Málaga Feria

Local Malagueñas enjoying their home town feria. © Michelle Chaplow
Local Malagueñas enjoying their home town feria.
Feria de Malaga 2023 poster
Feria de Malaga poster
Feria de Malaga 2024

Sat 17th Aug - Sat 24th Aug 2024

(confirmed by the Town Hall in Feb)

Malaga Feria

The annual Malaga city fair in August is an exuberant week-long street party with plenty of flamenco and 'fino' (sherry). The fair commemorates the re-conquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinand in 1487 and traditionally runs for a week from Saturday to Sunday (inclusive) over the third week in August. 

This castanet-clicking fiesta starts off with a bang, literally, with an impressive firework display in the Paseo del Parque which can be seen for miles around. The best view is from the Port area or Muelle Uno or from the rooftop terrace bars of city centre hotels.  The firework display is at midnight on the Friday night before the opening Saturday. This is usually (but not since 2022) followed by a free concert by a top Spanish artist or band on the beach at La Malagueta.

Dancing 'sevillanas' at the Malaga Feria © Michelle Chaplow
Dancing 'sevillanas' at the Malaga Feria

The following day the people take to the streets, the women in flouncy flamenco dresses, to dance, drink and, generally, make merry. The traditional dance of Andalucia is called 'Sevillanas' comprising four distinct dances with plenty of finger-clicking, foot-stomping and, above all, feeling. This is where 'dancing in the street' can be appreciated spontaneously 'en vida' which is really the only way Spanish dancing should be performed.

Millions of people visit the fair, although very few tourists know about this intrinsically Andalusian traditional fiesta which, in Malaga, is two distinct events, in the centre during the day (Feria de Dia - Day fair) up to 18.00 hrs in the city centre and  (Feria de Noche - Night fair) from around 21.00 hrs until dawn in the fairground west of the city centre.

Feria de Dia - Day fair

This city fair is concentrated around Malaga's main shopping street - Calle Marques de Larios (Calle Larios for short) which is decorated with paper lanterns and flags. Millions of people visit the fair, although very few tourists seem to even know about this intrinsically Andalusian traditional fiesta which, in Malaga, is two distinct events, in the centre during the day (Feria de Dia - Day fair) up to 18.00 hrs and at the fairground  (Feria de Noche - Night fair) from around 21.00 hrs until dawn.

Hundreds of people take to the streets of the city’s historic centre, which are beautifully decorated and food, drink and trinket stalls are set up. Shops and businesses close and the classy pedestrian shopping street, Calle Marques de Larios, and surrounding area are transformed for the duration of the celebrations. Soak in the wall-to-wall swishing flamenco dresses, gleaming Andalusian horses, music and spontaneous dancing and you understand something of the Andalusian love of life and ability to party.


Feria de Noche - Night Time fair

The Feria de Noche is an immense precinct to the west of the MA-20 by-pass motorway near the Palacio de Congresos building where various associations install their 'casetas' - large huts or booths for entertainment and refreshment, where old and young alike meet up in laughing gossiping circles, surrounded by swirling dancers and waiters rushing around tripping over babies and young children and making sure that everyone is continually topped up with fino and 'tapas'. The casetas are much more open to the public those in Seville. As long as you are dressed (anything from smart casual upwards), ask the dorman politely and you can enter.  The 'Caseta municipal' has a wide range of acts and live music, most are free except for some headline acts..   

The casetas are also where many business deals are struck between local Malagueños who have closed their conventional office for the week. Outside, the fair is a gaudy, raucous fairyland of dazzling lights, deafening music, soaring ferris wheels and careering dodgem cars, an assault on all the senses and incomparable to any 'conventional' fair elsewhere.

Your very own drinking cup for the Malaga Fair and a lovely souvenir. © Michelle Chaplow
Your very own drinking cup for the Malaga Fair and a lovely souvenir.

The typical feria drinks are Malaga Dulce (Malaga sweet) wine and Rebujito ( fino or manzanilla mixed with lemonade or sprite). Typical feria food is Pescaito which is a selection of fried fish from Malaga.   

