Malaga is alive. Both the capital and the province demonstrate that each year with a wide variety of activities ranging from gastronomy to movies, traditions, music, folklore or summer “moragas”, festivals at the beach. In Spain Food Sherpas we chose the essential things to do in Malaga in 2017.

They may not be the most important ones, but those that we believe will allow you to discover the true essence of Malaga. Take your calendar and something to write.

Theater Festival

The cultural year begins very soon in Malaga. Every January and February since 34 years we celebrate the “Malaga Theatre Festival”, which in 2018 will be held from January 7 to February 11. Throughout these five weeks “theater” becomes the protagonist of the Cervantes Theatre and Echegaray Theatre, but also of other stages around the city like Joaquín Eléjar, the Cultural Collective Maynake, Chela Mar or Microteatro Malaga, among even more hotels and terraces included in OFF Festival. Nearly fifty plays are presented each year in an intensive program that also features workshops and exhibitions. Impossible to see everything, but it’s worth a try.

theater festival malaga

Photo: Teatro Cervantes

Holy Week

Malaga’s “Semana Santa” or Easter celebration is one of the most important ones in Spain. It is celebrated with religious processions during seven days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, being the Holy Saturday the only one on which images or sculptures are not being carried out on the streets of the city. This year it will take place between the 25th of March and the 1st of April. The traditional Easter processions in Malaga began after the Catholic Monarchs entered the city in 1487 and since then they took root in most of the districts of the city of Malaga.

Although, yes, they live it especially intense in neighborhoods such as “El Perchel” or “La Trinidad”, two of the most traditional ones. Every day, the different brotherhoods carry thrones with representations of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary along an official tour attended by thousands of people. Every Holy Thursday and Good Friday some of the greatest moments, and the most passionate ones, of Malaga’s Easter celebration take place. Although another of the most awaited moments is the procession of “Nuestro Padre Jesús Cautivo”, popularly known as El Cautivo and one of greatest devotion of “malagueños”, which is carried every Holy Monday. If the rain permits it, of course.

holy week malaga

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

Malaga Gastronomy Festival

Ten days of colors, aromas and flavors to give Malaga a bite. Like this you could define the Malaga Gastronomy Festival, an event that was recently created and held for the first time in 2015. Days in which Malaga will become the national food capital. Show cookings, food culture workshops, conferences, debates, adult and children cooking workshops and tastings are some of the activities taking place these days. It is an event in which some of the best national and local chefs are involved. To do so, this event uses a large tent in the Marina Square, but also other spaces in hotels and restaurants, both in the capital and other towns of the province. In 2018 the dates are not public yet, but it ususally takes place in April.

malaga gastronomy festival

Photo: Málaga Gastronomy Festival

Malaga Film Festival

Each year Malaga rolls out the red carpet for national movie stars. The city breathes glamour for a few days and welcomes the releases of the latest Spanish movies, but also documentaries, short films and even Latin American cinema. The capital fills up with events and the cinema becomes the main protagonist of the everyday life of the “malagueños”: thousands of people go out on the streets every day to enjoy good weather and good cinema. A spectacular cocktail that makes this festival one of the most attractive ones of the Spanish panorama. In 2018 it takes place from 13 to 22 April.

malaga film festival

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

“Noche en Blanco”

The “White Night” is the most important cultural event in Malaga in terms of numbers: it gathers in just one night nearly two hundred activities and more than 200,000 visits. In the capital of the Costa del Sol it has been held since 2008 and since 2016 included a novelty: they are the people from Malaga themselves who have been able to choose the theme around which revolves the White Night this year. And the chosen one by the public hasn’t been decided yet. Like similar events in other cities throughout the world, the aim of this initiative is to bring contemporary artistic creation to the citizens. And its characteristics are that it’s for free, cutting-edge, with citizen participation and sustainability.

Noche en Blanco malaga

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

San Juan Festival

When summer has just arrived, every 23rd of June Malaga lives one of the most fun nights. It is the eve of San Juan and, like many other Mediterranean cities, this night people go on the streets to celebrate the arrival of the summer season. However, in Malaga it’s done in a very particular way: celebrating “moragas” on the beach, where sardines and the consequent skewers are the protagonists between the embers of the barbecue.

Tradition dictates that just at midnight “júas” need to be burned in the bonfire: these are dolls representing some kind of character. The legend also tells that wishes can be burned in the fire that will become true, once you jumped over it and that everyone who bathes or washes his face in the seawater at midnight, will maintain his beauty. Whether it’s true or not, it’s well worth a try and also to go with the flow during this special festival in Malaga.

