Christmas magic on the Costa del Sol

A combination of authentic ancient Christmas traditions, delightful sunny afternoons and stunning sea views – this makes Christmas on Costa del Sol so magical. Christmas in Spain is traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve, the presents are brought by The Three Kings and the most essential decorative element is the “Belén”, a Christmas nativity scene. With the presence of a large international community on the Costa del Sol, customs have evolved and now it is common to decorate homes with both the “Belén” and the Christmas tree and to have the presents split between Santa Claus and The Three Kings. Turning on the Christmas lights in the towns along the Costa del Sol is the kickoff of the festive period which lasts till 6th of January, the Day of The Three Kings. Turning on Malaga Christmas lights, already a reference throughout Spain, a long awaited event attracting considerable crowds. During the whole festive period Malaga is illuminated with over 2 million LED lights and there are 3 music light shows a day scheduled on Calle Larios (6:30, 8:00 and 9:30 pm). Andalusians love to gather and celebrate on the streets seduced by a delightful winter climate and numerous international visitors on The Costa del Sol are happy to join in. Town halls along the cost organize extensive programs for all ages including: Christmas markets, “Zambombas” (gatherings to sing flamenco Christmas carols), animation shows, Christmas workshops, children’s parties, Papa Noel houses,  street parades and concerts, inaugurations and contests of Nativity scenes, Galas, Christmas Carols Contests, ‘’Buñueladas’’, ‘’Chocalatadas’’ (hot chocolate parties), New Year’s Eve parties, Three kings parade etc… In Marbella town alone there are over 150 events organized this year. For more detailed information check the event calendar of each respective town hall.


Putting up a nativity scene is the most fascinating Spanish Christmas tradition. Beléns are put up by families in their homes, by groups of neighbors and various associations who compete in contests. Also every town hall, churches and hospitals have their own. The largest nativity scene in Spain in terms of surface area is located in the town of Xàtiva in the province of Valencia and it covers 1600 square meters. Traditionally when a Spanish couple gets married, they start to create their own Belén. As the years pass and the family grows, so does their Nativity scene. They start with the basics: a stable, some moss and sand for the ground, the star and the statues of: baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph, The Three kings, Angel Gabriel and some animals. Every year they continue to add statues – a baker, an ironmonger, a shepherd etc… and develop the scenes – a market scene, a garden scene etc… they end up creating a whole little village.  During the first week of December the Costa del Sol towns inaugurate dozens of public Beléns. With around 61 Beléns appearing in the city of Malaga, the town hall publishes the Nativity scenes guide with their locations and opening times and days. Some town halls such as Marbella or Fuengirola organize Beléns contests. Nativity scenes go from the most traditional, to modern, to the most curious: the villagers of Amayate (in the province of Malaga) participate in the human Belén, a nativity scene made of Playmobil figures in Antequera (province of Málaga), the world biggest chocolate Belén in Rute (province of Córdoba), 500 dolls used for the Barbie Belén in the shopping mall Malaga Plaza and the underwater Belén submerged in the water tank, surrounded by marine animals in the Sea Life, Benalmádena.


Christmas markets organized in various towns along The Costa del Sol help create a Christmas atmosphere amongst the palm trees:

The biggest: Christmas Market in Torrox – during December.

The newest: Torremolinos Christmas Market – a second edition, located in Avenida Palma de Mallorca – Plaza Costa del Sol.

The most child friendly: Estepona Christmas Market – A Nordic style market with ice rink and playground starting December 5th.

The most picturesque: La Virginia Christmas Market in Marbella – Located in the charming village style community with its own chapel and Andalusian patios, taking place on 16th of December from 11:00 am.

The trendiest: Puerto Banús Christmas market – with food trucks present for the first 3 days, starting on 6th of December in the Marina.

The smallest and the shortest:  Volubilis Christmas Market – taking place in its famous antiques shop and gardens, only on 7th of December from 10:00 am.


Children are the ones who become most excited with the “Magic of Christmas”. While they are impatiently waiting to receive and open their presents, they can enjoy numerous activities including: entertaining shows, parties and Christmas workshops organized specifically for them by each town hall along the Costa del Sol. Most importantly they can meet Santa Claus, who comes to town every year and visits several areas in town, meeting all the children wishing to deliver their letters. In Marbella, children can meet him as well as The Three Kings in the La Cañada Shopping Centre.

Each season on The Costa del Sol is magical. If you are inspired to enjoy a sunny Christmas, do not hesitate to contact Marbella Unique Properties and we will be delighted to offer a selection of beachside property along the coast, as well as luxury mountainside homes for that Unique Marbella Christmas!

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