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5 Reasons to celebrate Christmas in Malaga

Bright lights, colour, taste and sound – the festive season in Malaga ranks as one of the highlights of the cultural, gastronomic and retail year. For something a little bit different, why not celebrate Christmas in Malaga?


Good weather is almost guaranteed – the sun doesn’t burn but you can still sit outside in short sleeves and soak up the December rays. And although the temperatures drop at night, you won’t need your hat, gloves and scarf.

But apart from enjoying a welcome dose of warm winter sunshine, here are 5 other reasons you should celebrate this Christmas in Malaga.

Christmas lights in Malaga

One thing Malaga does extremely well is Christmas lights. From the Alameda Principal to the Plaza de General Torrijos, the whole of the city centre turns into one bright Christmas festival of lights.

Highlights include the Alameda Principal, Calle Larios – this year’s display of twinkling angels is exceptional – and the four Christmas trees displayed in Plaza de la Marina, Plaza del Obispo, Plaza de Enrique García Herrera and Plaza de la Constitución.

The display on Calle Larios offers light and sound shows three times every evening when it ‘dances’ to the music. Watch it at 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm from 24 November to 6 January (except 24 and 31 December).

The video below gives you an idea of what to expect on Calle Larios.

Malaga Christmas lights are on from 24 November to midnight on 6 January.

Top tip – the music and sound show on Calle Larios gets very crowded. To enjoy it with fewer people, go to the last show of the evening (10pm) or mid-week.

Christmas Music and Dance in Malaga

The festive season in Malaga comes with several musical highlights including:

Christmas classical music concert

The Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra plays Symphony No.2 in B flat major, Op.52, ‘Lobgesang’ by Mendelssohn on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 December at 8pm in the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets cost from €12 – more information and link to book here.

The Nutcracker

Possibly the Christmas ballet comes to the Cervantes Theatre on Friday 29 December at 8pm, with the Kiev Ballet performing the Tchaikovsky classic. Tickets cost from €16 – more info here.

Traditional Christmas music

The verdiales, dance and music from the villages in the Montes de Malaga mountains, are a traditional part of Christmas in Malaga. To celebrate its vibrant sounds, the city has held an annual verdiales competition for over 50 years.

Around 30 groups of musicians and dancers compete in three sections, based on where they’re from – the Montes, Almogía or Comares. The competition takes place in the Cortijo de Torres in the fairground. Date to be confirmed for 2023.

The video below gives you an idea of what to expect.

Christmas food in Malaga

Christmas is a great culinary time of the year in Malaga, particularly when it comes to sweets and cakes. Try some of the traditional local Christmas fare such as marzipan, mantecado biscuits, turrón nougat and roscos de vino (wine and aniseed biscuits).

The best place for buying these is at local bakeries (try Lepanto or Aparicio) and in traditional grocery stores. Check out La Mallorquina on Plaza Féliz Saenz.

Food in Malaga at Christmas

Top tip – take home a classic Malaga souvenir of turrón nougat made by Casa Mira. Buy it at their store on Calle Larios or on Calle Andrés Pérez.

Christmas culture in Malaga

Christmas in Spain has two essential cultural elements:

Nativity scenes

Known as belenes in Spanish, these are traditionally set up in churches and chapels, but you’ll often find them in museums, cultural centres and department stores. All are works of art with amazing detail in the figures and their surroundings.

There are around 60 of them. Malaga tourist office publishes a leaflet and map detailing the Malaga nativity scene trail. See them 5 December to 5 January.

Three Kings Parade

This parade is the absolute highlight of any Spanish child’s year. The Three Kings Parade in Malaga starts with the Kings’ arrival at the port and continues in a lavish show of colour and lights as the parade moves slowly through the city. The Kings and their helpers throw thousands of kilos of sweets as they complete their annual tour.

5 January from 5pm in the city centre.

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