San Juan Festival

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

MAUS Malaga

The Malaga Urban Art Soho (MAUS Málaga) project began in 2013 and has held various activities throughout the year since then without fixed dates. Focused on contemporary art, it is much focused on urban art and graffiti, discovering new spaces and involving the neighbors where it takes place, very close to the city center.

Since its beginnings some of the most important urban artists worldwide have passed through this initiative like Obey, Faith46, Dal East, Suso 33 or D * Face, as well as groups such as Boa Mistura and local artists like Dadi Dreucol. Music, dance, theater, photography, painting or sculpture are disciplines that are also part of MAUS Malaga.

MAUS Malaga

Photo: Nacho Sánchez

“Virgen del Carmen” Festival

One of the most popular festivals in Malaga is the one of “La Virgen del Carmen”, which is celebrated all over the city, every July 16th. However, the neighborhoods that are closest to the sea and with most seafaring tradition are the ones that celebrate it with all their hearts: El Palo, Pedregalejo and Huelin.

The most interesting part is that in addition to carrying the image of the Virgin through different streets of every district, in the end they always embark on a traditional “jábega” boat from Malaga of Phoenician origin. In them, the Virgin blesses the waters at a moment of true seafaring passion and devotion. The moment of greatest interest is precisely when the men who carry her – dressed in an old fashioned way- introduce the image of the Virgen del Carmen in the sea, surrounded by thousands of people.

Virgen del Carmen Festival

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

Two yearly Art Festival in Genalguacil

Genalguacil is a nice little village of barely 600 inhabitants located in the Genal Valley, in the Serranía de Ronda Mountain Range, over a hundred kilometers away from Malaga. It is a municipality that has opted for culture, so it became a true open-air museum. Since 1994 it holds a two yearly art festival in which various artists, elected by the interest of their creative projects, reside there for 15 days between July and August. In return, they leave some of their works in the village. So today there are about 150 artworks that, depending on their characteristics, are distributed on different streets, façades and roofs of the village or in the Museum of Contemporary Art ‘Fernando Centeno’.

Like this, every two years Genalguacil fills up with artists in summer, but their footprint remains throughout the whole year. And a tip: to visit this town in autumn is a feast for the eyes, thanks to the multitude of colors that show the chestnut forests of the mountainous region during this season.

Two yearly Art Festival in Genalguacil

Photo: Ojo Virtual https://www.flickr.com/photos/ojovirtual/

CanelaParty

Leave the embarrassment at home, disguise yourself and get ready to enjoy the best summer party in Malaga! CanelaParty (Cinnamon Party) is a tradition and in 2017 it will celebrate its tenth aniversary. Each year, about 3,000 people attend this party where the only requirement is to dress up the most fun way possible and moreover, there’s a prize for the best costume.

The event is primarily musical and every year some of the most interesting bands of the indie scene play there: this year the presence of a classic is already announced like Airbag, who along with Atención Tsunami, are the first two confirmed bands of the year. Nevertheless, beyond the music, it’s a party that makes Malaga “the global epicenter of nonsense/madness” as their organizers state. If you go there, you will want to return every year. CanelaParty is addictive! In August  it’s your chance to verify it.

CanelaParty

Photo: Beto PF

Malaga Folk Festival

The “Feria de Málaga” is THE festival, par excellence. It is originated in the commemoration of the capture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487, when Malaga joined the Crown of Castile and so it was held for the first time in 1491. Today it is an open party, cosmopolitan and millions of people are joining the celebrations every year.

It is divided into the Day Fair, which is celebrated at noon in both the historical center of the city and in the Cortijo de Torres, where the so-called “casetas” (booths) are placed and where you can enjoy traditional music and cuisine; and the Night Fair, which also takes place in the Cortijo de Torres and where the big shiny entrance of the fair is build, which always recreates a building of interest of the city. La Feria de Málaga 2016 will be held from the 11 to 18 of August and begins with the opening speech of a popular character and a wonderful firework spectacle.

feria malaga

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

Starlite Marbella

Marbella hosts one of the most important events of the summer, the Starlite festival. On the Costa del Sol and in a natural amphitheater surrounded by greenery, the audience can enjoy a month of concerts featuring some of the best voices in the world: Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams, Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Ricky Martin, Tom Jones, Paco de Lucia and Julio Iglesias have already been on this stage during the five previous editions.

