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Malaga Events in December

December is 1 of the busiest months of the year in Malaga with the usual round-up of cultural activities plus lots of Christmas events. Read our guide to Malaga events in December. Note that dates for some events are as yet unconfirmed. This post will be fully updated in late November.

Public holidays in Malaga

Quick heads-up: December has 3 public holidays: Thursday 6 December is a public holiday in Spain. Banks, business and shops will close all day in Malaga, but expect to find cafés, bars and restaurants open as usual. The same applies to museums and monuments. Some will close early – for example, the Museum of Malaga closes at 3pm. Saturday 8 December is a public holiday in Spain. Banks and business will be closed all day in Malaga, but shops, cafés, bars and restaurants will be open as usual. All museums and monuments open as usual except the Museum of Malaga, open until 3pm only. Tuesday 25 December (Christmas Day) is a public holiday in Spain. Just about everything closes all day in Malaga including restaurants, museums, monuments etc. However, some of the restaurants on the seafront promenade will be open as will many of those on Muelle Uno. Sunday Christmas shopping – shops in Malaga will open on Sunday 16 December and Sunday 23 December. For more information on public holidays in Malaga, read our dedicated post here.

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Christmas Events in Malaga

Christmas Lights

These need no introduction and those in Malaga are famed throughout Spain. The lights on Calle Larios are the highlight – the entire street is covered in tens of thousands of lights, this year themed around the stained glass windows in Malaga Cathedral. There are 2 impressive domes along the structure and all the lights flash in time to music at 6.30 and 9.30pm. Don’t miss the giant Christmas trees on Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza de la Marina plus the long line of lights that shine along the Paseo del Parque.
Christmas lights in Malaga
Lights on Calle Larios

Did you know… some 1.7 million LED bulbs are twinkling away in Malaga this Christmas.

Christmas Music in Malaga

Plaza de la Constitución – concerts (traditional Spanish carols, flamenco and children’s choirs) will take place every evening between 7 and 10pm over the Christmas period. We’ll be posting the full programme here as soon as it’s released. Christmas classical music concert – The Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra performs Messiahs by Handel and Mozart on 17 December (8pm) at the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets from €12 and available online here. (Take your hanky!) Christmas Ballet – the Romeo and Juliet ballet in the Cervantes Theatre should get you in the mood for Christmas. Wednesday 12 December at 8pm. Tickets from €15 here. Cathedral Christmas concert – Malaga Cathedral celebrates its annual Christmas concert just before Christmas. Date yet to be confirmed. Watch this space!

Top tip – join the queue outside the Cathedral entrance early to be sure of a place.

Traditional Christmas music – For  over 50 years, Malaga has been celebrating the annual verdiales competition. This traditional music and dance, an intrinsic part of Christmas in Malaga, originates from the villages in the mountains to the east of Malaga. Around 30 groups of musicians and dancers take place in 3 sections based on where the groups are from (Montes, Almogia and Comares). 30th December from 10am to 11pm in the Recinto Ferial in Puerto de la Torre, a district to the north of Malaga. READ ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN MALAGA  

Nativity Scenes

Over 60 nativity scenes are on display around Malaga until 6 January. Ask at the tourist office for a map. Some of the biggest and most famous are:
  • Cathedral – open daily 10am-2pm & 5-8pm
  • Cofradía de Estudiantes – open daily 10.30am-1.30pm & 5.30-8pm (on Calle Alcazabilla)
  • Carmen Thyssen Museum – during museum opening hours, closed Mondays
  • Diputación (on Calle Pacifico, next to La Térmica cultural centre – get here on the No 7 bus) – open daily 10am -9pm (until 5pm on 24 December and 31 January, closed 25 December and 1 January). This is one of the biggest nativity scenes in the province with 180 square metres of Biblical scenes, lighting and animated sections including two rivers.
Traditional Christmas in Malaga
Traditional nativity scene

Christmas Markets in Malaga

With Christmas on the horizon, Malaga markets are a great place to start your Christmas shopping. The following take place during December in Malaga: Muelle Uno arts and crafts market takes place daily during December. See the stalls in the square near the Pompidou Centre entrance. Open 10am to 10pm until 7 January. Red Friday takes place at La Térmica Cultural Centre on Friday 7 December from 7pm to midnight. As well as 50 stalls selling vintage goods there’s a roller disco and food trucks. Christmas Food Market in the Paseo del Parque (just follow the delicious smell of food!) Wednesday 5 December to Sunday 9 December. Sponsored by Sabor a Málaga, the Malaga produce promotion company, lots of stalls selling typical produce from the province including cold cuts, cheese, olive oil, fruit and vegetables, honey, wine, beer… Opportunities to try before you buy. Paseo del Parque – lots of stalls selling Christmas gifts, fireworks and food from noon to midnight during the Christmas period. Christmas Market in La Concepción Botanical Gardens – Christmas arts and crafts, food trucks and fun for kids plus a chance to look round these lovely botanical gardens in Malaga. Exact date to be confirmed but probably Sunday 9 December 10am to 6pm. Free entry.   Christmas decoration in Malaga

Christmas Sporting Events in Malaga

The highlight of the running year takes place in December – the Malaga Marathon is on Sunday 9 December starting at 9am in Paseo del Parque and running 42k around the city before returning to the starting point. A great way to lose weight before the Christmas excesses but we’ll be watching rather than participating! Shorter runs also take place including the San Silvestre run on Sunday 30 December. The 7.5km race starts and ends at the Rosaleda Football Stadium. Read about the 5 best places for running in Malaga. SEE WHERE TO EAT IN MALAGA  

Christmas in Malaga for children

Children will love the lights and nativity scenes, and:
  • Muelle Uno – funfair rides and Santa’s grotto complete with reindeer. Santa’s open for requests between 2nd December and 5th January (he overlaps a bit with the 3 Kings there) from noon to 2.30pm and 5 to 8pm.
  • Corte Inglés esplanade – as usual, the department store has set up its Christmas attractions. Enjoy the ice rink, toboggan ride and merry-go-round. Open daily during shop hours (10am to 10pm).
  For more information on things to do with children in Malaga, click here.

