Christmas in Marbella makes this city shine in its own light. This is why you will see bright red poinsettia flowers on pavements, roundabouts and in hanging baskets, and shop windows adorned with traditional decorations that exude festive joy. And so, each year it becomes the ultimate destination for spending this festivity.
This city organises more and more, and better activities to experience dreamy festivities, so there’s no point wondering what to do for Christmas in Marbella or what to do on New Year’s Eve in Marbella, since you can enjoy nativity scene routes, concerts on the streets and in the squares, lights, Christmas decorations, verdial music, carols and activities, and much more that will make your visit very special, since it is the ideal time to get lost among its streets full of lights and joy.
Why visit Marbella at Christmas?
1. See Plaza de Los Naranjos with oranges
One of Marbella’s most famous squares is Plaza de Los Naranjos and while in spring you can enjoy the wonderful sight of the orange trees in bloom, it is at this time when you can see these tress full of fruit and enjoy the colour they give to the city.
2. Stroll around the historic centre to see the Christmas lights
Marbella’s historic centre is one of the most visited in all Andalucia thanks to the fact that it has preserved its thoroughly Andalucian identity and style. If its streets are a sight to see year round, imagine them at night and decorated with Christmas lights. A true show for the senses!
3. Singing carols on the beach
Only in Marbella will you have the chance to celebrate New Year or Christmas by eating outside. Imagine singing carols while enjoying a glass of wine on a terrace looking out at the Mediterranean. Marbella at Christmas is definitely for you.
4. Being able to show off your outfit on New Year’s Eve without covering it up with a coat
As we have said on several occasions, temperatures are mild in the capital of the Costa del Sol, sometimes pleasant, so you can show off your festive attire and leave your coat at home.
Christmas in Marbella
Although there is plenty of winter sunshine in Marbella, there is a very festive atmosphere in the city for spending a Christmas holiday. This fun city has something to offer everybody at this time of year: from sparkling lights to carol singers, Christmas markets, great food and glamorous New Year events.
When Christmas comes to town, Marbella is transformed into a very festive place. At the end of November the city is lit up with an elegant and pretty series of Christmas lights. In Parque de la Alameda can be found nativity scenes and stalls selling roasted chestnuts, hot waffles and other festive treats. Meanwhile, a stroll around Marbella’s Old Town will certainly add a bit of magic to anybody’s Christmas. The Christmas decorations this year will include over five hundred illuminated arches, eight nativity scenes decorated with LED lights and four Christmas trees decorated with tinsel. In addition, there is a new feature this year that visitors will love: a daily sound and light show in Parque de la Alameda. This show will be held every day at seven pm, and there will be an extra show at eight thirty pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
When it comes to holiday shopping, Marbella has plenty of offer. During the Christmas parties it is filled with lights and decorations to mark the time of year, and events and flea markets reflecting the traditions and customs of the local area can be enjoyed.
An excursion to the La Cañada shopping centre is also worthwhile, to see its spectacular Christmas tree and festive decorations in the shop fronts.
We should also mention that the traditional Christmas flea market will be held on Monday 18 December next to the Divina Pastora parish church from 10 am to 3 pm, organised by the Multiple Scelerosis Association. Here you can buy all of the Christmas handicrafts that you need to make sure that your home is inundated with plenty of Christmas feelings.
Nativity scenes competition
It has become traditional in Marbella to promote deep-rooted and popular cultural manifestations. The nativity scenes competition has been one of these traditions for many years . This year, on 12 December it will be possible to visit all of the “Nativity Scenes” taking part in the competitions from 9 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. There are two different categories this year:
- The individual nativity scene competition.
- The entities and groups nativity scene competition. Nativity scenes set up by any brotherhood, associations, establishments, institutions or social clubs, who set up their scenes in any publicly accessible place.
Exhibition of nativity scenes
Moreover, from the beginning of December onwards it is possible to visit all of Marbella’s nativity scenes. They can be found in the following places:
- Old Municipal Nativity Scene, Plaza de la Iglesia (Divina Pastora).
- Municipal Nativity Scene, Plaza de la Iglesia.
- Dioramas exhibition, Plaza de la Victoria.
- Mª Rosa Duvige Nativity Association Scene, Avda. Nabeul.
Pastorales folk music meeting and competition
The pastorales folk music competition will be held on 8 December, with the following activities to be enjoyed:
- Street parades along the following route: Avda. Reina Victoria, C/ Felipe II, C/ Salduba, ending up in Plaza de los Infantes.
- Pastorales folk music meeting in Plaza de los Infantes (El Ángel and Ojén Groups).
