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Christmas in Malaga in 2023

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?

Angel christmas lights in Calle Larios Malaga 2022

In 2023, the expected date for the Malaga Christmas lights switch-on will be Friday 24 November at 7pm. Note that this isn’t the official date – bookmark this page for updates.

What do the lights in Calle Larios look like?

The 2023 display hasn’t been confirmed yet. In 2022, 16 celestial angels on 32 columns stretched along the entire length of the street. We think it could be repeated in 2023, but watch this space for updates.

What about the famous light and sound shows?

Again, we don’t have official confirmation. In 2022, the light and sound shows took place at 7, 8.30 and 10pm every evening except 24th and 31st December until 6 January.  B

ut 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 500 leaf-themed hanging lights in the ficus trees (lovely in the day too) and six 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 24 giant Christmas chandeliers 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:


This cool technique projects 3D imagery onto buildings accompanied by light and sound and this year, it’s Malaga Cathedral’s turn to provide the façade. You can see Christmas scenes and festive things relating to Malaga on the south tower of the Cathedral. The display will take place three times every evening at 7, 8.30 and 10pm from 28 November to 6 January (no shows on 24th and 31st December).  

Festive drones 

In 2022, 120 drones provided some festive fun over Malaga Port. Hopefully, they’ll be back in 2023.

The best place to see the drones doing their thing is from the Palmeral de las Sorpresas, Plaza de la Marina, Muelle Uno and from the walkway up to the Gibralfaro. 

When are the lights on?

The lights are switched on every evening over the Christmas period between 6.30pm and midnight (2am at weekends, 24th and 31st December and 5th January. They’re turned off on 6 January 2024 at midnight, the day after the Three Kings parade

Opening times during Christmas in Malaga

Which days are public holidays in Malaga over Christmas 2023?

  • Monday 25 December (Christmas Day). 
  • Monday 1 January (New Year’s Day). 
  • Saturday 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.

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 2022 edition was called Stela, A Journey to the East, based on the Wise Men’s journey through Persia, Babylonia and then to Bethlehem. All lighting is LED this year in keeping with the national push to save energy, but expect a stunning show combining the gardens, its monuments and lights. The photo below of last year’s display gives you an idea.

Christmas lights at the botanical gardens Malaga

The event runs from 27 November to 8 January and tickets cost €10-14, depending on when you visit. Family groups (2 adults, 2 children), students and the over 65s get a discount. More information and links to tickets here.

Cirque du Soleil on ice

This world-famous circus group return to Malaga during December to perform Crystal, all the usual breath-taking acrobatics and stunning mise-en-scene, but this time on ice. The arena at the Martin Carpena Sports Stadium will become an ice rink for 9 days from 11 to 18 December. Tickets cost from €35 and are available online here.

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

 Christmas ballet & flamenco

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 International Classic Ballet: 

  • Sleeping Beauty – Wednesday 21 December at 8pm. Tickets from €15 and available online
  • Swan Lake – Friday 30 December at 8pm. Tickets from €15 and available online

You can also take in some festive flamenco with A Christmas Story, a flamenco musical, combining dance and song from the Farrucos family, legends in the flamenco world. Tuesday 20 December at 8pm. Tickets from €16, available online

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 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.

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.

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. 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 La Equitativa – bang in the centre and with possibly the best Christmas light views in town. 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:

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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