There are so many things to do on the Costa del Sol! We asked our staff, collaborators and local residents about their opinion. These are in their views the best cultural events on the Costa del Sol that you shouldn’t miss!
One of my favourite times of the year would be celebrating the annual fair or so called “Feria”. Each village, town and city on the Costa del Sol is celebrating this event at different times of the year and is celebrated by the whole community.
During the day people are celebrating mostly in the centre of town, eating and drinking. Town centres will be closed for traffic and everyone is enjoying themselves on the streets with loud music coming out of every bar and restaurant. Locals all dressed up for the occasion. Women and girls are wearing beautiful Flamenco dresses in all colours, where men and boys dress up as well with hats, jackets and thighs and riding horses parading through the streets.
In the evening the party continues on the Feria ground, where you find lots of attractions for children of all ages and all the “peñas” are full with people enjoying live Spanish music, an abundance of food and again drinks!
The Feria is the most important party for most Spanish and there are numerous families that prefer spending there well earned Euros on the Feria over a holiday.
In the areas near to our StartGroup office the first Feria is the Marbella Feria. This year that will be from the 8th until the 14th of June. The most important day will be the 11th of June when they will be celebrating “San Bernabé”, the Saint that looks over Marbella and all it´s citizens. All businesses will be closed and parties are ongoing all over the city. If you are in town, make sure you pay a visit as you are going to love it!
Feria in La Cala de Mijas
Closest to our Start Group office is the Feria in La Cala de Mijas which will be hosted from the 22nd until the 26th of July. As La Cala is smaller this will not mean the party is! During the day you will see lots of people in the streets, bars and restaurants.
The whole village will be decorated and people of all ages will join in. On the plot where you would normally find the Wednesday and Saturday market, at the entrance of the village, will convert into one large entertainment area with rides and a large party tent at the far end. Here you can continue celebrating until the early morning.
The Malaga Feria
As you can probably imagine, the largest Feria on the Costa del Sol is in the capital Malaga. This year it will be celebrated from the 15th until the 22nd of August and this is the next level of celebrating a fair. So be aware… keep these dates free if you like to party! Every day will kick off with massive celebrations in the town centre around Calle Larios and the Plaza de la Merced.
As we are in the middle of summer and temperatures can rise to 40 degrees and above, the town hall will install shades and sprinklers in most streets for you to cool off. Especially in the weekends there will be thousands of people celebrating but even during the week it is worth a visit.
At night, as in every other Feria, everyone moves to the feria grounds just on the outskirts of the city. Here you find even more rides and “casetas” clubhouses where everyone is enjoying themselves. If you are going there, don´t feel shy and join in! The Spanish are very friendly and have no problem if you enter as well. Just enjoy the culture, the dancing, music and above all, the great ambience.
Feria in Fuengirola
One of the last Ferias held on the Costa del Sol is the Feria of Fuengirola. This will be held from the 6th until the 12th of October. Join the locals during the day in the centre of town or visit the Feria ground in the evening for a great night out.
Don´t be afraid to bring (young) children with you, as these fairs are for all ages! The evening fair is held just outside the main centre towards Los Boliches. Follow the crowd and you get there for sure.
IMPORTANT: bring cash and ideally do not come by car! There are thousands of people who come and visit the local ferias. If you come by car, you will not be able to find parking nearby and police will have alcohol controls on most exits when you leave.
Most of the rides will not be able to take payments by card, and when you go into the casetas you have to purchase vouchers for the drinks and food you want to buy. These you can normally get at the entrance of each caseta. Be aware, these voucher can only be used in that particular caseta, so don´t buy too many. You can always buy more if you want to stay longer!
Besides all big sport events that offers Costa Del Sol, my favourite cultural events are StarLite Festival and Feria de los pueblos.
StarLite Festival is great yearly International music festival, that last one month, from the last week of July until the last week of August and gathering a lot of world calibre super Stars! Different styles of music and artists from all over the world coming to Costa del Sol to take a part in this amazing event.
