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Malaga Events in December 2023

Note that this post is yet to be fully updated for 2023. We’ll be adding Malaga events for December 2023 as we receive the information, usually from early November onwards.

December is one of the busiest months of the year as you’ll see when you read this guide to Malaga events in December. Christmas events join the usual round-up of cultural activities, so there’s plenty to do and see.

Read this article for information about Christmas in Malaga.

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:

Wednesday 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. 

Friday 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.

Monday 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 10, Sunday 17 and Sunday 31 December.

For more information on public holidays in Malaga, read our dedicated post here.

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Christmas Events in Malaga

Christmas Lights

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 270,000 LED 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: Monday to Thursday, 6.30pm to midnight, Friday to Sunday 6.30pm to 2am. 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 takes place this year at 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm, every evening (except on 24th and 31st December). The soundtrack includes Christmas bangers such as Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Carol of the Bells (plenty of ear worms guaranteed!).

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 2023 edition is called Angelical: The Kingdom of Christmas Angels, and divided into eight sections. 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 1 December to 7 January and tickets cost €13.50 to €15.50 for adults and €9.50 to €11.50 for children aged 3 to 12 (weekend tickets are more expensive). More information and links to tickets here.

Festive family visits to the Botanical Gardens

The lovely botanical gardens have family activities every Saturday and Sunday in December from 11am to 2pm. The 3-hour visit includes a guided tour of the gardens plus activities and crafts to do with Christmas.

The activity costs €9 for adults and €6.90 for children. Pre-booking essential by calling (+34) 951 92 61 80 or 639 914 055 or by email, infojbotanicomalaga@gmail.com

A Christmas Carol at the English Cemetery

This lovely space has been transformed into a Victorian winter wonderland, with lights, dramatised visits (with Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as the main character), choir concerts and refreshments.

The event runs from 1 December to 4 January, daily except for 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January, from 5 to 10pm. Entry costs €5 per person. More details here (in Spanish only).

The English Cemetery is in El Limonar district on Avda de Pries, diagonally opposite from La Malagueta bullring.

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.

This year’s display is called Angel of Light and runs from 1 December to 4 January. Watch it at 6.45pm, 8pm and 10pm every evening except for 24th and 31st December). The show lasts for 8 minutes.

Christmas ballet & flamenco

This December, Malaga has a festive ballet and several flamenco performances, all at the Cervantes Theatre: 

  • The Nutcracker – Friday 29 December at 8pm. Tickets from €16 and available here
  • Swanlake – Sunday 7 January at 8pm. Tickets from €16 and available here.
  • Flamenco Christmas music with Alejandro Estrada on Saturday 9 November at 8pm, Antonio de Veronica & Saray Cortes on Tuesday 19 December at 8pm, and Zambomba de Jerez on Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 December at 6 and 9pm. More information and links to book tickets here.

Christmas music in Malaga

If you’re looking for some typically festive music, try these:

Christmas Gospel

The New Orleans Gospel Stars see Christmas favourites at the Cervantes Theatre on Friday 22 December at 8pm. Tickets cost from €15. More information and link to book here.

Mendolssohn’s Lobgesang

The Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by the Carmina Nova choir, two sopranos and one tenor, perform this Christmas classic at the Cervantes Theatre on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 December at 8pm. More information here.

Carol Service

If you’re a fan of English carols, you’ll enjoy the service at St George’s Church (in the grounds of the English Cemetery, diagonally opposite the bullring in La Malagueta) on Friday 15 December at 7pm.

Free Christmas concerts

There are several festive freebies on this month. We’d recommend getting to the venue early to be sure of a seat (say an hour beforehand):

Carmen Thyssen Museum

The lovely patio at this museum is the stage for Christmas choir concerts on Thursday 7, Wednesday 13, Friday 15, Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 December. All concerts start at 7.30pm and there’s free entry. Don’t miss the Napolitan nativity scene!

Municipal Band

The band has two free concerts this month, one festive and one not:

  • Saturday 2 December – in the patio at the Museum of Malaga at 6pm, with a mixed programme that includes a fanfare by Clifton Williams and a pasodoble.
  • Sunday 17 December – the band’s traditional Christmas concert with festive music from around the world in the Iglesia de los Martires church (just behind the Carmen Thyssen Museum) at 7.30pm.

