Christmas break: Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Spain

by / Wednesday, 27 November 2019 / Published in News

Spend an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Spain

do you have plans for New Year’s Eve? Do you usually celebrate that night in style? In many places, not only in Spain, the New Year’s Eve night is full of traditions and rituals to start the Year with the best of luck. Whether you are superstitious or not, if you travel to another country at that time of the year, it is interesting to know this in advance and fulfill the tradition as a local.

If you plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Spain, we want you to enjoy it as a local. Follow our advices!!

New year´s eve in Spain

How we celebrate New Year's Eve in Spain

Our country is probably one of the most peculiar in traditions. If you want to feel like a local you better get sure you do all of the following:

• Eat 12 “lucky” grapes together with the 12 bells at midnight, one per bell.

• Dinner with family and friends.

• Dress with your best clothes and wear something red

• Make a toast after eating the grapes and put some gold in the glass.

• Enjoy the party until the next morning.

Family dinners on New Year's Eve

As said before, in Spain New Year's Eve starts during the dinner. Most of the people celebrate it with their families at home. But this diner is not one more, everyone puts on their best clothes and eat food they usually don’t eat at home, some of it better than in many restaurants.

The typical menu depends on the city, but most of them coincide in some key elements such as seafood, a fish and a meat, and of course, typical Christmas sweets for dessert.

In the last few years there is also many people just wearing a pijama to feel comfortable and eat something as simple as fried eggs with french fries. Something easy and fast to cook but delicious and forbidden for many people for its high content of fat and cholesterol. Its a one-night thing!!

Spanish customs on New Year's Eve

To enjoy New Year's Eve as a Spanish, these are the traditions you cannot leave apart:

Eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve

It is a completely local tradition that won’t happen anywhere else in the world so if you want to feel like a Spanish on New Year's Eve, you have to eat the 12 grapes with the 12 bells at midnight.

In all national tv channels they broadcast the bells showing the clock at the Plaza del Sol square in Madrid and tell you how the grapes have to be eaten, one per bell. But be careful!!! the are 4 bells that sound slightly different before the real bells announcing the bells are starting after them, and many people start eating the grapes with them, which is not allowed.

Tip: if you are a beginner, peel the grapes and quit the seed inside them. Remember you have to eat all the grapes if you want to start the New Year with good luck.

Dress code: black clothes, elegant dresses and costumes

It is not a written rule, but in Spain everyone puts their best clothes on that night (with the exception mentioned above). Elegant dresses of all styles, usually black. The brighter, the better.

If you have booked a “cotillon” at a restaurant it is important to know the dress code and probably wear the label. The same for private parties after dinner. If you are not worn correctly, they may not let you in.

Eating churros with chocolate before going to sleep>

In Spain we are famous for partiers and it’s probably right. And that night could not be different. Taking into account that most of the people starts the party after the grapes, it is usual to see people with their best clothes at 7 or 8 in the morning going for breakfast. And what do we have for breakfast? The most common things is to look for a place where to enjoy a hot chocolate with “churros” but you can ask for whatever you feel like. The important thing is to go back home AFTER breakfast.

Popular destinations to spend New Year's Eve in Spain

Now that you know all the traditions, it is time to decide where you want to spend this special night. If it is the first time you come, the most typical destination is Madrid. Although it is not the only one and you can also opt for places like Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela or Toledo, to mention some. In any of them you can enjoy one of the best New Year's Eve of your life.

Puerta del Sol (Madrid)

Every December 31st, the Puerta del Sol square becomes a key place of the Spanish New Year's Eve. Thousands of people gather in the square to say goodbye to the year together.

If your first option is the capital of Spain, we recommend you to plan it all in advance. Otherwise most of the hotels will be fully booked and the ones available will be extremely expensive.

Plaza del Obradoiro (Santiago de Compostela)

Santiago de Compostela is a magical place where thousands of people finish their pilgrimage every year since it is the final stage of the popular Camino de Santiago or Way of Saint James. But it is not the only reason to visit this beautiful Galician city. The Plaza del Obradoiro square hosts hundreds of Galicians and tourists to enjoy the start of the New Year.

Avenida María Cristina (Barcelona)

Do you want to enjoy all the tradition and a great show? Then your city is Barcelona and the place is the María Cristina Avenue. This area of Barcelona becomes a spectacle of fireworks, lights and water forms and lights of the Magic Fountain. A different and unique way to start the year in Barcelona. Do you want to enjoy all the tradition and a great show? Then your city is Barcelona and the place is the María Cristina Avenue. This area of Barcelona becomes a spectacle of fireworks, lights and water forms and lights of the Magic Fountain. A different and unique way to start the year in Barcelona.

Tips for enjoying New Year's Eve in Spain

Before finishing this post and letting you think about where you are going to spend the last night of the year, we want to make a short summary with the tips you have to keep in mind when celebrating New Year's Eve in Spain

• Organize the trip with time: flights, accommodation, etc.

• Check the schedules of the shops and the public transport: that night most of the shops and transport stop working before the usual schedule.

• Book a restaurant for dinner with a fixed menu (and “cotillon” if you want to party afterwards).

• Wear tag clothes.

If all this seems a bit messy, don't worry! In Hidden in Spain we help you organize your trip through our country. Just let us know how you want to spend the New Year's Eve and we'll plan a New Year’s Eve you'll never forget.

Please let us know if you have any questions, we will be happy to help you.

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