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How to celebrate New Year's Eve in Spain

The Local Spain
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How to celebrate New Year's Eve in Spain
Photo: Miquel González Page/Flickr

In Spain but don't yet have plans for the 'nochevieja'? The Local has a rundown of the best way to celebrate in Spain, from an end of year run to a bracing swim. And of course a night of partying in between. Just don't forget the grapes!


Go for a run

Photo: AFP

Running a race may not be the first thing that comes to mind on New Year's Eve but taking part in a 'San Silvestre' fun run is part of a growing tradition in Spain. Around 200 such 'San Silvestre' runs take place across Spain on December 31st with the biggest in Madrid (San Silvestre Vallecana) and Barcelona (Cursa del Nassos).   

Don't forget your grapes! 

In Spain it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of midnight, which will bring you prosperity and good luck for the year ahead.

So whatever plans you have for the night, make sure you carry 12 grapes (the smaller the better) to gobble down at midnight.

READ MORE: #Navidad: Why the Spanish see in the New Year with 12 grapes

Eat at home

Spaniards tend to start off their New Year celebrations at home with family before heading out to bars and clubs after midnight so don’t be alarmed if places are a little bit quiet in the run up to the magic moment. 

You may struggle to find a restaurant open before midnight unless it has arranged a gala 'nochevieja' dinner for which you will need a reservation, so book early or arrange a meal with friends at someones house.

Then when midnight has been and gone head out into the night to celebrate the start of the new year until dawn breaks!

Don silly hats and wigs

People celebrating at Sol, Madrid. Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP

If you have spent any time in Spain then you will know how much everyone loves an excuse to put on a costume. New Year's Eve is no different with people taking to the streets to celebrate in silly hats, wigs and masks.


Head to the plazas

If you love crowds then there is no better place to be to ring in the New Year than Madrid's Puerta del Sol, which is home to the famous clock tower which dictates the pace of festive grape-eating - one at each stroke of midnight.

New Year's Eve celebrations from Sol have been broadcast live on Spanish television since 1962 so why not join the thousands who gather in front of the town hall to bring in the new year, grapes and cava in hand?

In Barcelona the place to celebrate Cap d’Any (New Year’s Eve in Catalan) is Montjic's  Magic Fountain New Year’s Eve countdown, which includes a fire, water and light show and music celebrating the past 50 years.

Similar events take place in main plaza's across Spain with city authorities laying on music and light displays.

Book tickets for an all night party

If wandering the streets isn't your thing, then make a reservation at an all night club to dance the night away. One of the best parties is held at Barcelona's  Razzmatazz, spread over five rooms. With all kinds of music, the club it's perfect if you're heading out in a big group of people with diverse musical tastes. Tickets are on the expensive side but include a souvenir T-shirt, a glass of champagne and two other drinks, and not forgetting those lucky grapes.

Hit the slopes


Snow conditions look great this year for those planning on hitting the slopes this New Year’s Eve with resorts across the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada organizing New Year's Eve celebrations.

Formigal ski resort in the Spanish Pyrenees, which will be holding its annual New Year’s Eve party. Events kick off at noon and continue into the night, with DJs, dancing, fireworks and a torchlit procession on the piste.

READ MORE:  A weekend in Spain's Formigal: Guide for skiers and snowboarders

First swim of the year

Many coastal resorts across Spain organize a first swim of the year when residents brave the cold temperatures and collectively plunge into the sea. It's a fine way to get rid of a hangover! 


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