Christmas in Marbella: The ONLY Guide to Read [2024]

Christmas in Marbella: The ONLY Guide to Read [2024]

Are you planning to spend Christmas in Marbella this year?

You came to the right article!

I live right next to Marbella and spend Christmas on Costa del Sol almost every year, so in this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about planning your festive getaway to Marbella!

Christmas is a quiet time in Marbella, while most hotels and businesses remain open, there isn’t a lot of activity. It’s the perfect time to visit if you fancy a break from the snow and freeze, and enjoy more outdoor time.

Don’t be fooled, though; there is plenty to do and see – everything from Christmas markets, festive food, and even spectacular Christmas lights; Marbella has it all when it comes to Christmas.

Let’s check the details!

Pretty streets of Marbella old town on Costa del Sol, Southern Spain.
Streets of Marbella old town.

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Is Marbella Worth Visiting at Christmas?

Yes, it is – if you’re after Christmas under the palm trees and with warmer weather.

You can’t expect the winter wonderland you will find in other places in Europe, but Marbella has its own kind of magic at Christmas time.

Marbella’s streets and the old town burst into life with twinkling lights and elaborate decorations; the cool air is filled with the scent of roasting chestnuts, while local markets and boutiques offer unique, often hand-crafted gifts.

Christmas also offers a variety of unique events, from concerts and magic shows to activities for kids, ice skating, and puppet shows in the Old Town’s Main Plaza de la Iglesia.

Plaza de los Naranjos decorated for Christmas season
Plaza de los Naranjos is decorated for the Christmas season.

What’s The Weather Like in Marbella at Christmas?

December in Marbella marks the beginning of winter season, and with that you can also expect the temperatures to go as low as 16C during the day.

Mornings and late afternoons are much cooler, and if you’re by the sea you will definitely need a warmer jacket. Having said that, the weather is typically quite dry, and it’s not common to see extended periods of rain in December.

Here are some typical average temperatures in December:

  • temperatures: high of 16C (61F) and low of 8C (46F)
  • rainy days: 5 – 10 days
  • cloudy days: up to 70% of the month
  • sunshine hours: 6 hours
  • sea temperature: 17C (63F)

If you’re wondering what to pack for December, check my guide here.


When Is Christmas Celebrated in Marbella?

When I say Christmas here, I mean the traditional Christmas celebration on 24 – 25th December. But in Southern Spain, the main event is the Three Kings Day and their parade on the 6th of January.

So when Spaniards talk about Christmas, they generally mean the period from 24th Dec until 6th January.


7 Best Things To Do in Marbella at Christmas

Marbella weather in November
Christmas lights in the old town of Marbella

1. Visit Christmas Markets

No festive season is complete without exploring Christmas markets. These are perfect for finding unique gifts and decorations and indulging in festive treats.

This year, the markets will be held from 1st of December 2024 until 6th of January 2025, opening approximately from noon to 8pm daily, and closed on bank holidays (subject to confirmation).

The market is held annually in Puerto Banus.

2. Admire the Christmas Lights

Marbella puts on a gorgeous display of Christmas lights every year, especially in the old town. They are set to be launched usually the last week of November, with exact dates announced closer to winter time.

It’s a sight not to be missed!

3. Christmas Picnic on the Beach

Enjoy a sunny Christmas day on the beach.

I love taking a picnic basket and spending the day at the beach – in December, the weather is still warm enough, and beaches are empty, making it the perfect spot to enjoy some outdoor time.

4. Taste Traditional Christmas Sweets

Don’t miss out on tasting local confections like turrones, polvorones, and marzipan figures, which fill the shelves of bakeries and markets during this season. You can also find these in all the supermarkets in the city.

5. Take a Stroll on the Coastal Promenade

The start of winter is perfect for long strolls, and there is no better place to do that than the coastal promenade – Paseo Maritimo. This 27km wide promenade connects Marbella with the district of Puerto Banus.

If you don’t fancy a walk, you can also rent a bike in one of the local rental places.

6. See Christmas Lights in Malaga

Malaga Christmas lights are one of a kind, and each year the city surprises visitors with a spectacular display. If you’re staying in Marbella, don’t miss out on a chance to see them in person.

You can drive to Malaga in under one hour, or take a local bus from Marbella bus station.

