things to do at Christmas on the costa del sol

images of lights at Christmas on the Costa del Sol

With its 320 days of (guaranteed) sunshine a year, this part of southern Spain makes a great place to visit at any time. Of course, one of the magical times of the year is Christmas on the Costa del Sol when every village, town and resort celebrates the festive season. In this post, we choose our favourite things to do and see.

Weather at Christmas on the Costa del Sol

On the coast, expect balmy temperatures and sunshine. It will probably be warm enough for a t-shirt at midday – we always have lunch on the beach on 26 December.

If you’re looking for a bit of festive frost and perhaps a sprinkling of the white stuff, you need to head inland. Torrecilla, the highest mountain in Sierra de las Nieves, and La Maroma, the highest in the Axarquía, usually have snow on their peaks during December and January.

Our road trips include average temperatures during the main seasons on the Costa del Sol plus a ton of other handy information. Get your copy now!

Highlights at Christmas in Malaga

The capital of the Costa del Sol pulls out all the stops at Christmas. If you’re in the city – all our road trips spend two nights in Malaga – here’s what to look out for:

Christmas lights

Christmas lights on Calle Larios Malaga in 2022

The city’s Christmas lights are world-famous, particularly those on Calle Larios where music and sound shows take place several times daily. In 2022, 16 giant angels ‘fly’ over the street, supported by 32 columns, all in white and gold. Lights are on every evening at 6.30pm until midnight (2am on Friday and Saturday nights) with music and sound shows at 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm. See them until midnight on 6 January.

Find out more about Christmas in Malaga

Christmas fun for kids in Malaga

If you’re in town with your family, check out the lights and then head for:

  • Muelle Uno where you’ll find Santa’s grotto, complete with reindeer and sleigh.
  • Outside El Corte Inglés department store for an ice rink and Christmas-themed rides.

Christmas lights at the Botanical gardens

The lovely botanical gardens in Malaga have an annual light display. This year’s is Stella, themed around the journey of the Three Wise Men from Babylonia to Bethlehem. More information and links to book tickets here.

Christmas lights at the Botanical Gardens in Malaga

Highlights at Christmas in Marbella

6 trees and 702 arches light up Marbella during Christmas 2022 and are on from 6pm to midnight (2am on Friday and Saturday). See light displays on Plaza de los Naranjos. Switch-on is 2 December.

Discover more things to do in Marbella

Highlights at Christmas in Ronda

The white town’s lights go on 5 December at 7pm – those in the square near the river gorge and old quarter are particularly pretty. You can also listen to traditional Andalusian Christmas music (known as zambombas) on Plaza Teniente Arce, where concerts take place on 7, 10 and 17 December at 6pm.

Read our list of must-dos in Ronda

Highlights at Christmas in Antequera

The town has pretty lights and of course, is the Andalusian mecca for mantecados, traditional Christmas cakes. Buy the best at two of the town’s oldest bakeries:

  • La Perla on Calle Mesones 26
  • San Pancracio on Calle Calzada 2.

Día de la Jeva

One of the oldest traditions on the Costa del Sol, this fiesta takes place on Christmas Day morning (25 December). An image of the Virgen de la Purificación is carried by crowds who make their way singing and dancing to the Jeva Shrine at the foot of the stunning Torcal mountain range. After the mass, celebrations continue with verdiales (traditional Malaga folk music) and mantecados. More information here.

Mantecados from Antequera

Highlights at Christmas in Archidona

The pretty town of Archidona sits next to Antequera and makes a handy place to stop on your Costa de Sol road trip. At Christmas, the town celebrates its annual nativity scene when local businesses and associations vie to create the best miniature Christmas story. Ask at the tourist office (at Plaza Ochavada 2) for details and map.

Other things to do at Christmas on the Costa del Sol

Many of the villages on the Costa del Sol hold annual festivities during December including:

Casarabonela – in the foothills to the Sierra de las Nieves, this village pays homage to the Virgen de los Rondeles with a candle-lit procession through the streets, accompanied by Christmas carols. 12 December.

Colmenar – in the Montes de Málaga, this village showcases its wine and cold cuts at the annual Fiesta del Mosto y Chacina. Don’t forget to visit the Honey Museum (Museo de la Miel) while you’re there. 10 December.

Torrox – famed as having the best climate in Europe, this village near Nerja also makes excellent migas. This hearty winter dish, made from flour, garlic and olive oil, has its special day, Día de las Migas. Verdiales music and dance accompanies the celebrations. 17 December.

Enjoy Christmas on the Costa del Sol

Or at any time of the year, with one of our themed road trips that take you on and off the beaten track, with your people, your interests and in your time. Choose from 7 themes, each costing just €4.95. Buy more than one and generous discounts apply (automatically added at check-out).

¡Felices fiestas y próspero año nuevo!