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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.

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. Wednesday1 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.

Read a full list of public holidays in Malaga in 2024.

Need a hotel in Malaga in May?

Check out our recommendations for the best hotels in town, from budget to splurge with almost everything in between. And if you don’t know where to stay or need information on the pros and cons of each area, read our definitive guide to where to stay in Malaga.

Malaga Book Fair

The 53rd edition of this event is on daily until 5 May on the Paseo del Parque. Stalls from local bookshops sell new, second-hand and antique books plus there are related events including storytime for children and author signings. More information and link to programme (in Spanish only) here.

Local author Joan Fallon who writes in English and about Spanish themes (including Malaga) has two signings at stand 15-16: Thursday 2 May at 11am and Saturday 4 May at 10.30am.

Family theatre

The Cervantes Theatre has organised a series of children’s theatre in May in conjunction with the Theatre Festival. Activities are in different parks around the city and in Spanish, but we think the language of mime, puppets and funny outfits is pretty universal. Free entry, but get there early to be sure of a place:

Friday 10 May – Auditorio Curro Román in El Palo at 7.30pm. Peneque, cien por cien valiente. Suitable for children aged 3 or more. Google map link here.

Friday 17 May – Parque de la Alegría, Ciudad Jardin at 7.30pm. Peneque, cien por cien valiente. Suitable for children aged 3 or over. Google map link here.

Saturday 18 May – Parque de Martiricos at 7.30pm. Kikú. Suitable for very young children. Google map link here.

Sunday 19 May – Parque de Huelin at 7.30pm. De flor en flor. Suitable for children aged 4 or over. 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: Saturday 18 May. Malaga celebrates International Museum Day with free entry to all the museums. Now that’s what we call a good day out!

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.

Dance in Malaga

The Noche de Blanco cultural evening will have several dance performances. Other dance events in Malaga include 11 short pieces by local dance school, Angel Pericet de Málaga at CAC Malaga – La Coracha on Friday 10 May at 6.30pm. Dancers include pupils and teachers from the school and their performances are inspired by the exhibition at the museum (upstairs from the MUPAM). Free entry, but as usual, we’d recommend getting there early.

German Cinema Festival

This month, CAC Malaga turns its attention to German movies with a series of four showings at 7pm on Tuesdays this month. Films are shown in their original version with subtitles in Spanish.

  • Tuesday 7 MayMagical Mystery, directed by Arne Feldhusen (2017)
  • Tuesday 14 MayThe Goldfish (Die Goldfische), directed by Alireza Golafshan (2019)
  • Tuesday 21 MayNico, directed by Eline Gehring (2021)
  • Tuesday 28 MayMy End, Your Beginning (Mein ende. Dein Anfang), directed by Mariko Minoguchi (2019).

Free entry, but you need a ticket available online here.

Traditional crafts exhibition

The Archivo Municipal (Alameda Principal 23) is showcasing ceramics, embroidery, sculpture and sketches by two artists, Paloma de la Cruz and Nuria Riaza. The exhibition, Ceramics and tradition in contemporary art, includes 57 pieces that explore how traditional crafts have a place in art today.

Open until 2 June. Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 5 to 8pm, weekends 10am to 1pm. Free entry.

Open House Festival in Malaga

This annual event that opens up historic and iconic buildings in Malaga to the public runs from 10 to 12 May this year. You can also join guided tours across the city. Some events you can just turn up to and others are via registration.

Full details and programme here.

Musical events in Malaga this May

As usual, there’s plenty going on musically this month, including:

Zarzuela at the English Cemetery

St George’s Anglican Church has a concert on Saturday 4 May at 8pm showcasing Spanish zarzuela (operetta style) with Elena Ramos singing and Tania Moya on the paino. Tickets cost €15 and you can book yours via this link.

Mamma Mia Fest

Sing along to all the hit songs from the ABBA movie on Sunday 5 May from 1 to 2pm in Muelle Uno (on the square outside the chemists). There’s also a photocall. You can dance!

Manon Lescaut

Puccini’s opera comes to the Cervantes Theatre on Friday 24 May (8pm) and Sunday 26 May (7pm). Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra provide the music and Malaga Opera Choir the song. Tickets cost from €28. More information and link to book here.

