One of the best cultural events of the year, the Noche en Blanco in Malaga is just around the corner. Celebrating a long evening of free cultural events (182 in total at 80 venues), this is a must-do if you’re in Malaga.
On Saturday 16 May 2020, the whole city gets ready for a full evening of performances, installations, exhibitions, concerts and fun. Based around this year’s general theme of the four elements (fire, water, earth and air), the action starts at 7pm and continues until 1am. Best of all? Everything’s free.
There’s lots and lots on during the Noche en Blanco in Malaga. Read on to discover our highlights and for more information on planning your evening.
Did you know? Noche en blanco means ‘a sleepless night’, but obviously in this case it’s a good thing!
Where to find information
Every cultural venue, lots of tourism businesses and many individuals are organising events for the Noche en Blanco in Malaga. The list literally runs into the hundreds. The dedicated website (in Spanish only) showcases the best events on the homepage and you can download a copy of the programme (again, in Spanish only) on the website.
Top tip – you need to sign up for some activities in advance. If it’s via email, do it now. If you need to go in person make a note of the time and date, and be there!
If you’re looking for information at the time, there will be a Noche en Blanco office on Calle Larios. Open on Friday 15 May noon till 2pm and 8-10pm, and Saturday 16 May noon till 2pm and 6pm-1am. All Malaga tourist offices have information and programmes. This year, flyers in English are available.
There’s also a mobile phone app (in Spanish). Download Noctiluca (available from 10 May) for Android or iOS for the programme, maps and other information. You’ll also find the Noche en Blanco passport on the app so you can collect stamps from the events as you visit them. The passports enter a prize draw and the visitor with the most stamps will be next year’s ambassador.
Note that the information included below refers to cultural highlights in 2019. Bookmark the page for news of the 2020 edition.
Deciding what to see and do in Malaga for this special event comes as a bit of a challenge when you’re literally spoilt for choice, but to give you some ideas, we’ve highlighted the following:
The street is usually the main focus for installations and this year is no exception. Students from Malaga Architecture School have created skylines of the world’s most iconic cities and these will be installed underside down along the street. Students will explain the ideas behind the design of these “Cities in the Air”. At the south end, the Car Museum has lent one of its vintage models and Jules Vernes will be at the wheel for photo calls.
Plaza de la Marina
This square is another focal point for events this year:
Shadow puppets – dancers behind a giant screen create famous world monuments and icons at 10.15pm, 11.15pm and 00.15am.
Music and dance up high – watch a pianist play a grand piano suspended 8m up in the air as he accompanies a dancer (also up in the air). This award-winning performance takes place at 9.30pm and 11.30pm.
Malaga Art Museums
- Both the Pompidou Centre and the Russian Museum have an artist painting an installation between 7pm and 1am.
- The installation on the Pompidou Centre façade and Muelle Uno.
There are lots of dance performances. We’ve picked out these highlights:
World dance and kpop – performances of typical dances from around the world plus a kpop competition on the Guadalmedina riverbed (near CAC) from 7pm to 11pm.
Women dancing the world – in the lovely patio at the Carmen Thyssen Museum at 7.50pm, 9pm and 10.40pm.
Music in Malaga
You’ll see musicians on many corners and stumble on concerts throughout the city. We like the sound of these:
- Live gospel and opera performances happen in Calle Alcazabilla in front of the Roman Theatre all evening.
- Recinto Eduardo Ocón (in the Paseo del Parque, opposite City Hall) has a pasodoble concert from 8 to 9pm and a performance playing tunes from round the world from 9.30 to 10.30pm.
- Rumbas in Bar Amarós on Calle Juan de Padilla at 9pm and 10pm.
- The patio at City Hall hosts harp concerts at 7.30pm and 8.30pm, and a clarinet quartet plays at 9pm and 10.15pm.
- Listen to short performances on Plaza del Obispo on the hour between 7 and 10pm
- The Concerto Malaga string orchestra plays in the Patio de los Naranjos next to Malaga Cathedral between 11pm and 00.30am.
- Homage to the legendary Chavela Vargas, the Queen of rancheras, at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm at the Ferry Terminal, near the Port entrance.
- Enjoy some tangos on the terrace at the Ferry Terminal between 8 and 10.30pm.
- The Jazzinho para Ela Quartet perform in the lovely Sala Maria Cristina between 9.30 and 10.30pm.
Nighttime tours of the Alcazaba – one of our favourites because it’s atmospheric and romantic!. Tours (in Spanish only) take 50 minutes and leave every 10 minutes between 9pm and 1am. To be sure it’s fully dark when you visit, choose a tour after 10pm. Get your tickets from the Alcazaba ticket office on Friday 17 May from 8am. Max four tickets per person.
English Cemetery – another of our favourite places in Malaga and nicely atmospheric on an evening. The 45-minute tours leave at 9pm, 9.50pm, 10.40pm, 11.30pm and 00.20am. Tickets available from the Cemetery from 13 May from 9am. Maximum 2 tickets per person. Take a torch and wear comfortable shoes because the terrain is quite uneven.
Ferry Terminal – this is open for guided tours during the evening between 7 and 10pm. There’s also live music going here (see above).
Limonar history – the emblematic palace on Paseo de Sancha 64 is open for the first time to the public. Built as a hotel by Strachan in the early 19th century, it has been a sanatorium, health centre and is now government offices. As well as admiring the building itself, you can see a photo exhibition.
Nereo Shipyards – yet another of our favourite spots (and 1 of the 5 best unusual places in Malaga in our Guide to Malaga). The shipyards (Callejón de Marina 8, right at the west end of Pedregalejo seafront promenade) have pulled out all the stops for the Noche en Blanco in Malaga with guided tours of the boats in the yard including a replica of the Phoenician fishing boat, trips on the typical jabega boats, a photo exhibition of Pedregalejo in 1961, sardine espetos, rope-tying classes…
San Julián Church – take the chance to see this church from the inside while you enjoy music, singing and a candle-lit interior. On Calle Nosquera 16 at 10pm, 11pm and midnight.
Balloons and planetariums
An around the world theme obviously has to include hot air balloons. Check out the installation in Calle Echegaray, lined with paper balloons with the photocall at the end. The Matraca Gallery on Plaza Pintor Eugenio Chicano has an entire constellation of hot air balloons between 7 and 10pm.
Plaza de la Merced goes even higher with Europe’s largest portable planetarium. View the stars between 9pm and midnight. Book your invite via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picasso’s birthplace – live performances with actors playing the parts of his family. Every 30 minutes between 7pm and 1am.
Leonardo da Vinci – celebrating the 500th anniversary since the genius’ death, an installation on Calle Alcazabilla showcases paintings, geometry, engineering… every 30 minutes between 7pm and 9pm.
Little Italy – Calle Andrés Perez takes an Italian theme with installations and performances plus flash courses in Italian.
Our dos for the Noche en Blanco in Malaga
Do be prepared for crowds – Malaga takes to the streets for this event so the city centre will be packed. Venues out of the city centre such as the Russian Museum and the Car Museum tend to be quieter.
Do choose your programme in advance – everyone wants to go to everything so if you can, sign up in advance or be very specific about what you want to see.
Do take your kids – this is family-friendly event and there are lots of children’s activities. Click on ‘Nochecita en Blanco’ on the website (scroll down a bit to find it) to find out what’s on.
Do book a table – if you’re planning to eat out at one of the restaurants in Malaga during the evening, book your table now.
Do enjoy yourself – even if you can’t get into a specific venue, there’s lots going on in the streets and squares.
Do keep an eye on your stuff – this is a safe event in Malaga but keep your valuables close and watch your children don’t get lost in the crowds.