Christmas in Malaga: Experience the lights shows in 2023 and other activities

The Christmas lights in Malaga are switched on the last Friday of November. You can continue reading to find out what’s new this year. There are activities and events taking place during these dates in the capital and in the main municipalities.

Larios Street in Malaga is where you will find this spectacle of light and music during Christmas. This year, the lighting ceremony is on Friday, November 24th, at 7:00 PM.

The eagerly anticipated display of Christmas lights in Malaga will bring exciting novelties, highlighting the transformation of Alameda Principal into a captivating “luminous forest.” This magical setting will be achieved through an intricate system of 270,000 LED points and 4,500 points of the structure technically known as “forest” that will adorn the imposing ficus trees.

Christmas lighting 2019-2020
Photo of lighting this year in Malaga in Calle Larios

The lighting decoration and switching date change every year, however in 2021 is the same as in 2020. In past events they used up to 600.000 led lights in Larios street, the most centric street in Malaga, nevertheless this city is one of the best places to enjoy the Christmas lighting in the world.

Above you can see the 2019 lights. This year they are ready to be switched on the last Friday in November. There were light and sound shows between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm every day until the 5th of January. This year, the shows are not announced, to avoid crowds.

In 2021 the Christmas lighting and the light and music show was the same as the year before. In 2019, there was a new lighting and the decoration budget was increased.

As for the soundtrack accompanying this visual spectacle on Larios Street, it will deviate from the classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Instead, Malagueños and visitors will enjoy a lively light show to the rhythm of melodies such as “Jingle Bells” by Andre Rieu, Johann Strauss Orchestra; “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells” by Pentatonix; “Navidad Épica,” and “Hacia Belén Va una Burra”¹.

Lighting for Christmas in Malaga

In 2018  the design was inspired by the Cathedral of Malaga.

new Christmas lights 2017

We can expect snow cannons in the main squares of the city like Plaza de las Flores or Soho district as they did the last past years.

The company responsible for Christmas lighting in Malaga (Iluminaciones Ximénez) which is also responsible for providing lighting to different companies and cities around the world. You can find its LED lighting in New York on Fifth Avenue, Las Vegas, Dubai or even in Hong Kong among other locations.

Malaga christmas lights in 2020
I took this photo while visiting the lights this year.

Many visitors come from Europe not only to see the Christmas lights in Malaga, but also to enjoy a festive atmosphere unique in the city.

There were light and music shows daily at 6:30 pm, 8 pm and 9:30 pm until the 5th of January, inclusive. This year, the shows are not announced, to avoid crowds.

This year the typical Christmas songs and each show lasted a few minutes:

As for the soundtrack accompanying this visual spectacle on Larios Street, it will deviate from the classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Instead, Malagueños and visitors will enjoy a lively light show to the rhythm of melodies such as “Jingle Bells” by Andre Rieu, Johann Strauss Orchestra; “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells” by Pentatonix; “Navidad Épica,” and “Hacia Belén Va una Burra”.

There will be new streets in addition to Calle Larios where you can enjoy the illumination: Calle Marqués, Sagasta, Souvirón, Plaza de Camas, Calle Herrera del Rey, Puerta del Mar, Calle Moreno Carbonero, Calle Álamos and Calle Granada.

The Christmas lighting will be turned off on January 5th, with the arrival of the Night of Kings, so you better visit it before it is too late.

This central square in Malaga is decorated for Christmas with a beautiful illumination offering a show that you should not miss.

Christmas trees in Malaga

As a new there will be a visitable Christmas tree in the Plaza de la Constitución. You will be able to visit the inside of the tree and take photos.

During Christmas in Malaga six giant Christmas trees (6 to 18 meters high) will be placed. One of them in Huelin Park, two almond trees of 8 meters, one in the square of the Cervantes Theatre and another in Alcazabilla street. A giant Christmas tree with a metallic structure in the Plaza de la Marina; also another one of 18 meters in the Plaza de la Constitución, that you can visit the inside; a Christmas tree in the Plaza Enrique García Square and finally one in Molina Lario Street. All of them illuminated with leds and decorated for the occasion.

Lighting and Christmas tree at Marina Square
Constitucion Square with Christmas lighting tree from a past event.

