What’s on in Malaga in December
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.
Note that the events listed in this post refer to December 2018. We’ll be updating them for 2019 as soon as we have the details. Watch this space!
Public holidays in Malaga
Quick heads-up: December has 3 public holidays:
Thursday 6 December is a public holiday in Spain. Banks, business and 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. Some will close early – for example, the Museum of Malaga closes at 3pm.
Saturday 8 December is a public holiday in Spain. 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.
Tuesday 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 16 December and Sunday 23 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 the stained glass windows in Malaga Cathedral. There are 2 impressive domes along the structure and all the lights flash in time to music at 6.30, 8 and 9.30pm. Don’t miss the giant Christmas trees on Plaza de la Constitución, Plaza de la Marina, Plaza del Obispo and Calle Alcazabilla plus the long line of lights that shine along the Paseo del Parque.
Did you know… almost 2 million LED bulbs are twinkling away in Malaga this Christmas.
Christmas Music in Malaga
Note that unless otherwise stated, all the concerts below are free.
Christmas Song and Dance – Malaga’s Performing Arts School (ESAEM) has free concerts in the run-up to Christmas. Saturday 1 December at 6.30pm outside the Cervantes Theatre and Thursday 13 December at 6.30pm in the Gran Hotel Miramar (free entrance via the seafront promenade, not Paseo Reding – get there early to be sure of a seat). Christmas songs accompanied by choreography for some early festive fun!
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 28 December. Expect a mixture of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, flamenco and pop.
Christmas classical music concert – The Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra performs Messiahs by Handel and Mozart on 17 December (8pm) at the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets from €12 and available online here. (Take your hanky!)
Christmas Ballet – the Romeo and Juliet ballet in the Cervantes Theatre should get you in the mood for Christmas. Wednesday 12 December at 8pm. Tickets from €15 here.
Cathedral Christmas concerts – Malaga Cathedral celebrates 3 Christmas concerts this year:
- University choir and the Malaga Camerata orchestra on Friday 14 December at 8pm.
- Young Baroque Orchestra of Andalucia on Wednesday 19 December at 8pm.
- And perhaps the ultimate Christmas concert, an organ recital on Monday 24 December (Christmas Eve) at 11.30pm.
Top tip – join the queue outside the Cathedral entrance early to be sure of a place.
Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols – traditional English Christmas concert at St George’s Church in the English Cemetery (Avda de Pries, a short walk east from the bullring). Wednesday 19 December at 7pm.
Christmas concert – the Santa Cecilia choir sing Spanish carols at the Jorge Rando Museum (Calle Cruz del Molinillo 12, just north of the old quarter) on Friday 28 December at 7pm.
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). 28 December from 10am to 11pm 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)
- Diputación (on Calle Pacifico, next to La Térmica cultural centre – get here on the No 7 bus) – open daily 10am -9pm (until 5pm on 24 December and 31 January, closed 25 December and 1 January). This is one of the biggest nativity scenes in the province with 180 square metres of Biblical scenes, lighting and animated sections including two rivers. Plus some well-known Malaga landmarks including the Caminito del Rey! Music and narrative (in Spanish only) plays every hour on the hour.
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:
Christmas Bazaar – the annual event takes place at St George’s Church in the English Cemetery (Avda de Pries, just east of the bullring) on Sunday 2 December from 12.30 to 2.30pm. Opportunity to buy gifts, second-hand books, cakes and bakes, and try your luck on that very English institution, the tombola!
Muelle Uno arts and crafts market takes place daily during December. See the stalls in the square near the Pompidou Centre entrance. Open 10am to 10pm until 13 January.
Red Friday takes place at La Térmica Cultural Centre on Friday 7 December from 7pm to midnight. As well as 50 stalls selling vintage goods there’s a roller disco and food trucks.
Christmas Food Market in the Paseo del Parque (just follow the delicious smell of food!) Thursday 6 December to Sunday 9 December. Sponsored by Sabor a Málaga, the Malaga produce promotion company, lots of stalls selling typical produce from the province including cold cuts, cheese, olive oil, fruit and vegetables, honey, wine, beer… Opportunities to try before you buy.
Paseo del Parque – lots of stalls selling Christmas gifts, fireworks and food from noon to midnight during the Christmas period.
Christmas Sporting Events in Malaga
The highlight of the running year takes place in December – the Malaga Marathon is on Sunday 9 December starting at 9am in Paseo del Parque and running 42k around the city before returning to the starting point. A great way to lose weight before the Christmas excesses but we’ll be watching rather than participating!
Shorter runs also take place including the San Silvestre run on Sunday 30 December. The 7.5km race starts and ends at the Rosaleda Football Stadium.
Read about the 5 best places for running in Malaga.
Christmas in Malaga for children
Children will love the lights and nativity scenes, and:
- Muelle Uno – funfair rides and Santa’s grotto complete with reindeer. Santa’s open for requests between 2nd December and 5th January (he overlaps a bit with the 3 Kings there) from noon to 2.30pm and 5 to 8pm.
- Corte Inglés esplanade – as usual, the department store has set up its Christmas attractions. Enjoy the ice rink, toboggan ride and merry-go-round. Open daily during shop hours (10am to 10pm).
For more information on things to do with children in Malaga, click here.
