Read on for our guide to the week's best events on in Barcelona. If you manage to tick off all ten, head back to our home page for daily updates on the best restaurants, cultural events, nightlife, things to do, and whatever else Barcelona manages to think up before our next hot list is published on Monday.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Barcelona
The Best Things to Do This Week in Barcelona
Poble Espanyol is transformed into a sort of Christmas theme park for kids of all ages. For the adults there's a gastro Christmas fair with local products, wine tastings, a date with swing dancing and loads more. There's plenty for kids to do as well, including an obstacle course, admiring the living Nativity, or having photos of themselves taken atop a giant snowball. And together you can discover magical areas like where the Wishing Tree is, and kids getting ready to let go of their dummies can hang them from the special dummy tree. The little ones can also visit Santa Claus's house and hand him their wish list, and they can do the same with the Three Kings before Kings' Day on January 6. And don't miss ‘Euphoria’, a show that mixes the disciplines of dance and circus.
The nativity scene is a Christmas classic, but the one in Barcelona's Plaça Sant Jaume isn't necessarily classically traditional, but it's known for raising eyebrows and causing a lot of differing opinions due to its often transgressive nature. From November 20 to January 6 in the centre of the square where you'll also find City Hall, this year's scene depicts various and sometimes provocative representations of the birth of Jesus. Stop by at night when it's lit up for a special treat.
The Christmas Fair at the Sagrada Família has been around since the 1960s and has become one of the most traditional Christmas markets in the Eixample, with about 100 stalls selling Christmas trees and plants, Nativity scenes and figurines, gifts and decorations, and seasonal treats like 'turrons', cheeses, cold cuts, sweets and chestnuts. Not to mention that it adds to the whole seasonal feel by creating a picture-perfect Christmas card around the Sagrada Família itself.
The spirit of reusing materials to give them a second life is alive and well in the act of recycling and the practice of many artists who transform what seems like waste into spectacular creations. This is Drap-Art, which features an official exhibition, and also makes the work of small creators accessible to everyone, so don't miss the market they're setting up every Saturday until December 28 in Plaça Reial.
Barcelona hosts the world premiere of Messi10 by Cirque du Soleil, and is the only city in Europe where you can see this blockbuster inspired by the Argentinian footballer and by the values of football. You'll thrill to some 20 numbers showing speed, balance and imbalance, strength, confidence and vision through traditional disciplines of the circus and others that are more innovative, at the request of Messi himself. This is one of the most technological Cirque du Soleil shows ever, both on stage, with two giant screens and robotics, as well as in the locker room, since highly innovative techniques and materials have been used to create the spectacular costumes that have made the Canadian-born circus famous.
Just a few days after the opening of 'In Free Fall', Àngels Ribé, the artist who created the exhibition's central piece 'Labyrinth', just happened to win the National Prize of Plastic Arts. Taking the structural crisis in which we live as a starting point, curator João Laia has commissioned a space for reflection on ecological, economic, political and social instability. Ribé's sinuous yellow plastic maze, which was first presented at Verderonne Castle in 1969, functions as a magnetic field around which 13 works orbit. The works in turn were created between the late 1960s and the present by a total of 11 artists, among them Dar Birnbaum and Dan Graham, Andreas Gursky, Georg Baselitz and Rosemarie Trockel.
It's hard to understand the reasoning, but often fine arts are put into a hierarchy according to their technique. Engraving and drawing are considered minor arts next to painting and sculpting. But of course you can find sketches that far exceed the expressive capacity of an oil painting. Even within these genres new hierarchies are created. A watercolour is not valued the same as a painting, or a charcoal the same as a pastel. That's why the Mapfre Foundation, aware of the value of this last technique, has dedicated an entire exhibition to it, including first-class works by leading international artists. 'Touching colour. The renewal of pastel' reviews the history and evolution of the genre from the late 18th century to the 20th century.
Bill Viola is one of the most notable and renowned video artists on the international scene. In his work, Viola addresses universal themes such as birth, death, pain, grief, redemption and the passing of time. This exhibition offers an extensive survey of the career of this artist, who has evolved in tandem with the advances in video technology over the last 40 years. The selection of works includes major pieces from Viola’s early days, such as 'The Reflecting Pool' (1977-1979), to more recent creations, among them 'Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)', commissioned by St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and inaugurated in 2014.
This permanent exhibition that was inaugurated at the CosmoCaixa in July 2019 takes you on a trip through the wonders of science, from the Big Bang to the latest frontiers of knowledge. The exhibition is divided into three sections full of interactive experiences, authentic objects, and reproductions that look so real that you’ll think they’re genuine as well. In ‘Cosmos’, you’ll learn about the evolution of the universe and matter thanks to a fog chamber where you’ll see subatomic particles. The ‘Evolution’ part looks at the first living organisms on Earth and how they managed to survive. And in ‘Frontiers’ you'll find a large dome in the shape of a brain which is mainly dedicated to exploring languages and writing.
This exhibition is really two in one: 'The Feminist Vanguard of the '70s'. Works from the Verbund Collection, Vienna' and 'Choreographies of the genre'. The first exhibition presents 200 works by artists from Europe, North and South America and Asia that help to rewrite the history of art. The exhibition puts the spotlight on current stories, told via some 15 works; feminism has expanded massively over the past 50 years, with the concept of gender as the focus.
Plus, you won't want to miss...
You know him from his lifetime of comedy work, including the series 'The Office', 'Extras', Derek' and 'After Life' (whose second series hits Netflix in spring 2020). And now Ricky Gervais comes to town during his 'Supernature' tour, so don't miss this chance to see one of the most influential comics in recent decades live in Barcelona. (Note that the show is in English, with no subtitles.)
Actor and comedian John Cleese brings his 'Last Time to See Me Before I Die' show to Barcelona! Cleese, who you'll know as one of the original members of Monty Python, and Basil Fawlty himself, takes the stage for one night only at Barcelona's Coliseum theatre on April 13, 2020. You'll want to be there for this very personal show as Cleese makes you laugh and also looks back at some of the most entertaining and memorable moments of his amazing career, even sharing never-before-seen clips. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to see a (still) living legend of British comedy live and in person while you still can. Brought to you by A Comic Soul.
What's On: Music and Art in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city brimming with music that spans genres. Concert halls, bars, and big clubs invite all kinds of acts to their stages, from freshly pressed indie bands to globally famous international superstars. To make sure you don't miss any of your favourites, including major festivals, check here for our top picks for the best live music and concerts in Barcelona.
Calling all lovers of painting, photography, sculpture, and art in general: we know one of the biggest things to do in Barcelona for you is to check out the best exhibitions on in the city right now. This is our selection of what you won't want to miss in Barcelona's museums and galleries.