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The best Christmas markets in Spain

Christmas markets in Spain
Photo: AFP
They may not have the prestige of their Central European counterparts, but Christmas markets are becoming more and more popular across Spain from smaller craft markets to the vast collection of stalls in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.

Christmas markets in Spain are where you can purchase a fresh Christmas tree – often sold still in a pot – and a new nativity figure for your Belén.

You will also find stalls selling practical jokes which Spanish people traditionally use to prank each other on Día de los Santos Inocentes on December 28th, the Spanish equivalent of April Fool’s Day.

They are of course also filled with glittering lights, beautiful handmade gifts you can buy for family and friends, and a range of Christmas pastries and sweet treats, including warming chocolate con churros. Here are some of the best. 

Plaza Mayor, Madrid

Madrid’s Christmas market is on from November 26th to December 31st 2021. Photo: Madrid City Council

From November 26th to December 31st, Madrid’s cobbled Plaza Mayor will be transformed into a Christmas market with more than 100 picturesque wooden cabin-style stalls dedicated to Christmas fare. This hundred-year-old Christmas market is definitely one of the best in the country. This is where you will find everything from Christmas trees and poinsettia to mistletoe, as well as hundreds of different traditional figures for nativity scenes alongside Christmas lights and outrageous wigs.

Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona

A caganer stall at Barcelona’s Christmas market. Photo: Esme Fox

One of the oldest Christmas markets in Spain, the Fira de Santa Llúcia has been held annually since 1786 and today has more than 100 stalls. On from November 26th to December 23rd it’s located in the Barrio Gótico in the square in front of the Santa Eulalia Cathedral.

This is the place to browse dozens of stalls selling everything from handmade Christmas gifts to Catalonia’s famous traditional Christmas customs, including the caganers. These little figures show a person squatting bare-bottomed to defecate and are included within nativity scenes, supposedly to bring prosperity to the household.

Also look out for stalls selling Tio de Nadal, another scatological Christmas tradition popular in Catalonia, which involves beating a smiley-faced log with a stick until it poops presents for all the children.

Navidad en Plaza del Pilar, Zaragoza

The Aragaonese capital hosts a special Christmas treat creating a vast nativity scene of over 8,000 metres squared in front of the city’s Basilica del Pilar.

The Belén retells the Christmas Story and there’s also a market that sells typical Christmas pastries, decorations and crafts. You’ll also find activities for children including a Santa Claus village. 

Feria del Belén, Sevilla

This is the best market in Spain to buy pieces for your Nativity scene. Photo: Feria de Belen / Facebook

Seville’s most famous Christmas market is one of the few Christmas markets in Spain dedicated solely to figurines, animals and buildings to add to your Belén or Nativity scene.

Held from November 5th to December 23rd this year, it takes place on Calle Fray Ceferino González and Avenida de la Constitución.

The city will also be setting up ice skating rinks for the festive season – one on Muelle de las Delicias and the other in the Jardines del Prado de San Sebastián. The Muelle de las Delicias one will be on from November 26th until January 9th while the other will be on from December 3rd, also until January 9th 2022. 

Mercado Santo Tomás, Bilbao

Mercado Santo Tomás, Bilbao
Mercado Santo Tomás in the Basque city of Bilbao. Photo: Donostia/Flickr
 

Blessed are the cheesemakers. Or rather those lucky enough to browse the stalls of local producers in Bilbao. While not strictly a Christmas market the Mercado Santo Tomás takes place on December 21st of the fest day of the same name and there’s a special market to celebrate it in El Arenal and Plaza Nueva. 

Artisan products showcase the best Basque gastronomy including locally made cheeses, and preserved meats. Look out for talos con chorizo (like flat tortillas or pancakes wrapped around a chorizo sausage), sidra (cider) made from locally grown apples, and the local white wine, Txakoli.

Mercado de Bib-Rambla, Granada

Granada’s traditional Christmas market will be back this year, from November 26th to January 6th 2022. Held in the main plaza close to the imposing cathedral, stalls sell all the typical decorations you need to celebrate a Spanish Navidad, from nativity figures to handmade tree ornaments.

There will also be lots of opportunities to buy handmade Christmas gifts, from ceramics and jewellery to Christmas sweets and pastries. 

Mercado de Navidad de San Sebastián

San Sebastian Christmas Market

People shopping at the Mercado de Navidad Donostia-San Sebastián / Facebook

San Sebastián’s Christmas market is inspired by those that exist in central Europe, complete with wooden cabins, twinkly lights and lots of tasty treats. Besides the stalls, there will also be a Ferris wheel, so that you can ride up to see the Christmas lights all over the city.

It will be held on the elegant Paseo del Urumea from November 26th. 

Mercado Navideño de Córdoba

Córdoba’s Christmas market may have only been going for the last seven years, but it’s certainly one of the country’s most atmospheric. Over 40 wooden cabins will be set up in the central Plaza de las Tendillas, selling nativity figures, wooden toys, Christmas sweets, and other artisanal foods.

There will also be a series of children’s activities including theater and magic shows. This year the market will be held from November 15th to December 22nd. 

Christmas Market Puerto Portals en Mallorca

This market is of the sort you might find in central Europe, with gluhwein stalls, roasted chestnuts and the heavy scent of gingerbread in the air. It’s held at the glamorous Puerto Portals and this year will be on from December 16th until January 6th. 

You’ll find a range of great Christmas gifts here including handicrafts, natural cosmetics and accessories. There are also performances from local choirs and theatre groups and the Christmassy atmosphere is completed with an ice rink.

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