December is 1 of the busiest months of the year. Read our guide to Malaga events in December with the usual round-up of cultural activities plus lots of Christmas events. Note that dates for some events are as yet unconfirmed – we’re updating the post as we get the information.
Please note that the information in this post refers to events in Malaga in December 2020. We will updating the details towards the end of November – bookmark the page to be the first to know.
Public holidays in Malaga
Quick heads-up: December has 3 public holidays:
Monday 7 December is a public holiday in Spain. Banks and businesses will close all day in Malaga, but expect to find shops, cafés, bars and restaurants open as usual. The same applies to museums and monuments. Sunday 6 December is the official holiday (Constitution Day), but the public holiday is moved to Monday).
Tuesday 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.
Friday 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 13 December and Sunday 20 December.
For more information on public holidays in Malaga, read our dedicated post here.
Keep your finger on the Malaga buzzer – sign up for our free fortnightly newsletter. All you need to know about what’s on and what’s new in the city in your inbox every other Friday.
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 around a festive forest with stars, angels and leaves. There are 22 arches stretching right along the street. The rest of the city centre is bedecked in different lights – the almond trees on the Alameda Principal is particularly pretty. For obvious reasons there are no sound and light shows this year.
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 long line of lights that shine along the Paseo del Parque.
Did you know… almost 2 million LED bulbs twinkle in Malaga at Christmas.
Christmas lights on Muelle Uno chapel
The Muelle Uno chapel has a Christmas light and sound show everyday at 6pm to 9pm (weather conditions permitting). The façade of this lovely building (halfway along Muelle Uno, next to José Carlos García Restaurant) comes alive with light and moving images.
Christmas Music in Malaga
Plaza de la Constitución – concerts (traditional Spanish carols, flamenco and children’s choirs) will take place every evening at 6.45pm and 8.15pm every day between 17 December and 29 December. Expect a mixture of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, flamenco and pop. To be confirmed.
Christmas concert – the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra plays Barber, Paganina and Mozart at the Edgar Neville Auditorium in the Diputación (on the western seafront) on Saturday 12 December (noon). Tickets cost €15 and are available here.
Flamenco style Christmas – the Cervantes Theatre has 2 traditional zambomba (Christmas music flamenco style) concerts. On Sunday 13 December, the Antonio de Veronica and Saray Cortes dance company takes the stage at 7pm. Tickets cost €24 and are available here. And on Saturday 26 December, it’s the turn of Alejandro Estrada with singers and musicians. 7pm and tickets cost €27.
Christmas classical music concert – the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra plays Rossini (the William Tell Overture) and Puccini (Glory Mass) on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 December at 8pm at the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets cost from €12 and are available online here.
Christmas carol concert – at St George´s Church in the English Cemetery (opposite the bullring in the Malagueta) on Wednesday 16 December at 7pm with mince pies and mulled wine afterwards plus the Christmas raffle draw.
Handel’s Messiah – the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra performs this classic Christmas piece at Soho Theatre on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 December at 8pm. Tickets cost from €15 and are available here (note that you go through to El Corte Inglés vending platform).
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). Date to be confirmed in 2020. From noon onwards in the Recinto Ferial in Puerto de la Torre, a district to the north of Malaga.
Over 60 nativity scenes are on display around Malaga until 6 January. Ask at the tourist office for a map or take a look at this map (click on the stables for address and timetable). Some of the biggest and most famous are:
- Cathedral – open daily 10am-2pm & 5-8.30pm
- Cofradía de Estudiantes – open daily 10.30am-1.30pm & 5-8pm (on Calle Alcazabilla)
- Carmen Thyssen Museum – during museum opening hours, closed Mondays.
- Archivo Municipal – larger figures set in scenery based on the Alcazaba. Open Mon-Fri 10am-1pm & 5.8pm, weekends 10am-1pm (Alameda Principal 23).
To be confirmed: The Trinidad district in Malaga (cross the river opposite the Ibis Hotel to the west side around the San Pablo church) celebrates its annual Christmas Patio Festival. This year, 25 patios are taking part in the competition to offer the best nativity scene and Christmas decorations. 10 façades are also participating. Musical events take place as well (see Christmas concerts above for details) and Christmas sweets and pastries will be on sale. 14 to 19 December inclusive. Patios are open daily 4.30 to 8.30pm and also in the morning (11am to 1.30pm) at weekends.
