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Christmas in Malaga in 2024

What’s Christmas in Malaga like? What will be open? What can we see and do? When do the Christmas lights go on? It’s one of the biggest Malaga events and one we get lots of questions on. To answer them, we thought the best thing was to create a Christmas in Malaga FAQs blog post. If the answer to your question isn’t here, let us know and we’ll add it in! 

Note that some dates for events in this post have yet to be confirmed.  Bookmark this page and keep an eye on the updates, which we’ll be posting as soon as we get them!

Malaga Christmas Lights

Malaga Christmas lights are one of the highlights of the festive period particularly those in Calle Larios (picture below) and are world famous for their spectacular light and sound show. But the big question is when are they turned on?

Calle Larios Malaga Christmas lights 2023

In 2024, the Malaga Christmas lights switch-on will probably be Friday 22 or Saturday 23 November November at 7pm, but this date has yet to be confirmed.

What do the lights in Calle Larios look like?

The 2023 display repeated 2022’s, 16 celestial angels on 32 columns stretched along the entire length of the street. We love this one, particularly as it looks just as good during the day.

Watch this space for 2024’s design!

What about the famous light and sound shows?

The light and sound shows take place at 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm every evening except 24th and 31st December until 6 January.  

But don’t worry if you miss the music, the lights are very pretty and there’ll be a great Christmas atmosphere! 

The design for 2022 was called “16 Celestial Angels” and consisted of the angels supported by 32 columns. Stunning at night and almost as good in broad daylight.

The video below gives you a great idea of the display on Calle Larios in 2022 (although not as good as seeing it for yourself!).

What about the lights in other parts of Malaga at Christmas?

The Alameda Principal also takes centre stage with a ton of LED lights (270,000 to be exact!) in the ficus trees, which will be on all day and all night. Plus, there are two brightly-lit almond trees. 

Apart from Calle Larios, almost 2 million LED bulbs light up Malaga this Christmas – Calle San Juan (parallel to Calle Nueva) has got extra festive this year with golden lighting and an ‘Enchanted Cave’. Christmas chandeliers are also hanging in Calle Molina Lario and the 11 side streets off Calle Larios. Look out for 5 giant trees:

Video-mapping

This cool technique projects 3D imagery onto buildings accompanied by light and sound and this year, Malaga Cathedral’s provides the façade again. You can see Angel of Light on the south tower of the Cathedral.

The display will take place three times every evening at 6.45, 8 and 10pm from 1 December to 4 January (no shows on 24th and 31st December).  

When are the lights on?

The lights are switched on every evening over the Christmas period between 6.30pm and midnight (2am Friday to Sunday, 24th and 31st December and 5th January. They’re turned off on 6 January 2025 at midnight, the day after the Three Kings parade

Opening times during Christmas in Malaga

Which days are public holidays in Malaga over Christmas 2024?

  • Wednesday 25 December (Christmas Day). 
  • Wednesday 1 January (New Year’s Day). 
  • Monday 6 January (Epiphany/ Three Kings)
view of Calle Larios Malaga Christmas lights 2019

What will be closed on these days?

All shops, museums and attractions in Malaga. Most bars and restaurants tend to close on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but many open for Three Kings.

Shops usually close early (e.g. between 3 and 5pm) on Christmas Eve (24 December) and New Year’s Eve (31 December)

Will any restaurants be open on Christmas Day?

Some larger restaurants and those in hotels will be open, but check in advance and book to be sure of a table.

We’re compiling a list of venues open – scroll down to read it.

Public transport over Christmas in Malaga

If you need to travel to or from Malaga over Christmas, this section is a must-read.

What about public transport in Malaga over Christmas?

Trains, buses and the metro will be running, although some lines will have a reduced service.

If you’re planning to travel outside Malaga, e.g. to visit Granada or Seville, book ahead because Christmas and New Year is one of the busiest periods for travel in the year.

Read more about getting around Malaga by bike here, by bus here and by car and metro here.

Will I be able to get a taxi in Malaga at Christmas?

Yes, taxis will be running. There’s a surcharge for services on public holidays.

