Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and experiencing the festive period in the extraordinary city of Malaga is no exception. Whether you’re planning a pre-Christmas trip to unwind and purchase presents for your friends and family, or are looking to escape to somewhere different for December 25th, there is a host of things that will get you feeling Christmassy in no time!
When wandering around Malaga during the Christmas period, it will be hard not to have your breath taken away by the incredible array of Christmas lights that have been installed. Although there are several locations across the city where you can see this, Calle Larios is one of the best examples and should definitely not be missed whilst on a getaway this winter.
Using our car rental from Malaga airport service, hop in the car to visit this pedestrianised street, where you can enjoy a spot of shopping – either for yourself or to pick up some last-minute gifts – whilst under a canopy of lights. Parking nearby is easy, with Plaza de Marina having a number of spaces in a secure underground carpark. From there, it is just a quick 4 minute walk to the shops where from November 30th through to January 6th, the street will be illuminated by the lights from 6:30 pm – 2:00 am, with light shows taking place three times a night at 6:30 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm.
The lights at Calle Larios have been inspired by the Cathedral of Malaga and are in the same design from 2017. Accompanied by snow cannons, the city has spent a large budget of €733,211 on the lights in order to make them as spectacular as possible, and no trip to Malaga over Christmas would be complete without allowing yourself to be awe-struck by the show. After visiting the lights, Jon from The Olive Press recommends “drinking some cava, sherry or vermouth at one of the older bars like El Pimpi, La Tranca or the Antigua Casa de Guardia whilst enjoying the happy mood and wonderful display”.
If you’re looking to indulge in a meal after a couple of hours on your feet, La Plaza has a special Christmas menu where everything is freshly made in addition to their extensive range of daytime dishes. Similarly, Al-Yamal is only a couple of minutes’ walk from Calle Larios and has dishes inspired by Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco on their menu.
Christmas markets make a fantastic afternoon activity if you’re looking for something to get yourself in the festive spirit. Fortunately, Malaga has some great options for you to visit, offering souvenirs to provide as presents to your loved ones, as well as a variety of delicious dishes for you to tuck into.Paseo del Parque is considered to be one of the most iconic Christmas markets in Malaga. Every year, 92 stalls are built in the park, each selling a variety of items including gifts and Christmas decorations. The beautiful setting makes this a fantastic Christmas market to visit, as you can enjoy views of the shimmering harbour whilst picking up the perfect present.
If one Christmas market isn’t enough, then Muelle Uno is also well worth a visit. Open until early January, there is a variety of different things for you to see and do. At Muelle Uno, children can enjoy visiting Santa Claus in La Casita de Navidad from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Aside from the market, there is also an array of shops and restaurants, allowing you to make a full afternoon of the festivities.
“Besides the lights and the markets, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the different Nativity Scenes, especially the one in the Cathedral and the Town Hall. If you have a car, a must visit is in a neighbourhood called La Mosca, as their nativity scene is simply spectacular”, shares Victor from We Love Malaga, a small family business, created in 2012 as a young, modern and excellence oriented project in South Spain throughout December, belenes appear across Malaga. One of the countries most prominent Christmas customs, these nativity scenes tell the story of Christmas with intricate figurines and Malaga City Council produces a guide each year informing visitors and locals which nativities are open to the public. As one of the city’s biggest Christmas traditions, you will find over 70 on display, from the Malaga Cathedral nativity and Neapolitan nativity.
Nativity scenes are well-loved by Andalusian families, who will all travel around Malaga together to view the belenes. The Museo de Belenes is situated a short drive out of Malaga but is a great place to visit if you’re interested in viewing more nativity scenes. With 7 exhibition rooms and 60 nativity scenes, you’ll be able to view everything from small scenes set in dioramas to a 25-metre-long scene depicting the eight provinces of Andalusia.
Although December 25th might mark the end of Christmas, Three Kings Day on January 6th is actually the most commonly celebrated occasion and is one not to be missed when in Malaga over the Christmas period. We Love Malaga loves “the atmosphere in the city. Malaga is a very welcoming city and the whole town, especially the old town likes to take part in this celebration, from young to elderly people”. Marking the day where gifts are exchanged, tradition dictates that children leave their shoes by their door on the evening of January 5th to hopefully awake to gifts inside them.
On January 5th, a parade makes its way through Malaga and many other Spanish locations to mark the arrival of the three kings. The procession is to celebrate the journey that the kings had to make in order to reach Jesus and is marked by the kings throwing sweets to the children that they pass. With the kings frequently arriving on camels, the rest of the floats are brightly decorated in beautiful colours, with music often bringing an element of celebration to the parade.
Things to do in Malaga this Christmas
There are so many reasons why a visit to Malaga over the festive season should be considered. Whether you’re looking for an alternative option to your typical festivities or are interested in soaking up the atmosphere before returning home in time to spend December 25th with your family, you’ll have a fantastic time. Below is a short recap of some of the things that you can expect to get up to whilst on holiday in Malaga at Christmas:
- Walk under the beautiful Christmas lights at Calle Larios
- Take a tour of the belenes set up around Malaga
- Visit the Museo de Belenes to discover more about nativity scenes
- Find the perfect gift at a Christmas market
- Enjoy the Three Kings Day procession