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what's on in Malaga in May

What’s on in Malaga in May 2024

Welcome to Malaga in May, a month that comes jam-packed with events and things to do. Read on to discover what’s on in the city this month.

Please note that the events on this page refer to those in May 2023. We will be updating them for 2024 as soon as we have the information.

Editor’s note – this post is, as always, a work in progress and we’ll be adding new events in Malaga as we hear about them. So, bookmark this page and check by every so often to see the new ones.

Looking for some inspo this month? Check out our list of 10 things to do in Malaga in May.

Public holiday in Malaga

Perhaps best of all, May starts with a public holiday in Malaga. Monday 1 May celebrates Labour Day. Don’t expect to find any banks, offices or businesses open on the day and most shops will be closed too. However, bars and restaurants in Malaga will be open. For a full list of public holidays in Malaga in 2023, read our dedicated post.

Malaga Book Fair

The 52nd edition of this event is on daily until 7 May on Plaza de la Marina. Stalls from local bookshops sell new, second-hand and antique books plus there are related events including storytime for children and author signings. Open weekdays 11am to 2pm and 4.30 to 8.30pm, Saturdays 11am to 3pm and 4 to 9pm, and Sundays 11am to 3pm and 4 to 8pm.

Joan Fallon, a local fiction writer who has published several excellent novels, will be signing copies at Caseta (Stall) 8 on Thursday 4 May from 11am to 2pm.

Family games

The Cervantes Theatre has organised a series of family game evenings in May in conjunction with the Theatre Festival. They consist of interactive games and puzzles, and are suitable for children from 2 upwards. Activities are in Spanish, but we think the language of games and puzzles is pretty universal. Free entry, but get there early to be sure of a place:

  • Saturday 6 May – Plaza del Patrocinio in the city centre at 7pm. Google map link here.
  • Friday 12 May – Jardines de Alberto Suárez in El Palo at 7pm. Google map link here.
  • Saturday 13 May – Huelin Park at 7pm. Google map link here.

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: Thursday 18 May. Malaga celebrates International Museum Day with free entry to all the museums. Now that’s what we call a good day out!

Harlem Globe Trotters

The world’s coolest basketball players come to Malaga on Saturday 22 May to the Martín Carpena Sports Stadium from 7pm. Tickets cost from €50 and are available online here.

Get to the Sports Stadium on Line 2 of the metro (last stop, Palacio de los Deportes) from Atarazanas station in the Alameda Principal or on the No 7 bus (last stop) from the south side of the Alameda Principal.

Blooming marvellous

May is one of the best months for flowers in Malaga, particularly roses and jacarandas. You can see roses in parks in the city, particularly in the rose gardens next to City Hall (Jardines de Pedro Alonso). And you’ll see the brilliant pop of jacaranda purple on trees everywhere. They’re at their best in Plaza de la Merced.

Opera in Malaga in May

Adriana Lecouvreur – you can see this opera by Cilea (music) and Colautti (libretto) at the Cervantes Theatre on Friday 19 May at 8pm and Sunday 21 May at 7pm. Tickets cost from €25 and you can buy them online here.

L’Italiana in Algeri – watch the recording of this opera at Albeniz Cinema on Tuesday 19 May at 7pm, from the Haus für Mozart in 2018. Cecili Bartoli takes the leading role. Tickets cost €15 and are available from the cinema’s box office.

Free concerts in Malaga in May

As usual, this month brings a choice of free concerts. They include:

Sagrado Corazón Church

The lovely Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón (on Calle Compañía, next to the Carmen Thyssen Museum) has a free concert on Monday 1 May at 12.30pm when the AmaSing choir performs a selection of pieces including the Quincy Jones version of Handel’s Hallelujah!

Russian Museum

Listen to works by Debussy, Shostakovich and Webern, played a string quartet on Friday 5 May at 7pm. Free entry, but you need to get a ticket first, available from the museum reception from 5pm onwards on the day. The ticket includes free entry to the exhibitions on show (see below for details) from 5 to 7pm.