It started in 2012 this festival became one of the biggest and popular cultural yearly event on Costa del Sol that attracts people from different regions of Spain and even Europe. The idea of this festival came from the concert organised by the most famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo with a recital starred by the tenor in the Nagüeles quarry of Marbella, using the space as a natural auditori
um for its excellent acoustic qualities. There are a lot of other different things organised within the festival like:
Sections of the festival
StarLite Gastro; there is a special area where the best local restaurants present their best cuisine.
StarLite Films; once a week Auditorium turns into a big open air cinema with largest screen in Spain!
StartLite Fashion; that takes a big part in this festival, where the most promising young talented designers & models have a chance to present their works to the guests.
StartLite Disco; every night the quarry becomes an open air disco with all kind of theme parties.
Feria de Los Pueblos
Feria de Los Pueblos is amazing local yearly event that takes place in La Plaza de Ferias of Fuengirola and brings a lot of people, cultures and cuisines from all over the world together, to represent their own countries with music, dances and of course with their best traditional cuisine. All international communities of Costa Del Sol are present here. All with their traditional food, music and dances. And people from all over the coast come here to take a part in this popular festival! My family never miss an opportunity to enjoy this spectacular feast, full of great food from different part of the world, music and dances and loads of FUN!!!
All day long you can move from one “caseta” to another, try different food and drinks, dance and enjoy life with your family and friends! Without a doubt this festival is one of the best cultural events of the coast! As people say, “seeing is believing”, or “better once to see it than hundred times to hear it”!
A MUST ON THE COSTA del SOL
A must on the Costa, whether you have bought a property or are here to look for one, is to explore the rich culture that surround you. Once a year in Fuengirola there is a very special feria that allows all nations to celebrate their own heritage.
The “Feria de los pueblos” where various and wonderful nationalities settled on the Costa del Sol meet.
Every year (2020 from 29th April to 3rd May) on the feria ground around 1 million people gather. They come to sample the cultural delights of their “co-expats” from dance, food, music to crafts. A fantastic and inexpensive journey around the globe.
There is a fierce competition between Uruguay and Argentina over bragging rights on the best BBQ. It seems like they do it by the herd, defiantly not vegan friendly. Each nationality (this year 34!) has their own “caseta” like a town hall with a stage and catering faculties. Many wonderful sights, smells and delights to enjoy, a real treat for all ages.
Cuba and Brazil
As you can imagine the Cuban caseta is always packed with people and the distinctive sounds of the Caribbean. The Brazilian parade is full of vibrant colours and the Irish live music a stage is very popular as well.
Everyone should go and experience this most vibrant and diverse feria.
Spain has a great history in celebrating Carnival. Yet again, different versions and traditions in different territories. For example, Las Palmas has a carnival similar to Rio de Janeiro, but of course in a much smaller version. Me,
I do enjoy the Carnival in Cadiz where through time there has been some absolutely fantastic lyrics and songs made. It has become immensely popular with buses of tourists from all over, so if you do not like crowds…but more festive, happy and absolutely genuine and polite people than the Gaditanos are hard to find.
Between the Divine and the pagan
Every year there are a few acts that are determined by the predominant religion in Spain, which is Catholicism. Although it might not be your religion, there are festivals that are worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. If you decide to buy a property on the Costa del Sol you will be lucky to experience them many times.
Holy week is preceded by what for me is my favourite feast. That moment where you can be who and what you want, CARNIVAL. Although its origin is not Spanish, carnival has become almost a religion here. For anyone who likes this festival their holy land is in Cadiz.
The Malaga carnival has been official for four decades now). With all the different troupes, costumes, choirs and quartets, the carnival puts colour to the month of February.
The official group competition begins with its preliminaries in the auditorium of the Maria Victoria Cultural Centre. The semi-final and final are held at the Cervantes Theatre, located in the historic centre of Malaga. Among their unique and original costumes to their fantasy makeup. It is a time that allows you to dream.
Carnival is historically a time for protest songs and it is one of the few celebrations that today does not have any type of censorship. A 100% freedom of expression is respected.
It’s a celebration that has sung for and against every state entity. While on the contrary they also sing with the love and respect their city deserves.
What I like the most are the buffoons who makes a joke or fun of anything, without disrespect.
