December is one of the busiest months of the year as you’ll see when you read this guide to Malaga events in December with the usual round-up of cultural activities plus lots of Christmas events. Note that, as always, this round-up is a work in progress and we’ll be adding new events as soon as we hear about them. Bookmark the page to ensure you stay up-to-date.
Public holidays in Malaga
Quick heads-up: December has 3 public holidays:
Tuesday 6 December is a public holiday in Spain. Banks, businesses and most shops will close all day in Malaga, but expect to find cafés, bars and restaurants open as usual. The same applies to museums and monuments.
Thursday 8 December is a public holiday in Malaga. Banks and business will be closed all day in Malaga, but shops, cafés, bars and restaurants will be open as usual. All museums and monuments open as usual except the Museum of Malaga, open until 3pm only.
Sunday 25 December (Christmas Day) is a public holiday in Spain. Just about everything closes all day in Malaga including restaurants, museums, monuments etc. However, some of the restaurants on the seafront promenade will be open as will many of those on Muelle Uno.
Sunday Christmas shopping – shops in Malaga will open on Sunday 11 December and Sunday 18 December.
For more information on public holidays in Malaga, read our dedicated post here.
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Christmas Events in Malaga
These need no introduction and those in Malaga are famed throughout Spain. The lights on Calle Larios are the highlight – the entire street is covered in tens of thousands of lights, this year themed with 16 celestial angels. There are 32 columns stretching right along the street. The rest of the city centre is bedecked in different lights – the rows of lights hanging from the giant ficus trees and the sparkling almond trees on the Alameda Principal are particularly pretty.
Christmas light go on every evening: Sunday to Wednesday, 6.30pm to midnight, Thursday to Saturday 6.30pm to 2am (until 6am on 24th and 31st December and 5th January). They are switched off at midnight on 6th January.
Don’t miss the giant Christmas trees on Plaza de la Constitución, Plaza de la Marina, Plaza de Enrique García Herrera and Plaza del Obispo. plus the chandeliers in Calle San Juan, Calle Molina Larios and all the side streets off Calle Larios.
Light and sound show
The show when the lights on Calle Larios flash and ‘dance’ in time to the music is taking place this year. This year’s show takes place at 7, 8.30 and 10pm (except on 24th and 31st December). Playing on the soundtrack are Carol of the Bells, Las Christmas,Jingle Bells and a carol medley.
Did you know… almost 2 million LED bulbs twinkle in Malaga at Christmas.
Christmas lights in the Botanical Gardens
The Christmas garden returns to the lovely botanical gardens for another year. The 2022 edition is 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.
The event runs until 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 lights on Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral provides the façade for some cool video mapping. You can see Christmas scenes on the south tower of the Cathedral, with lots of details relating to Malaga. The display will take place at 7, 8.30 and 10pm every evening except for 24th and 31st December until 4 January.
Christmas ballet & flamenco
This December, Malaga has two festive ballets, with the International Classic Ballet, and one flamenco performance, all at the Cervantes Theatre:
- 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.
Christmas music and dance in Malaga
Several venus in the city will showcase typical Christmas music.
Municipal band concerts
The Municipal Band has several concerts this month, including:
- Spanish music, in honour of Constitution Day on 6 December – in the patio at the Museum of Malaga on Sunday 4 December at noon, free entry.
- Christmas concert with a guest appearance from soprano Berna Perles and the Malaga Cathedral Choir at the Iglesia de los Mártires on Sunday 18 December at 7.30pm, free entry.
Both will be busy, so get in the queue early to be sure of your place.
In squares and on streets
Local choirs and bands will be performing traditional Christmas carols, flamenco, jazz and gospel at the following locations:
- Alameda Principal – 1 to 3 December at 7.30pm.
- Plaza Felix Saenz – 9 December at 7pm and 10 December at 8pm.
- Plaza de la Constitución – daily from 13 to 23 December at 6.45pm and 8.15pm.
- Plaza de la Merced – 21 December at 7pm.
- Calle Tomás Heredia (in the Soho district) – 22 December at 7pm.
Flamenco style Christmas
The Cervantes Theatre has a traditional zambomba (Christmas music flamenco style) concert on Thursday 22 December at 8pm with a flamenco adaptation of the Christmas story. Tickets cost from €12 and are available here.
Christmas classical music concert
Unusually this year, the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra’s festive concert isn’t classical at all. They play The Queen Symphony by Kashif, who put Queen’s best-known songs to orchestral music. 15 and 16 December at 8pm at the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets cost from €12 and are available online here.
Opera in the Albeniz Cinema
This month’s operatic treat is Donnizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, filmed at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna in 2019. Watch it on Tuesday13 December at 7pm – tickets cost €15 and are available online here.
Christmas carol concert
At St George´s Church in the English Cemetery (opposite the bullring in the Malagueta) on Friday 16 December at 7pm with mince pies and mulled wine afterwards plus the Christmas raffle draw.