12th International Festival of Chamber Music

This year’s festival runs from 27 May to 1 June and has the theme Spiritual Resonance. The six concerts feature top chamber music players performing works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Saint-Saens… The first five take place at the Echegaray Theatre, while the finale on 1 June is at the Cervantes Theatre. Tickets cost €15 or €20. More information here.

Free concerts in Malaga in May

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

Carmen Thyssen Museum

The ARS Cello group perform on Friday 10 May at 7pm in the patio at this art museum. Free entry, but get there early (say 6pm) to bag your seat.

Museum of Malaga

The gorgeous patio at this museum has the following free monthly concerts this month:

Sunday 12 May at noon: Lumen Laudis y Piacere di Flauti (singers, strings and flutes) will perform Castilla, amor, humor y muerte. Free entry, but get there early to be sure of a seat. We’d recommend 11am.

Saturday 18 May at 8.30pm and 10pm: the Municipal Band gives a magical performance, accompanied by two magicians. The Band will play the overture from The Magic Flute, the Magician’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, Somewhere over the Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz and It’s a Kind of Magic by Queen. Both concerts are part of La Noche en Blanco.

Botanical Gardens

The Municipal Band plays in these lovely gardens on Sunday 12 May at noon. Free entry but you need tickets, available online. Note that the web page opens at 11am on Thursday 9 May and tickets are only available from then (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.

Wine tasting in Malaga in May

Our friends at Winederlust have wine tasting this month. Dates to be confirmed.

Noche en Blanco

This evening of free cultural events returns to its usual May slot this year and takes place on Saturday 18 May from 8pm to 1am. Dozens of venues participate in the city, with events and performances based on this year’s theme, the Magic in You.

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

Note that all museums have free entry for La Noche en Blanco.

Flamenco in Malaga in May

As usual, there are some great flamenco events in town this month. They include:

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 Laura Román 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).

Flamenco concerts

The Museo de Artes y Costumbres (on Plaza Enrique Herrero, off Calle San Juan) has three flamenco concerts this month:

  • 8 May at 8pm – Ramón Montoya and Manolo de Huelva, two key flamenco guitarists who will perform with their original instruments.
  • 9 May at 8pm – Antonia Contreras, a local flamenco singer, will perform with Juan Ramón Caro on guitar.
  • 30 May at 8pm – Luis el Zambo and Domingo Rubichi, two renowned flamenco singers from Jerez, will perform.

Tickets cost €21 (€20 plus €1 fee) and are available here. (Note that you have to scroll down the calendar to find the date and concert you’re looking for.)

Learn to make paella

April has welcomed a new cooking school in Malaga, Elbasi Taller de Cocina in the Soho district. Chef Laura (Le Cordon Bleu trained) is offering a 3-hour cooking course during which you learn how to cook two local dishes and a real paella. Tickets cost €56.95 per person and include two drinks and a surprise dessert.

Best of all? You get to eat the yummy results afterwards. Book your cooking experience now.

Dramatised tours of the Botanics

The lovely Botanical gardens have two dramatised tours this month.

For children

El Talismán Mágico (The Magic Charm) takes the theme of the wicked Uruk who wants to destroy the gardens, so visiting children get together with the Magician Fael and other characters to find the magic charm to bring the gardens back to life.

Friday 3 and Friday 24 May at 6pm.

Note that the activity is in Spanish, but we imagine the imagination and fun will go a long way to translating. And magic charms are universal!

For adults

An Unexpected Visit showcases the gardens as they were when the original owners lived there. Saturday 11 May at 9pm. Note that this activity is also in Spanish.

Both activities cost €17 per person. To book a place, call 951 92 61 80 or 639 91 40 55 or send an email to infojbotanicomalaga@gmail.com

Boutique Hotels

Casa de las Mercedes

Tucked away on a pedestrian street (so no car access) near the Cervantes Theatre, this 1737 historic townhouse has plenty of antique charm …

Splurge hotels

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

Treat yourself to room 7 or 8 with lovely views of Malaga below. The hotel serves no meals other than breakfast (€10, not included in pr …

Mid-range hotels

Hotel MS Maestranza

The largest hotel in the Malagueta district of Malaga, the Hotel MS Maestranza has the beach and Muelle Uno on its doorstep. As you’d expec …

Happy Birthday Malaga Port!

Malaga Port celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and will be holding several special events to celebrate. The first begins on Friday 17 May with an exhibition of photos of the Port over the last 150 years. You can see these along the Pergola walkway until August.

