Christmas and New Year in Ibiza and Barcelona is something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now. I booked to go last year, and ended up picking up a virus in the office I was working in just before Christmas and had to cancel my trip – losing out on flights and hotel too :0( but the island has a way of drawing you back. With my house in the UK about to be sold, all of my belongings are packed up, and so not wanting to spend Christmas in a bare house, I decided this was the year to tick off the bucket list moment of Christmas on my favourite island.

Flights in the winter to Ibiza from the UK aren’t direct (apart from a few from London), so one has to travel through airports which fly to Ibiza, one of which is Barcelona, home to one of my favourite cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time in Barcelona over the past few years flying through or back from Ibiza, as well as attending the yearly Sónar/OFFSónar festivals in the summer months. It is a fantastic city to walk around, with brilliant buildings and architecture at every turn. I flew from Manchester to Barcelona on Sunday 22nd December and spent a couple of days enjoying walking around in the sunshine. The weather was lovely – around 18 degrees, warm enough to walk around in tshirt and jeans in the daytime, with a light jacket for the evening.

On the Sunday evening I headed to Barcelona’s excellent Christmas markets, located in the grounds of Barcelona Cathedral – a beautiful backdrop. The stalls focused on Christmas related religious items for the house – home made wooden cribs, and Jesus/Mary statues, with Christmas music piping from the speakers, it was a great festive atmosphere. Barcelona in the build up to Christmas was busy and bustling, everyone had a smile on their face and was enjoying eating outside at cafes, bars and restaurants. There was a more ‘German’ type market down on the port front (bottom of La Rambla) selling traditional festive Bratwursts and beers, alongside a big Christmas tree and wheel.

From the busy and bustle of Barcelona to the quiet and peacefulness of Ibiza. I flew on Christmas eve on the 30 minute flight, arriving mid afternoon. Heading by bus first to Ibiza Town from the airport, and then over to San Antonio where I was to be staying for a week. Knowing there wouldn’t be many options for food for the following days, I headed straight to Mercadona in San Antonio and stocked up on food and drink to see me through Christmas day and Boxing Day.

Waking up in San Antonio on Christmas morning felt really special. This is the town I call home, and where I have lived for parts of the last 5 years, but it is was my first Christmas on the island. The town felt really festive, with Christmas lights at every turn. The Christmas markets set up on the front near the waterfalls were excellent, and this is where crowds gathered daily over the Christmas period. Stalls of food and drinks, as well as live bands, it really was a fantastic atmosphere. On Christmas morning itself, I went for on one of my favourite walks – along the sunset strip. It was quiet and empty, except for a few people taking their dogs out for a morning walk. It was beautiful weather – 20 degrees.

I then walked over to the Bay and back towards Kumharas, listening to music, enjoying the sights and taking in the gorgeous sunshine.

For Christmas dinner, I made myself some turkey and serano ham baguettes, grabbed a couple of tinnies of San Miguel from the fridge in my room, and headed over to Cala Gracio beach – one of my favourite beaches in Ibiza. In the summer, it’s really busy, but it felt really special and quite surreal to be sat enjoying the view and sunset with only a handful of other people. It was very relaxed and I could easily have fell asleep!

If Christmas day was quiet, Boxing Day was when the crowds came out to the markets. It was busy and a great festive atmosphere.

In the following days (27-30 December) I spent some time on the other side of the island – the buses were back up an running (2 euros San An to Ibiza Town), and I done lots of walking around Ibiza Town, Talamanca and Playa d’en Bossa. The weather continued to be warm and glorious.

The beautiful weather in the day meant the colours in the evening for sunsets and skylines were equally picturesque.

On the 30th, I moved from San Antonio to stay at Hostal Talamanca on one of my favourite Ibiza beaches. I had a flight early the next morning to Barcelona for New Year’s eve, so it made sense to be closer to the airport. I had a good look around Unesco world heritage site Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town as I was on that side of the island. It is truly stunning.

I flew on New Year’s Eve morning to Barcelona. I met a friend later in the evening, and we headed to placa Catalunya square to celebrate the arrival of a new decade at midnight. There were thousands in attendance, doing the tradition of eating 12 grapes, and throwing bottles of wine into the air! After avoiding any flying bottles, we headed to a couple of bars (Irish and Manchester!) to continue to festivities into the early hours.

We were up and about early on New Year’s day to check out the annual tradition of jumping into the sea!

Around 4pm on New Year’s day we headed to Elrow Barcelona at Row 14 for their New Year’s day event. The party was in full swing and busy. It was busy with people dressed in their most colourful outfits, all up for the party with a smile on their face where we enjoyed the sounds of Laurent Garnier. It was a great atmosphere. Brilliant production, visuals, artwork, confetti, colours, performers and DJs – Elrow at Row 14 is a must for any clubber’s trip to Barcelona.

At 9pm we were on the short flight back to Ibiza for Circoloco at DC10. After ditching our bags in our Ibiza Town apartment, and grabbing shut eye for an hour, we headed over to DC10 where the party was in full swing around midnight. Richy Ahmed had a packed terrace grooving to some disco house, ending in style on Music Sounds Better With You. The DC10 terrace erupted into a sing song. BUTCH then took over, and rocked the Terrace some more. Considered one of the best parties on the island, Circoloco was buzzing tonight – a fantastic atmosphere and everyone in a great mood to celebrate the arrival of the new decade.

On the 3rd Jan, I headed back to the UK through Barcelona. The trip was bucket list for me, it felt really special to be in Ibiza/Barcelona for Christmas and indeed New Year, and a fantastic way to see in a new decade at two of the best parties Elrow and Circoloco. The trip is something which I have wanted to do for a while and I loved every minute. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who fancies a change from the norm at Christmas. It was also great to see Ibiza in the quiet and serenity of the winter, the island truly is breathtaking and great to see outside of the madness and business of the summer months.


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