Malaga at Christmas is definitely one of the most preferred destinations for the Christmas lovers. This Andalusian gem collects countless tourists every year during the holidays. The city of Malaga comes alive with thousands of lights, colorful decorations and the cheerful crowd. There is a lot to do and see in Malaga during Christmas, including the Malaga xmas lights, the Three Kinds Parade, mezmerizing christmas trees and more. If you are one of those who can’t wait to see the twinkling lights as soon as it gets cold outside, keep on reading to discover the best things to do in Malaga at Christmas.
1. Malaga at Christmas 2023
There are few things that never change in Malaga at Christmas: the tourists, the xmas lights shows, mezmerizing decorations and the public holidays. Therefore, as expected, the season of 2023 Christmas in Malaga will start with two public holidays, followed by the Malaga Lights day. In addition to the countless parties and celebrations, you will also be able to find eye-catching Christmas trees, glorious lights at Malaga Botanical Gardens, and the Three Kings Parade.
2. Malaga Christmas Holidays
2.1. The Day of Constitucion, December 6
Christmas at Malaga starts with a public holiday in early December. El Día de la Constitución, or the Day of Constitution, is one of the most important holidays during Chrismas in Malaga. Spain celebrates The Día de la Constitución is celebrated in December 6. This day marks the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. This was an important move in Spain’s transition to becoming an consitutional monarchy after the fall of the Franco dictatorship. Usually, Spanish people celebrate it as a quiet relaxing day at home with family. However, locals at Malaga don’t miss this chance to celebrate. Therefore, it is not unusual to find big groups of friends who went outside to party to celebrate this day in Malaga.
2.2. The Immaculate Conception Day, December 8
Soon after the Día de la Constitución, on December 8, there is another public holiday called El Día de la Inmaculada Concepción. This day, translated as Immaculate Conception Day in English, is a Catholic’s church holiday celebrated all through Spain. Spanish people often take a few days off of work and have a long weekend which is called “Puente” during this national holiday. Families and friends go to their local churches on this day to pray and celebrate this holiday. For locals in Malaga at Christmas, this day marks an important religious holiday during Christmas.
2.3. Three Kings Day in Malaga
The Three Kings Day takes place after the New Year’s Eve in Spain, and marks the end of the Christmas season. El Dia de Los Reyes, or, the Three Kings Day, takes place on January 5. This day is celebrated with spectacular parades in Spanish towns and cities across the country. Malaga’s streets will also be filled with dancers, musicians and other performances on the streets, as well as friend groups who are celebrating the last day of the holiday season in Malaga.
The following morning, January 6, is an especially important day for children in Spain. Similar to the Christmas tradition, children expect to find gifts brought by the Three kings on the morning of January 6. The Three Kings Day is another holiday during the season of Christmas at Malaga, where families and loved ones gather together to celebrate. It is not unusual for families to have a big lunch on this day either. You can read our article on the Three Kings Day in Spain, if you want to learn more about this holiday.
3. Malaga Lights Day
Among all the public holidays and important dates, Malaga Lights Day may be the most important of them all for Christmas at Malaga. On this day, which is November 24 of every year, Christmas lights in Calle Larios are lit all at once at 19:00 pm. This moment marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Malaga. The season of Christmas at Malaga continues until the lights are turned off on the day after Three Kings Day (January 6),
Malaga Lights Day is an old tradition. Since 1968, the famous Calle Larios has been transformed into a stunning light gallery from beginning to end for the Christmas at Malaga. Over recent years, the Malaga Lights day became the city’s most famous holiday during the Christmas season. Every column on Calle Larios is mounted with beautiful, angel-shaped lights that connect at the top of the street to wash the venue with golden and white colours.
Every year, the xmas lights in Malaga attract thousands of visitors both from within Spain and abroad. Visitors gather at Calle Larios to witness the Malaga xmas lights, the city’s most famous Christmas sight.
3.1. Malaga Christmas Lights 2023
As always, xmas lights in Malaga were lit on the Malaga Lights Day, on November 24, 2023. Until they are turned off on January 6, Calle Larios displays different light shows at different hours of the day.
This year, the Malaga Christmas light shows take place three times a day, at 6.30 pm, 8.00 pm and 10.00 pm. Every show lasts around 8 minutes. Each show plays a different, yet familiar Christmas song to complement the light shows.
The Malaga xmas lights shows will take place every day at the determined hours, until January 6, except on December 24 and December 31. Enjoying this mezmerizing event is completely free, and the location is around five minutes walk away from the old town.
