The beach season is well and truly over and most of the tourists have gone home but as many of the coastal resorts virtually go into hibernation in winter time, the city of Malaga comes to life.
Every year hundreds of thousands of Euros are spent on a fantastic display of Christmas lights and this year is no exception. People come from miles around to see the famous Malaga lights, enjoy the excellent winter weather Southern Spain is famed for and to take in the festive atmosphere.
The last Friday of November is usually when the lights are first switched on and traditionally this is the when the majority of people head into Malaga. Calle Larios and the area around Plaza de la Constitutión are the main attraction as a live band performs next to the huge Christmas tree which towers over the plaza.
In December, Malaga really comes into its own and yes… I know I mentioned the ‘excellent winter weather’ earlier; it was actually a very wet and rainy Saturday night when we took the short train ride into the city to join in the festivities.
A bit of rain clearly doesn’t put the Malagueñans off as every bar and restaurant appeared to be packed with young locals enjoying tapas and catching up with friends, and this was early evening before the lights had been switched on.
Tapas in La Plaza
So we wandered through some of the familiar streets and discovered some not so familiar little streets, that’s the great thing about this city, no matter how many times I come here I always find something or somewhere new.
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Some of the coolest hang outs in Malaga can be found just off the main drag so don’t be afraid to wander down the narrow side streets where you will find tapas and drinks are usually a little cheaper. Look out for the more boutique style shops selling fantastic individual items off the beaten track too.
Tip: If you see something you like buy it! You might not find your way back through the maze of streets of you decide to go back later for it.
Seeing as we arrived early for the lights, we headed to an old favourite restaurant of ours, La Plaza in the recently revamped Plaza de la Merced. We shared some excellent tapas and a festive glass of wine before heading back out into the busy rain soaked streets and down towards Plaza Constitutión for the big switch on.
It seemed thousands of others had the same idea as the square was packed with people; we didn’t have to wait long as at 19.30 prompt, suddenly the huge Christmas tree was gleaming with beautiful gold lights.
To our left into Calle Larios and as far as the eye could see, was the most stunning display of Gothic Cathedral style arches made up of thousands of the same tiny gold lights with dots of red spanning the width of this famous street.
Malaga switched on for Christmas…
Arbol de Navidad
The whole area was illuminated beautifully, even the cold damp evening couldn’t spoil this magical display and as people people around us took out their phones or cameras to take pictures, everyone seemed to forget about the rain.
As we strolled down Calle Larios among the crowds looking up to admire the lights we noticed from every arch hung a huge ornate chandelier which seemed to be suspended in mid air. We reached the end and as I looked back I realised that this year’s display was the best I had seen in all of my 8 years of coming to see Malaga’s Christmas Lights.
- The display running from Calle Larios down to Plaza de la Constitución is made up of 2 million tiny LED lamps.
- The cost of this year’s Christmas Lights is 600,000 Euros.
- The lights are switched on between 28th November and 6th January from 6.30pm until 2am.
- On the first night many of the shops celebrated Black Friday sales offering huge discounts.
By Anna Collins