29 Nov The perfect day on a Segway in Barcelona this winter
Everyone knows how much fun Barcelona is in the summer. The beach, the sun, the sea, all combine with Modernista architecture and a focus on fun to create an appealing confection that visitors are keen to experience. What many people don’t realise is that Barcelona is just as attractive as a winter holiday destination. Alongside the city’s permanent attractions, such as the Sagrada Família and Camp Nou, a plethora of Christmas markets spring up to rival those of Dresden or Vienna. But how will you fit it all in?
Jump on a Segway, and conquer this itinerary for a great day out in Barcelona this winter, in half the time it would talk you to walk it.
10am Pick up your vehicle at Barcelona Segway Day (Rull 2) in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Once aboard and bundled up, wind through the narrow streets and alleyways of the neighbourhood as you head towards the towering Barcelona Cathedral.
10.30am As you emerge from the densely packed labyrinth of the old town onto the wide pedestrian avenue in front of the cathedral’s neo-Gothic facade, you’ll see almost 300 stalls strung with twinkling lights, offering a cornucopia of Christmas gifts and decorations. The Fira de Santa Llúcia is the oldest and biggest Christmas market in Barcelona, and a perfect place to sample Catalan Christmas traditions. The stalls are grouped together by craft. Some of the most prominent items on offer include handmade wooden pessebres (nativity scenes); the Tió de Nadal, a smiling log that takes Santa Claus’ job and delivers presents to children in Catalonia on December 24th; and the caganer, a traditional, yet questionable figurine of a man squatting with his trousers around his ankles, going to the bathroom, which can make for a funny, tongue-in-cheek present for your loved ones who like to have a good laugh.
12pm On your way back across the Gothic Quarter, wheel down Carrer de Petritxol, known locally as ‘the street of chocolate’. Here you have the perfect opportunity to try a drink that locals have spent centuries perfecting. Xocolata calenta is much more than your average hot chocolate. It’s both thicker and sweeter than elsewhere in the world, and goes great with freshly made churros or Mallorcan ensaïmada. Opened in 1941, Granja Dulcinea is one of the most historic cafes in the city to specialise in the delicious goop. Its old-world feel, with antique decor and sweet treats that follow a recipe unchanged for decades, will surely entice you to sit back and stay for awhile.
1pm Once you get your sugar fix, it’s time to jump on your Segway again and head towards the central thoroughfare Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. Here you’ll find the length of the pedestrian walkway taken over by more market stalls. Although it may look like it, this isn’t technically a Christmas event. In Spain, Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) on January 6th is arguably more important than Christmas Day, as it is when Spanish children receive the majority of their presents. The Fira de Reis de la Gran Via runs from December 21st to January 6th, and boasts a large selection of handcrafted toys and trinkets. As you roll past the festive stands you’re bound to find inspired gifts for the holidays and beyond.
2.30pm Ride west and stop for lunch at Family Room Cafe, a stylish space on the way to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s stadium. The restaurant has expertly prepared gourmet snacks and hot, filling meals. Try the divine Italian flatbread, Funghi Piadina, or if you’re feeling more peckish, do as the Spanish do and enjoy a larger meal for lunch. The chicken tikka masala and seasonal roast beef served with sweet potato mash are both good options, and everything on the menu is reasonably priced.
3.30 pm After lunch, get back on the road. A short ride down Travessera de les Corts brings you to the world-famous football stadium. Lovers of Messi, Suárez and Piqué will not want to miss the opportunity to explore Camp Nou, visit the onsite museum dedicated to Barça, browse the merchandise store and touch the hallowed ground of the pitch for themselves. The stadium is worth visiting even if you aren’t a football fan. Next door is the Olympic-sized ice rink, where the amateur ice hockey and figure skating teams train, which offers year-round ice skating for visitors. You don’t have to be a member of the club to skate—public entry costs €13.40 per session.
5pm As the sun starts to set, it’s an ideal moment to complete your Barcelona Christmas market checklist. Direct your Segway to Avinguda Diagonal, then follow it until the recognisable spires of Antoni Gaudí’s church come into view. Construction on the Sagrada Família has continued intermittently since 1882, and the mammoth architectural task is still not expected to be finished until 2026. The small park in front of the Passion facade hosts the Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Família. While offering its own selection of traditional handmade Christmas supplies, there’s also a focus on food products at this market. You’ll discover stalls selling Catalan delicacies such as cheese, sausage, chorizo and turrón (nougat).
That concludes the perfect wintry day on a Segway in Barcelona, but don’t stop there. Find out what else you can do in Barcelona aboard a Segway.