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:
Sabor a Malaga – 4-day market showcasing typical produce from Malaga province (cheese, olive oil, cold cuts, pastries, chocolate, liqueurs, honey…) on Paseo del Parque and Plaza de la Marina from 4 to 8 December between 10am and 6pm. Plaza de la Marina will host showcooking, food trucks and live music (3pm daily) and the Paseo del Parque the stalls.
Nuevo Futuro – special charity Christmas market in aid of children’s homes. Muelle Uno on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December 10am to 6pm.
Christmas Fayre – the annual event takes place at St George’s Church in the English Cemetery (Avda de Pries, just east of the bullring) on Sunday 13 December from 12.30pm. Opportunity to buy Christmas gifts, home-made jams and preserves, baked goods, second-hand books and clothing & accessories. Admission is free. Food and drinks available from the bar.
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.
What’s on in Malaga in December – family fun in the botanical gardens
The Jardín de la Concepción botanical gardens have some great family days out in December. 2 hours of clue solving, puppet theatre and guided tour on 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 de diciembre. €7.50 per person (under 3s are free). In Spanish. To book yours, phone 951 926 180 or 647 585 457.
Gospelettes perform gospel music at the Carmen Thyssen Museum at 4.30pm on Saturday 12 December in the lovely patio. Free entry, but get there early to be sure of a place.
Con Sumo Arte
Street art in Soho comes into its own during December when there’s a competition for the best art work on the façades and windows of businesses and shops. Between 11 and 14 December, 10 artists will be hard at work painting with their final creations on display until 10 January. And while you’re exploring this great new art, don’t forget to check the foodie scene in this part of town and pop into the shops.
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
As well as its permanent collection – discover it here – this art museum in Malaga is showing a timely exhibition. Masks reflects on the transformation of the human figure through masks in modern art. Works on display are by artists such as Goya, Picasso, Gargallo and Modigliani.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm, free 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 and it includes entry to the museum.
Stay bang up to date with Malaga – sign up for our free fortnightly newsletter. All you need to know about what’s on and what’s new in the city in your inbox every other Friday.
Absence by Mónica Vázquez Ayala – the Spanish artist exhibits over 70 of her photos and photo-collages created over the last decade. Until 13 December.
Ergo Sum by Bosco Sodi – 30 giant paintings (in monochrome black) line the walls and golden nuggets dot the floor. See these unusual works by the Mexican artist until 6 December.
The Villagers by Rinus van del Velde – an extraordinary 40″ film showcasing this film artist’s avant-garde work. Until 23 December.
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.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 6pm. Free entry.
Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm. Free entry.
The most-visited museum in southern Spain has new additions to its permanent collection, now called Conversations with Picasso 2020-2023. The exhibition explores 8 decades of artistic creativity from the 20th century’s greatest artist. The Museum has just opened a new 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 is currently closed 😞
This art museum in Malaga has a permanent exhibition and 2 temporary ones.
Realism: Past & Present – the central exhibition showcases realism in Russian art from the 18th century to today. The paintings and objects run through over three centuries of Russian art exploring how artists portrayed their surroundings and the relationship between art and truth. Until April 2021. Read our guide to this art exhibition in Malaga.
Breaking silence: silent movies in Russian – a look at this genre of cinema, which used the most advanced techniques of its time. A selection of Italian and American films complement the exhibition. Until April 2021.
Andrèi Tarkosvky: Master of Space – film buffs have another treat in this photographic look at one of the greatest film directors in the 20th century. Until April 2021.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 6pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket. Free on Sundays after 4pm.
The multi-coloured cube includes A Century of Spanish Art from Miró to Barceló exhibition. As usual, you can expect to see an eclectic collection of paintings, videos, installations and sculptures. Read about the latest art.exhibition in Malaga here.
Open Wednesday to Monday 9.30am to 6pm. €7 for the permanent exhibition, €9 for both. Free Sundays after 4pm.
Top tip – art museums in Malaga have free entry on Sunday afternoons.
La Termica Cultural Centre
La Termica Cultural Centre starts its season of exhibitions with a display of photos of rock star icon Marilyn Manson taken by one of the world’s most renowned portrait photographers, Perou. “21 years in Hell” showcases Manson in (as you’d expect) various guises.
Heads-up for what’s on in Malaga in January
Given the current situation, there’s no news of any major events in Malaga for early in 2021, but stay up to date with what’s on with our free fortnightly newsletter. You’ll be the first to know!