This weekend’s celebrations in Los Boliches, Fuengirola, culminate in the procession of Our Lady the Virgin del Carmen, whose statue is taken into the Mediterranean on the shoulders of the neighbourhood’s mariners.

Here on the Costa del Sol, summertime is rife with things to do, places to see and unique experiences to remember for a lifetime. While much is being written about this week’s San Fermín Festival in Pamplona, we ask: who needs to run with bulls when you have the wealth and depth of cultural and musical festivals, fairs and celebrations that Málaga province has to offer?

  • Feria del Carmen (Los Boliches, Fuengirola)

The Los Boliches area of Fuengirola – popularly known nowadays for its beautiful golden beach – is actually a very traditional neighbourhood within the beachside town, where the maritime lifestyle and culture course through the veins of generation upon generation of its inhabitants.

The festivities, which run between 12th and 16th July, are in honour of Our Lady the Virgin del Carmen, the Patron Saint of Los Boliches. Although there will be activities down by the beach and at the fairground over the weekend, the main celebration takes place on Monday 16th July.

The main event is an incredibly well-attended procession which runs from the parish church of Santa Fe de Los Boliches, through the streets of the neighbourhood and down towards the beach. When the procession arrives at Fuengirola’s Mediterranean shores (at around 10pm), the statue of the Virgin del Carmen is walked into the sea on the shoulders of seamen who are emblematic of the Los Boliches fishing district, all the while being accompanied by an enormous fireworks display overhead.

Running in tandem with this religious event is a five-day festival in the Málaga city neighbourhood of El Palo, once again in honour of the Virgin del Carmen, consisting of contests, picnics, parties and performances for children, and with a particular focus on sporting activities.

  • Starlite Festival (Nagüeles, Marbella)

On Wednesday night, the curtain rose on the 2018 edition of the legendary Starlite Festival, which graces Nagüeles, Marbella, every summer for over 50 days of live music concerts, gastronomy and cultural events. The festival’s opening act was Luis Miguel, a renowned Latin music artist from Mexico who has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and whose career spans four decades.

Performers at this year’s festival will include stars such as Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, Sting, Tom Jones and Jamiroquai, to name but a few.

Tonight, two of the most beloved female voices of Spanish music, Rosario – the daughter of iconic flamenco singer Lola Flores – and Rosana Arbelo, take to the stage at 10.30pm to showcase their wonderful fusion of flamenco and pop music. On the Sessions stage, the “electro-latin king” Juan Magán is in session from 2am and will be getting crowds going with his solo hits and high profile collaborations until the very early hours of Saturday morning.

  • Ojeando Festival (Ojén, Marbella)

While Ojeando is another music festival and its venue in Ojén is not a million miles away from Starlite, the two could not be more different. While the latter attracts the most famous and commercially-successful acts in international music, Ojeando is for lovers of a much more alternative, indie pop-rock scene and places great importance on the inclusion of local artists and its “unique personality”.

Regardless, Ojeando Festival has a full programme of concerts on three stages between today and tomorrow and costs just 27€ for a weekend ticket (42€ including camping).

And a bit further afield…

  • Festival de la Guitarra (Córdoba)

This weekend also marks the conclusion of the 38th Annual Guitar Festival in CórdobaSpain’s stunning former capital, located around two hours’ drive from Málaga – which started last week and strums its last chord tomorrow night.

In a bid to “turn Córdoba into the city of the guitar” – if only for the month of July – some exceptional acts have turned up and wowed crowds over the course of the event, which has attracted guitarists from backgrounds as varied as flamenco, jazz, popular music and rock ‘n’ roll. There is even the opportunity for the general public to take lessons and take part in guitar-playing master-classes.

…Whatever you end up doing this weekend – even if it is just watching the World Cup Final on Sunday – enjoy!!