This blog post was originally posted on July 19th, 2015 and was updated on August 3th, 2017
Why we are looking forward to the August Fair in Malaga!
You might have heard of the April Fair in Seville, but the Feria de Malaga (the August Fair) is one of the best (possibly lesser known) fiestas in Andalusia. Celebrated in the middle of August, you might think that our Andalusian city would be a bit deserted with people on vacation and tourists poking around the museums and beaches. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Every year the August Fair draws crowds from Malaga, the surrounding towns, and all over Spain. This is a party that you don’t want to miss! Here are our insider’s tips for enjoying this year’s Feria de Malaga.
Malaga is a beach city and it would only be fitting to start off our week long party with fireworks along the shore. We suggest you head down to the beach of the Malagueta or Huelin and enjoy dinner at a chiringuito before the fireworks. We’re not sure that you could have a better evening between the sea breeze, eating espetos and the official start to the August fair!
You can also watch the procession to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Victoria (patron of Malaga). With riders on horseback dressed in the traditional Andalusian style, horse drawn carriages and people on foot, this marks the beginning of the daytime fair in Malaga.
The Fair in the Historic Center
One of the most distinctive things about the August Fair in Malaga is that there are two different locations. Unlike the April Fair in Seville, we enjoy our “feria” in the center of town, as well as the fairgrounds. The main street, calle Larios, is decorated with huge biznagas (the flower of Malaga) and draped with fabric in green and purple (the colors of the city of Malaga) to shade everyone from the hot August sun.
From noon until 6pm you can enjoy the fair in the center drinking Cartojal wine, having tapas and generally enjoying the colorful atmosphere. Our insider’s tip? Head to the center for an aperitif, some flamenco dancing or to meet up with friends around 1pm. The atmosphere is uniquely Andalusian and it is a street party that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Every day of the fair at 1pm there is a performance of “los verdiales.” The verdiales is a style of flamenco music that originated in Malaga. If you are familiar with flamenco, you might notice that it is similar to a fandango. This is a great way to get into the spirit of the feria as you enjoy your tapa and drink, of course! Another option if you are looking to see traditional flamenco during the week of feria is heading to the Peña Juan Breva at 1:30pm each day
Another tradition during the feria de Malaga is to see a bullfight. Every day there are bullfights in the ring by the Malagueta (just down the road from the colorful cube of the Pompidou Museum and Muelle Uno). They begin at 7pm daily, but make sure to get a ticket ahead of time as this is a popular week to go. Another tip, try to get a spot in the “sombra” (the shade). It might be 7pm, but until the sun goes down, the heat and humidity can be intense.
One of our favorite things to do during the August fair in Malaga is take a break from all the partying in the center and the fairgrounds. We head to the beach and enjoy an afternoon with the sun and surf. If you bring a picnic lunch and a cold drink, you will understand why we love living in Malaga so much!
Real de la Feria
The “Real” is the part of the fair that is held on the fairgrounds at the edge of the city. Take the F bus line (which is a special route just for the August fair). The bus stops in the center on the Alameda, as well as the Avenida de Andalucia and it will take you from the center of town straight to the fairgrounds. This is the Andalusian fair you’ve been imagining! Here you will find casetas (little tents) which are all open for anyone who would like to come inside for a drink, a tapa and some dancing. These are all decorated in the traditional, colorful style with paper garlands, lights and tables set up for families to sit and enjoy the atmosphere. There are also casetas turned into dance clubs where you can dance to the summer hits, rather than flamenco music. Also, make sure to stop by the rides where you can get a fantastic view of Malaga from the huge ferris wheel or win a prize throwing darts.
The Food and Drink
During the Feria de Malaga, you can enjoy the typical flavors of Malaga including fried fish, tortilla, croquetas, fried eggplant with honey, along with cured meats and cheeses. You can also enjoy one of the most typical sandwiches from Malaga, a round panini called a “campero,” As we mentioned earlier, the typical drink of the feria is Cartojal wine, which is served very cold and often shared among friends. Other options include rebujito (a mix of manzanilla wine and 7up) or a tinto de verano (red wine mixed with Casera or lemon soda). Make sure to drink a lot of water, as well! The heat in August makes the cold wine go straight to your head! At the end of the night, stop by the stands selling churros and buñuelos with chocolate sauce drizzled on top for a sweet end to your day at the fair!
What to Wear
In Malaga you will find a mixture of people who dress in trajes de gitana (the traditional flamenco dresses), and people who dress in their normal summer clothes. The women tend to wear a huge fake flower in their hair (even if you aren’t dressed in a flamenco dress), along with the fun, oversized earrings and necklaces. You will find these for sale all around the center and you can choose almost any color of the rainbow to match your outfit! Of course, remember to bring along a fan because with the hot weather you’ll find yourself using it as more than a fashion accessory. For the men, during the day wear shorts and a tee shirt or polo with comfortable shoes. At night, dress as if you were going out for a night on the town (a nice shirt, long pants and nicer shoes). Some of the casetas turned dance clubs won’t let you in wearing flip flops or sneakers, so remember to dress accordingly.
Now you are ready for the Feria de Malaga
We hope that this guide to the Feria de Malaga has left you looking forward to this fantastic week long party! We are definitely counting the days until we can enjoy a cold glass of Cartojal in the historic center.
Given feria is such a busy time, we’re unable to offer tours that week. But if you’re visiting at any other time, you can discover the incredible traditions, wonderful sites, delicious foods and amazing wines on of our our Food Experiences!
Photo Credit: Romeria in Malaga: Omid Tavallai