The beautiful final ceremony
The Thursday before Ash Wednesday is the official start of the carnival and it ends on Carnival Tuesday, although since a few years ago it has been extended to include 2 weekends. The last of these having one of the most beautiful traditions on the street with the groups doing parades and singing their songs in any street corner. At 20:00 they all arrive to the Plaza de la Constitución.
A unique and precious battle begins. The famous battle of the flowers. This announces that there is only one day left of carnival. On the Sunday, groups and fans gather to accompany the traditional statue of the anchovy for its burial on the beach of Malagueta. And with this they say goodbye to the God Momo, pagan god wherever there are.
Easter Week – Holy Week or
Semana Santa in Spanish
Spain is a Catholic country and there are many devoted who believe Easter is the biggest event of the year. I would almost dare to say more than Christmas.
They take their Saints on tour, each city in its own way. The normally long parades stop to take a break every so often.
The Saints are carried by foot by quite a few men, how many depends how big the Saint.
There is normally a woman or man singing to honour the Saint.
Even if you are not of Catholic belief, this is a true experience and worth while to see.
Is, if I recall right, a tradition based in the faith of Virgen del Rocio, who’s chapel is in El Rocio, Huelva. It’s a originally a celebration by all the devoted to Virgin María on Pentecostes Monday. People do walk and travel from all of Spain but in general from different parts of Andalusia to see the Virgin of Rocio.
Each town normally has it’s own Romeria (for the devoted of their own Saint). The most famous is the Romeria del Rocio. They have carriages pulled by horses or bulls, filled with dressed up ladies and gentlemen. It normally takes place on fair grounds or similar to enjoy and celebrate in open air. Commonly it’s celebrated a week before the Towns Feria.
Romeria San Miguel
Without doubt , the Romería de San Miguel of Torremolinos is not only my favourite cultural event but it’s my favourite day of the year, full stop.
It usually takes place on the last Sunday of September and is the start of the Feria of San Miguel ,Torremolinos.
I can’t recall missing one in my 30 years or so here in Spain. I have introduced many friends and family and they keep coming back year after year to do it again, that’s how good it is!
A Romeria is a catholic pilgrimage festival that goes from one point and ends up at an ermita (a small church) where their “virgen” or saint is housed.
In Torremolinos it starts at the entrance of the town on Avenida de Manantiales. The hundreds of “carrosas” ( decorated carts) pulled by horses, bulls or tractors gather at around 8 in the morning and wait for the wagon train to head towards the woods where the festival awaits.
They are decorated and carry family’s, the women all dressed in flamenco dresses, the men in their traditional dress and stocked with food and drink.
For the whole family
Mothers, fathers, grandparents and children all join in. They take a slow trek to the woods and pass through the streets of the town. Stopping off all along the way blasting out flamenco music, dancing, clapping , playing flamenco guitars, passing their food and beverage to the crowds. People line the streets who all join in and follow the procession all the way to it’s final destination.
The trail takes around 3 hours and every one is “ merry “ once they arrive. The woods are alive with song and dance. Each party has a sealed off area and each group has their own party going on. There is different music coming from all directions. The atmosphere is absolutely amazing , it is easy to mingle and join in.
Easy to join in
If you are not part of one of these groups there are lots of little bars with food and drink set up with tables and chairs. It is so welcoming you really do become part of it. This day of the year I feel like I am a Spanish Gypsy. Maybe that’s what I was in my past life as I love their music and never settled in one place in my younger years!
Any one that has purchased a property in Torremolinos or thought about purchasing a property in Torremolinos and the surrounding areas should really make sure that you experience the Romeria of San Miguel. It really shows what warm welcoming people the Spanish are and what a great community spirit there is here.
Theatres / live performances / concerts
There is also a great selection of theatres, musicals, ballets, shows, concerts (philharmonic, rock, blues, jazz etc.) in the area.
There are various theatres and sport centres where these are held, like for example (in Málaga) Teatro Cervantes, Teatro del Soho and La Cochera Cabaret, FYCMA, Palacio de Deportes Jose MªMartin Carpena etc.
In Fuengirola you have the only Theatre on the coast (what I know of) where you have shows in English; Salón Varietes.
The best cultural events on the Costa del Sol!