4. Botanical Garden Malaga in Christmas
Visiting the Malaga botanical garden is one of the best things to do in Malaga at Christmas. The botanical garden is located in the northern part of Malaga, and is one of the most beautiful tropical and subtropical gardens in Europe. This English-style garden was established in 1855 by the Marquises of Casa Loring. Visitors can see an enormous collection of more than 25,000 plants and trees, divided into 2000 different species, including 90 types of palm trees and 200 native species.
The Malaga botanical garden becomes even more attractive and magical during Christmas at Malaga. This time of the year, the botanical garden transforms into a magical Christmas garden full of festive lights and colourful decorations. Every year, there’s a different theme for the Christmas decorations. In 2023, the theme for the botanical garden was determined as Angelic: The Kingdom of Christmas Angels for Christmas at Malaga.
During Christmas in Malaga, you can visit the botanical gardens to wander in the magic of bright lights and nature. The circular route of the garden is 2.2 kilometres long and takes around an hour and a half to complete.
The Christmas garden opens from December 1 and lasts until December 7. Admission is every half hour from 18:00 to 21:30. The tickets cost 15,50 euros on the weekend and 13,50 euros during the weekdays. You can get there by taking the bus number 2 and get off at the last stop, which is Ciudad Jardin. From there, the botanical gardens is about 15 minutes away by foot.
5. Nativity Scenes During Christmas at Malaga
One of the oldest and most special traditions of Malaga Christmas is its Nativity Scenes, or, Belenes, as the locals call it. The Nativity Scenes are recreations of the birthplace where Jesus was born. Set up with a great attention to detail, these scenes almost seem alive.
There are around 60 nativity scenes on display in Malaga during the Christmas season. You can find a Nativity representation just in every corner of the city center but there are some in the heart of the city center you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting Malaga at Christmas.
One of the most beautiful Nativity scenes is located in the Town Hall. It’s one of the oldest and most visited scenes in town. It displays decorations of running water, as well as sound and light effects. The visitations are open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Another stunning Nativity scene is located in the Malaga Cathderal. It’s one of the biggest nativity scenes and it takes up more than 45 square meters of space. Talented artists made many of its figures by hand. You can visit this nativity scene from 4th December to 7th January between 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Another nativity scene that is worth a visit is located in the Carmen Thyssen Museum. This one is based on one of the artwork of the Museum’s permanent collection. Time of visit is from 24th November up to 13th January, Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM
All of the nativity scenes are open to visit until January 6, except for November 24, December 25, December 31 and January 1 afternoons.
6. Christmas Trees in Malaga
Despite its relatively small size compared to other cities in Spain, Malaga has four Christmas trees. All these trees are located in specific locations that attract the most traffic.
The main Christmas Tree in Malaga, is located at the center of the main square, Plaza de la Constitution. The tree is 18 meters tall and decorated in thousands of twinkling lights and colorful Christmas decorations. It is right in the middle of Malaga’s old town. Therefore, it’s one of the most important attractions during Christmas at Malaga.
Second biggest Christmas tree in Malaga is located in the Plaza de la Marina. This iconic tree is designed with modern features and created exclusively for Malaga. It is a giant metal structure decorated with plant boas and illuminated with moving LEDs that change color. It can also display Christmas-related symbols. The square is around 5 minutes walking distance from the old town.
The third Christmas tree is next to the bishop’s square in front of the Malaga Cathedral. There is also a nativity scene at the location too. This artistic Bethlehem scene occupies 45 square meters, and includes the tree as well. To get there, you need to walk just 5 minutes from the central square, Plaza de la Constitution.
The last and fourth beautiful Christmas tree in Malaga is located on Alcazabilla Street in front of the Roman Theatre. This tree is 18 meters tall, and displays twinkling lights and candy decorations. It is a 5 minute walk away from the Cathedral of Malaga.
7. Malaga Christmas Markets and Christmas Shops
There are many markets and shops in Malaga during Christmas, where you can browse and purchase holiday-themed goods. At the Christmas shops in Malaga, you can find gifts, decorations, traditional sweets, handicrafts, clothes and accessories. There are three main holiday shops in Malaga that we suggest you visit if you are spending Christmas at Malaga.
7.1. Park of Malaga Christmas Market
The most beautiful and iconic Christmas market in Malaga is the one at the Park of Malaga (Paseo del Parque). This Christmas market is the largest one in the whole city. It’s perfectly located next to the historic center. Every year thousands of people visit this place to make their Christmas purchases.