The Pastorales folk music competition will be held on 10 December at 5 pm in Plaza de Santo Cristo. Participants and visitors alike will have the chance to sample paella and churros with hot chocolate. On the same day, prizes will be awarded for the kids’ Christmas card competition, at Hospital Real de la Misericordia at 5.30 pm.
Christmas Dioramas exhibition and expo click fair
From 11 am until 10 pm, visitors will be able to enjoy the exhibitions of dioramas, representing a range of different Christmas themes and your favourite characters, as well as Expo Click where you can have great fun browsing many dioramas of scenes from different films, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and others by Walt Disney.
This event also includes plenty of other pieces, figures and vehicles, as well as the chance to get your photograph taken at an incredible photocall with Father Christmas.
Christmas Carol competition
On 15 December at 10 am you can enjoy the XIX Old Town Christmas Carols Competition, organised this year by the Marbella Old Town Association of Traders and Professionals. This year the competition will take place in Plaza de la Iglesia.
The 40 principales “aguinaldo”
On Saturday 30 December you will have a great time at the Cadena Ser Gymkhana, from 8 pm in Avenida Nabuel. This activity includes a parade through all of the city’s streets and gives out thousands of euros worth of prizes. Don’t think twice if you fancy a different and very pleasant evening, because it’s a lot of fun.
Living nativity scene
Christmas inundates the Paseo de la Alameda every year, and with it comes the traditional Living Nativity Scene. On 17 December, the Hermanas Maldonado Dance School will put two sessions of a spectacular show – the first at midday and the second at 4 pm.
One of the best things about this act is that it is always for charity, as it tends to raise funds for Marbella’s palliative care unit run by the Spanish Cancer Association (AECC).
Sretensky monastery choir concert
Like every Christmas, Marbella holds a Christmas concert which will be provided this year by the Russian Choir from the Srétensky Monastery in Moscow, a unique phenomenon ni modern choral art. It will be held on 17 December at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Conference Centre.
Roasted chestnuts for Christmas
Traditional Roasted chestnuts are on offer after the Mass in honour of the Virgen del Rocío with the Sierra Blanca choir at the parish church of Virgen del Carmen de las Chapas. This old tradition involves sampling roasted chestnuts, washed down with a glass of aniseed liquor or aguardiente.
It’s a group celebration aimed at keeping the traditional spirit of roasting chestnuts alive. This typical Marbella activity forms part of the city’s cultural DNA.
New Year’s Eve, New Year and Three Kings’ Day
New Year’s Eve Dinner
At the end of the year, Marbella offers a wide range of options for celebrating New Year’s Eve with your partner or family. There are restaurants to be enjoyed with friends, romantic spaces and other options offering different experiences for the most adventurous among you. Any moment during the Christmas festivities is perfect for getting together around a table and savouring the delicacies of a menu designed specifically for this celebration.
New Year’s Eve Party
If you’re thinking of spending New Year’s Eve in Marbella, this year’s party has been moved to Plaza de la Iglesia de la Encarnación. Marbella residents will be able to eat the traditional midnight grapes in this new space to the rhythm of the church’s tolling bells, before getting the year off to a great start with the Velada y Arenal Orchestra.
In addition, bars, pubs and nightclubs all arrange private parties where you can pay for what you drink or enjoy an open bar. As a general rule, venues tend to charge different prices to those found during the rest of the year. Although some forget about special promotions for this particular evening.
New Year Concert
As it is now traditional, in Marbella and in San Pedro Alcántara, there will be a New Year Concert. It will feature the municipal bands. This time, it will be held on January 3rd at 6:00 p.m. in San Pedro Alcántara Square, and on January 4th at 12:30 p.m. in the Santo Cristo de Marbella Square.
The Three Kings’ Day Parade
On Thursday 4 January at 5 pm, their royal highnesses form the East will arrive in Marbella aboard the “Fly Blue” and will start their journey at the Marina, from where they will travel in a period car as far as C/ Huerta Chica. They will join their entourage here and parade through the city centre streets as far as Plaza de la Iglesia.
5 January is the day when the Three Kings give out gifts to children. But beforehand they take a traditional horse ride to give away sweets.
At 11 in the morning, their majesties will stop off at the Quirón Hospital and the Costa del Sol District Hospital. The eagerly awaited Horseback Parade of the Three Kings will start after 6 pm, this year with the following route: it will start at calle Severo Ochoa before passing along avenidas Ramón y Cajal and Ricardo Soriano. This time around, the route will end at Plaza de Monseñor Rodrigo Bocanegra.
After reading about all the Christmas options offered by Marbella, there’s no excuse not to get the most out of Christmas in the capital of the Costa del Sol.