This festival of light by night is just one aspect of the ‘Feria de Málaga’. The inaugural (Friday) night of the Fair is launched with the traditional‘Pregón de la Feria’ (opening address) read out from the Town Hall balcony. Unusually in 2022 singer María Peláe delivered the Pregón on the Saturday evening before the turning on of the lights. Manuel Bandera, Estrella Morente, Antonio Banderas, Diana Navarro, Julio Iglesias, María Teresa Campos, Pasión Vega and many others have had the honor of the Pregón in previous years. On the Friday strike of midnight starts an awe-inspiring fireworks display. This ‘Big Bang’ is a magnificent show of Malaga’s muscle in the party prowess department and is best appreciated from Malaga Port and Muelle Uno, where thousands gather vying for a privileged view of this magical scene. This is usually (not in 2022) followed by a free concert by a top Spanish artist or band on the beach at La Malagueta.

By night the place to be is the Feria de Noche at the big purpose built Fair Ground also called 'El Real', set just on the edge of the city, west of the MA-20 near the Palacio de Congresos. There are shuttle buses laid on from the Alameda in centre of the city. The Cercanias train station 'Victoria Kent' is the nearest. From around 21.00 hrs  till dawn this massive purpose built fiesta area vibrates with life. Here, 21 st century technology mingles with old Andalusian traditions. From fairground rides, to live music and dancing and endless food, drink and entertainment, the choice is vast. If you do nothing other than people-watch. You will enjoy a sense of theatre when you see the stunning elegance and beauty of some of the women and men milling around or dancing traditional Sevillanas, till dawn. However the number of people wearing traditional dress is slowly diminishing over the years, cost and heat are cited as the reasons. 

Flowers and fans are a must at Malaga Feria. © Michelle Chaplow
Flowers and fans are a must at Malaga Feria.

History of the malaga feria

The Feria celebrations date back to 1487, when Los Reyes Católicos, Isabella and Ferdinand re-conquered the city. Over time, it has evolved into a huge event and it has two distinct facets – day and night. ‘La Feria de día’ warms up around midday. Restaurant and bars are full and spill over into the street. Bands play free concerts in the little squares of the city centre. Head for Calle Larios and follow the crowds. This Feria de dia officially finishes at 18.00 hrs  This finishing time is earlier than some years ago and is now strictly observed by bars who turn off the music. The feria goers and in particular the younger prefer to hang around and finish their drinks. The street cleaners and their hose pipes arrive in force and mark the real end to the Feria de dia.  

The third part of the Malaga Feria is the bullfights in the city’s bullring at La Malagueta.

The Malaga skies are adorned with decorations. © Michelle Chaplow
The Malaga skies are adorned with decorations

Other fairs in Andalucia

'Faralae' dresses are typical of Malaga Feria.
'Faralae' dresses are typical of Malaga Feria.

The Andalusian feria is also celebrated in the majority of towns and even villages at some time between Spring and Autumn and for the locals means far more than a holiday from work. They are the very reason and justification for the year, occasions to be immersed in with passion and commitment. Some, like Malaga, Cordoba and, particularly Seville are rich and glittering affairs attracting millions of visitors while others, such as the feria of the village of Casares is a far smaller version; an exuberant street party where everyone knows everyone and relatives who have moved away return to join their families in the all familiar annual celebration.

There is also rivalry between the two main Andalusian cities, Seville and Malaga – especially when it comes to festivities. In April, Seville boasts the illumination of 200,000 lights with about 25.000 in the Portada (2022) for the inauguration of the town’s massive annual fair. It used to be more in 2004 it was reported that Seville and Malaga nearly hit the half million mark. It slowed down in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The introduction of diode lights have made the light bulb count a little irrelevant.  Malaga is the largest 'Summer fair' in Spain excluding Seville's 'Spring Fair'.  


Book city centre hotels in Malaga

ICON Malabar

Attractively situated in the centre of Málaga, ICON Malabar features air-conditioned rooms, free bikes, free WiFi and a terrace. This 4-star hotel offers a bar. The property is non-smoking and is situated 1.6 km from La Malagueta Beach.

Living Soho

Situated within 2.1 km of Misericordia Beach and 300 metres of Atarazanas Market, Living Soho provides rooms with air conditioning and a shared bathroom in Málaga. The property is around 700 metres from Port of Malaga, 700 metres from Picasso Museum and less than 1 km from Alcazaba.