Traditional Christmas music
For over 50 years, Malaga has been celebrating the annual verdiales competition. This traditional music and dance, an intrinsic part of Christmas in Malaga, originates from the villages in the mountains to the east of Malaga. Around 30 groups of musicians and dancers take place in 3 sections based on where the groups are from (Montes, Almogia and Comares) on 28 December. From noon onwards in the Recinto Ferial in Puerto de la Torre, a district to the north of Malaga. You can hear the groups play on Saturday 10 December in the Glorieta del Festero (Paseo del Parque) at noon.
Nearly 60 nativity scenes are on display around Malaga until 6 January. Ask at the tourist office for a map. Some of the biggest and most famous are:
- Cathedral – open daily 10am-2pm & 5-8.30pm
- Cofradía de Estudiantes – open Monday to Saturday 10.30am-2pm & 5.30-8pm (on Calle Alcazabilla)
- Carmen Thyssen Museum – during museum opening hours (10am to 7pm), closed Mondays.
- Diputación – one of the largest and open daily 10am to 9pm (on Calle Pacífico, western seafront).
- Archivo Municipal – larger figures set in scenery based on the Alcazaba. Open Mon-Fri 10am-1pm & 5.8pm, weekends 10am-1pm (Alameda Principal 23).
- City Hall – this traditional scene is open daily from 3 December from 10am to 2pm and 5 to 9pm.
Note that nativity scenes close in the afternoons of 24 and 31 December and are closed on 25 December and 1 January.
Christmas markets in Malaga
With Christmas on the horizon, Malaga markets are a great place to start your Christmas shopping. The following take place during December in Malaga:
Traditional Christmas Fayre – at St George’s Church in the grounds of the English Cemetery on Sunday 4 December from 12.30 to 3pm. Arts and crafts, mulled wine and raffles. Free entry.
Sabor a Malaga – 9-day market showcasing typical produce from Malaga province (cheese, olive oil, cold cuts, pastries, chocolate, liqueurs, honey…) on Paseo del Parque from 3 to 11 December between 10am and 9pm. The Eduardo Ocón Auditorium will host showcooking, food trucks and live music, and the Paseo del Parque, the stalls.
Merced Market – lots of stalls selling handmade items on Plaza de la Merced. Open Sunday 4 and Sunday 11 December between 11am and 7pm.
Soho Market – more stalls selling arts and crafts on Calle Tomas Heredia in the Soho district on Tuesday 6 and Thursday 8 December from 11am to 7pm.
Turkey Market – this unusual market sells designer and artisan products (made by architects) in the Association of Architects (an amazing building) on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December, 10.30am to 8pm on the Friday, 10.30am to 2.30pm on the Saturday. The Colegio de Arquitectos is the Limonar district – Google map link here.
Muelle Uno Christmas market lots of ideas for gifts – food, arts and crafts and accessories. On the square near the Pompidou Centre entrance daily 10am to 6pm until 10 January.
Muelle Uno arts and crafts market takes place every Sunday during December on the port side. Stalls open 11am to 6pm.
Paseo del Parque – lots of stalls selling Christmas gifts, fireworks and food from noon to 8pm during the Christmas period.
Cancer charity market – lots of stalls selling festive gifts and arts and crafts in aid of the city’s cancer charities on Calle Alcazabilla on Saturday 10 December from 11am to 9pm.
Antonio Bandera’s theatre continues with its annual musical in December. This year’s treat is Godspell, the 1970s Broadway classic that has been reimagined for 2022. Mr Banderas isn’t performing in this one, although he’s the producer. However, there’s a star-studded and very talented cast: Victor Ullate, one of Spain’s best dancers, takes a lead role as Judas and St John the Baptist, while Pepe Nufrio, trained in NYC and an old hand in Godspell, plays Jesus.
Performances take place until 8 January, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 5.30 and 9pm, and Sundays at 6pm. Tickets cost from €20 and are available via this link. Note that the performance is in Spanish and that the link to book takes you to El Corte Inglés booking platform.
Malaga Mobile Week
A 4-day tech bonanza for all ages, with over 100 activities involving robotics, VR, the metaverse, apps and videogames, with talks and workshops. Most take place in Spanish, but maybe the language of tech stuff is universal? The event takes place in different locations in Malaga including several museums. 1 to 4 December. More information on the website.
See the night sky through a telescope and watch a live viewing of the moon at the Centro Principia Science Museum (next to the Rosaleda football stadium) on Friday 2 December 8-9.20pm. The activity’s free (and in Spanish), but you have to sign up in advance via the website as tickets are given out on a first-com, first-served basis. Click here for more information and click on the blue box (about halfway down the page) to sign up.
Can’t come to Malaga this winter and missing the food?
Why not create great Malaga food in your own kitchen? Our foodie ebook, Malaga Fine Wining & Dining, includes 11 exclusive recipes served in Malaga’s best restaurants, 2 with Michelin stars. Easy to create and make plus a chef’s top tip for each one and a Malaga wine pairing suggestion. Our cookbook has received the thumbs-up from some real foodies too – see their reviews here. All for just €8.95.
