eve the children hit the log with sticks and sing a special song, so Caga Tió would poop the Christmas presents.

 

Circ Raluy Barcelona

The Circ Raluy circus is a Christmas tradition in Barcelona, and it brings a new show every year. It is a historic travelling circus and it also has a museum of old circus caravans. The Circ Raluy takes place in Port Vell and will stay there from December to January.

From here you can read more and buy your tickets to the shows.

 

Placa Catalunya Christmas celebrations

On Placa Catalunya there will be light and sound shows featuring the fountains, and many family activities. Usually there has been freezed an ice-skating rink from December to January, and it has been open during the Christmas.

 

Three Kings Parade

“Día de los Reyes Magos” is celebrated 5th of January and it’s the biggest Christmas celebration in all over Spain. In Barcelona it’s celebrated with a big parade trough the city.

Although the public holiday and day for opening the Christmas presents is January 6th, is the 5th the day when the Three Wise Man arrives to Barcelona and large focus of the celebrations is then. In the parade the Three Kings throws sweets and gifts to the children, while everyone is on the streets welcoming them back from their long journey to the East.

 

Nativity Scenes

“Pessebre” is the Catalan name for the Christmas Nativity Scenes. The Nativity Scenes are a big part of Catalonian Christmas traditions.

 

Plaça de Sant Jaume

The Barcelona’s main Nativity Scene is built up every year on Plaça de Sant Jaume, outside the town hall. It is different every year and the biggest one in Barcelona, taking almost a quarter’s space of the square.

You can see the Nativity Scene from late November until 6th of January and it is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm.

 

Poble Espanyol

In Poble Espanyol, the Spanish Village in Montjüic, you can see a living Nativity Scene. The streets of the village are turned to a living Nativity Scene, and everywhere is put beautiful Christmas decorations. Poble Espanyol is a very nice attraction especially for kids.

From here you can read more.

 

Photo: Keith Williamson / Flickr.com

 

Traditional Christmas food

Escudella i Carn d’olla and Galets

This is a traditional soup made during the Christmas period. It is often eaten as a starter. Escudella i Carn d’Olla is made of a large piece of meat being cooked for hours, to ensure it is thick and good for a soup. When the meat is ready, it is removed from the soup and replaced with Gallets. Gallets are snail-shell shaped pasta.

The meat which was cooked with the pasta is later been eaten as a main dish. Most Spanish households enjoy it with various tapas dishes.

Here you can see the recipe for Escudella i Carn d’olla.

 

Turrón

Turrón is a traditional sweet made of nougat. You can buy it from almost everywhere in Barcelona. The most popular taste variation during the Christmas period is made of nougat and almonds, but you will find many other delicious variations also.

If you want to enjoy homemade Turróns, check out this recipe.

 

El Pa de Nadal

The Christmas bread of Catalonia is called El Pa de Nadal. You can buy it almost everywhere in Barcelona, and enjoy it with the Christmas dinner.

 

El Roscón de Reyes

This cake is always served on the Three Kings Day. It is a ring-shaped cake, and inside the cake are traditionally baked two family-activity objects: a dry green bean and a figure of a king. When the cake is served, everyone checks their pieces. The one who got the king figure can use a crown for the evening, and the one with the bean have to pay the dinner.

You will find the recipe for the El Roscón de Reyes here.

 

Catalan New Years traditions

It is common to eat lentils for lunch on New Years’ Eve. Every lentil is representing a coin, and it is said that eating them brings good luck and wealth for the coming year.

When it is almost midnight and the clock chimes twelve times, it is a tradition to eat twelve grapes. One grape should be eaten on every each chime. This is surprisingly difficult! It is said that if you can eat all the twelve grapes on time, it brings you good luck for the coming year.

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Nov 21 2016

December in Madrid

 

Christmas period is full of events and happenings in Madrid, and the busiest time of year in the city.

 

Photo: José Ibañez / Flickr.com

 

Christmas Shopping

During the Christmas period in Madrid there will be many Christmas markets. The largest ones are held on Plaza Mayor and Plaza de España.

 

Plaza Mayor

The biggest and most important Christmas market is held on Plaza Mayor in the centre of Madrid. From this market you will find everything you need: Christmas decorations, food, traditional Christmas products, and crafts.

Christmas market on Plaza Mayor is going on from 26th of November until 31st of December, and it’s open from Mondays to Fridays from 10 am to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm.

 

Plaza de España

This market is concentrated on artisanal and handmade crafts, and it’s also known as the Community of Madrid Craft Fair. It’s famous for the quality of the products. From the market you will find different kind of pottery, leather work, manufactures of toys, and much more.

Plaza de España’s Christmas market will be open from 10th of December to 5th of January. Daily opening hours are from 11 am to 9 pm.

 

On the other squares around Madrid will be smaller Christmas markets and shopping possibilities. Have a look on Gran Vía, Callao, Plaza Opera, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Jacinto Benavente.

 

Christmas lights and trees

The Christmas lights in Madrid will be turned on in late November, and their shine will brighten the streets and squares up until early January. This year the lights have been designed by a group of fashion designers, architects, and a graphic designer. Have a special look on Puerta de Alcalá gate and Palacio de Cibeles.

Christmas trees and artworks will be put up on all strategic points around the city. Some of the Christmas trees have traditionally been built so you can even explore them from inside!

 

Things to do and see in Christmas

Christmas Bus

One way to see and enjoy the Christmas lights of Madrid is to hop on the Christmas bus. The bus travels along the main streets of Madrid for 40 to 50 minutes, and during the tour you will see all the most beautiful Christmas lights. The route has only one stop on Plaza de Colón, and it’s the only place to hop on and off the bus. The Christmas bus is operating from beginning of December until 6th of January.