7. Book a Day Trip

If you feel like you’ve seen everything Marbella has to offer in a couple of days, and need a bit more variety to your program, you can book a day trip with a local travel company.

The most popular options are a day trip to Gibraltar, to see the monkeys and for tax free shopping, going to Granada to see the famous Alhambra, or visiting the famous Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba.

All of these trips also run in the winter months, and have a free cancellation up to 24 hours, so you have the flexibility to cancel if the weather turns bad.

Plaza de los Naranjos, Marbella
Plaza de Los Naranjos with festive decorations.

Traditional Christmas Celebrations in Southern Spain

Southern Spain, including Marbella, holds onto its rich traditions during the Christmas season.

One of the most unique customs is the “Living Nativity” scenes (Belenes Vivientes), which are elaborate re-enactments of the Nativity story, often held in public squares or near historic landmarks.

Christmas Eve is traditionally a time for family gatherings, where loved ones share a meal that might include dishes like roasted lamb or seafood.

At midnight, many attend the “Misa del Gallo” (Rooster’s Mass), which is a beautiful, candlelit service filled with music and celebration.

The Epiphany (Día de Los Reyes Magos) on January 6th marks the climax of the Christmas season.

This day is celebrated with parades, known as the procession of the Three Kings, who throw candies and small gifts to the children lining the streets. It’s a magical day filled with joy, especially for the little ones, as they traditionally receive their Christmas gifts on this day.

Nativity scene closeup.
One of the nativity scenes – this one is from Malaga.

Where to Stay in Marbella at Christmas

You might think that December in Marbella is low season, but it’s actually not true around Christmas time.

You will find that prices for hotels are a little higher compared to the rest of the month, so if you want a great deal, you should book your hotel or accommodation as soon as possible.

To get the most out of the Christmas magic, I recommend staying in the old town, where you can really soak in the atmosphere.

Here are three great options:

  • La Fonda Hotel – a gorgeous luxurious option in the heart of old town, away from crowds and busy streets.
  • Hotel Claude Marbella – further up the road from La Fonda you will find this small local gem, boutique hotel that looks almost like an art gallery!
  • Linda Boutique Hotel – an affordable boutique hotel in the heart of the old town, with a rooftop terrace!
La Fonda hotel entrance in Marbella Old Town, Southern Spain
La Fonda Hotel entrance in Marbella Old Town, Southern Spain

If you prefer to stick to the coastline and dream about waking up on Christmas morning to stunning seaviews, then these hotels offer everything you could wish for:

  • El Fuerte Marbella – stunning hotel with an elevated swimming pool, perfect for those who want to be able to walk everywhere. It’s only 10 mins walk away from the old town, and you’re right next to the beach.
  • Puente Romano Hotel – luxurious hideaway favoured by celebrities, right on the Golden mile of Marbella.
  • Marbella Club Hotel – another luxurious option if you want the ultimate getaway, just a stone throw away from Puente Romano.

How to Get to Marbella

The closest airport for your winter sun escape is the one in Malaga – you will find it under the code AGP, official name Malaga Costa del Sol Airport.

From there you can take a taxi directly from the airport to Marbella, and there are also local buses available. The drive from the airport takes approximately 40 minutes, with buses much longer.

I recommend instead booking an airport transfer service, which will eliminate a lot of hassle from both previous options. Check Get Transfer – I use them frequently for longer journeys and they offer the best value for money and hassle free service.

If you’re wondering whether to rent a car or not, here is my advice: if you only want to stay in Marbella, it’s not necessary.

To see more of Southern Spain and Costa del Sol – and I highly recommend doing that – you do need to rent a car. The public transport in Marbella won’t get you far.

Check Discover Cars – it’s the best way to find the most affordable car rental for your trip. Enter your trip details and pick up location here, and you will get dozens of quotes from local companies from which you can select the best price.

If you prefer using public transport, I have detailed transport guides that will help you plan day trips to nearby cities, here they are:

marbella spain local bus transport
Local buses in Marbella

Final Thoughts

I hope this article covered everything you need to know about planning a trip to Marbella for Christmas. I tried to think of every possible question you might have, but if there is something specific you wanted to know, please leave a comment below!

Thank you for reading!

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Still planning your trip to Marbella? Save these pins to your Pinterest account so you can explore them later!

While you’re there, check out my dedicated Pinterest boards for Marbella old townMarbella photography locations and best hotels in Marbella.

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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

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