You can still sign up for a 42k run or half marathon (21k) around the city on Sunday 11 December. The race starts at 8.30am in the Paseo del Parque and finishes sometime later – the elite runners expect to get round in less than 3 hours 😅 And for those of us not taking part, lets give the amazing runners a big cheer as they go past!
Big fun Christmas quiz
If general knowledge is your thing, join this festive quiz on Saturday 17 December at 5pm at La Tribuna in Calle Carreteria 13. €3 per player, teams of up to 4 with prizes for the winners. Spaces are very limited, so sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Any money left after prizes will go to the Ángeles Malagueños de la Noche charity that helps homeless people in the city.
What’s on in Malaga in December – Art exhibitions
As always, events in Malaga in December include lots of great art (whatever your favourite genre):
Carmen Thyssen Museum
The museum continues to showcase Spanish art from the 18th and 19th centuries seen in the permanent collection.
You can also see Masterpieces in Belgian Art, an exhibition with the essence of Belgian art from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th. René Magritte is just one of the artists. You can see this exhibition until 5 March.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm, €10 (€6 for entry between 2.30 and 4pm), free from 5pm on Sundays.
The Carmen Thyssen Museum has a lovely café serving coffee, light snacks and lunch. There’s a daily lunchtime menu, which is excellent value for €11.90.
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This avant-garde art museum has 3 main exhibitions showing this month:
- Osgemeos – Brazilian twins, Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, showcase 22 paintings and a musical installation in their exhibition When the leaves turn to yellow. Until 4 December.
- You are another me – American born artist Eduardo Sarabia’s first exhibition at a museum in Europe including a mural and 30 drawings. Between them, they reflect on how change acts as a source of vital energy and opens the door to the future. From 2 December until 12 February 2023.
- While you were asleep – almost 40 works from the museum’s archives by local artist, David Escalona.
Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm. Free entry.
While you’re at CAC, don’t miss the permanent and Neighbours exhibitions. They’re both packed with interesting and thought-provoking art work and installations.
The most-visited museum in southern Spain has a permanent collection, called Conversations with Picasso 2020-2023. The exhibition explores 8 decades of artistic creativity from the 20th century’s greatest artist. The Museum also has a room (Sala XII) showing 19 ceramics and 3 paintings created by Picasso between 1931 and 1962. You can also see 22 works from his La Californie sketchbook, which he drew in Cannes in 1956.
Open daily 11am to 6pm. Tickets €9, free Sundays after 5pm. Note that the Picasso Museum café has now reopened 🎉
It’s been all change at this art museum in Malaga since (understandably) no new artworks from the Russian State Museum have arrived. But the latest exhibitions are excellent and both draw on the massive collection in the archives at the Picasso Foundation.
Sputnik: The Odyssey of the Soyuz 2 – the exhibition includes objects, photos and documents that trace the journey of the Soviet astronaut, Ivan Istochnikov and his dog, Kloka, into space in 1968. Both disappeared into space, but until the fall of Communism, the Soviet authorities maintained the rocket was unmanned. Until 23 April 2023.
The Reasons for Dreams – this collection, divided into eight sections, looks at the different shapes and forms of dreams. Works on display are by artists including Henry Moore, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Georges Ségel, Joaquín de Molina and local Chema Cobos.
Shadow Dancers – Mallorcan artist Bernardi Roig has two art works at the Russian Museum this month. Shadow Dancers are four bronze sculptures of ballerinas displayed in a room and his drawing Cap Negre.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket. Free on Sundays after 5pm.
The latest exhibition, Our Own Time, is our favourite so far. It’s divided into six sections (Leisure Time, Holiday Time, InnerTime, Interspatial Time, Introspective Time and Confrontation Time) and showcases work by artists from the early 20th century to the present day. Expect to see the usual thought-provoking collection of paintings, sculptures, videos, photos and installations. Artists on show include Accardi, Léger, Matisse, Picasso and Zangewa.
You can also see The Laberynth of Light and the Minotaur by Bernardi Roig, an installation made from 25 blocks of polystyrene. Until May.
Open Wednesday to Monday 9.30am to 8pm. €7 for the permanent exhibition, €9 for both. Free Sundays after 5pm.
Top tip – art museums in Malaga have free entry on Sunday afternoons.
La Termica Cultural Centre
La Termica Cultural Centre has two exhibitions this month, both with free entry. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 2pm and 5 to 8.30pm.
This is my swim lane
This exhibition showcases work by Slovakian photographer, Maria Svatova. Half the photos are of her iconic swimming pictures, usually with women swimmers in red or yellow hats, and the other half are contemporary images entitled Retro Future. Until 12 February 2023.
The 1st African Photography Bienal arrives on 4 November and celebrates the work of artists from across the continent. Women photographers take centre stage in what promises to be one of the best exhibitions in Malaga this winter. Until 29 January 2023.
Get to La Térmica by walking west along the seafront (the cultural centre is behind the modern glass Diputación building) or on the No 7 bus from the Alameda Principal (south side).
Heads-up for what’s on in Malaga in January
Events in the first month of 2023 include the Three Kings Parade and Malaga Theatre Festival. Stay up to date with what’s on with our free fortnightly newsletter. You’ll be the first to know!