Christmas activities in Pier One

The leisure centre of the port of Malaga celebrates its tenth anniversary with a new space that recreates a polar refuge with igloos, a lake, polar bears, snow and many lights.

There will also be other Christmas events: follow the link to find out about the Christmas activities that take place both in Muelle Uno and all the province; you may find one event near you.

Switching on Christmas lights in Malaga in video

In case you’ve missed it, this is the last video of the Christmas lights being turned on and some of the main attractions of the city this winter.

Christmas lighting in other municipalities

Although the dates may vary slightly each year, it is common for lighting to begin in late November or early December in different municipalities.

  • Torremolinos: The festive lighting ceremony is scheduled for November 30th.
  • Fuengirola: The inauguration ceremony for the Christmas lights will brighten the city on November 25th.
  • Estepona: The glow of Christmas lights will fill the streets starting from November 25th.
  • Benalmádena: The grand opening celebration of the Christmas lighting in the three population centers of the municipality will be on Friday, November 24th.
  • Marbella: The lighting of the Christmas decorations will illuminate the city on December 2nd.

Visiting Traditional Nativity Scenes

traditional nativity scenes

Every year, in Málaga, nativity scenes are set up, and some of the nativity scenes are located in iconic places such as the Cathedral of Málaga and the Provincial Government.

At the Cathedral of Málaga, a video mapping titled ‘Angel of Light’ will be showcased on the facade of the mocha tower. This spectacle will feature bright images and reproductions of gigantic stained glass, among other motifs. The projections will take place daily at 7:00 PM, 8:30 PM, and 10:00 PM, from December 1st to January 4th, except on December 24th and 31st.

Regarding the Provincial Government, unfortunately, I have not found specific information about the nativity scenes for 2023. I would suggest checking their website or contacting them for more precise details.

Regarding the nativity scene competition, various competitions are organized in different locations. For instance, the Belenistas Association of Seville has announced its traditional and annual Nativity Scene Competition. Competitions also take place in other towns such as Benalmádena and Antequera. I would recommend reviewing the rules of each competition for accurate information on dates and participation requirements.

  • Place: Avda. Sor Teresa Prat nº 15 Edif. E1 (Map)

Best Christmas Market in Europe

In 2018 more than one million visitors visited the Christmas lighting in the city centre. In addition, Malaga won first place as “Best Sunny Christmas Markets in Europe”, from the organisation “European Best Destinations” which presents Malaga as an ideal destination to celebrate a Christmas with good weather.

This year 2020 the Malaga market will be opened on 30th November with a total of 70 stalls. It will be open until Epiphany and will have security measures. The stalls must close at 6pm to respect the time restriction until further notice.

Christmas Market in Plaza de la Marina
Christmas Market at Plaza de la Marina. It is next to Calle Larios, where the lighting event takes place. I bought there some typical chorizo and morcilla from Malaga (4€ each). Before leaving you can try also the typical churros with chocolate (3€ for half a dozen churros). There are many stuff there to check, from traditional cheeses, to beer and olive oil made in our province.

Many locals enjoy the Christmas in Malaga by visiting any of the many Christmas markets in the province. Those markets in the city are usually in the area of Soho and the Alameda park, but there are many other in the province.

Initially I think the list will not be much different than the previous year, you can check our current list of Christmas Markets in Malaga.

Torremolinos chrismas lights and markets

After Christmas: New Year’s Eve in Malaga

You can find a wide variety of hotels for the New Year’s Eve party with dinner included . You can celebrate in one of the main squares of the cities of Malaga; there typically meet a large number of people to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. This year, and due the excepcional situation with the Covid-19, we don’t expect great celebrations in Malaga.

In addition if you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Malaga with more people you can visit my other article with the incoming events for that night.

Malaga: Plaza de la Constitucion and Calle Larios
Torremolinos: Plaza de la Nogalera
Benalmadena: Plaza de la Mezquita
Fuengirola: Plaza de España
Marbella: Plaza de la Iglesia

Procession of the Three Kings 2022

Night of the Three Kings

The Three Kings in Malaga have spent the night in the Alcazaba in past editions. They leave the town hall on Monday 5th January.