Art exhibitions in Malaga this May

As usual, Malaga is showcasing some excellent art this month, with several great new exhibitions. Note that some art museums get very busy, particularly the Picasso Museum. We’d recommend buying tickets in advance. Here’s our pick of the best.

Bishop’s Palace

This lovely space opposite the Cathedral has a new exhibition this month, showcasing some of the world’s most famous artists. From Raphael to Bacon exhibits works from the private collection belonging to Juan Abelló and Anna Gamazo.

Paintings on display include masterpieces by Spanish artists such as El Greco, Goya and Dalí, alongside others such as Rembrandt, Degas Bacon. You can also see Gamazo’s photographs in the Latin America in Movement exhibition.

From 14 May until 18 August. Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 7pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm. €3 entrance fee (donated to charity).

Picasso Museum

The most-visited museum in southern Spain has just opened a new permanent collection, called Picasso: Structures of Invention. The exhibition shows the 20th century’s greatest artist’s creative process through 150 works. You can also see 22 works from his La Californie sketchbook, which he drew in Cannes in 1956.

Glass and Pipe by Picasso

You can also see Maria Blanchard, A Painter in spite of Cubism, the new temporary exhibition. Blanchard (1881-1932) is one of Spain’s most prominent modern female painters and was the first to take up Cubism in her art. The exhibition covers her artistic lifetime, with Cubist and non-Cubist works. Until 29 September.

Open daily 11am to 7pm. Tickets €12, free Sundays after 5pm. While you’re there, do visit the Picasso Museum café with its lovely patio.

Pompidou Centre

The latest exhibition, Place-ness, Inhabiting Space, explores how we interact and live with our surroundings. The six sections include a wide range of installations, paintings, sculptures and videos. And as usual, they all provide plenty of food for thought.

Cornish slate circle by Richard Long at the Pompidou Malaga
Cornish Slate Circle by Richard Long

Read about the latest collection at the Pompidou Centre

Colour in movement

Carlos Cruz-Diez was one of the world’s greatest exponents of optical-kinetic art and stood out within the Op-Art movement as the instigator of the use of colour. This bright exhibition contains 30 of his works in the form of interactive slides. Until 29 September.

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

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.

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 a temporary exhibition, Latent Modernity. It showcases over 60 paintings by Spanish artists from the 1920s to the 1970s. Anyone who was anyone in the artistic world is on display, such as Picasso, Juan Gris, Menchu Gal and Antonio López. Until 8 September.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm, €11, free on Sundays from 4pm.

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:

Legacy of Modernism

34 paintings by German artist Günther Förg, one of the most prominent 20th-century artists. The works reflect Förg’s passion for architecture and minimalism. Until 26 May.

Rehearsal for Joy

US artist Theresa Chromati has her first exhibition in a European museum, with her works in acryllic, glitter and sculpture. Until 2 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. 

La Térmica Cultural Centre

La Termica Cultural Centre has one exhibition this month, We are made of star dust by Aaron Johnson. The 16 paintings, created over the last three years, showcase Johnson’s use of liquid acryllics on damp canvas.

Free entry. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 2pm and 5 to 8.30pm. 

Get to La Térmica by walking west along the seafront (the cultural centre is behind the modern glass Diputación building) or on the No 7 bus from the Alameda Principal (south side).

Markets in Malaga in May

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

Red Friday

This vintage market with live music and performances returns to La Térmica Cultural Centre on Friday 3 May from 6pm to midnight. This month’s edition includes live music from The Change and Oddliquor, plus DJ sessions. Cápsula RED will showcase local fashion talents and there’ll be four performances.

Entry costs €5 (online purchase only). For more details and link to buy your ticket, click here.

English Market

The English Cemetery (on Avda de Pries, opposite La Malagueta bullring) holds its regular market on Saturday 11 May from 11am to 7pm. Stalls include second-hand books, curios and antiques, and arts and crafts. Live music and a food truck. Entry costs €1 in aid of the cemetery.

Pop along for a market with a difference and to admire the recent restoration work at the Cemetery – they’ve been very busy!

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 5 May from 11am to 7pm. 

Soho Market on Calle Tomás Heredia, takes place on Sunday 26 May 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 11 May from 10am to 2pm.

Huelin Park Saturday 25 May 9am to 2pm.

Sporting events in Malaga in May

Events to be confirmed.

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