New Year’s Eve in Barcelona
Regional traditions and the best NYE parties…
By Duncan Rhodes
Don’t know what to do in Barcelona for New Year’s Eve? Keep reading to find out the local traditions, how to attend the public fireworks, and the best places to party the night away (as well as more civilised options, like dinners and flamenco concerts).
It’s the planet’s biggest party night and you can rest assured that Barcelona doesn’t disappoint when it comes to seeing in el año nuevo (Spanish) or el nou any (Catalan) in style.
Of course, this being Catalonia, we do it in our own special way. Keep reading and by the end of the article you’ll be well on your way to having an unforgettable night!
New Year’s Eve Traditions
Just as Catalonia has some of the weirdest Christmas customs in the world, we’ve also got several quirky regional traditions that make celebrating New Year’s Eve in Barcelona completely unique.
Grapes & Red Pants
The most famous is the eating of 12 grapes on the 12 strokes leading up to midnight, a practice popular throughout Spain. That’s one a second and harder than it sounds. They say if you can successfully cram all 12 pieces of fruit in your mouth in time with the chimes, and without spilling any, then you’re going to have a great upcoming year.
They say if you can successfully cram all 12 pieces of fruit in your mouth in time with the chimes, and without spilling any, then you’re going to have a great upcoming year.
Another tradition is that of wearing red underwear on the night… the origins of this one are unknown to us at Barcelona Life, but again it’s supposed to be lucky, and a good excuse to enquire about the intimate garments of any sexy-looking chic@s you meet on the night.
The only other essential tradition to abide by is to drink lots and lots of Cava… aka Spanish champagne.
A Family Affair
Another thing that is a bit different in Catalonia is that NYE is a bit more orientated towards the family than in many other parts of the world, at least up until midnight. Many locals will eat dinner first with their families and toast the New Year with Cava at midnight, before heading out to meet friends at bars and clubs in the early hours. That means many some late night spots start their parties after midnight, as the locals won’t be joining until a bit later. This is Barcelona remember so nothing will be shutting early and there’s no need to hurry!
Since 2013, the city has followed in the footsteps of mega-metropolises like London, Sydney and New York by throwing a massive public celebration, replete with music, midnight countdown, fireworks display, and even spectacular displays of Catalan cultural traditions like the amazing castellers (human towers). The action takes place by the Magic Fountain, just near Plaça Espanya and is always packed. It usually starts at 11pm, finishing at around 12:30am.
Of course if you don’t fancy hanging out in the cold, or if you are not easily impressed by pyrotechnics, there will be plenty of pubs, bars and clubs throwing epic bashes that you can join (hint: you’ll find a list of the best below on this very page!), where many of the great Catalan New Year’s Eve traditions will be upheld.
Even if some locals don’t join in until later, the large number of resident foreigners, expats and travellers means every major venue will be heaving all night long.
New Year’s Eve Parties 2018/2019
Now you know the traditions, it’s time to track down the action… here are some of the best options to check out on the night. We’ve split them up into “dinners” (meals, which usually include a party!), “parties” (classic booze-ups and dancing) and “shows” (which often include both a meal and party!). Here they are in no particular order…
The metro runs all night, so don’t worry about staying out late.
New Year’s Eve Dinners
See the New Year in in style at this suave lounge bar in the Raval district, a hip meeting place of both international and local revellers. After a delicious three course menu, DJ Carlie Levan will be spinning the tunes all night. Tickets cost €53 and also include a welcome festive cocktail and custom made party bag with masks, whistles and the traditional grapes for the midnight countdown. Check their website for more info, or email email@example.com to reserve.
Barcelona’s Ice Bar certainly knows how to party and 2018-19, they’ve teamed up with their neighbours Touché Restaurant to offer a glamorous two-venue extravaganza. The night starts at 8pm at Touché with a cocktail dinner (standing) and live music from French artist Adeline, before the action moves to Ice Bar around 11pm, where international DJs and live percussionists will help usher in 2019 in style. Tickets cost €99 with dinner, or €25 without, and you can either email firstname.lastname@example.org, or head to Ice Barcelona’s website for more info and reservations.
For a full-on introduction to 2019 reserve a spot at Barcelona’s favourite Irish pub for a three course dinner and late night party. The set menu costs €38 per person, and has three options for each course (examples include crispy pork belly with Magners apple sauce and port foam, grilled sea bass, and strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake). Once this delicious dinner is over, for sure the merry punters will stay the the night to swill Guinness and sing along to Auld Lang Syne! Email: email@example.com for reservations (they tend to sell out!), or head to their website for more info.
Firebug will be celebrating the arrival of 2019 with a social dinner party for their cosmopolitan fans. Expect great food, well mixed drinks and an international clientele, with DJ Cesar Nesta aka Thunderdog on the decks. Tickets are €53 and include a three course meal, complimentary cocktail and custom made party pack with unique masks, whistles and midnight grapes for the Spanish countdown. More info on their website, or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation.
The Best Parties
1. Poble Espanyol
The biggest New Year’s fiesta in Barcelona, Poble Espanyol’s El Fin del Ano 2018 will welcome thousands of party-goers to celebrate the end of the year in three different zones of the wonderful Spanish Village on Montjuic hill. The Plaza Mayor (main square) will be fitted out with a large transparent glasshouse so people can party outdoors while still keeping warm, the grand Marquee will have a second stage set up, and for those that buy VIP tickets will also be able to enter the VIP zone, which will be set up in one of the top nightclubs that are situated in Poble Espanyol. Resident DJs will pump out party tunes from 10:30pm until 6am, and the price of €40 a ticket is very reasonable if you consider that you get 4 free drinks included in the price, as well as grapes and party pack. Here is their official tickets website, so grab yours before they sell out!
