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 the events referred to in this post are dependent on covid-19 health and safety regulations as well as the rules regarding the state of emergency declared in Spain on 25 October. Bookmark this page and keep an eye on the updates!
Malaga Christmas Lights
Malaga City Council has confirmed that there will be Christmas lights this year and most of them are already up. However, the light and sound show will not happen in 2020.
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?
In 2020, the date for the Malaga Christmas lights switch-on will be Friday 27 November at 6.30pm. Due to covid-19 restrictions, there will not be the usual street party in Calle Larios or the concert afterwards in Plaza de la Constitución. However, the lights will be as pretty and there’ll be a great Christmas atmosphere in spite of the virus!
The video below gives you a great idea of the display on Calle Larios in 2019 (although not as good as seeing it for yourself!).
The Alameda Principal also takes centre stage again this year with fairy lights in the largest ficus trees and six brightly-lit almond trees.
Apart from Calle Larios, almost 2 million LED bulbs light up Malaga this Christmas – Calle Granada has some lovely arches and fCalle San Juan (parallel to Calle Nueva) and Calle Cárcer (the street that leads up to the Cervantes Theatre) have a display of Christmas lights. Look out for 5 giant trees:
- Plaza de la Marina.
- Plaza de la Constitución – you can go “inside” the tree this year.
- Plaza del Obispo – this tree looks magical at night next to the illuminated Cathedral façade.
- Plaza de Enrique García Herrera – on the square to the west of Calle San Juan.
- And in Huelin Park, lighting up the lake.
And as usual, the Paseo de Parque has a long stretch of lights, best seen on foot.
The lights are switched on every evening over the Christmas period between 6.30pm and midnight. They’re turned off on 5 January 2021 usually after the Three Kings paradealthough this event has been cancelled because of covid-19 restrictions.
Opening times during Christmas in Malaga
Which days are public holidays in Malaga over Christmas 2020?
- Friday 25 December (Christmas Day)
- Friday 1 January (New Year’s Day)
- Wednesday 6 January (Epiphany/ Three Kings)
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.
Public transport over Christmas in Malaga
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, check travel restrictions first and if provincial borders are open, book ahead.
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
What is there to do in Malaga at Christmas?
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.
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?
Note that the activities below have not been confirmed for 2020. Bookmark this page for future reference.
Children will love the lights and there are Christmas attractions set up on Muelle Uno (including Santa’s grotto with reindeer) and outside the Corte Inglés department store (toboggan ride, ice rink and log-walk). Don’t miss:
- The nativity scenes (there are over 60 around the city)
Find out more about things to do with children in Malaga.
What about New Year’s Eve in Malaga?
No New Year events have been confirmed yet although we expect them to be very low-key. Bookmark this page for future reference.
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 2021 – we could all do with some of that!). Action starts from 10pm.
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.
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. Book now.
Gran Hotel Miramar – 5* GL on the Malagueta seafront. And this Christmas, not an expensive treat. Book now.
Ilunion – large and modern plus handy for the train station. 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. 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.
Soho Boutique Colón – one of the newest hotels in Malaga in a recently refurbished late 19th century building in the Soho district. Book now.
Vincci Malaga – a modern hotel on the western seafront so handy for sunny seafront walks on Christmas Day. 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!
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:
- Walk the Caminito del Rey – bring a bit of adventure to your Christmas holiday!
- Visit Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda… all stunning historical places with their own special magic at Christmas. And if you don’t have your own transport, book an easy day trip with a reputable company.
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.