Note that because of coronavirus, the Easter processions in Malaga have been cancelled for 2020.
The solemn processions every day during Holy Week in Malaga are one of the highlights of the city’s year. Every day the streets are packed with locals and tourists all crowding to get a view of the unique processions. To the non-local it can seem a bit bewildering, so we’ve picked out 10 things to do in Malaga at Easter to ensure you get the most out of the event.
If you’re looking for general information about Malaga at Easter – dates, best processions, practical tips, etc. – then you’ll find all the answers in our sister post.
Admire the window dressings
A couple of weeks before Easter in Malaga, the city centre ‘dresses up’. You’ll notice windows and balconies draped in dark-red cloth with a gold band at the top and bottom. Walk down Calle Larios and see all the balconies decked in honour of the processions.
See the preparations
The week before Easter week is a frenzy of preparation in chapels and churches in Malaga as brotherhoods put the finishing touches to their thrones and religious images. Pop into any church on a weekday morning to see the work in progress. This also gives you a chance to see the thrones up close and admire the handiwork in silver and gold.
Look up to the giant stand
You’ll also have noticed the seating placed along the Alameda Principal and in the Plaza de la Constitución. Seats are rented for the week, giving the ‘tenants’ a prime view of the processions as they go past. The biggest and best are in Plaza de la Constitución where local authorities and dignitaries get high up above the crowds for an almost bird’s-eye view. (And they get a canopy in case it rains).
Find your spot
This is perhaps the most challenging on our list of things to do in Malaga at Easter – finding your spot to get a good view of the processions. The key is to know where to be and then get there early. Grab yourself a programme – you’ll find them in the tourist office, local shops and bars and cafés – and decide where you want to be.
As a general rule, the wider the street, the more likely you are to get a spot. BUT, get there at least an hour and a half early to be sure of yours. Try these:
- At the end of the Alameda Principal near the Plaza de la Marina is a good spot for seeing the processions as they come down towards Calle Larios.
- The steps next to the river next to Calle Carreteria are another popular procession-watching spot and you get a free seat. But get there super early to grab your spot.
- The Descendimiento procession on Good Friday goes along the Paseo del Parque on its way to the Cathedral, usually quite quiet with plenty of viewing spots.
Smell thousands of flowers
The image of the Our Lady of the Sorrows (Virgen de las Penas in Spanish) is one of the most spectacular and fragrant in Malaga at Easter. Her cloak is made of thousands of carnations (between 15-20,000 of them), donated by the city gardeners. It might not be as richly decorated as the gold and silver threads in other cloaks, but this throne is particularly pretty. See her come out of her chapel (just off Calle Andrés Pérez) at 5.30pm on Tuesday 7 April 2020.
See them sky-dive into Malaga
And now for something completely different and perhaps one of the most exciting things to do in Malaga at Easter. The BRIPAC parachute regiment skydives into town on Wednesday 28 March. See them land on the beach at La Malagueta/La Caleta (roughly in front of the Hotel Gran Miramar) from 1.30pm. Note that this event hasn’t been confirmed for Easter 2020.
See the legionnaire troops disembark
This is one of the best loved processions in Malaga when half the city turns out to see the legionnaire troops parading round the streets. They arrive on Maundy Thursday (9 April in 2020) at 10.30am by boat stationed on Muelle 2 (in the middle of the Pergola in Malaga Port). They then parade into the city centre. Get there early if you want a good view.
Feast on torrijas
And next on our things of things to do in Malaga at Easter comes the foodie bit. Torrijas are the Easter treat par excellence and well worth trying. Made with bread dipped in milk and egg, and then fried, torrijas come brushed in sugar or honey. They’re a super-sugar fix and you may find them too sickly. Or not… Buy them at Aparicio (Calle Calderería and Calle Santa Lucía), La Canasta (Plaza de la Constitución and Calle Atarazanas) and Ávila (Calle Sánchez Pastor).
You can also buy chocolate penitents – look out for those at Aparicio – and if you’re after a chocolate egg, try those in Lepanto on Calle Larios.
See the heaviest throne of all
The thrones paraded in Malaga weigh a tonne – some of them require 250 men to carry them. Our Lady of Hope who comes out on Maundy Thursday (9 April 2020) is the heaviest. This giant structure reportedly weighs 4.1 tonnes and is 14 metres long and 4 wide. No wonder progress is slow as she makes her way round the city.
Buy your own miniature procession
Or penitent, banner, candle… at a tiny shop on Calle Santa María off Plaza de la Constitución. Specialising in religious artefacts, Cerería Zalo sells miniatures of just about every element in a Malaga Easter procession as well as penitent hats and hoods. And even if you don’t plan to buy, the window displays are great for browsing.
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