December in Malaga sees the air filled with festive spirit and the scent of traditional Spanish treats. The city is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and the growing Malaga Christmas Market.
In this guide, I’ll provide details on the 2023 market, including dates, opening times, and local delicacies to look out for.
Christmas in Malaga is distinctive for its vibrant light displays that illuminate the city’s streets and plazas.
Malaga Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Malaga extends beyond the popular Calle Larios, with the entire city lighting up in a brilliant display of artistic expression from the local community.
Historic structures, squares, and parks come alive with intricate light installations, narrating tales of tradition, love, and festive generosity.
As you wander through the city centre, I recommend letting the scent of traditional Spanish churros and hot chocolate guide you; these treats from street vendors add a warming touch to the visual feast that awaits.
Dates and Location
Malaga Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 24th November 2023 to 8th January 2024.
Location: Passeo del Parque.
Opening times: 10am to 6pm. Every Sunday in December: 11am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 24th November.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Public transport: Several buses stop along Passeo del Parque.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Artistic light tales across Malaga, traditional churros and hot chocolate allure, festive atmosphere unmatched.
Recommended tour: Alcazaba and Roman Theatre guided tour.
Food specialities: Turron, polvorones, mantecados, roscos de vino, marzipan, alfajores, estepaños, borrachuelos, fig bread, aniseed rings.
Where to stay: Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano is a popular hotel, located 5 minutes from Malaga Park.
Hotels near Malaga Christmas Market
The best area to stay in Malaga for proximity to the Christmas market is Centro Histórico. It places you right in the heart of the city’s festive activities and historical landmarks like the Alcazaba.
I’d suggest considering Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano, a popular choice due to its historic location and excellent rating.
Location of Malaga Christmas Market
Recommended Walking and Food Tours
A city tour of Malaga provides a brilliant opportunity to understand the city’s vast history and culture.
With its impressive Alcazaba, Roman remnants, and beautiful streets, Malaga remains a destination worthy of a visit, even in the cooler months.
One highly-rated tour is the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre guided tour, where the iconic Alcazaba invites visitors to traverse its majestic palace, invincible fortifications, serene gardens, and rich history.
Alternatively, diving into Malaga’s culinary traditions offers another layer of experience.
The Evening Wine and Tapas Tour navigates through Malaga’s evening culinary scene, allowing you to sample regional wines and indulge in innovative tapas dishes while soaking in the distinctive Spanish atmosphere as dusk sets in.
For additional ideas on where to go this winter, read my Spain Christmas Markets guide, which details the top markets throughout the region.
Pier One Christmas Market
Pier One, also known as Muelle Uno, stands out as a prominent Christmas market located in Malaga’s port.
You can find an array of clothing, diverse foods, and unique presents, all set against the backdrop of stunning city views.
Back at Pier One, the young at heart can look forward to meeting the resident Santa Claus in the “casita de Navidad”.
Pier One Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 29th November 2023 to 8th January 2024.
Location: Port of Malaga.
Opening times: 10am to 6pm.
Christmas in Malaga
Market Specialties in Malaga
Turron (Nougat): Turron is a traditional Spanish sweet made primarily from honey, sugar, egg whites, and almonds. Originating from the Moorish influence, it comes in a variety of textures, including hard and crunchy or soft and chewy, depending on the region of Spain. While you might find turron throughout Spain, sampling it in Malaga’s market provides an authentic experience.
Polvorones: A type of shortbread, polvorones are crumbly almond cookies often dusted with powdered sugar. They have a melt-in-the-mouth texture and are particularly associated with the Christmas season in Spain.
Mantecados: Similar to polvorones, mantecados are made with lard, giving them a distinct and rich flavour. They’re also a festive treat, often infused with flavours like cinnamon and lemon.
Churros con Chocolate: While churros are popular all year round, dipping them in rich hot chocolate is especially popular during the colder months. These deep-fried dough pastries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Borrachuelos: Malaga is particularly known for borrachuelos, a type of deep-fried pastry filled with sweet potato or almond paste. Once fried, they’re often soaked in sugar syrup or honey.
Estepaños: These are sweet pastries filled with angel hair, a sweet spaghetti squash jam, providing a unique taste that embodies the essence of Spanish Christmas.
Malaga Wine: As you’d expect, Malaga has its own local wine, often served as a sweet dessert wine. It pairs excellently with many of the Christmas treats you’ll find at the market.
