Easter in Malaga is one of the most important and busiest times of the year in the city. Also known as Holy Week (semana santa in Spanish), Easter in Malaga is characterised by long, solemn processions that parade through the city for 7 days.
To help you make the most of Easter in Malaga we’ve compiled a list of FAQs as a guide to all you need to know about this unique event.
Malaga Easter week processions
When is Easter in Malaga this year?
After its early arrival in 2018, Easter in Malaga keeps us waiting this year and doesn’t take place until 14-21 April.
What are the Easter processions?
Organised by brotherhoods (hermandades or cofradías in Spanish), the processions are parades consisting of at least two large floats, one carrying a Christ figure and the other a figure of the virgin with members of the brotherhood carrying the floats or walking in front of them. You can read all about Holy Week processions in Spain here.
Top tip – want to see the floats close up? Pop into Malaga churches and brotherhoods in the morning during Easter week
When are the processions?
The processions usually start in the afternoon and continue well into the evening and in many cases, early hours of the morning. You can download a calendar of Easter week processions in Malaga here. There are no processions on Saturday 31 March.
Where can I find them?
All the processions (about 40 of them) start and finish in their own churches or chapels, but they all share a common route along the Alameda Principal, Calle Larios and the start of Calle Granada. Many also go past the Cathedral.
Which are the best processions at Easter in Malaga?
Everyone has their own favourites and they’re all spectacular and moving in their own way. Highlights in Malaga include:
- Sunday 14 April – Palm Sunday – the most cheerful and made up mostly of children carrying palm leaves.
- Monday 15 April – Los Gitanos. Gypsies accompany their Christ and virgin figures with song and dance as they make their way round the city centr
- Tuesday 16 April – Las Penas. This virgin’s cloak is made entirely of fresh flowers.
- Wednesday 17 April – El Rico. The Christ figure is accompanied by a pardoned prisoner, recently released from prison. La Paloma. White doves fly to and from the virgin while this procession is in the city centre.
- Thursday 18 April – Cristo de Mena. Legionnaire troops accompany this Christ figure as they make their way round Malaga. This is one of the most popular processions in Malaga.
- La Esperanza. Another hugely popular procession, this one has the heaviest float – the one carrying the virgin weighs 5 tonnes.
- Friday 19 April – all processions are solemn and mostly silent. Las Servitas is the last one and the city lights go out as it parades through the streets.
- Sunday 21 April – the black and purple gowns are replaced by white and green for the Sunday of Resurrection procession.
Where’s the best place to see the Easter processions in Malaga?
You get the best views from the Alameda Principal and the wide street here gives a good perspective.
Top tip – if there’s a particular procession you want to see, get your place early (at least a couple of hours before it’s due to past) to ensure a frontline view.
How long do the processions last?
Several hours at least and they take ages to move along because the floats weigh so much the bearers can only carry them for a short distance at a time.
Are they suitable for children?
Watching a procession involves a lot of waiting around so some children will get bored. Malaga streets are extremely crowded so keep a close eye on your children.
Malaga Easter week practicalities
How can I get to Malaga at Easter?
The processions disrupt the traffic and many roads are cut off temporarily while the processions pass. This added to the metro works makes bringing your car in Malaga even more of a nightmare. Use public transport wherever possible.
Top tip – if you’re coming into Malaga for the day by car, park by the Palacio de los Deportes on the west side of town (free parking) and get the metro. From El Perchel station (10 minutes, €1.30), it’s a 10-minute walk to the Alameda Principal.
How can I get around Malaga at Easter?
Easter in Malaga city centre is extremely crowded and making your way round the streets can be difficult. If you want to cross the Alameda Principal or Calle Larios, look for the designated crossings.
What happens if it rains?
If heavy rain is forecast or it starts to rain hard during a procession then the procession is usually called off. Showers of rain will delay a procession, sometimes for a few hours. Read about what to do in Malaga if it rains.
Will I be able to sit down?
If you’ve got a frontline spot, you will be able to sit down while you’re waiting but you should stand up when the procession starts to go by. Otherwise, sitting down isn’t easy. There are seats along the Alameda Principal and Calle Larios, but these are usually booked and reserved months in advance.
Which days are public holidays in Malaga?
Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April.
Top tip – there’s a lot of waiting around so pace yourself with processions Easter week in Malaga. Don’t try to see them all – choose 2 or 3 and make the effort to see these. Spend the rest of your holiday in Malaga doing other things.
Will the shops be open during the Easter public holidays in Malaga?
Most shops close on both Thursday and Friday as do banks and public offices. Bars and restaurants, however, open as usual.
Things to do in Malaga at Easter
What will the weather be like in Malaga at Easter?
Are there other things to do apart from the processions?
Plenty. Choose from Malaga art museums, monuments, shopping, street art… and of course, there’s the beach.
Will it be warm enough to go to the beach?
It’s warm enough year-round to go to the beaches in Malaga. You might find it a bit chilly for a swimsuit and the sea will be cool, but it should be warm enough to sit on the beach or at a beach bar and enjoy some delicious fried fish!
Where can I find more information about Malaga Easter week?
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(Photo credits: José Hidalgo via Visit Costa del Sol)