Room Mate Valeria

Featuring a seasonal rooftop plunge pool with views and a courtyard, Room Mate Valeria is 200 metres away from Calle Larios. Free WiFi is available throughout. All air-conditioned, soundproofed rooms in this design hotel include a flat-screen TV with USB and HDMI connection, full-length mirror, minibar, and a safe. The private bathroom comes with a hairdryer, rain-effect shower and free toiletries.

Gran Hotel Miramar GL

The luxurious Gran Hotel Miramar GL is set in a listed XX century building originally opened at a hotel in 1926 and is located in Malaga, 10 metres from La Malagueta Beach. This beachfront hotel has a spa centre and a seasonal pool. Featuring views of the beach, the garden, or the city, the elegant rooms at this hotel are air conditioned.

Soho Boutique Malaga

Located in Malaga, this stylish hotel is just 500 metres from Malaga Cathedral. Soho Malaga features a bar, free WiFi and a shared lounge. Each bright room at Soho Malaga offers city views. All rooms include a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, laptop safe and a telephone. Some rooms have a balcony. The private bathroom comes with a bath or shower and a hairdryer.

Soho Boutique Colón

Situated conveniently in the Malaga Centro district of Málaga, Soho Boutique Colón is set less than 1 km from La Malagueta Beach, a 16-minute walk from San Andres Beach and 2 km from La Caleta Beach. The property is located 1.1 km from Malaga Museum, 1.5 km from Port of Malaga and 1.8 km from Alcazaba. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk as well as free WiFi throughout the property.

Soho Boutique Urban

Attractively located in the Malaga Centro district of Málaga, Soho Boutique Urban is situated less than 1 km from La Malagueta Beach, an 18-minute walk from San Andres Beach and 1.8 km from La Caleta Beach. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has family rooms.

Exe Málaga Museos

This modern hotel is located in the historic centre, 100 metres from Plaza de la Constitución. It offers a seasonal rooftop outdoor pool, a sun terrace and free Wi-Fi, 400 metres from Malaga Cathedral. Rooms at Exe Málaga Museos feature chic, contemporary décor. All include a plasma TV, a laptop safe and a private bathroom with hairdryer. A minibar with soft drinks and water is available for an extra cost.

Málaga Premium Hotel

Málaga Premium Hotel is located in a pedestrian street in the heart of Málaga. Guests can enjoy their 2 on-site restaurants and their rooftop terrace bar.
Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and is fitted with a flat-screen TV. Rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer. Málaga Premium Hotel features free WiFi throughout the property.

Castilla Guerrero

The Castilla Guerrero hotel in Soho Málaga is within easy walking distance of the Cathedral, Alcazaba and the Picasso Museum. It has free WiFi. The rooms in the Castilla Guerrero are practical and light. All have air conditioning, heating, a small fridge, free safe and TV.

Hotel Guadalmedina

Located opposite Malaga’s Centre of Contemporary Art, this modern hotel offers free Wi-Fi and stylish air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen satellite TV. It is just 500 metres from Maria Zambrano Train Station. The Guadalmedina is within a 10-minute walk of Malaga’s old town and the popular shops and bars of Larios Street. La Malagueta Beach is 2 km from the hotel.

Hotel MS Maestranza Málaga

MS Maestranza Málaga is in central Málaga, just 100 metres from Malagueta Beach and Centre Pompidou. It offers a rooftop terrace and hot tub with panoramic city views, and rooms with free WiFi. The hotel is set next to the bullring and the Alameda Gardens. The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle are also nearby. The historic city centre and the Picasso Museum are 10 minutes' walk away.

Petit Palace Plaza Málaga

Located on a pedestrian area just off the popular Larios Street, next to Carmen Thyssen Museum and opposite Málaga Cathedral, this design hotel features free WiFi. The property offers MiFi (subject to availability for an extra cost). Petit Palace Plaza Málaga is set in a 20th-century palatial residence. Some rooms have views of the cathedral.

Molina Lario

Located in Malaga centre, Molina Lario has a sun terrace and rooftop pool, which offers views of Malaga Cathedral. Air-conditioned rooms offer free Wi-Fi. The Picasso Museum is 700 metres away The original 19th-century front hides a modern interior. Each of the soundproofed rooms has a sound system.