Christmas Has Arrived: Original Plans For Enjoying The Holidays In The Province of Malaga
The Christmas season is here and with it, a Malaga decorated in coloured lights and ornaments. Markets, nativity scenes, carols and lighting surround us during these days, as well as the Costa del Sol’s wondrous family atmosphere, inviting us outside to enjoy the city and all it has to offer. We’ve collected a few ideas for enjoying these special days in an ideal place to relax and get some Christmas shopping in along the way.
Christmas in Malaga
1. Christmas Market
The Christmas temperature in the Malaga province can be surprisingly pleasant, inviting you to stroll through the city streets in comfort. Each town in the province hosts its own Christmas market where, beside typical holiday products, one can find the work of local artisans. In the capital, these vendors can be found in the park that runs to the Plaza de la Marina. There, visitors can find figurines to decorate the nativity scenes, shepherd costumes, tambourines and sweets, alongside necklaces, rings and earrings handmade with love for a Christmas gift for that special someone. The markets provide a wonderful opportunity to take a lovely walk while finding what to put under the tree this year.
2. Christmas Lights
Malaga is known across the country for its beautiful Christmas lights. Hundreds of locals and visitors come together to catch the first glimpse of the colourful decorations. The main Alameda avenue is decorated with thousands of white lights that run through the leafy branches of the city’s most famous trees, lining the way to the famous Marques de Larios roundabout. It is also important to remember a stroll down the Larios Street (Calle Larios),which glows with its own Christmas magic.
3. Creche Contests
A number of cities across the Costa del Sol celebrate the days before Christmas Eve with nativity contests. One of the most well known events is held in Fuengirola, where each year’s assembly is more surprising than the last. Many residents will dedicate an entire room or their whole garage to a nativity scene. Preparation can sometimes begin months before, but it is most well known among Fuengirolenos. Each year, the town designs a route with signs to guide anyone who wants to visit each scene.
4. The Playmobil Nativity
Each year, the bullring in Antequera stages a very special nativity scene – a montage made with genuine “Playmobil” figures. These childhood favourites are the stars of this 300 square metre walk through history, though there are no scheduled tours to see these toys. If you want to see something truly original this Christmas, do not hesitate to travel to the city of El Torcal.
5. Street Concerts
Christmas magic fills every corner of Malaga each year. One of the most important ingredients of this season is the host of Christmas concerts held in the streets of the city. The historical centre of Malaga hosts most of these shows, capturing the attention of visitors and locales alike. Violins, guitars and flutes are just some of the instruments that can be heard at the foot of the Alcazeba, in the Plaza de la Merced or on the long, Larios Street (Calle Larios). Take some time to stroll around the capital of the Costa del Sol to capture this special treat for your ears.
6. The Annual Verdiales Festival
Malaga folklore is home to one of the most interesting demonstrations of flamenco – Verdiales. This particular version of flamenco is accompanied by a dance and is centred on a violin, four guitars and a tambourine. Each Christmas, Malaga plays host to a sampling of this cultural rarity with the Annual Verdiales Festival. People from across the province come together to celebrate this style of music and dance, which takes place on Fools Day each year (December 28th). If you want to catch a glimpse of the idiosyncrasies of Malaga music, do not miss out on this enjoyable festival gathering.
7. Belen Barbies
There are a number of nativity scenes with their own, distinct identities, one of which is the Barbie-themed gathering in the capital of the Costa del Sol, made up of more than 500 toy figures in the Malaga Plaza. Action Man, Ken and Madelman all accompany the most famous doll of all time in Spain. The scene hosts various scenes, including the desert with merchants, the Annunciation, Joseph’s dream, the arrival in Bethlehem, the committee of Augustus Roman cavalry, the feast of Herod and his concubine, the Sanhedrin prophecy leading to Herod, a synagogue trial and the Reyes Magos (Three Kings) arriving at the entrance.
8. Christmas Items
If you find yourself in the Malaga province this Christmas, it’s important to try the most typical items in the area. Antequera is the birthplace of shortbread and the craftsmanship that comes with this ancient recipe attracts hundreds each year in search of this sweet snack. The nuns in the convent also put their hands to work for the faithful, who arrive in search of their egg yolks, fritters and shortbread. The typical Christmas sweets in Malaga are exquisite and have a well deserved reputation in the world of national pastries.
9. Walks Along The Beach
Despite being December, the sun still rises magnificently in the sky in Malaga. The temperatures are still very pleasant, inviting all to go for a walk and for those more adventurous among us, a trip to the beach for a swim is even possible. The brisk December water can help circulation and skin problems. Whatever you choose, if you are in Malaga this Christmas, you should save time for a walk or bike ride along the beach.
10. Carolling Contests
Throughout the city of Malaga, one can find a celebration of traditional holiday carols this season with annual contests. These are days where angelic voices take on typical Christmas songs. Corals, church groups or pastoral shows cast a spotlight on programmes that have taken all year to prepare. Children and adults alike enjoy this annual event where the tambourine and zambomba are taken out of storage to lead the singing celebrations.
School vacations are a synonym of many children wanting to go out to play and have fun. Mima, a children exhibition in Malaga, is a unique and fun space for children to have a wonderful time. It features fair rides, skating rink, climbing wall and zip line. More than 60 fun, sporty and educational activities that will be enjoyable for the entire family.
12. Museums and workshops
Malaga is proud to be one of the Spanish and European cities with the largest number of quality museums and this offer gets more and more interesting with each passing day. To the already renowned ones, the Pompidou Center and the Russian Museum have been added. All of them feature temporary exhibitions, activities and workshops. However, since culture does not rest during Christmas, there will be theater plays for all audiences in the main theaters of Malaga.
