Wondering what’s on in Malaga in May? The latest in our monthly round-up of events in Malaga brings the best of everything on in the city this month.
This time last year, we were still in strict lockdown and didn’t publish events for May at all. It’s therefore exciting to be writing about so many great events in Malaga for this May.
Note that Covid-19 restrictions are still very much in place so the number of tickets on sale are reduced and fewer people are allowed in. And it also means that events may be cancelled or their start times changed. The events listed on this page were correct at the time of writing (late April), but in these roller-coaster times, double-check with the venue especially if you have to travel.
Public holiday in Malaga
Perhaps best of all, May starts with a public holiday in Malaga. Saturday May celebrates Labour Day so don’t expect to find any banks, offices, food stores or shops open on the day. For most bars and restaurants in Malaga, however, it’s business as usual. Note that some shops open on Sunday instead. For a full list of public holidays in Malaga in 2021, read our dedicated post.
International Museum Day
If you’re on a budget holiday in Malaga this month or just like to make a saving, make a note of this date: Tuesday 18 May. Malaga celebrates International Museum Day with free entry to all the museums. Now that’s what we call a good day out!
Malaga Theatre Festival
The annual Theatre Festival continues in May with its second part. Mostly in the Cervantes Theatre and in Spanish, the works include the play adaptation of Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat, a fun look at a chamber music quartet Maestrissimo (a free event) and Torquemada. Full details of the programme on the Cervantes website.
Flamenco in Malaga in May
Soho Theatre continues its Flamenco Festival in May with two dance performances. One of Malaga’s greatest contemporary dancers and choreographers, La Lupi brings her company to the theatre on Saturday 15 May at 8pm. Tickets from €25, available here.
And on Sunday 16 May at 7pm, it’s the turn of Farruquito, another of the finest flamenco performers in Spain at the moment. Tickets from €25 and available online here.
Note that you can also buy tickets for Soho Theatre at the box office on Calle Córdoba 13, open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 8pm.
Aula Municipal de Flamenco in Malaga has its third concert of the season on Monday 10 May at 4.30pm in the Centro MVA on Calle Ollerías in the old quarter. Jesús Méndez, from one of the legendary flamenco families in Jerez de la Frontera sings. The video below gives you an idea of what to expect.
Entry is free but you need to get a ticket on the day from MVA (available from 4pm onwards) or from the Municipal Fiestas Department in Camino de San Rafael 99 (available from 9am onwards – you can get here on the No 20 bus from the Alameda Principal).
Musical Events in Malaga in May
Plenty to choose from on the music scene this month, plus a little bit of dance. Highlights include:
International Jazz Day
Malaga celebrates its 10th edition commemorating International Jazz Day with two concerts in Plaza de la Merced on Saturday 1 May. Paula Bilá Quartet (with Joan Masana on double bass) play at 6pm and the Malaga Jazz Collective at 8pm.
The recently-formed Soho Pop Symphonic plays film soundtracks at three concerts in Soho Theatre. Expect to hear classic tunes from Bladerunner, Dr No, Breakfast at Tiffany’s etc. from cinema’s greatest composers including John Williams, Max Steiner, Vengelis and Alan Menken. Friday 8 and Saturday 9 May at 7.30pm and Sunday 10 May at 12.30pm. Tickets cost from €25 and are available here.
The English Cemetery opens its ‘real’ events season with El Último Trovador opera group performing extracts from Verdi’s classic. 9-10pm on Saturday 22 May. Tickets €12 on the door or online here. Get to the Cemetery by walking east on Paseo de Reding – it’s just after the bullring on the other side of the road.
The 9th edition of the International Chamber Music Festival takes place from 24 to 30 May at the Echegaray Theatre. This year’s concerts celebrate the art of the violin with performances from young talents and established masters of the instrument. Tickets cost €15 and you can buy them at the theatre box office or online.
The Carmen Thyssen Museum’s monthly concert takes place on 15 May at 7pm in the museum’s lovely patio with Batucada, a Brazilian percussion band. Entry is free but get in the queue early to be sure of a seat.
While April is the month for wisteria at the Malaga Botanical Gardens, in May it’s the turn of rose bushes and jacaranda trees. See the roses at their best in the Pedro Alonso Gardens (next to City Hall on the Paseo del Parque) from early May to the end of June. Jacaranda trees show off their brilliant purple flowers throughout the city but perhaps the best display in on Plaza de la Merced from the middle of the month onwards.
After the recent rain this April, we imagine the blooms will be extra stunning!
It’s been well over a year since the FYCMA held an exhibition open to the general public so it’s great to see that the 2021 edition of healthy and sustainable living is going ahead. The 3-day event includes workshops, show cooking, mindfulness, yoga and Falun Dafa classes, family activities and the chance to try out an electric car. Friday 14 May from 10am to 8pm and Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May 11am to 8pm. Entry costs €3 (€6 for the 3 days) if you buy online and €5 (€10 for the 3 days) on the door on the day. Get to Malaga Congress Centre on buses 4, 19 or 20 from the Alameda Principal (journey time is around 25 minutes with a short walk at the end).
John Cassavetes – Indie pioneer
The Albeniz Cinema celebrates Cassavetes, the actor and director largely accredited with inventing independent cinema. You can see two of his films in May: Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) on Saturday 1 May at 11.30am and Opening Night (1977) on Saturday 8 May, also at 11.30am.
