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We love Christmas on the Costa del Sol, there’s lots going on, it’s usually sunny and we are able to escape some of the worst of the commercialism that you can get sick of in the UK. If you have just moved over here and this will be your first winter holiday, we wanted to give you some advice on what to expect and also list six of our favourite festive activities.
What to expect
- Holidays start later and ends later – Lights don’t go up in most towns until the beginning of December in most places and kids don’t break up until the 22nd. However, the festivities last until the 7th of January, with the most important day for kids being the 6th of January, when the Three Kings came to bring their gifts to baby Jesus.
- You can enjoy the Christmas rituals from all the nationalities that call the Costa del Sol home – As it’s a really multi-cultural area, with strong communities from many different countries, you get a glimpse of loads of different traditions. You can celebrate Santa Lucia with the Swedish contingent on the 13th of December, enjoy gluvine and gingerbread at the German Christmas events and of course have a traditional Christmas lunch with the British business and social groups. You will have seen many of these events already taking place in November and they continue to the middle of December and then stop, as many people return to their home countries to be with family.
- Spanish celebrate on the 24th – The 25th isn’t such an important day for the Spanish, they eat together as a family on the evening of the 24th and the 25th isn’t much to them, so if you want to go out to eat on the 25th, choose a restaurant which caters for the foreigners, so you can enjoy a more familiar atmosphere.
Now you know what to expect, here are our six favourite activities to get you in the mood and ensure you don’t miss a thing.
- Go and see the lights at Malaga – The most famous lights in the region are in Malaga and this year they are absolutely stunning. They were turned on at the end of last month, and you can see them between now and the 6th of January. Beware that they are very popular so parking can be a problem, so consider taking the train if you’re in Fuengirola or Benalmadena. If you’re further along the coast, you can drive and leave the car at Plaza Mayor shopping centre and hop on the train from there – it’s much less stressful.
- Go to a Christmas market – There are loads of Christmas markets, which often have fun activities for the kids, carol singers and mulled wine and are a great place to get into the mood and pick up some festive pressies.
- Look at the nativity scenes – Nativity scenes are known as “Belen” and they are a big deal here, with huge, intricate displays in chapels, churches and even town squares. Marbella had a great one last year by the main church made of Playmobil! They normally have a map of the nativity scenes around the town and it’s a lovely way to explore and see the Christmas lights.
- Have a few drinks on the beach and make your friends back at home jealous – We are very lucky to live on the Costa del Sol and have such wonderful weather all year round! So get out onto the beach on Christmas Eve, or walk off your lunch with a stroll along the promenade on the 25th stopping for a few drinks. Sharing those pictures on your social media accounts will get everyone talking and make you feel very smug.
- Take a trip to the snow – It’s not all about the sunshine, we’re within easy reach of the slopes too. You can get to the Sierra Nevada mountains in around 2.5 hours from Marbella, so you can pop up to see the snow, build a snowman or even enjoy a day’s skiing, it’s the perfect Christmas trip, which will get you in the mood.
- Watch the Three Kings Parade – On the evening of the 5th of January, all the towns and villages along the Costa del Sol welcome the Three Kings with a fun parade. This is a must for families as your kids will see their favourite characters on fantastic floats, enjoy the music and atmosphere. They throw sweets into the crowds, so take a little bag to collect them in!
Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful time. Please share your tips and photos with us on Facebook – we’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas activities here on the Costa del Sol.
If you haven’t made the move yet, but this sounds like your ideal Christmas, our short term rental team at HolidayRentalontheWeb can help you find a great holiday rental property as a home from home this Christmas. Alternatively, if you want to make the Costa del Sol home in 2018, speak to us about finding a wonderful long term rental to help you take the plunge!