Apart from music, there are movies, gastronomy, art and fashion; and a charity gala chaired by an exceptional host: Antonio Banderas. Less than 10 kilometers from Marbella and in a wonderful natural environment the “Ojeando” Festival is celebrated- one of the most important appointments of indie music in Spain. It takes place in the beautiful town of Ojen and it’s a fun option to enjoy the best national bands.

starlite marbella

Photo: Starlite Marbella

Night of the Wine in Competa

Every August 15th, the lovely village of Competa celebrates one of the most fun festivals of the province: “La Noche del Vino” (Wine Night), which this year reaches its 43th edition. The celebration starts with the so-called “pisá”, the stomping of the grapes, in which several grape pickers dressed in traditional clothing walk in a procession to the “Vendimia” or Harvest Square, where they show the traditional winemaking process. After, neighbors and tourists enjoy a tasty dish called “migas” (bread crumbs) accompanied with cod, arriera salad and grapes, as well as 1,500 liters of muscatel wine. All of this spiced with the sound of “verdiales” music, folk music from Malaga, which is on its way to become Intangible Heritage of the UNESCO.

Although the festival also has its religious side- to honor the patron saint of Competa so that the vintage is successful- its origin is very old, since it was once used to “release” the grape pickers at the beginning of each summer season. The grape and the wine are also the protagonists of other festivals in the province of Malaga during late summer like the Raisin Day (El Borge), the Harvest Festival (Mollina) or the Muscat Grape Day (Iznate).

Night of the Wine in Competa

Photo: Ayuntamiento de Cómpeta

Picassian October

Malaga city pays tribute to Pablo Picasso throughout the whole year, but every October it tries a little harder. Since almost four decades the so-called Picassian October is held, where institutions organize special activities to celebrate the birth of this great painter from Malaga, who would turn 137 years on  October 2018. Both the birthplace of Picasso, which usually adorns itself for the occasion, and the Picasso Museum become the central axes of Malaga’s culture during October.

Exhibitions, theater, educational workshops, book presentations, guided tours in the capital following Picasso or concerts are some of the proposals that can be enjoyed every year. A great and fun way to learn more about the life and work of the artist, who only spent a few years of his childhood in Malaga, but who left a deep impression in the city.

Fundacion Museo Casa Natal pablo Ruiz Picasso Photo: Fundación Picasso Málaga

[/caption]Casa Natal. Ayuntamiento de Málaga

Tapa Tour

Up to 25 restaurants and bars in the city center participate in the “Ruta Exquisita Victoria” in Malaga, which in 2018 will hold its seventh edition between late October and early November. It’s a tour where you can taste some of the best tapas in the capital, together with a small Victoria beer- everything for just 2.5 Euros. It’s an event that is increasingly followed by every type of food lover. A unique opportunity to discover the traditional and modern cuisine of Malaga made with local products, in some of the most interesting establishments of the city.

In the meantime, if you are here don’t forget to join us on one of our  Tapas Tours in Malaga . We will show you  the city through the eyes of a local, visiting locally-owned establishments where we take our friends and family!

Jazz Festival

November is synonymous with Jazz in Malaga. Since three decades many national artists of the genre and an interesting list of international musicians attend the Jazz Festival of Malaga. Al di Meola, Jerry Gonzalez, Dayna Kurtz, Kenny Garret, Lou Donaldson, Chano Dominguez and Carmen Paris are some examples of concerts of the festival’s former editions.

It mainly takes place in the Cervantes and Echegaray Theatre, but recently it’s opening up to other spaces that make the entire city of Malaga breathe Jazz. So this music genre will be the protagonist in places like the Plaza de la Merced or Muelle Uno, as well as in various specialized bars. In addition, exhibitions, book presentations, amateur get-togethers or film screenings are programmed.

Esperanza Spalding

Photo: Daniel Pérez / Teatro Cervantes

Malaga Marathon

Malaga offers one of the best climates in the world. It’s so good, that it has up to 320 days of sunshine each year. Many of them make the winters of Malaga very mild and ideal for walks and enjoying our culture, entertainment and local cuisine. But also for doing sports: this is why the Malaga Marathon is being consolidated as one of the favorites for runners from all over Spain and the entire European continent, who see it as an opportunity to enjoy their hobby. And of course to savor one of the most attractive tourist destinations in southern Europe.

In Dec. 2018 it will be  celebrated the 8th edition of this race in which 4,000 runners are expected to participate. A perfect date to live Malaga celebrating the holiday weekend of the Spanish Constitution.

Malaga Marathon

Photo: Sportograf

Christmas Lights

Malaga’s Christmas lights have become a national reference and the traditional switching on of them is becoming a major event for the city. From late November until the 6th of January, the main streets are all lit with thousands of bulbs that recreate beautiful festive motifs. However, the most important place is Larios Street, which always receives the most original lighting- hence thousands of people from around the country come to enjoy these days in Malaga.

The street gets a great festive atmosphere throughout the Christmas season, as well as the nearby “Paseo del Parque”, where many different booths are build up, to find the perfect gift.

Christmas Lights malaga

Photo: © Área de Turismo. Ayuntamiento de Málaga.

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