Malaga is a lively city with an outstanding climate, exceptional beaches and golf courses, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals. But one thing that many people don’t know, is that it’s also an excellent destination for the Christmas season. With bright lights, music, specialty foods and a cheerful spirit, Malaga engages all the senses in the celebration. Here are some of Malaga’s holiday highlights.
Known as belenes in Spanish, nativity scenes are at the heart of Christmas celebrations. But these nativity scenes are not something to be boxed up in January and stored until next year – they are true works of art, painstakingly created with amazing detail. While nativity scenes are created all around Spain, Malaga has earned special fame for them and has even opened the Museum of Nativity Scenes (Museo de los Belenes). In the museum, there are scenes set in miniature recreations of popular Spanish locations, such as the Church of Our Lady of the Remedies in Antequera, the Court of the Lions in the Alhambra, or the Burgos Cathedral. Still other are set in less predictable places, including the Roman Theater of Cartagena and the slums of Rio de Janeiro! All of the nativity scenes are hand-crafted with incredible care and detail. Outside the museum, Malaga also organizes a map of its nativity scene trail, which usually includes at least 60 different scenes.
© Nuria Pascual
Color and sound
Another thing that Malaga does extremely well is Christmas lights – the whole of the city center shimmers and sparkles. For many people, the lights are the highlight of the Christmas season, and every year is different from the last. The moment when the lights are switched on for the year is celebrated with cultural performances, like traditional music and dance.
These performances continue throughout the season, with an exceptional program of concerts, dance and theater set in the city’s most emblematic places. Among the most popular are the Christmas concert in the Cathedral and the Christmas ballets at Cervantes Theater. Malaga also celebrates the annual verdiales competition, held for over 50 years. This competition of traditional music and dance originates from the villages in the mountains to the east of the Malaga, but today is set in the city center against a backdrop of shining lights.
Strolling and shopping
In this spectacular holiday setting, Malaga also offers fantastic shopping. There are various open-air Christmas markets which sell hand-crafted ornaments and artisanal foods and treats, as well as local boutiques and bustling shopping centers. Besides getting some Christmas shopping done, a winter stroll through Malaga’s center is sure to warm the heart. When it’s time for a break, there are plenty of charming cafes where traditional sweets and cakes can be enjoyed. Some of the favorites are marzipan, specialty nougats, and roscos de vino (wine and aniseed cookies).
Your winter tour in Malaga
Malaga is a superb destination that has everything your group could want at any time of year – but the winter holiday season in Malaga offers something truly magical that can’t be found anywhere else. Don’t miss out! Contact us to start planning today.