Tourist Information Guide

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, or the Dia de la Inmaculada Concepcion, as it is known in Spain, is a feast of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a national holiday and has a distinct feel of being the start of the Christmas period in Barcelona. It is the day when Catholics celebrate the 'miraculous conception' of the Virgin Mary. A large percentage of the Spanish population are Roman Catholics, so for many people, it is considered to be an important day.

As there are no specific events or activities that take place on this day, I took the opportunity to wander around the streets of the centre of Barcelona to get a sense of what the day is all about. Despite being warned that there was little to do, I was delighted at the electric atmosphere in the streets- the Christmas lights were switched on, the narrow streets were crowded, and passers-by were friendly. I felt Christmas feeling genuinely for the first time this year.

Barcelona City Pass

There is a buzz in the air because the streets are thronging with families and friends, taking strolls, enjoying the Christmas lights and making the most of a day off. There is a similar feel to Sundays in Barcelona but with double the number of people hitting the streets.

A child at a toy stall
A child at a toy stall

It is refreshing to witness a day in the run-up to Christmas when, in general, the shops are closed (see below for more details). There are no frantic shoppers, hunting for last minute gifts. Instead the activity is focused around the Christmas markets, restaurants and churches.

As with many Christmas celebrations, children are central to the day. Excited girls and boys are everywhere, carrying sweets, decorations and small toys that have been purchased from the Christmas markets (see below). Although the toys shops are closed, parents are dragged to their windows and shown exactly what is on the Christmas wish list this year.

Activities For the Immaculate Conception

Christmas Markets

Fira De Santa Llúcia
Fira De Santa Llúcia
The most popular Christmas market in Barcelona is the Fira De Santa Llúcia, in the square of Barcelona Cathedral. For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, many Spanish families come here to buy their Christmas trees, mistletoe and decorations. These include the Catalan Caga Tio discussed in detail in our Guide to Catalan Christmas traditions. There are also many other markets throughout the centre of town including antiques, crafts and food fairs.
Children hitting the Caga Tio
Children hitting the Caga Tio

Just as children may visit Santa Claus in the UK or America, a large Caga Tio is on display for long queues of youngsters eagerly awaiting small toys and lollipops. For details of this please see our guide to Family Activities at Christmas.

As night falls, the lights twinkle throughout stalls and the narrow passageways through the market are full to the brim with people making Christmas purchases.

Details for the markets can be found in our guide to Christmas markets.


A shepherd in the nativity
A shepherd in the nativity

This feast day is also an opportunity for families to visit the impressive nativity scene outside the Town Hall in Plaça Sant Jaume. This is the largest nativity scene that I have ever seen and traditionally changes the theme from year to year. The square is packed with people waiting patiently in a long (but fast-moving) queue to walk through the large figures and scenery.

This is the only Nativity scene in the centre of Barcelona that is open to the public this early in December.

For more details please see our Guide to Christmas Nativity Scenes.

Barcelona Cathedral

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is an important day for Catholics. It is, therefore, a wonderful day to visit the Cathedral (Santa Església Catedral Basílica de Barcelona) in El Gotico. It is a large and looming Gothic building. Although works are currently being carried out on the façade, the interior of the building is available to view. With high ceilings and ornate stonework, it is atmospheric and awe-inspiring.

There is a small chapel within the church devoted to the Immaculate Conception (Capella de Inmaculada Concepcion) on your right as you enter the building. This is open to the public for this special day and worshippers can be seen kneeling in prayer before a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Capella de Immaculada Concepcion
Capella de Immaculada Concepcion

Many of the activities listed above are available throughout the entire Christmas period. However, they have a particular buzz about them today, as many locals and tourists are in the area, enjoying the public holiday.

Opening Hours For Shops, Attractions and Restaurants and More

Officially, shops are closed on this feast day, as they are on Sundays. However, on wandering through the streets of Raval, Gotico and El Born, I noted that there were a number of the smaller, independent shops that had opened to make the most of the Christmas period. However, the larger stores are closed. Most of the shopping on this date takes place in the markets, detailed above and in our guide to Christmas markets.

Museums, in general, have Sunday opening hours on this public holiday. A few of the smaller museums are closed and a lot of them only open in the morning. It is worth checking the websites for more information.

Restaurants, for the most part, are open, making the most of the increased trade, with many families dining out on this occasion. If you plan on attending a small or local restaurant, it may help to telephone ahead to ensure that they are open.

Churches, in general, have Sunday opening times as it is an important day of worship. See below for the opening times of Barcelona Cathedral.

Many Markets are open for long hours on this feast day. Please see our guide to Christmas markets for more details.

Location map showing the walking routes to the Barcelona Cathedral from the nearest metro stops.

Location map of Barcelona Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain

La Boqueria Market
La Rambla, 91
Plaça Reial
Eden Car Park
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Carrer Palau de la Musica, 4 - 6
Santa Maria del Mar
Plaça de Santa Maria, 1
Picasso Museum
Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi
Plaça del Pi, 7
Gran Teatre del Liceu
La Rambla, 51 - 59
Plaça de Catalunya
Barcelona History Museum
Plaça del Rei
Barcelona Cathedral
Plaça de la Seu, 3
Jaume I Metro
Urquinaona Metro
Urquinaona Metro
Liceu Metro
Catalunya Metro
Catalunya Metro
Aparcaments Francesc Cambo Car Park
NN Palau de La Musica Car Park
SABA BAMSA Francesc Cambo Car Park
Laietana Princesa Car Park
SABA Plaça de Catalunya Car Park
BSM La Boqueria Car Park
SABA BAMSA Plaça dels Angels Car Park
NN Bonsucces Car Park
This map is copyright registered and protected and may not be copied.

Santa Esglesia Catedral Basilica de Barcelona
Plaza de la Seu
08002 Barcelona, España.

Tel: +34 93 342 8262

How to get to Santa Esglesia Catedral Basilica de Barcelona

metroMetro: Jaume I (Yellow Line, L4)

Hop on hop off sightseeing tourist bus stop

Nearest stop for Santa Esglesia Catedral Basilica de Barcelona is "Catedral - Gòtic"with the "hop on hop off" sightseeing bus

Public bus

Via Laietana / Plaça Ramon Berenguer: 45, V15, V17

Car parking

Luggage Storage

Opening Hours:

Month Day Time
January - December Monday - Friday 09:30 - 18:30
Saturday 09:30 - 17:15
Sunday and Public Holiday 14:00 - 17:00

Entrance: Free

Entrance with a guide: €9.00
Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 - 13:00

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