The parade use to begin at 5 pm on January 5th and the route is as follows*:

  • Paseo del Parque
  • Plaza de la Marina
  • Alameda Principal
  • Puerta del Mar
  • Atarazanas
  • Plaza de Arriola
  • Pasillo de Santa Isabel
  • Carreteria
  • Calle Álamos
  • Plaza de la Merced

Restrictions for Covid-19 at Christmas and New Year’s Eve

It seems that there will be no major restrictions during Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Logically, you do not need a Covid passport to enjoy the different Christmas activities, as you can get infected whether you are vaccinated or not, so common sense and keeping safe distances is recommended.

Private or public transport during Christmas

During Christmas in Malaga the public transport is still working as usual and it is one of the recommended options for getting to the city centre.

Evening is a far more popular and crowded time than afternoon, just letting you know.

Public buses

Usually they add special offers during these dates and there is more availability on weekends. Other years they sold a 15 trips card for 9.95€ which you can buy at kiosks or tobacco shop.

This transport campaign use to finish the 30th of December.

Commuter train

The commuter train in Malaga continues being an excellent choice for those living near the train station. The last stop will get you next to the city centre; remember to check the timetable for the train in our guide.

Driving a car

If you plan to rent a vehicle on your arrival, then you might prefer just driving to Malaga. You will have to park in a public parking; it is more than possible that you will experience traffic jam in some areas.

I used to drive to Pier One at Malaga Port and park in that parking lot. Sometimes and depending on the time, I experienced some traffic jam near the city centre; evening is a far more popular and crowded time than afternoon, just letting you know.

Transfers from the airport

Taxis and transfers

Taxis usually extend the fleet during the 24, 25, 31 of December and 1st of January.

You can also book a private transfer, I can recommend as I always had a good experience with them and the price is fair.

Do you plan to spend this Christmas in Malaga? We hope you enjoy and don´t forget to share your experiences and questions in the comments below.

Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas!

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Published by

Raúl G.T

Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.

18 thoughts on “Christmas in Malaga: Experience the lights shows in 2023 and other activities”

  1. Hi this article has been very informative, we are travelling with our nine year old son for the first time to malaga and are really looking forward to the lights , Can i check would the new years eve festivities at Plaza de la Constitucion be suitable to take our nine year old to ?

  2. Hi do you know if it possible to get taxis Xmas eve 24th in evening from Malaga airport to centre Malaga?
    And is that possible very late through the night?

    Also what about on the 25th?

    Many thanks

  3. yes me too,got the same responses myself,thank you for your help,looks like I will have to assess situation when we get to Fuengirola and visit the bus station offices.thanks again and keep up the good work of keeping us all informed about our beloved costa del sol.

    1. The information I provided is acurate, you can even book online the tickets for the bus on the 25th December from their website. The price is 4.37€ and as I said there are three buses, at 8:50, 13:50 and 20:15.

      Thanks to you for visiting us and commenting, It is always nice to have participative readers 🙂

  4. these lights look fabulous and certainly something that is on our list of todos whilst we are in Fuengirola for the christmas period, thank you Raul for keeping us informed,did you manage to establish whether there was a bus service on 25th (christmas day) dec from Fuengirola to Marbella for me please,depending on which website I go on as to the answer I get !!!

    1. Hey Gary, yeah I asked and their answer was to try searching closer to that date. I have tried again today searching for your bus and there are a few options for getting to Marbella from Fuengirola on 25th:
      at 8:50 am, 3.50 pm and 8.15 pm from the bus terminal.

      Please check here:
      Hope to be of help, enjoy your visit 🙂

  5. We have never visited Malaga in December till now, I will remember the experience for the rest of my life the lights the atmosphere was just amazing it brought tears to our eyes, what an amazing show you put on well done we will be back next year

    1. Hello Pamela, that was an amazing description! Im sure many people reading will feel curious about having the same experience 🙂

  6. We got caught out 2 yrs ago as wanted to see the late show ( along with a couple of hundred other people ) but it never happened. Then last year we thought, okay, let’s see the early one.. but that didn’t happen either so …

    1. Hello, it is supposed to happen the day we state in the article as it is the official date and time. This year there is not yet an official time for the music and light show, but we can expect to be the same as last year.

  7. Hi I’m a bit confused as to the date for the switch on of the lights, some say the 30th others the 24th. Which is the correct date?

  8. It should be taken into account that while the Christmas lights in C/Larios are on until 6th January the last light show is actually on Jan 4th. There are no light shows on Jan 5th as the Reyes Parade is on.

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