Things to do in Malaga at Christmas

things to eat at Christmas in Malaga

Christmas is usually one of the busiest times, packed with shoppers and tourists especially in the evenings when people come into town to see the lights and soak up some Christmas atmosphere. This year is of course different, but there are still plenty of things to do in Malaga – Christmas markets, lights, concerts, art exhibitions… – and lots of these events are free.

For a full calendar of December events in Malaga, check out our ‘What’s on in Malaga December’ guide

Note that the events listed below are for dates in 2022. Bookmark this page and check back for updates.

Christmas lights in the Botanical Gardens

The Christmas garden returns to the lovely botanical gardens for another year. The 2024 edition was called Angelical: The Kingdom of Christmas Angels, and divided into eight sections. Expect a stunning show combining the gardens, its monuments and lights. The photo below gives you an idea.

Christmas lights at the botanical gardens Malaga

The event runs from 1 December to 7 January and tickets cost €13.50 to €15.50 for adults and €9.50 to €11.50 for children aged 3 to 12 (weekend tickets are more expensive). More information and links to tickets here.

 Christmas ballet

Our childhood Christmases would not have been the same without The Nutcracker and we think a ballet performance adds to the festive atmosphere. This December, Malaga has two, both at the Cervantes Theatre with the Kiev Ballet and International Classic Ballet: 

  • Nutcracker – Friday 29 December at 4.30pm and 8pm. Tickets from €16 and available online
  • Swan Lake – Sunday 7 January at 7pm. Tickets from €16 and available online

A Christmas Carol at the English Cemetery

This lovely space has been transformed into a Victorian winter wonderland, with lights, dramatised visits (with Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as the main character), choir concerts and refreshments.

The event runs from 1 December to 4 January, daily except for 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January, from 5 to 10pm. Entry costs €5 per person. More details here (in Spanish only).

The English Cemetery is in El Limonar district on Avda de Pries, diagonally opposite from La Malagueta bullring.

What would you recommend in Malaga at Christmas?

  • Taking an evening stroll around the city centre to look at the lights and have a few tapas.
  • Walk along the seafront at sunrise to catch the first rays as they come up over the sea.
  • Get up high to see the city from above at night. We recommend one of the hotel rooftop terraces.
  • Visit the Christmas markets.
  • Head to Plaza de la Constitución for one of the free concerts.
  • Enjoy some plates of fried fish for lunch on the beach.
  • Take in some amazing art – there’s a great choice of exhibitions.

What can we buy at Christmas in Malaga?

Plenty! Check out our guide to the best Malaga souvenirs for Christmas.

What is there for children to do in Malaga at Christmas?

Children will love the lights and the following Christmas attractions:

  • Muelle Uno – Santa is in Chocoland this year (on the square next to the pharmacy) and open for visits from 25 November to 5 January (closed 25 December and 1 January). There are also craft workshops for kids on 6 and 8 December (11am to 1pm), 13 and 15 December (5 to 7pm), 20 and 22 December ((5 to 7pm), 27 and 29 December (5 to 7pm) and 2 January (5 to 7pm).
  • Outside the Corte Inglés department store – Christmas stalls and rides from 24 November.
  • The nativity scenes (there are over 60 around the city)

Find out more about things to do with children in Malaga.

nativity scene in Malaga at Christmas

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What about New Year’s Eve in Malaga?

Head to Plaza de la Constitución for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Malaga. Free concert, goodie bag with mask, streamers and 12 grapes (eat 1 for each chime of the midnight bells for lots of luck in 2024). Action starts from 10pm.

Is there a firework display in Malaga on New Year’s Eve?

Not an official one, but you will see some fireworks going off. Malaga Port usually has a small display from after midnight and some hotels and clubs organise a few fireworks.

Malaga has two big firework displays during the year: one for San Juan on the night of 23 June and the other at the start of Malaga Fair.

Christmas is one of the loveliest times of the year in Malaga, but the city has plenty to offer all year-round. Find out what there is to do and see at any time of year with information from Guide to Malaga.

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Where to stay at Christmas

Among the hotels in Malaga open for Christmas and New Year, we recommend you stay at any of the following (listed in alphabetical order): 

AC Malaga Palacio – book a room on one of the upper floors for fabulous views. Book now.  