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

Plaza Feliz Saenz

Plaza de la Constitución

Plaza de la Merced

Calle Tomás Heredia (in the Soho district)

Dates and times to be confirmed.

Palms and poinsettias in Malaga at Christmas

Traditional verdiales 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). Date to be confirmed for 2023. From noon onwards in Cortijo de Torres in the Recinto Ferial.

Nativity Scenes

Nearly 60 nativity scenes are on display around Malaga until 6 January. Ask at the tourist office for a map. (Note that the times published below are pending confirmation.)

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 usually take place during December in Malaga:

Christmas Fayre – St George’s Anglican Church has their annual festive fair in the grounds of the English Cemetery on Saturday 2 December from 11am to 2pm.

Sabor a Malaga – 6-day market showcasing typical produce from Malaga province (cheese, olive oil, cold cuts, pastries, chocolate, liqueurs, honey…) on Paseo del Parque. This market takes place from 5 to 10 December between 11am and 9pm.

The Eduardo Ocón Auditorium will host showcooking, food trucks and live music, and the Paseo del Parque, the stalls. You can download the programme of events here.

Merced Market – lots of stalls selling handmade items on Plaza de la Merced. Sunday 3 December, 11am to 7pm.

Soho Market – more stalls selling arts and crafts on Calle Tomas Heredia in the Soho district on Wednesday 6 and Friday 8 December from 11am to 7pm.

English Market – the English Cemetery has a festive fair on Saturday 16 December from 10am to 4pm.

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.

Bell and bauble decorations on the seafront at Christmas in Malaga

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Wine tasting

Our friends at Winederlust have two wine-tasting events coming up this month. Both take place inside at Villa Antumalal in El Limonar district (Google map link here – get the No 32 bus plus short walk or a taxi from the city centre; allow 20-30 minutes):

Mistletoe and Wine – 6 winter wines, paired with festive cheeses on Sunday 3 December at 4pm. Tickets cost €45 per person. Book yours here.

Sherry Baby – 5 fortified wines from Jerez, also paired with cheeses on Saturday 16 December at 4pm. Tickets cost €45 per person and are available here.

Harry Potter Concert

Fans of the world’s most famous wizard are in for a treat with an evening of Harry Potter music, played by a symphonic orchestra. Saturday 3 December at 7.30pm in the FYCMA auditorium. Tickets cost from €35 – more information and links to buy them here.

Get to FYCMA (Congress and Conference Palace) on the No 4 bus from the Alameda Principal (north side) and get off at Max Estrella/Palacio de Ferias stop. Allow around 30 minutes for your journey.

Imagine Circus

Soho Theatre brings the circus for the first time ever to the city centre. Imagine, the Road to Your Dreams combines circus, dance and theatre in a show suitable for all ages.

Performances run from 6 December to 7 January at 7.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and at 5.30 and 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost from €28 (groups of 4 get 20% discount). More information (in Spanish only) and link to buy tickets here.

Jazz in Malaga in December

The Picasso Museum continues celebrating its 20th anniversary, with two jazz concerts this month. Both take place in the auditorium (behind the main museum entrance in the ‘fig tree’ square – get there via Calle Alcazabilla or Calle Pedro de Toledo).

Saturday 2 December at 9pm – Marc Coplan Trio, with Coplan on piano (he won the prize for Jazzstation best acoustic pianist in the world in 2020), Stephane Kerecki on double bass and Fabrice Morau on drums.

Saturday 9 December at 9pm – the Enrico Pieranunzi Trio, with Pieranunzi on piano, Luca Bulgarilla on bass and Mauro Baggio on drums.

Tickets cost €15 and are available from the museum ticket office or online.

Sporting events in Malaga in December

If you fancy doing or watching a bit of competitive exercise during December, here are some suggestions.

Malaga Marathon

You can still sign up for a 42k run or half marathon (21k) around the city on Sunday 10 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! 

Art exhibitions in Malaga in December

As always, events in Malaga in December include lots of great art, with something for everyone, whatever your favourite genre:

La Térmica

This cultural centre on the western seafront has one of the most colourful exhibitions in town this autumn.

Victus et amictus showcases work by Mallorcan artist Ela Fidalgo, an award-winning fashion designer who has recently turned her attention to painting. You can clearly see the influence of fashion in her works that combine the use of fabrics, oils and crayons.