John Ford – Essentials
The Albeniz Cinema also pays homage to John Ford with two of his greatest films on Sunday 2 May when it screens The Man who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Sunday 9 May with Donovan’s Reef (1963). Both are at noon.
What’s on in Malaga in May at the art museums
As usual, some of best things to do in Malaga in May include art.
Every year, the Russian Museum and Pompidou Centre receive two new pieces of art, created and installed in the museums by contemporary artists. This year’s are:
Pompidou Centre – Eryk Pall paints Le Sens du Vent on the vast stairway at the museum. You can see its unveiling on Friday 14 May from 6pm onwards. Free entry but you need to get an invite from the museum ticket office on the day.
Russian Museum – Eryk Pall and David Burbano create 1% on the feature wall next to the escalators in the museum. See this one for the first time on Saturday 15 May from 7pm onwards. Free entry but you need to get an invite from the museum ticket office on the day.
It’s all change again at the Russian Museum and Malaga receives yet another completely new collection from the Russian State Museum in St Petersburg. This year’s exhibition takes War and Peace as its central theme with 183 works by Russian masters and French and German artists with ties with Russia. Expect to see references to epic battles, the October Revolution and World War I. The works include, as always, paintings and sculptures and provide unique insight into Russian life and culture.
Joining the main exhibition are two smaller ones: Ivan Aivazovsky and Seascapes – 26 works by this master of painting water plus 13 others by his contemporaries. And appropriately given the title of the sister exhibition, Tolstoy – the Path of Life. The watercolours and illustrations explore Tolstoy’s friendships with figures in Russian society and show scenes from some of his most famous novels.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm. Permanent exhibition €6, temporary exhibitions €4, €8 combined ticket. Free Sunday 2 May all day and on Sundays after 5pm.
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 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.
Metamorphosis by Miquel Barceló is in Malaga. Spain’s most famous contemporary artist has nearly 100 works on display that he created between 2014 and 2020. They include ceramics, paintings, watercolours, travel journals and 7 giant bronze ‘matchstick’ sculptures on display in the central patio. Like Picasso, Barcelón sees “every piece of work as experimental”. Until September.
Cherry by James Turrell is the first temporary exhibition of the year, showcasing the Californian artist’s work on light and space. His installations treat both as materials in their own right. Until June.
Open daily 11am to 6pm. Tickets €12 for all 3 exhibitions, €8 Cherry and Barceló, free Sundays after 3pm. Note that the Picasso Museum café is closed at the moment 😞
Carmen Thyssen Museum
The museum has just celebrated its tenth anniversary and continues to showcase Spanish art from the 18th and 19th centuries seen in the permanent collection,
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm, 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 and it includes entry to the museum.
The multi-coloured cube includes A Century of Spanish Art from Miró to Barceló exhibition. As usual, the exhibition has an eclectic display of paintings, videos, installations and sculptures. Read about this 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 – Pompidou Centre, Picasso Museum and Jorge Rando Museum are the only art museums open on Mondays.
The contemporary art museum has 2 main exhibitions this month.
After the Gold Rush by Jules de Balincourt – over 40 works by the French artist, created during 2010 and 2020. Balincourt uses vibrant colours and urban scenes predominate his work as well as islands. Until 23 May.
Fifteen by Rafa Macarrón – the Madrid artist brings 15 works to CAC this month including 10 oil paintings and 4 giant bronze sculptures. All take dogs as their central theme – the first one greets you outside the musuem. Until 6 June.
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 9am-9.30pm. Free entry.
Xebius and the Art of Dreams
Local Manuel Camino, aka Xebius and the creator of XBOX 360, has an exhibition in the Archivo Municipal showcasing his photo-collages based on his dreams and travels. Using illustration, graphic design and 3D techniques, Camino paints an unusual world featuring the occasional Malaga landmark.
See it until 13 June at the Archivo Municipal, Alameda Principal 23. Open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 5 to 8pm, weekends 10am to 1pm. Free entry
The cultural centre hosts an exhibition starring Brigitte Bardot when she was at the height of her acting career. The exhibition showcases photos of the actress when she was filming Les Bijoutiers du clair de lune, a French/Italian production on the Costa del Sol back in 1957. Location settings include Mijas, Torremolinos, Alhaurín el Grande, Malaga, El Chorro and the Caminito del Rey.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 2pm and 5 to 8.30pm. Free entry.
Get to La Térmica Cultural Centre on the No 7 bus from Alameda Principal (south side).
Markets in Malaga in April
El Zoco market on Muelle Uno sells arts and crafts every Sunday from 11am to 7pm. Combine your browsing with a stroll in the sunshine under the Pergola.
Spring market on Muelle Uno with arts and crafts, clothes and accessories. Open until 9 May 10am to 9pm.
El Paseo Market has its monthly date on Sunday 9 May on the Malagueta seafront promenade 11am to 7pm.
Soho Urban Market has arts and crafts stalls open on Sunday 23 May on Calle Tomás Heredia, 11am to 7pm.
Organic markets selling fresh produce grown organically in the Guadalhorce Valley to the north of Malaga. As well as fruit and veg, local producers sell bread and cakes, honey, olive oil, dried fruit and nuts, and organic soaps and creams. La Malagueta (between Paseo de Reding and Calle Cervantes) on Saturday 8 May from 10am to 2pm and Huelin Park Saturday 22 May 9am to 2pm.
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.