Del Pintor – cosy and funky design, with a handy location for the historic quarter. Book now

Gran Hotel Miramar – 5* GL on the Malagueta seafront. Treat yourself this Christmas to a spot of luxury by the seaside. Book now

Ilunion – large and modern plus handy for the train and bus stations, while just a short walk from Plaza de la Marina and the Alameda Principal. Book now

La Chancla – on the beach in Pedregalejo plus freshly roasted coffee for breakfast. Book now

Molina Lario – modern and spacious, near the Cathedral. Matriz restaurant is open on Christmas Day (25 December) and New Year’s Eve 31 December). Book now.

NH Malaga – recently refurbished and right on the river, just a short walk from the city centre. A good option for a more peaceful location. Book now.

Only You – views of the Christmas lights from some rooms as well as sweeping vistas of the Port. Carmen and Lola restaurants open over Christmas, including the public holidays. Book now.

Parador Gibralfaro – with some of the best views in town. Restaurant open on Christmas Day (25 December) and New Year’s Eve 31 December). Book now.

Palacio Solecio – boutique luxury in the heart of the historic quarter. Treat yourselves for Christmas with one of the deluxe rooms. Book now

Soho Boutique La Equitativa – bang in the centre and with possibly the best Christmas light views in town. Book now.

Vincci Larios 10 – boutique hotel on Calle Larios, so at the heart of the Christmas light action. The roof terrace has great bird’s eye views of the angels! Book now.

Vincci Malaga – a modern hotel on the western seafront so handy for sunny seafront walks on Christmas Day. The city centre is a short bus ride away. Book now

Vincci Selección Posada del Patio – one of the grandest hotels in the city with 5* elegance and some stunning ruins in the basement. Book now.

The busiest periods (usually) for hotels are between 6 and 8 December (both public holidays in Spain) and from 24 December to 1 January so expect to pay peak tariff at this time. If you want to experience Christmas in Malaga and get a cheaper hotel deal, visit towards the end of November or in mid-December. There’ll be just as much atmosphere!

Where to eat on Christmas Day in Malaga

Finding a restaurant at Christmas in Malaga can be a challenge; a) because family-run restaurants tend to close on the public holidays, and b) because restaurants get very busy.

We’re compiling a list of restaurants open on key days – this is a work in progress, so check back often.

  • Hotel restaurants – as a general rule, they stay open throughout the festive season. Book well ahead for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day lunch and New Years Eve.
  • Restaurants on Muelle Uno – some, particularly those that are food chains, open daily.
  • Restaurants in Plaza de la Merced – you’ll find some open on public holidays.

Other restaurants open at Christmas in Malaga

Mar de Verum – an excellent fish, seafood and tapas restaurant, open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Verum – known as the ‘Temple of Meat’ and award-winning for traditional local food, this restaurant is open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Arrozeando in Pedregalejo – open for lunch on Christmas Eve. Perfect for a festive paella!

Vino Mio – this restaurant is open for dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve with a set menu and live music for both occasions.

Bendito on Calle San Juan – opens on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for lunch and dinner.

Carmen and Lola in the Only You hotel – both restaurants open on Christmas Eve (special menu), Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve (special menu) and New Year’s Day.

Book your table well ahead, i.e. as soon as you know when you’re in Malaga. And please mention Guide to Malaga when you book or dine at the restaurant.

Getting away from Malaga at Christmas

What if you’re staying in Malaga at Christmas but fancy getting away from the city for the day? Our Guide to Malaga recommends the day and half-day trips:

Or what about a Costa del Sol Road Trip? Check out our sister’s site exclusive guides, taking you on a 6-night journey to discover the Costa del Sol beyond the sand, sea and sangría. 7 themes available at just €4.95 only (generous discounts if you buy more than one) for the perfect holiday for you, your people, your interests and in your time. 

Stay up to date with what’s happening at Christmas in Malaga – sign up for our free fortnightly newsletter. All you need to know about what’s on and what’s new in the city in your inbox every other Friday.

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