13. Walk along Muelle 1 and Palmeral de las Sorpresas
Walking along Muelle 1 (Pier 1) and Palmeral de las Sorpresas is another example of the things you must do if visiting Malaga. Now, during Christmas, there is more entertainment and many more activities available for children as well as live music shows, in addition to the stores, handicraft stands and restaurants for all tastes and budgets.
14. Play Planet at Caja Blanca
From Mondays to Saturdays, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Casa Blanca, there will be fun children activities including board games, championships and gifts.
15. Delivering the letter to the Royal Mailman and the Royal Pages
In the various districts of Malaga, children will have the chance to deliver their letters directly to the Royal Pages who will give them to the Three Kings. For example, at El Palo, in front if the Church of Las Angustias, on December 26th and 27th, or in the Juan Sebastián Elcano Avenue, on January 2nd.
16. A Very Enliven New Year’s Eve
You will be able to find a wide range of restaurants to spend New Year’s Eve at, with a party and a dinner or, if you prefer, you can spend it at one of the main squares of the Malaga municipalities. There are plenty of places where people gather to welcome the New Year. If you would prefer a bigger crowd, you can visit one of the following places:
- Malaga: Parque de la Constitución (Constitution Park)
- Torremolinos: Plaza de la Nogalera (Nogalera Square)
- Benalmádena: Plaza de la Mezquita (Mosque’s Square)
- Fuengirola: Plaza de España (Spain Square)
- Marbella: Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Tree Square)
17. Ice Skating
Children and adults can have a fun time at the skating rink installed at Andalusia Avenue, next to the entrance to El Corte Inglés of Malaga Capital. Each year, it offers a nice place to experience a good time during Christmas.
The rink is 35 meters long and 15 meters wide, and is open during the holiday season, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Wearing gloves is mandatory.
18. El Aguinaldo de Los 40 (Los 40’s Special Gift)
As it happens every year during Christmas, Los 40 Principales is organizing “El Aguinaldo” (Special Gift), a show that, by giving clues, guides contestants in their search for an envelope hidden in the streets of Malaga.
The rules of the game are simple. Everything starts at the Plaza del Carbón (Coal Square) at 8:00 p.m., where contestants will be given the first ten clues. The rest are provided through the radio as the night goes by. Each of the clues refer to a place where an envelope is hidden. The search area is restricted to the Historic Center of Malaga.
19. The Three Kings Parade
To properly wrap up Christmas. On January 5th, we will receive the visit of the Three Kings in horseback parade that traverses the main roads of the historic center. You can imagine how many families come out to greet Their Highnesses, many of which ready to get plenty of the candy the Kings hand out.
Let us take a look at the itinerary of The Three Kings’ Day Parade for 2017 in order for you to meet Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar along the Costa del Sol on January 5th.
The horseback journey will start at 5:00 p.m. on January 5th. The itinerary will be: Ayuntamiento de Málaga (Malaga City Hall), Avda. de Cervantes, Plaza General Torrijos, Paseo del Parque, Plaza de la Marina, Alameda Principal, Puente Tetuán, Avenida de Andalucía, Nazareno del Paso, Puente de la Esperanza, Manuel José García Caparrós, Pasillo de Santa Isabel, Carretería, Álamos, Plaza de la Merced.
Right after the parade, do not miss the beautiful Offering of the Three Kings 2017. It will take place at the staircase of the Cathedral and then there will be a concert of the Escolanías (schola cantorum) of the Gibraljaire and San Estanislao de Kostka schools
The horseback journey will start at 4:00 p.m. on January 5th. The itinerary will be: Official starting point of the parade at Plaza Blas Infante, Avda. Rafael Quintana, C/ Europa, Avda. Isabel Manoja, Avda. Los Manantiales, Plaza Costa del Sol, Avda. Joan Miró, Calle doctor Jiménez Encina, C/García de la Serna, Avda. Rafael Quintana and finishing at the Torremolinos City Hall.
The horseback journey will start at 4:30 p.m. on January 5th. The itinerary will be: Official starting point at Benalmádena Pueblo, Recinto Ferial los Nadales, Calle San Miguel, Avenida del Chorrillo, Avenida Juan Luís Peralta, Calle Jerónimo Garriga, Calle Lomillas, Plaza de España, Calle Real and finishing at Avenida Juan Luís Peralta.
The horseback journey will start at Avenida de los Boliches and then will take Plaza del Carmen, Avda. Los Boliches, Avda. Ramón y Cajal, Avda. Matías Saenz de Tejada, Avda. Condes de San Isidro, Plaza de España, C/Molino de Viento, Calle Camilo José Cela, Avda. Juan Gómez, Avda. De Mijas and finishing at Calle Mallorca.
The Three Kings arrive at Marbella on January 5th aboard a ship that will touch port at Puerto Deportivo (the Marina) from where they will take a car to Plaza de los Naranjos to then continue along Avda. Severo Ochoa, Avda. Ramón y Cajal, Avda. Ricardo Soriano and finishing at Plaza Monseñor Rodrigo Bocanegra.
The Three Kings will arrive at Nerja City Hall at 4:00 p.m. and the parade will start at 5:00 p.m. It will traverse Parque Verano Azul, Calle Jaén, Calle Diputación, Calle Granada, Calle San Miguel, Plaza Cantarero Pintada, Puerta del Mar and finish at Balcón de Europa.
Where to stay
With the calendar at hand, do not hesitate to choose good lodging. For that purpose, Fuerte Hoteles is your best option to plan the perfect holidays. Marbella, Estepona or Torrox are places where you can find incredible lodging that keeps you close to all of these typical Andalusian celebrations.