What’s on Malaga in December – concerts

Several non-Christmasy events take places in Malaga this month. Highlights include:

Galician bagpipes

Carlos Núñez, Spain’s most famous pipe player, brings an evening of Celtic music to the Cervantes Theatre on Wednesday 6 December at 8pm. Tickets from €10 here.

History of Rock

Rock your way to Christmas with this evening of the rock from the 50s to the present day. The sounds of Elvis and The Beatles give way to Queen and The Boss plus a good head-banging session to Metallica and AC/DC. You’ll know all the tunes… Saturday 8 December at 7pm. Tickets from €15 here. SEE WHERE TO STAY IN MALAGA

What’s on in Malaga in December – Art exhibitions

As always, events in Malaga in December include lots of great art (whatever your favourite genre):

CAC Malaga

CAC Malaga has 3 exhibitions in December. Details to be confirmed later. Watch this space! Hernan Bas – Miami artist has his first exhibition in Spain in the largest space at CAC  where you can see 36 paintings and drawings by this very contemporary artist. Entitled A Brief Intermission, the exhibition includes the piece “Sorting out Andy” created for this exhibition and continuing the Warhol theme in Malaga. Themes in Bas’ work include literature from the late 19th century (he was a big fan of Oscar Wilde) and the supernatural. There are no women in his work. Until 9 December.   art in Malaga at CACWhile you’re at CAC, don’t miss the permanent and Neighbours exhibitions. They’re both packed with interesting and thought-provoking art work and installations. Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm. Free entry. 

Picasso Museum

The most visited museum in southern Spain (and one of the top museums in Malaga) hosts of the big art exhibitions in Malaga this autumn looking at the artist’s Mediterranean roots. The ambitious curation contains over 200 art works and pieces and goes back to the early Iberian culture before coming forward through the centuries to meet Picasso. Expect to see lots of archaeological artefacts as well as paintings by some of Spain’s greatest classical artists including El Greco and Velázquez. 9 Oct – 3 Feb. Daily 10am-6pm. €5.50 (€10 combined permanent and temporary exhibition).

Russian Museum

Brilliant Future. The Art of Socialist Realism is the main exhibition this year and showcases art produced during the Stalin era and subject to ‘official guidelines’. Expect to see lots of the signature Soviet scarlet, some great paintings and objects from the 20th century and get an insight in a unique period of world history.   art in Malaga at the Russian Museum Kazimir Malévich – the new temporary exhibition showcases some of the most famous paintings by the creator of Suprematism, an art movement that isn’t too well known in western Europe. The exhibition includes 16 works that have never been exhibited in Spain before. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket.

Carmen Thyssen Museum

The Carmen Thyssen Museum continues to offer exceptional art in Malaga. This autumn’s temporary exhibition welcomes Fury of Colour featuring paintings by the great Spanish artist Francisco Iturrino. One of the key figures in Spanish Modern Art during the early 20th century, Iturrino takes colour to another level. And as usual, don’t miss the great themed gifts in the museum shop. 6 Oct – 3 March Tues-Sun 10am-8pm. €4.50 for Cubism and Juan Gris; €9 combo ticket for permanent and temporary exhibition. Free entry on Sundays from 5pm onwards. 

DISCOVER MORE THINGS TO DO IN MALAGA

 

Artsenal

This great creative space on Muelle Uno (at the corner with El Palmeral) has lots of art on show. New artists including some local talents exhibit from 29 September to 24 November. Artsenal is open daily from 11am to late. Look out for their free events throughout the month too. Check out their Facebook page for details.

Pompidou Centre

The multi-coloured cube houses Modern Utopias taking you round European ideals in art with some of the continent’s greatest painters on display. Picasso, Kandinsky, Miró, Le Corbusier and Chagall all rub shoulders with fun installations including a revolving nose, sheep on wheels and sardine-tin bed, plus some great videos.   art at the pompidou MalagaRead our dedicated post about the exhibition at the Pompidou Centre.

Reprojected Materials

The Pompidou Centre has 2 temporary exhibitions. Reprojected Materials is one of the most interactive experiences you’ll find at art museums in Malaga. Using a projector (remember those?), light, colour and transparencies you get to create your very own reprojection. Until 11 January with special opening hours – Mon, Weds, Thurs and Fri 5 to 8pm, weekends 12.30 to 2pm and 5 to 8pm. Open Wednesday to Monday 9.30am to 8pm. €7

Top tip – art museums in Malaga have free entry on Sundays after.4pm.

La Térmica Cultural Centre

This big cultural centre in the west of Malaga is currently renewing its exhibition programme. More news to follow shortly. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 1pm and 5-9pm. Free Get to La Térmica Cultural Centre on the No 7 bus from the Alameda Principal or take a stroll along the western seafront.  

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