In February 2009, we booked a Barcelona trip on a whim after receiving a Travelzoo VIP Edition email. For a grand total of $586 U.S. dollars, we were able to purchase two round trip tickets from JFK to Barcelona! Thats right only $586! We were excited to spend New Years 2010 in this world-famous Catalonian city and instantly delved into our travel research mode.
During our research, we increasingly became disheartened as Barcelona didnt celebrate New Years Eve like other European cities. From what we learned, there wouldnt be any large street gatherings like in Prague, nor could we expect to see any grand fireworks like in London. Instead, Barcelona celebrations appeared to be very family oriented with locals ringing in the New Year with family and friends over dinner. Additionally, local traditions included eating one grape per chime at the stroke of midnight (totaling 12) and wearing red underwear for good luck in the coming year. Local party-goers wouldnt even hit the streets until after midnight, leaving us travelers with limited options. Suddenly, we realized that our $586 deal came with a catch.
Disappointed, we decided to look elsewhere for our New Years adventure. We booked a night in Madrid as Puerta del Sol hosted all of the festivities we craved. However, after arriving in Barcelona and watching the local news, we decided to skip our New Years adventure as political protests were amidst in Madrid.
So, with the night ahead of us, we hit Las Ramblas to ring in the New Year. And this is what happened people were actually partying in the streets! It wasnt just a few people, it was tons of people! La Rambla was the place to be, with groups drunkenly singing songs, strangers chatting, champagne bottles popping, and tapas a-flowing! Barcelona wasn`t at all like what the guide books and blogs had described!
In the midst of the celebrations, we popped into the delightful Café De L’Opera for dinner, which consisted of Bikinis (similar to a grilled ham and cheese sandwich), chocolate churros, and Cava Sangria, which is sangria made with champagne. We drank our entire carafe of Cava Sangria while comparing the similarity of this yummy restaurant to that of NYCs famous Serendipity3.
After dinner, we followed the crowds down to Port Vell, which is a beautiful waterfront harbor located directly across the edge of Las Ramblas. Under the full moon, we sat on the dock with our feet dangling over the water. Holding hands, we watched as a few fireworks exploded over the harbor. At midnight, the crowds went wild and some strangers even sprayed us with champagne! Suddenly, a fireworks display went off at the waterfront W Hotel, making the crowds cheer louder with every Ka-Boom!
As you can imagine, New Years Eve in Barcelona turned out to be more than we expected! It was romantic, energetic, festive, and memorable. Our once-turned $586 catch actually turned into the deal of a lifetime!
We are pleased to inform future travelers that New Years Eve in Barcelona is more than what you read!
The Ultimate Tip for Holiday Travelers in Barcelona
Head to the tourism office located in the corner of Placa de Catalunya (take the escalator down as if you were heading into a Metro station). Once inside, request a printout of Barcelonas attractions during the Holiday Season. You will be supplied with a detailed list of each attraction including the days they are opened/closed and their individual hours of operation. This guide is very beneficial for all travelers spending time in Barcelona over the holiday season as most attractions have limited operations.
Check out our Barcelona video.
More on this Guest Blogger
Guy and Girl Travels is a travelzine dedicated to providing the latest happenings, events, foodie finds, travel insights, reviews, and most importantly entertainment! Guy and Girl Travels is owned & operated by a Jersey Shore couple. They have been married for over eight years & saw the need for a travel website that caters to both the male and female travel review perspective. It`s Like He Said She Said . . . With Luggage! You can also follow them on Twitter @GuyNGirlTravels