Three Kings’ Parade: Lucas Fox breaks down the most Spanish Christmas tradition of all, the “Cabalgata de Reyes”

In Spain, it is not the familiar and much loved Santa Claus who delivers gifts to the nation’s children on Christmas Day, but the three kings: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. Known in Anglophone countries as the “Epiphany”, the arrival of the three kings calls for a tremendous celebration in every Spanish town and city, with thousands of people taking to the streets to catch a glimpse of their majesties’ arrival.

Festivities begin on the evening of 5 January, when the three kings will arrive after a lengthy journey from the Far East, to swap their camels for regal parade floats. A spectacular parade ensues, as their majesties throw sweets and other small gifts to the children (and adults!) below.


That evening, before going to bed nice and early (!), children leave their shoes outside with treats to entice their majesties, and hay for their weary camels. Hopefully by the following morning, if they’ve been good all year, their shoes will be filled and surrounded by presents!

Another tradition at this time is a tasty breakfast of “Roscón de Reyes”, a ring-shaped cake adorned with colourful candied fruit, symbolising the jewels on the regal trio’s ornate crowns and clothing.


Here’s where the Kings will be arriving near you on the 5th…


Their majesties will dock at around 4.30pm at Port Vell, where the Mayor of Barcelona will greet them. The procession will get underway at around 6pm, winding through the city’s picturesque streets lined with excited families, until reaching its final destination, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, at around 9.30pm. You can see the exact parade route here to ensure you get the best vantage point.

Costa Brava

Do not miss the Cavalcada de los Reyes taking place in all major towns along the Costa Brava. In Girona, the three kings will begin their procession at 6pm on 5 January within the walled gardens. The parade route will continue through the town, finishing at the Plaza del Vi. Other processions organised include at L’Escala (their majesties will arrive by boat at 6.30pm at Platja de les Barques), Platja d’Aro (arriving at 6pm, then at 8pm in Castell d’Aro) and L’Estartit (7.30pm on the Esplanada del Puerto).


The kings will be passing through all major towns along the Maresme Coast, such as Mataró, El Masnou, Arenys de Mar and Calella. Their majesties often arrive by boat at the ports, before embarking their floats to make their way through the streets. The parades along the Maresme Coast are more intimate and on a smaller scale than those held in larger towns like Girona and Barcelona.

Christian Christmas scene


The parade will begin at Plaza Fragata (in front of Sitges’ iconic church), and ends at the end of the beachfront promenade.


The route will run from El Retiro Park to the Plaza Mayor, when thirty carriages equipped with 7,000 kilos of sweets and chocolates will parade before 7 million eager spectators. This is definitely the largest scale event of its kind in Spain and is a spectacular sight.


The Cavalcada Reial gets underway at the Port of Ibiza at 6.30pm. The parade route will continue through the town via Avinguda de Santa Eulària, Avinguda de Bartomeu de Rosselló, Avinguda d’Isidor Macabich, Carrer del País Valencià, Avinguda d’Espanya and finishing at the Passeig de Vara de Rey.


In Palma, the Cavalcada dels Reis Mags (The Three Kings’ Parade) will get underway by the port of La Llonja at 6pm on 5 January. The parade route will continue through town, finishing at Passeig de Vara de Rey.


The Cabalgata de los Reyes (The Three Kings’ Parade) gets underway on Calle Guadalete at 6pm on 5 January. The parade route will continue through the town finishing on Avenida Ricardo Soriano.