Roscos de Vino: Made with wine, almonds, and aniseed, these ring-shaped cookies are both crunchy and crumbly. They’re often sprinkled with sugar and perfect for a cup of coffee.
Alfajores: These are a type of cookie filled with a sweet and sticky mixture of honey, almonds, and hazelnuts. They’re a Moorish treat that has become deeply ingrained in Andalusian festive traditions.
Marzipan: A sweet almond paste often shaped into fruits or other festive designs, marzipan is a staple in many European Christmas celebrations but has its own special Spanish twist in Malaga.
Pestiños: Deep-fried pastries flavoured with aniseed and coated in honey, pestiños are crispy, sticky, and utterly moreish.
Agua de Valencia (Valencia Water): While not exclusive to Malaga, this cocktail made from cava, orange juice, vodka, and gin adds a refreshing kick to your market experience.
Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Cerámica Andaluza (Andalusian Ceramics): The region of Andalusia, where Malaga is situated, is known for its exquisite ceramic work. At the Christmas market, you’ll find beautifully handcrafted ceramic plates, bowls, and decorative pieces, often adorned with intricate designs that reflect the Moorish influence in the region. Each piece serves as a lasting reminder of Malaga’s rich cultural tapestry.
Ajoblanco Olive Oil: Olive oil from Malaga is renowned for its quality, and one of the special varieties you can discover is Ajoblanco. This olive oil, often packaged in artisanal bottles, is a perfect gift for culinary enthusiasts back home. Its rich, fruity flavour enhances a wide range of dishes.
Mantones de Manila (Manila Shawls): These elegant embroidered shawls are a staple in Andalusian culture. Originating from trade with the Philippines, the Mantones de Manila are hand-stitched with detailed floral patterns, making them both a functional and decorative accessory.
Esparto Crafts: Esparto grass crafts are a traditional Andalusian art form. At the Malaga market, you might come across beautifully woven esparto baskets, mats, and even footwear. These durable and eco-friendly items reflect the region’s commitment to sustainable artistry.
Malaga Wine Bottles: With its rich viticulture history, Malaga produces some of the finest sweet wines. At the market, you can purchase elegantly packaged bottles of local wine, making them perfect gifts for wine aficionados.
Bolillos Lace: Bolillos, a type of bobbin lace, is an intricate textile art form you can find in Malaga. Items such as lace-edged handkerchiefs, table runners, and even decorative doilies showcase the meticulous handwork of local artisans.
Almendras Garrapiñadas (Candied Almonds) A sweet treat, these almonds are coated in a caramelised sugar crust. Packaged in decorative bags or boxes, they serve as a delightful gift for those with a sweet tooth.
I recommend visiting Spain Info, the region’s official website, for an extensive overview of winter activities and up-to-date events.
Sustainable Travel Tips
To cherish Malaga’s beauty and heritage during the festive period, here are some responsible travel tips to consider when in the city this Christmas:
Eco-friendly Accommodation Malaga has several hotels committed to sustainability, using renewable energy sources and implementing eco-friendly practices. When booking your stay, look for establishments with green credentials or those that have been awarded for their environmental initiatives. By choosing such places, you’re directly supporting the city’s push towards sustainable tourism.
Mindful Consumption at the Christmas Market The allure of Malaga’s Christmas markets is undeniable, with a plethora of items available for purchase. However, buying only what you genuinely need or will use is essential. Not only does this reduce unnecessary waste, but it also supports the artisans who’ve put time and effort into their crafts.
Sustainable Eating Habits While the temptation to try every delicious treat at the market is strong, being conscious of food waste is crucial. Order portions you can finish and try to prioritise local, seasonal ingredients. Malaga’s markets are filled with regional specialties; by choosing these, you’re supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon footprint of your meal.
Ethical Consumption While shopping, consider the origin and production methods of the items you’re buying. Opt for locally-made souvenirs and avoid products that might have been sourced unethically or are detrimental to the environment.
Embrace Sustainable Transport Malaga is a city best explored on foot, especially during the festive season when its streets and plazas come alive. If you need to travel longer distances, consider using the city’s efficient public transport system or hiring a bicycle. This reduces your carbon footprint and gives you a unique perspective of Malaga’s charm.
If you would like to leave a review of Malaga Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Malaga, Spain. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.