Until 28 January 2024. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 2pm and 5 to 8.30pm. Free entry.

Get to La Térmica Cultural Centre by walking along the western seafront or on the No 7 bus from the south side of the Alameda Principal (get off at the Santa Paula stop).

Pompidou Centre

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.

Read about the latest collection at the Pompidou Centre

Magical Thinking

This exciting exhibition showcases the creations by Ettore Sottsass, who turned his hand at drawing, product and furniture design and sculptures. Until 24 February 2024.

Open Wednesday to Monday 9.30am to 8pm. €7 for the permanent exhibition, €9 for both. Free Sundays after 5pm. 

Buy tickets in advance for the Pompidou Centre.

Picasso Museum

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.

The Picasso Museum has also welcomed the second of its big exhibitions commemorating the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death this year. The Echo of Picasso examines the enormous influence the artist has had on other creators, both his contemporaries and those living now.

The exhibition showcases the work of 30 artists, all influenced by some aspect of Picasso’s creativity. The specially curated collection includes paintings, sculptures and installations, all of which are placed within the concept of Picasso and his work.

Until March 2024

You can also see The Many Faces of Picasso’s Late Works, intended as a companion exhibition. This one focuses on the artist’s depiction of the human face in the latter part of his life. Many of the works on show were controversial when Picasso created them, but are now highly considered. Until 4 February 2024.

Open daily 11am to 6pm. Tickets €9, free Sundays after 4pm.

Buy your Picasso Museum ticket in advance

Carmen Thyssen Museum

The museum continues to showcase Spanish art from the 18th and 19th centuries seen in the permanent collection.

The museum also has the following temporary exhibitions:

Rafael Canogar – one of the biggest representatives of Spanish abstract art has an exhibition of ten of his largest paintings. Canogar’s works focus on structure and are almost archectural in their form. From 19 September.

Fiercely Human – 17th-century Spanish art comes into its own at the Carmen Thyssen Museum with this exhibition of works by Spanish painters of saints, whose dramatic images were designed to draw people to religion. The exhibition includes modern takes on saints, such as Carlos Saura’s painting above. Until 18 February 2024.

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 €12.90. 

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm. Tickets cost €10. Free entry on Sundays after 4pm. Note that if you’re resident in Malaga (you need to show proof), the entry fee is €6.)

Picasso’s Birthplace

The Casa Natal has a new exhibition this month, part of the events surrounding the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death. “The Image of Picasso” looks at the artist’s portrayal in the media and includes press cuttings, photos and advertising. The exhibition also examines Picasso’s leyenda negra (black legend).

Until 28 April 2024. Open daily 9.30am to 8pm. €3, €4 combined ticket with visit to the house where Picasso was born.

CAC Malaga

The contemporary art museum has the following exhibitions in December:

I am my own landscape – German-Brazilian artist Janaina Tschäpe brings over 100 works for her first exhibition in Spain for over 20 years. Her paintings, drawings and photos merge the real with the unreal against a background of nature and natural phenomena. Until 3 December.

While you’re at CAC, don’t miss the permanent and Neighbours exhibitions. They’re both packed with interesting and thought-provoking artwork and installations.

Tuesday to Sunday 9am-9.30pm. Free entry. 

Russian Museum

Although this art museum in Malaga is no longer showing artworks from the Russian State Museum, its latest exhibitions are excellent and both draw on the alternative collections. 

Ahead of his time – dozens of artworks from the huge collection owned by José María Castañé. Divided into four sections, it showcases work by Russian artists as well as key figures from 20th century art such as Paul Delvaux, David Hockney, Eduardo Arroyo and Diego Rivera.

The two largest sections cover 20th century Russian art and contemporary art.

Different perspectives – two award-winning photographers, Elena Anosova and Javier Arboledas showcase their images of two different parts of Russia. Anosova focuses on a remote part of southern Russia, where his family comes from, and reflects on isolation and collective memory. Arboledas looks at Sosnovy Bor, one of the secret cities built during the 1950s in the USSR, and his pictures reflect on memory and utopia.

In the flow – German artist, Boris Groys, who spent many years in Russia, has three videocollages on display.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket. Free on Sundays after 5pm.

Heads up for what’s on 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!

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