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HOT Málaga Feria - All's Fair

In 1887 the Feria gained its initial splendor with festivities in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Catholic Monarchs’ entrance into the city. Málaga’s August Feria has since evolved to a modern day grand summer fair that reflects the character of the city - charming, cultured and cosmopolitan...

Report: Carolyn Mowlem

Acclaimed as the largest street party anywhere in Spain, this year’s edition of  the sensational Málaga Feria runs from Saturday, 12 August until its spectacular finale nine days later on Sunday, 20 August… so whatever else you’ve planned for the summer, this is one event you just can’t miss!

With first-class shopping, historic monuments, broad sandy beaches and the vibrant atmosphere you would expect of one of Iberia’s major cosmopolitan cities, Málaga has masses to offer all year round. But never more so than this month, when the magical and unforgettable Feria comes to town.

The most important annual event on the summer social calendar, not only in Málaga itself but throughout the province and beyond, the Feria enjoys a deep-rooted tradition dating as far back as 1487, the year that the Catholic Kings – Isabella and Ferdinand – famously reconquered the city. Over time it has evolved and expanded to such an extent that it’s become the benchmark for all other festivities in Southern Spain.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, 11 August, thousands of citizens and visitors will flock to the Malagueta beaches near the park to listen to the Pregón, or opening speech, this year delivered by internationally renowned flamenco singer, Málaga-born Diana Navarro. At the witching hour, a 30-minute extravaganza of light, music and colour – accompanied by more than 4,000 kilos of fireworks, and followed by music and dancing until dawn – heralds the start of another exciting edition of Málaga’s sensational summer Fair.

A non stop round of pageantry and entertainment to delight all the senses, and with two totally distinct facets, each with its own inimitable atmosphere, there’s truly something for everyone. The Feria del Centro kicks off around noon each day in the historic city centre, forming a magnificent backdrop to the myriad immaculately groomed, high-stepping, noble Andalusian horses, their proud riders dressed to the hilt in their exquisite regional costumes… and the swirling skirts of the flamenco dancers caught up in the passion and frenzy of infectious guitar rhythms.

With its trendy boutiques closed, head for the classy pedestrian shopping street, Calle Marques de Larios, and the adjoining Plaza del Obispo to enjoy the charming Fiesta de Verdiales, reminiscent of Morris dancing; or the Plaza de la Marina where the International Folklore Festival is in full swing; while younger children will be entranced by the Feria Mágica on Calle Alcazabilla. In addition to the plethora of tempting tapas and wine bars on every corner, during the Fair there are also plenty of food and drink stalls and kiosks to quench your thirst and keep hunger pangs at bay. Savouring the sights and sounds around you, before you know it, somewhere around 7pm and at first imperceptibly, the crowds begin to thin, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the festivities are drawing to an end. In fact, as people hurry home to freshen up and change, they’re only just beginning because – by night – the place to be is El Real, the fairytale Fairground on the outskirts of the city, next to the landmark Palacio de Congresos.

Extending across more than 500,000 square metres, and with hundreds of thousands of bulbs lighting up the sky, here from 9pm until sunrise, this impressive, purpose-built venue vibrates with life, humour and action as XXI century technology fuses with ancient Andalusian traditions. From thrilling rides, to pulsating live music and dancing… and from endless food and drink, to entertainment in tune with every taste, nothing demonstrates more clearly Málaga’s innate talent for family-friendly partying.

If you’re not as familiar with the fabulous city as you’d like, and if your Feria stamina is flagging, hopping on a distinctive red, open top double decker Málaga Tour Bus is a great way to recharge your batteries while sightseeing in comfort. Leaving from the Main Bus Station every 30 minutes, and with a multilingual commentary, you’ll learn all about its fascinating history, and can get on and off at 12 strategic points.   

Although not available at the time of going to press, the nine-day Feria programme traditionally also includes equine events such as carriage-driving and dressage, as well as concerts and gigs headlined by the nation’s leading stars. Must-see highlights include the Romería – a charming procession of beautifully decorated horse-drawn carts and carriages leaving from the park on the seafront at noon at Saturday, 12 August and winding its way through the city streets to the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Victoria, the patron saint of Málaga - while the Feria ends… as it began, with a stunning fireworks display at midnight on Sunday, 20 August.


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Please note: Every effort was made to check the accuracy of the information contained within our archived HOT Properties Magazine articles at the time of originally going to press, but may well have been superseded over the ensuing years. They are now made available as historical archival information only. The said information has not been reviewed subsequently for present day accuracy nor has it been updated and we expressly disclaim any duty or obligation to do so. VIVA cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor for the authenticity of any claims or statements made by third parties. We therefore strongly recommend that readers of these archived articles make their own thorough checks before entering into any kind of transaction. Prices were correct at the time of publication but may now vary due to circumstances beyond our control. The views and opinions of editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect those of VIVA .

HOT Properties Magazine Issue 62 - 2006

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