With just over five weeks to go until Christmas Day, those of us lucky enough to be spending it somewhere warm and sunny, like Malaga, will be celebrating in different ways.
If you’ve booked a timeshare trip to the south of Spain for the Christmas celebrations, here are five ways to make the most of this magical time of year in the Andalucian sunshine.
Lunch at the beach, hot chocolate at sundown
While it’s not a “Christmas market” destination, Malaga’s luminous winter days and crisp nights make winter a lot more bearable. Many restaurants offer special Christmas Eve and festive week menus, and as it’s still usually beach weather, why not head to one of Malaga’s urban beaches for a tradition frito mixto (a big, shareable silver platter of mixed fried fish) and a crisp green salad?
Afterwards, soak up the sunshine during a long beach walk (take a cardigan as it can quickly get chilly after the sun sets!) and then head for the nearest cosy looking café for a thick, Spanish style hot chocolate before you make your way home for a quick drink before dinner.
Explore Malaga’s “secret streets”
Malaga’s full of well known landmarks, from fabulous shopping at Spain’s most upmarket department store, El Corte Ingles, to the world-renowned Picasso Museum. But take a few detours down the back streets and you’ll find little tucked away shops and street cafes where the locals go for their evening olives and beer and the community atmosphere is second to none.
Catch the Christmas Lights
Even if you’re staying outside Malaga it’s worth taking the (reasonably priced) local train into the city centre to see the Christmas Lights. You’ll want to head to the city’s main shopping street, Calle Larios, for most Christmassy displays – and don’t miss the beautiful flower stalls in the same neighbourhood, the pretty blooms will remind you of the warmer days of summer.
Meanwhile the Plaza de la Constitucion is where you’ll find Malaga’s 17 metre high Christmas tree – selfie stick at the ready!
Also try the Muelle Uno shopping centre which will be lit up with festive lights. Head over to the main port for more photo opportunities and a real flavour of the city.
Don’t miss the Nacimientos
Malaga’s “belenes” or “ nacimientos” are Malaga’s famous nativity scenes. Every year there’s a special route following all the different locations where you’ll find these on display. There are just under fifty so you probably won’t have time to visit them all, but try and get to one of the biggest, the Belen in the Town Hall. Other good spots are the main cathedral and there’s another superb Baroque style one in the Patio de Columnas in the Thyssen Museum, too.
Visit the Christmas Market
If you’re a Christmas market addict you can get your fix at the traditional annual market along the main avenue in the centre of Malaga by Avenida del Parque. Great for gift-shopping, it’s filled with Christmas decorations, artisan crafts, jewellery and accessories. One of Malaga’s most traditional Christmas foods is blocks of “turron”, which come in an assortment of flavours – nougat fans will love them!