What’s on in Malaga in December – concerts
Several non-Christmasy events take places in Malaga this month. Highlights include:
Carlos Núñez, Spain’s most famous pipe player, brings an evening of Celtic music to the Cervantes Theatre on Wednesday 6 December at 8pm. Tickets from €10 here.
History of Rock
Rock your way to Christmas with this evening of the rock from the 50s to the present day. The sounds of Elvis and The Beatles give way to Queen and The Boss plus a good head-banging session to Metallica and AC/DC. You’ll know all the tunes… Saturday 8 December at 7pm. Tickets from €15 here.
Museum of Malaga Llemberg Quartet
The Llemberg Quartet plays classical music at a free concert in the lovely patio of the Museum of Malaga on Sunday 9 December at noon.
Local guitarist Pablo Alcázar plays his own compositions in the Jorge Rando Museum (Calle Cruz del Molinillo 12, just north of the old quarter) on Friday 14 December at 6.30pm.
What’s on in Malaga in December – botanical garden visits
The Jardín de la Concepción botanical gardens continue their evening visits in December. They take place on Saturday 1st, 8th and 15th of December at 7.30pm. Tickets cost €7.50 per person and you can reserve yours by phoning 951 926 180.
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):
CAC Malaga has 3 exhibitions in December.
Hernan Bas – You’re just in time to catch this exhibition, the first for the Miami artist in Spain, where you can see 36 paintings and drawings by this very contemporary artist. Entitled A Brief Intermission, the exhibition includes the piece “Sorting out Andy” created for this exhibition and continuing the Warhol theme in Malaga. Themes in Bas’ work include literature from the late 19th century (he was a big fan of Oscar Wilde) and the supernatural. There are no women in his work. Until 9 December.
Jose María Baez – the Cadiz artist exhibits his takes on literature and philosophy in art in his colourful installations in work. Until 10 February.
Dionisio González – Replacing Bas in the largest section of the CAC, this contemporary artist from Gijón in northern Spain has almost 100 works on display including photos, videos, prisms and models showcasing architecture, design and photography. From 14 December to 17 February.
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.
Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm. Free entry.
The most visited museum in southern Spain (and one of the top museums in Malaga) hosts of the big art exhibitions in Malaga this autumn looking at the artist’s Mediterranean roots. The ambitious curation contains over 200 art works and pieces and goes back to the early Iberian culture before coming forward through the centuries to meet Picasso. Expect to see lots of archaeological artefacts as well as paintings by some of Spain’s greatest classical artists including El Greco and Velázquez.
9 Oct – 3 Feb. Daily 10am-6pm. €5.50 (€10 combined permanent and temporary exhibition).
Brilliant Future. The Art of Socialist Realism is the main exhibition this year and showcases art produced during the Stalin era and subject to ‘official guidelines’. Expect to see lots of the signature Soviet scarlet, some great paintings and objects from the 20th century and get an insight in a unique period of world history.
Kazimir Malévich – the new temporary exhibition showcases some of the most famous paintings by the creator of Suprematism, an art movement that isn’t too well known in western Europe. The exhibition includes 16 works that have never been exhibited in Spain before.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket.
Carmen Thyssen Museum
The Carmen Thyssen Museum continues to offer exceptional art in Malaga. This season’s temporary exhibition welcomes Fury of Colour featuring paintings by the great Spanish artist Francisco Iturrino. One of the key figures in Spanish Modern Art during the early 20th century, Iturrino takes colour to another level. We love his watercolours of the Botanical Gardens in Malaga, painted during a stay in the city. You can also see Jazz by Matisse, a lovely collection of vibrant collages made by the artist at the end of his life when he was too ill to paint. And as usual, don’t miss the great themed gifts in the museum shop.
6 Oct – 3 March Tues-Sun 10am-8pm. €4.50 for Fury of Colour and Jazz; €9 combo ticket for permanent and temporary exhibition. Free entry on Sundays from 5pm onwards.
This great creative space on Muelle Uno (at the corner with El Palmeral) has lots of art on show. New artists including some local talents exhibit from 29 September to 24 November. Artsenal is open daily from 11am to late. Look out for their free events throughout the month too. Check out their Facebook page for details.
The multi-coloured cube houses Modern Utopias taking you round European ideals in art with some of the continent’s greatest painters on display. Picasso, Kandinsky, Miró, Le Corbusier and Chagall all rub shoulders with fun installations including a revolving nose, sheep on wheels and sardine-tin bed, plus some great videos.
The Pompidou Centre has 2 temporary exhibitions. Reprojected Materials is one of the most interactive experiences you’ll find at art museums in Malaga. Using a projector (remember those?), light, colour and transparencies you get to create your very own reprojection. Until 11 January with special opening hours – Mon, Weds, Thurs and Fri 5 to 8pm, weekends 12.30 to 2pm and 5 to 8pm.
Open Wednesday to Monday 9.30am to 8pm. €7
Top tip – art museums in Malaga have free entry on Sundays after.4pm.
Jorge Rando Museum
The latest temporary exhibition at this art museum in Malaga showcases the work of Pepe España, a “forgotten local painter” in the exhibition “Expression and Colour Vertically in Space”. Calle Cruz del Molinillo 12.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 8pm. Free entry.