Discover Feria de Malaga with insights into its history, and insider tips to fully immerse yourself in this cultural event. Located in Costa del Sol, Malaga not only offers beautiful beaches, tasty tapas, and drinks but also hosts a variety of festivals. While many cities in Andalusia organize annual ferias, the Feria de Malaga stands out for its historical significance and lively atmosphere.
1. What is Feria de Malaga?
The word “feria” translates to “fair” in English, but it encompasses much more than that. During the Malaga fair, the city comes alive with a festive atmosphere as people gather in the streets to sell goods and celebrate. You’ll find countless casetas which are small booths adorned with colorful decorations and lights. Some casetas offer a wide array of merchandise, while others transform into cozy restaurants with live music and small tables. Also, there is a fairground with a wide variety of rides and attractions that are suitable for people of all ages. In addition, professional flamenco dancers often perform in tablaos de flamenco, adding to the festive atmosphere. In the main streets, you will find also parades of horses and carriages, offering another aspect of Spanish culture. Live music bands also play traditional music, making the experience even more unique.
2. History of Feria de Malaga
The Feria de Malaga was for the first time celebrated in the 15th century to commemorate the reconquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinand. Malaga was a Muslim city until 1487, and when it was reclaimed by Christians, they established this annual fair as a celebration. Today, the Malaga fair holds a different significance. During Feria Malaga people from all over the country return home to celebrate this event with their families and friends. It provides an opportunity to set aside everyday problems and work, and instead, indulge in fun and revelry in the streets. Many other cities in Andalusia organize their own feria, creating a friendly competition to host the best festivities in the region.
3. When is Malaga Fair: dates of Feria de Malaga 2023
Feria de Malaga is an annual event held in the second half of August, spanning a week of festivities. This year, Malaga Feria 2023 will take place from the 12th to the 19th of August. The fair commences with a mesmerizing firework display at midnight on the 11th of August, which you can enjoy from various vantage points such as Muelle Uno, or a rooftop bar. The same night they light up the Portal of the Recinto Ferial in Cortijo de Torres. Following the spectacle, there is a live concert from a Spanish artist held on La Malagueta beach.
4. Where is Feria de Malaga taking place?
Feria Malaga is celebrated in two distinct locations. During the daytime, the festivities take place in the city center and last until 6:00 pm. As the evening approaches, the party shifts to the fairground located in Recinto Ferial, where it continues from 9:00 pm until dawn.
I. In the city center: streets and squares with events during the Malaga Fair
The city center is always bustling with crowds celebrating this event to the fullest. Women can be seen wearing traditional colorful dresses, while people enjoy drinks and tapas in the local bars. You can take a stroll along central streets such as Calle Larios and enjoy live bands playing traditional music in the squares such as Plaza de la Constitucion. On the other side of the historical center, you’ll discover prominent landmarks like the Cathedral of Malaga and the Alcazaba where the lively ambiance never fades. Moreover, Plaza de Uncibay offers a variety of bars and restaurants, often accompanied by live music, making it a popular spot for celebration. Throughout the center of Malaga, every corner exudes a vibrant energy during Feria Malaga.
II. Recinto Ferial: the fairground and the casetas in Feria de Malaga
Every night of the week, the festive atmosphere of the Malaga Fair continues in the Real Cortijo de Torres or Recinto Ferial, where the fairground is located. Although, there is a distinction between Day fair and the Night fair, the fairground and the casetas in Real Cortijo de Torres are open all day long to the public. You can indulge in thrilling rides at the attractions or simply walk around and savor the offerings of the casetas, which provide food, drinks, and live music. Most of them are open to the public in contrast to the Feria de Seville where many casetas are private.
5. How to dress during Feria Malaga
During this cultural event in Malaga, people dress up in fancy attire. You will notice that many women wear colorful flamenco dresses adorned with flowers or white and black polka dots. These dresses, known as “traje de flamenco”, evolve each year to reflect the latest fashion trends. You will encounter a wide range of unique designs, with each piece being distinctive. It is also common for women to use flowers as an accessory to their hair.
Men, on the other hand, wear nice suits paired with elegant shirts and trousers, adhering to the dress code of the Feria de Malaga. To fully immerse yourself in the traditions of flamenco and make the most of this Andalusian fair, you can choose to dress up accordingly. Many stores sell flamenco dresses, offering a variety of price ranges to suit your preferences.
6. Typical drinks during the Feria de Malaga
One of the most typical drinks during the Malaga Fair is Cartojal. It is a sweet wine with a delicate flavor. This refreshing drink is made from Moscatel de Alejandria grapes that are grown in Axarquia and Zona Norte. Another drink that you should try is Rebujito, an Andalusian cocktail. It is a perfect blend of fino sherry and soft drinks like lemonade or lemon-lime soda, served with ice to make it even more refreshing.
Did you know that it is illegal to drink alcohol in the streets of Malaga? It’s true! However, organized official events like the Feria de Malaga are exceptions, and that is why this fair is a perfect chance to indulge yourself in all the different drinks that Andalusia has to offer and enjoy the festivities to the fullest.
7. Is Malaga Fair worth visiting?
Feria de Malaga is truly an unforgettable experience that stands apart from any other. The festive atmosphere, the colorful casetas, the tantalizing aromas of traditional dishes, and the captivating melodies of live music and flamenco shows will leave you amazed. It is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Costa del Sol. The Feria de Malaga brings to life old traditions, transforming the entire city into a bustling hub of activity both day and night. People come together to celebrate, socialize and revel in the festivities to the fullest. Don’t miss the chance to try some tapas and typical drinks such as Cartojal or a Rebujito. Immerse yourself in the world of flamenco and even try out a few dance moves yourself. For adventurous souls, there are many fairground rides to enjoy, allowing you to embrace the thrill of the moment.
8. How to get to the Malaga fair
Although the Malaga fair is celebrated in two different locations, it is easy to travel between them. The Malaga city center is well connected to the Recinto Ferial by public transportation. The day fair takes place in the city center, and you can reach it by bus, train, or metro, depending on the neighborhood you are staying in.
On the other hand, the night fair, which nowadays is open to the public all day long, is held in the Cortijo de Torres neighborhood. More specifically, it is in El Recinto Ferial where the fairground El Real is located. The most convenient way to travel from the city center to El Recinto Ferial is by shuttle bus. The fare is less than 2 euros, but you also have the option to purchase a special Feria bus card with 10 trips, which is worth considering if you plan to stay for the entire week during the Feria de Malaga.
If you want to learn more about flamenco you can read The Richness of a Spanish Heritage: flamenco music, dance, and origin.
For more information about public transportation, you can find the bus lines and fares in EMT Malaga.