2. VIP Party Tour
After the success of previous years, one of Europe’s largest travel operators is back in 2018-19, hosting a VIP party tour for the biggest night of the year. Tickets are €60, and include a “power hour”, complimentary Cava, traditional grapes at midnight and free VIP entrance to three bars and one of the city’s best nightclubs. The best part will be the chance to meet and mingle with fellow fun-loving party-goers as you paint the town red… tickets are limited and selling fast via Get Your Guide.
For an intimate introduction to 2019, head over to cosmopolitan cocktail bar Milk where your ticket (€23 per head) gets you a welcome cocktail, traditional grapes for the midnight countdown and some fun extras for party games… like whistles and masks. No doubt there’ll be a sprig of mistletoe hung up in a strategic place somewhere in the bar, as DJ Cutmaker lays down the tunes. The kitchen will be serving a la carte for those who get hungry. More info on their website, or contact email@example.com for reservations.
If glitz and glamour is what you’re looking for on the 31st then look no further than Barcelona’s premier club, Opium, a trendy temple of hedonism overlooking Barceloneta beach. A huge dancefloor, awesome terrace and several VIP areas, this is the place to party with the city’s beautiful people and keeps going until 6am. Basic tickets start at €50, whilst there are also a range of table and VIP options. You can book them via Xceed, but best hurry as some options have already sold out!
Barcelona’s only American-style beer hall will be throwing open its doors to New Year’s revellers, without any of the seasonal mark up that often accompanies the occasion. With no door fee, their motto for the night is “same prices, same great people, same tasty food & drinks, different New Year’s Eve. Feel at home.” You can’t say fairer than that really, just be sure to get down early to ensure there’s room at the inn. The beers flow until 3am. For more info here.
One of the city’s slickest cocktail bars, Slow is a great bet for anyone looking for somewhere upmarket yet unpretentious to spend nochevieja (aka New Year’s Eve!), and they will be throwing on an eclectic electronic selection with their legendary resident DJs, Xols and Ice Fran. The doors open at 11:55pm, and tickets are only €10 with a drink included. More info on their website.
For an easy-going night of high revelry then saunter on over to the Wild Rover, where the entrance is free and the drinks are normal prices all night. They’ll be live music from 11pm right up til 3am and you can expect a plenty of voices raised in celebration as the clock chimes twelve. No reservation required. For more info you can head here.
8. Hard Rock Cafe
For a hard rockin’ party at one of the world’s most famous entertainment brands look no further. For an affordable €30 you get to party the night away from midnight until 4:30am, and your ticket includes two long drinks into the bargain. Grab them via Get Your Guide.
Big dirty and industrial, if getting messy with the city’s hipsters and students is how you want to spend your night then rock up to – and rock out in – Razzmatazz. This former factory is the biggest club in the city, five rooms of pandemonium. The crowd is younger (30 year olds will feel old here) and more hedonistic, the beats a mix of rock, pop and electronic. For an unpretentious mash up of a night, this would probably be our top choice. Your basic ticket costs €44.50 and includes 2 free drinks and entry after 00:30am, whilst the €54.50 ticket also includes 2 free drinks but allows you to enter at 22:30 and also includes midnight grapes and glass of Cava. Buy them via Xceed.
The global clubbing superbrand opened in Barcelona a few years back, and occupies an enviable slice of the Port Olimpic real estate market, right next to Opium and Ice Barcelona (see above). An awesome interior, beach terrace and lots of wild pretty things bumping and grinding on the dancefloor make Pacha one of the city’s most sought-after locales for NYE 2019. DJs play funky house, r’n’b and hip hop, so get ready to shake your hips. Tickets start at €30, with a host of VIP options. Reserve them in advance! UPDATE: the €30 and €40 tickets are sold out, but you can still get €50 tickets that include a free drink and no queue entry if you hurry!
New Year’s Eve Shows
Concert at Palacio del Flamenco
For an evening of tradition and culture, there are few better ways to spend the 31st December than at a flamenco concert. El Palacio de Flamenco is easily one of the best tablaos in the city, and will open its doors all night, putting on three amazing shows of Spanish passion and duende at different times. You can also choose to see the show with a delicious tapas or paella dinner. Given the date, and the limited seating capacity (the concerts take place in a delightful converted 1920s theatre), you should definitely book your tickets in advance! If they have sold out, then you could try one of Barcelona’s other great flamenco venues.
Drink responsibly, dance wildly and love freely! The Barcelona Life team wish you all an amazing night!
Organising Private Parties
If you’re planning on organising your own private event for NYE then check out this list of venues for hire.
New Year’s Day
How to survive the following day…
No need to spend the first day of 2019 sobbing in bed with a glass of Alka Seltzer, as Milk, Marmalade and Firebug will all be open for their famous recovery brunches! So nip down for some bacon, pancakes and smoothies to blast the cobwebs of the night before away. Always a good atmosphere and who knows maybe you’ll feel well enough after to keep going… in which case keep reading…
First Swim of the Year
Still feeling the pain after breakfast? Here’s something that will definitely take the edge off your hangover. A January dip in the wintery waters of the Mediterranean. Hundreds, if not thousands, of locals make their way on the 1st to San Sebastian beach (which is the section of Barceloneta beach near the W-hotel) for el primer bany de l’any . If you’re keen to join them head along at midday. Just one of the great things to do in January that we recommend doing!
New Year’s Sailing
If you fancy staying on top of the water, not in it, then take a boat trip out from Barcelona’s Port and see the city from the sea. Sailing Experience have a range of sailing activities suitable for any budget, and they set out every day of the year. Head to their website and be sure to use the voucher code BARCELONALIFE2019 when you’re checking out for a 10% discount. Or keep reading for a full range of boat tours and yacht hire.