The Christmas shop has more than 90 stalls, and you can find all sorts of things here, from traditional Christmas sweets to decorations, and handicrafts to beautifully bound books. As this Christmas market is in the city center, it’s also very easy to get there. You just need to walk 10 minutes from the main square, the Plaza de la Constitution. You can visit this Christmas market every day from December 1 to January 6, from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
7.2. Garage Market in Soho
Another market you should visit during Christmas in Malaga is the Garage Market. This Christmas market is an alternative market for art, antiques and modern pieces. The market is located in the heart of Soho in Malaga city at Calle Tomás Heredia.
This market is worth a visit, because it’s less conventional than traditional Christmas shops in Malaga, and it’s also indoors. IIts name, the Garage market, reflects its location in a former garage, with a true street style. To get there, you need to walk around 10 minutes from the old town center square, the Plaza de la Constitution. You can visit this Christmas Market between December 6 and January 8 from 11:00 AM until 07:00 PM.
7.3. Christmas Market at the Port of Malaga
The third beautiful Christmas market worth visiting is located in the Port of Malaga. This traditional Christmas market has more than 100 stalls that invite you to seek inspiration by the sea to find the most original gifts, decorations, crafts and taste the local delicacies.
Shopping there can be even more pleasant, when it’s accompanied by the beautiful sunset. This Christmas Market opens on November 24 and closes on January 6. You can visit this Christmas market from 10:00 AM till 10:00 PM. To get there, you need to walk 20 minutes from the center of the old town, the Plaza de la Constitution.
8. What to Eat During Christmas at Malaga?
There are a lot of traditional dishes to taste in Malaga in Christmas. One of the most popular Christmas dishes in Andalusia is Carne mechada, which is a traditional slow-cooked or braised piece of meat, often beef or pork. Another popular Andalusian Christmas taste is Lomo en manteca. This dish consists of pork loin, lard, sweet paprika, garlic gloves, olive oil, oregano and laurel. If you are visiting Malaga at Christmas, you must also try Sopa de picadillo, which is a type of soup with chicken, boiled egg, short noodles, a bit of serrano ham and a bit of peppermint. You will most likely stumble upon Mantecados at the Chrsitmas markets in Malaga. Producers make this Andalusian Christmas treat with flour, sugar, and manteca (lard or pork fat).
There are also a few dishes worth mentioning that are famous Christmas tastes in Spain. First of them is Turrón, which is a sweet treat that is made of a mixture of honey, sugar, eggs, toasted nuts and sometimes chocolate. Also, Mazapan de Toldeo is another popular Christmas treat in Spain. It is made of raw peeled almonds and sugar. If you want to know more about Andalusian Christmas sweet treats, you should read our article on Spanish Christmas sweets.
9. Tips and Things to do in Malaga at Christmas
9.1. Weather in Malaga at Christmas
Malaga is one of the cities in Europe that is known for its warm climate. Therefore, it doesn’t really get freezing in Malaga at Christmas time. The winter starts in Malaga in December. However, the city’s Mediterranean climate allows relatively mild temperatures.
During the day, the temperature is typically around 18 degrees celsius (64F). However, at night, it can drop as low as 8-10 degrees celsius (46 – 50F). This is why we recommend dressing in layers to adjust to the day and night temperatures. If you want to learn more about the weather in Malaga at Christmas, you can visit our article on best month to visit Malaga.
9.2. Holiday Nightlife
Considering Malaga’s fame for its nightlife, it is no-brainer to picture the nightlife in Malaga at Christmas time. Locals in Malaga, as well as the visitors, are really keen on partying during Christmas in Malaga. Majority of clubs maintain their normal working hours, and they are also full of people regardless of which day is it of the week.
Therefore, it is safe to say that New Year’s Eve in Malaga is even crazier and more exciting than the others during the whole year. The locals start by having a huge dinner with their families and loved ones. Then, after midnight, the city pours outside to party. If you are visiting Malaga at Christmas season, joining the special New Year’s Eve Pub Crawl would be a great way to celebrate the new year like a local Spanish.
9.3. Public Transportation in Malaga at Christmas
The government has well-developed Malaga’s public transportation. It can get you anywhere you need to go, fast and easy. Although it works smoothly every day, you should keep in mind that it will work differently during national holidays, which are December 25, December 31, and January 6. However, buses, trains and metro will be running normally, although some lines can have reduced schedules or routes. You can find more details in the official website.
If you are looking for more information on the city, you can visit Malaga’s official website. You can also discover the culture of Flamenco in Malaga, or visit the Picasso Museum to enrich your trip to Malaga at Christmas with local culture.