 

Ice Skating rinks

During the Christmas period in Madrid many of the squares are turned into ice-skating rinks, or markets. Check out Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, Plaza de Santa Cruz, and Plaza de España.

 

Photo: Contando Estrelas / Flickr.com

 

Three Kings Parade

Epiphany day and the celebration of the Three Kings is 6th of January. This is the most important day of Spanish Christmas. The Three Kings Day is celebrated with a big parade trough the city. The parade starts at 6.30 pm from Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, and continues to Paseo de la Castellana, and from there to Plaza de Cibeles. At Plaza de Cibeles the Three Kings will deliver a message to all Spanish children.

In the evening of the Three Kings Day is a tradition to eat a dessert called Roscón de Reyes.

 

Nativity Scenes

In Madrid there will be many Nativity Scenes around the city. Here are listed the biggest ones.

 

Belén en el Museo de Historia

At Museo de Historia of Madrid is going to be a Nativity Scene from 9th December until 1st of February. This year they are presenting a Neapolitan crib from the 18th century. It is one of the most valuable sculptural ensembles from collection of the Museo de Historia.

 

Belén CentroCentro Cibeles

At CentroCentro Cibeles will be presented a Nativity Scene made by craftsman José Luis Mayo. The exhibition is open from 27th November until 10th of January.

 

Belén del Ayuntamiento del Madrid

At the city hall of Madrid will be a Nativity Scene from 8th of December until 10th of January.

 

Belén del Museo de San Isidro, Los Orígenes de Madrid

The Museo de Los Orígenes de Madrid presents a magnificent Nativity Scene called “Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. The Three Wise Men in the 19th Century”. It is a work from sculptor Donémenc Talar i Ribot, and polychromed by Mariano Fortuny i Marsal.

 

Photo: Jorge Díaz / Flickr.com

 

Traditional Christmas food

Roscón de Reyes

This is a sweet pastry and traditionally eaten as a dessert in the evening of Three Kings Day. In the cake is usually baked a green bean, and a tiny figure of the king. The one who gets the bean is supposed to pay for the dinner, and the one with the figure can use a crown for the last of the evening.

A recipe for Roscón de Reyes here.

 

Turrón

Turrónes are popular Spanish sweets, and traditionally made of nougat. These days there are many different kinds of flavors.

If you want to taste homemade Turrónes, you can try this recipe.

 

Mantecados and Polvorones

Mantecados and Polvorones are oven-baked cookies, and traditionally made of almonds. The cookies are crumbly, and the texture is soft.

Recipes for the Mantecados and Polvorones here.

 

New Years traditions

The most famous tradition on New Year’s Eve is to eat 12 grapes when the clock chimes twelve times on the midnight. This is said to be bringing good luck. Thousands of people gets together to Puerta del Sol square to celebrate the New Year and eat the grapes.

New Year’s night is long, and Madrid really doesn’t go to sleep in any point. People, music, and merrymakers are on the streets until the morning.

 

San Silvestre Vallecana

San Silvestre Vallecana is a traditional sports event. It has been organized in Madrid every New Year’s Eve since 1964. It is a 10 kilometers race, and fancy dresses and artificial snow plays a big role in it. Earlier in the afternoon is the amateur race, and after that is a competition for professional athletes. If you want to join the race, be sure you sign up early. The places run out fast!

More information here.

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Nov 11 2016

Christmas Food and Restaurants in Barcelona

 

Christmas period is time for enjoying plentiful meals with family and friends. The most important dinner is eaten on 26th of December.

 

Photo: Nacho / Flickr.com

 

Traditional Catalan Christmas dishes

Escudella i Carn d’olla and Galets

This is a traditional soup made during the Christmas period. It is often eaten as a starter. Escudella i Carn d’Olla is made of a large piece of meat being cooked for hours, to ensure it is thick and good for a soup. When the meat is ready, it is removed from the soup and replaced with Gallets. Gallets are snail-shell shaped pasta.

The meat which was cooked with the pasta is later been eaten as a main dish. Most Spanish households enjoy it with various tapas dishes.

Here you can see the recipe for Escudella i Carn d’olla.

 

Turrón

Turrón is a traditional sweet made of nougat. You can buy it from almost everywhere in Barcelona. The most popular taste variation during the Christmas period is made of nougat and almonds, but you will find many other delicious variations also.

If you want to enjoy homemade Turróns, check out this recipe.

 

El Pa de Nadal

The Christmas bread of Catalonia is called El Pa de Nadal. You can buy it almost everywhere in Barcelona, and enjoy it with the Christmas dinner.

 

Photo: Keith Williamson / Flickr.com

 

Catalan New Years traditions

It is common to eat lentils for lunch on New Years’ Eve. Every lentil is representing a coin, and it is said that eating them brings good luck and wealth for the coming year.

When it is almost midnight and the clock chimes twelve times, it is a tradition to eat twelve grapes. One grape should be eaten on every each chime. This is surprisingly difficult! It is said that if you can eat all the twelve grapes on time, it brings you good luck for the coming year.

 

Three Kings Day

El Roscón de Reyes is always served on the Three Kings Day. It is a ring-shaped cake, and inside the cake are traditionally baked two family-activity objects: a dry green bean and a figure of a king. When the cake is served, everyone checks their pieces. The one who got the king figure can use a crown for the evening, and the one with the bean have to pay the dinner.

You will find the recipe for the El Roscón de Reyes here.

 

Restaurants

Not all restaurants in Barcelona are open on 24th, 25th, or 26th of December. It is recommended to contact the restaurant earlier, and ask for the Christmas opening times. It is also recommended to do a table reservation couple of weeks in advance – and to get ready for higher prices.

Here you can find some restaurants in Barcelona with a Christmas menu.

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