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Malaga is a great city to visit all year round – and Christmas is absolutely no exception. Here are just a few things that the LVC team will be doing in the city over the festive period.
Ooh and Aah at the Christmas Lights
Every year at Christmastime (until 6th January), the whole of Calle Larios is turned into a cathedral of lights. Malaga Christmas lights are the best in Spain and, with a light display with music at 18.30, 20.00 and 22.00 every day (apart from 24th and 31st December), they make for a great evening experience. 2023 sees video mapping on the Cathedral at 18.45hrs, 20.00hrs and at 22.00hrs from1st December to 4th January (no shows on 24th and 31st December).
There’s also a spectacular display in La Concepcion Botanical Gardens just outside the city, with theme for 2023 “Angelical: The Kingdom of Christmas Angels”. Divided into eight sections, the gardens are strung with magnificent light displays to be wandered at your leisure.
Shop ’til You Drop
Malaga is a great place to do some Christmas shopping. The high street is almost taken over by Spanish brands throughout Europe so it’s good to visit Zara, Maximo Dutti, Bimba y Lola and Cortefiel on their home turf.
Malaga city centre is small enough to wander round on foot. The main shopping streets branch off Plaza de la Constitucion with most international brands represented. There are also Christmas markets held at different locations throughout December, the biggest being on Muelle Uno where you’ll find local produce, crafts and clothing stalls.
Book a Festive Theatre Night
There’s nothing like a festive trip to the theatre to get you into the Christmas spirit. This festive season at Cervantes Theatre in Malaga you can see the Nutcracker (29th of December at 16.30 and 20.30, tickets available here) or Swan Lake (7th January at 19.00 Tickets available here).
Take in the Views at El Corte Ingles
Every Christmas, the main department store, El Corte Ingles, always has a winter wonderland with ice skating, snow slides, carousels and fun festive activities to do with children. The store itself is decked out and great for a browse in the warm. If you fancy a bite to eat or a drink, head up to the top floor to the Gourmet Experience where there are gorgeous views of the twinkling lights of the city.
Experience an Authentic Zambombá
The zambombá is a typical southern Spanish Christmas tradition. Direct translation of this word is actually a specific percussion instrument (see above) but a zambombá is also a sort of Andalucian equivalent to Christmas carols with flamenco at its roots. Traditionally anis is drunk, and mantecados or polvorones (soft, crumbly shortbread sweets) are passed around. Not to be missed during a break in Malaga over Christmas. (For more information and to book: Teatroechegaray.com.)
Visit a Nativity Scene
Malaga has more than its fair share of nativity scenes. The two we like best, though, are Malaga Cathedral’s – a huge nativity scene from 4th December to 8th January – and The Glass Museum (Museovidrioycristalmalaga.com) where they have a whole nativity scene made from porcelain figures, known as Lladro, running from 13th December to 8th January.
Pay a Visit to Father Christmas
The big man himself, Father Christmas, is ready for visitors at Muelle Uno (near the Pompidou Centre) between 12 and 14.00hrs and 17 to 20.00hrs from the 25th November – 5th January (closed 25th December and 1st January). There’s also a snow machine and a Christmas market.
Try a Roscón de Reyes
The bakeries are full of Roscón de Reyes, a special cream cake in the shape of a crown, traditionally eaten at Christmastime. Look out for the surprise inside.
Spend an Afternoon on the Beach
Malaga has the best year-round climate of pretty much anywhere in Europe, and during December daytime temperatures can reach the late teens. With clear blue skies and sun on your face more or less guaranteed, the city beaches are great for running around with the kids, going for a walk or simply kicking back and chilling out.
Visit the Gibralfaro at Night
Perched high above the city looking out to sea, Malaga’s castle is an interesting place to visit any time. However, they offer evening tours, and at Christmas with the city all lit up it’s a beautiful spectacle.
Have a Warming Drink
Visit the longest running bar in Malaga, Antigua Casa de Guardia, on the corner of Alameda Principal. Have a glass of sweet local wine – ideal as the nip of the evening sets in and a perfect foodie gift for friends back home.
Catch Some Verdiales
An annual competition of Verdiales, traditional folk dance and music, takes place on 28th December just outside Malaga. The costumes are colourful and the atmosphere is always upbeat. (Address: Recinto Ferial del Puerto de la Torre, Calle Pirita, 29190.)
Chuckle Your Way through ‘Day of the Innocents’
The 28th December is all about tricks and giggles in Spain. So play a joke on someone for the Spanish equivalent of April Fools’ Day.
Make a Date with the Three Kings
On the night of the 5th January – at 17.30hrs, to be precise – there’s a huge parade around the historic centre of the city with music and dancers. The Reyes Magos or Three Kings (from whom children traditionally receive their Christmas presents) and their helpers throw tonnes of sweets into the crowds for children to collect.
Take a Tapas Tour
One of the best ways to see a city and learn more about its culture is through its food. Toma & Coe do a fantastic tapas tour (Tomaandcoe.com) that explores the best places to eat and drink over the course of a hugely fun night out.
Coming to Malaga this festive season and looking for a great place for a Christmas meal or to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Check out our pick of the best.