Botanical Gardens

The Municipal Band plays in these lovely gardens on Sunday 7 May at noon with a programme that includes works by Holst and Turina. Two prize-winning players will perform on the clarinet and violin. Free entry but you need tickets, available online (link to be announced). Note that the web page opens on Thursday 4 May and tickets are only available from 11am (the link doesn’t work before hand).

There’s a special bus service, leaving from the mainline station at 11am, arriving at the gardens at 11.40am. The return bus leaves at 1pm. Tickets cost €1.40 each way.

Thursdays at the Ocón

The auditorium in the Paseo del Parque hosts Festijoven 2023, a series of free concerts performed by young locals. There are three in May on:

  • Thursday 4 May at 8.45pm – the Mini Big Band Insostenible give a jazz concert.
  • Thursday 11 May at 9.15pm – flamenco dance performance
  • Thursday 18 May at 8.45pm – Spanish dance performance.

Wine tasting in Malaga in May

Our friends at Winederlust are diving deep into the world of vermouth on Saturday 6 May at 2pm in the gardens at the lovely Villa Atumalal in the east of the city. More information and link to book tickets (€45 for vermouths and pairing tapas) here.

Film Festivals in May

Malaga celebrates two film festivals this month:

Czech Film Festival

This continues at CAC Malaga, with two screenings in May, both at 6pm.

  • Banger – directed by Adan Sedlák in 2022, Tuesday 2 May.
  • Chyby/ Emma in Love – directed by Jan Prusinovsky in 2021, Tuesday 9 May.

Films are shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles. Free entry, but you need a ticket, available from this link.

Italian Film Festival

The sixth edition in Malaga runs from 13 to 21 May at the Albeniz Cinema. More information from the website.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Jorge Rando Museum’s free screening takes place on Friday 26 May at 6pm when you can see this 1925 classic by Wallace Worsley. It’s a silent movie and in black and white. There’s a short introduction to the film and discussion afterwards in Spanish. Entry is free, but get there early to grab your seat.

The Jorge Rando Museum is on Calle Cruz del Molinillo 12, to the north of the old quarter, opposite the lovely Mercado de Salamanca.

Noche en Blanco

This evening of free cultural events returns to its usual May slot this year and takes place on Saturday 20 May from 7pm to 1am. Dozens of venues participate in the city, with events and performances based on this year’s theme, The Good Life.

For full details on this event in Malaga, read our Noche en Blanco post.

Flamenco in Malaga in May

Bienal de Flamenco in Malaga

May sees the continuation of the 8th edition of the Bienal de Flamenco in Malaga, with performances in all flamenco genres in the city and surrounding towns and villages until 27 May.

For more information and link to book tickets read our dedicated guide to Malaga Flamenco Festival.

Free flamenco concert

This month’s free concert takes place on 29 May at 7.30pm in the MVA Cultural Centre on Calle Ollerías. Singer Chelo Soto will be performing – the video below gives you an idea of what to expect.

Tickets are free, but you need to get yours from the box office on the day (available from 7pm 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).

Art exhibitions in Malaga this May

As usual, Malaga is showcasing some excellent art this month, with several great new exhibitions. Here’s our pick of the best.

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.

Picasso Sculptor: Matter and Body

Reclining Bather, 1931

This is the first of the two big exhibitions commemorating the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death this year and the first major exhibition in Spain to focus on him as a sculptor. It was just one of his favoured mediums and he mostly focused on the human body. From 9 May until 10 September.

Open daily 11am to 7pm. Tickets €9.50, free Sundays after 5pm. While you’re there, do visit the Picasso Museum café with its lovely patio.

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

Sheila Hicks: Travelling Threads

The latest temporary exhibition at the Pompidou Centre arrives on 24 May and showcases textile art by American-born, Paris-resident artist, Sheila Hicks. This is the first exhibition dedicated to her in Spain. Until 10 September.

You can also see The Laberynth of Light and the Minotaur by Bernardi Roig, an installation made from 25 blocks of polystyrene. Until 30 May.

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

Russian Museum

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 alternative collections. 

Russian Art Through English Eyes – works by Russian artists such as Venetsianov, Kandinsky and Goncharova from the private collection belonging to Jenny Green. She owns one of the largest collection of paintings and sketches from the 19th and 20th centuries. Until 5 June.

