Sitting on the sparkling water’s edge of the Costa del Sol, Malaga is the life and soul of Andalusian Spain. In a region renowned for both old-world culture and an ultra-hip social scene, it’s only to be expected that it puts on a pretty good show in terms of summer events. From fairs to fiestas, the city and outlying villages come alive from April to August and it’s the perfect time to take a holiday to Malaga to experience the music, food and joyous energy first-hand.

Malaga food

For those heading over in April, I would recommend sampling a food festival (or two). The Food Fair and Orange Day takes place in Istán, about 20 minutes’ drive from the coast, and hosts an abundance of tempting native recipes from the mountains, like fennel stew and fried porridge. If, like me, you have a taste for rich meat dishes, don’t miss Dia de la Morcilla, or Black Pudding Day. Held in Canillas de Aceituno on the last Sunday of the month, you can enjoy plenty of local red wine as well as the main event itself.

Malaga festivals

Malaga is buzzing with midsummer madness in June, as we were lucky enough to discover last year. The San Juan Festival is celebrated from the 21st-23rd and involves a riot of street dancing and live music, centred around the San Juan Church. Bonfires and revelry on the beach bring this event to a close but the summer celebrations are far from over.

Malaga Festival

July sees the Virgen del Carmen festival take to the streets with the Lady of Carmen herself paraded to a fishing boat strewn with flowers. This annual event is held in honour of the maritime traditions of Malaga and it’s difficult not to get caught up in the atmosphere and stunning firework displays. So much so that we ended up staying on and caught the celebrated Malaga Fair, which takes up a whole week at the beginning of August. Dancers stomp and click fingers, doing the ‘Sevillanas’ outside Malaga Cathedral, while lanterns swing overhead and the fairground stays open throughout the night.

Malaga festival fun

Spain itself has a rapidly growing reputation for international festivals as well, so if you have room for travel, the Benicassim Festival in July is held between Barcelona and Valencia and hosts plenty of big, mainstream acts as well as lesser-known bands. Or if you’re going north during August, try the Santander Music Festival for a truly Spanish flavour.

Malaga architecture

Even if Malaga’s the only stop on your tour, there really is something to suit every taste in and around the port, not to mention the eclectic mix of Moorish and European monuments, old-world alleyways and idyllic beaches that characterise the wider region. So whether you’re taking advantage of taking advantage of last-minute flights to Malaga or seeing a bit more of Spain in the summertime, make sure a few festivals are on your itinerary.