Kandinsky, Chagall and Poliakoff – this trio of artists were major contributors to the art magazine XX Siècle, published between 1938 and 1985. This exhibition shows their original lithographs and engravings. Until November.

For Sale – an installation by Ukranian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Until 5 June.

Absent – a photo exhibition by award-winning Spanish photographer Jose Manuel Ballester whose works reflect on scenes with no people and the absence of Russian art at the museum. Until 5 June.

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.

Carmen Thyssen Museum

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

Grete Stern photo montage at exhibition in Carmen Thyssen Museum Malaga

The museum also has three temporary exhibitions:

  • Street Life, Lisette Model and Helen Levitt in New York – 20 photos taken by these women artists during the 1940s. Until 11 June.
  • Buenos Aires Fever – over 100 photos by Hoarcio Coppola and photomontages by his wife, Grete Stern, from the 1930s. Until 10 September.
  • Painting Itself – an exhibition by Spanish abstract artist, Luis Feito. Until 11 June.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm, €10 (€6 for entry between 2.30 and 4pm), 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 €12.90. 

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CAC Malaga

This contemporary art museum has the following exhibitions in May:

  • The Beginning of Something – the first museum exhibition by local artist, Imon Boy, includes 10 paintings as well as murals painted on site. The artist uses his works as diary, telling daily stories. Until 4 June.
  • There must be a Spanish word for that feeling – 20 paintings by German artist Friedrich Kunath. This is the LA-based artist’s first exhibition in Spain (and what a great name!). Until 21 May.
Cloudy Island by Friedrich Kunath
  • Dek Tau – comic book artist and illustrator Joan Cornellà shows over 150 of his original works in comic book and sketch form. Until 4 June.
  • Language – a video by Juan del Junco, showing the sounds and whistles used by local shepherds to communicate with their flocks. Until 30 June.

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. 

Jorge Rando Museum

As well as the permanent exhibitions, you can see one combining the work of Pablo Picasso and Jorge Rando. Their shared theme is bullfighting and you can see engravings by Picasso made between 1929 and 1960 and paintings by Rando from the 70s.

Open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm. Free entry. The museum is on Calle Cruz del Molinillo 12, on the northern edge of the old quarter. Don’t miss the Mercado de Salamanca market opposite.

Bishop’s Palace

The exhibition rooms at this gorgeous building next to the Cathedral in Plaza del Obispo has welcomed a fun collection by local artist Javier Calleja. Mr Günter, The Cat Show includes 209 works by Calleja including his iconic cats, a giant Mickey Mouse and lots of paintings and sculptures.

One of Javier Calleja’s cats

Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 7pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm. Free entry, but you’re asked to donate €3, all of which goes to AVOI, the local children’s cancer charity and two animal shelters.

Markets in Malaga in March

We’ll be adding dates for markets as soon as they’re confirmed.

Red Friday

The monthly cultural market event at La Térmica takes place on Friday 5 May from 6pm to midnight. Over 40 stalls selling vintage and artisan products, food trucks, live dance and music performances and DJ sets.

Arts & crafts markets

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 is also on Muelle Uno, daily from 10am to 10pm.

Merced Market is on Plaza de la Merced on Sunday 7 May from 11am to 7pm. 

El Mercadillo del Inglés takes place in the English Cemetery on Saturday 13 May from 11am to 5pm, with stalls selling vintage gems, crafts, second-hand books and much more.

Soho Market on Calle Tomás Heredia, takes place from 11am to 7pm.

Organic food markets

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 6 May from 10am to 2pm.

Huelin Park Saturday 20 May 9am to 2pm.

Sporting events in Malaga in May

Freedom of Press Run

This annual event takes place on Sunday 7 May at 9am and runs 7km round the city from La Rosaleda Stadium to City Hall. There’s also a 2km walk . Part of the proceeds will be donated to UNICEF for children affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Sign-up costs €10 for the run and €6 for the walk – more information here.

Malaga Sailing Cup 2023

The 5th edition of this cup takes place this year from 19 to 21 May around Malaga Port. It’s one of the biggest sailing events in Spain and its organisers, the Real Club Mediterráneo, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, so expect a big occasion.

More details here.

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