Festivals and fairs form an essential part of cultural and social life in Spain, but Andalucia is world-famous for its particularly colourful and lively celebrations, and the Costa del Sol has its own fair share. Every village and town has its annual feria lasting from one or two days to a whole week. They’re usually held on the local saint’s day when the saint is usually paraded through the streets or a pilgrimage is organised to the local shrine.
All localities have two local holidays a year as well as national holidays. Festivals are a great occasion for all the family when celebrating goes on for hours and often until the next day. Bullfights, fireworks, concerts, folklore recitals and competitions are all part of most fairs.
During feria week, normal life grinds almost to a halt and many businesses and shops in the featured town close, while some hold only morning or very limited hours.
In large towns the main celebrations last around a week and have several sections. The streets and bars and restaurants in the old quarter are decorated and celebrations take place during the day. At night the fun moves to the fairground where in one section there are specially built casetas where drinking, eating and dancing goes on, and in the other there are typical fairground attractions, mainly for children and young people. Many casetas are privately owned and you need an invitation or representation of another member in order to enter. Some, however, are public and usually run by the local council or local political parties. Council casetas often put on shows or concerts.
It’s common for locals to spend a whole night in a caseta and it’s not unusual to spend more than 100€ on food and drink a night. Fairground attractions are also expensive and each ride costs 2€ or more. Some localities have a special children’s night during the week when rides are cheaper.
The main fairs and festivals on the Costa del Sol are:
Alhaurín de la Torre – San Sebastian, on 20th January for three days
Alhaurín el Grande – May Fair, on 27th and 28th May
Alora – San Paulino, beginning of August
Benahavís – Virgen del Rosario, from 10th to 15th August
Cártama – Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, from 22nd to 26th April
Casares – Fiesta de la Barriada Secadero, the third week of July
Coín – Main fair from 10th to 15th August.
Estepona – Main fair from 3rd to 10th July
Frigiliana – San Antonio, 13th June
Fuengirola – Virgen del Rosario, on the 2nd week in October
Istán – San Miguel, at the end of September for three days
La Cala de Mijas – Main fair takes place in the second week of July
La Cala del Moral – Main fair takes place from 4th to 7th July
Las Lagunas (Mijas Costa) – Main fair takes place in the first week of June
Malaga – Main fair is in mid-August, commemorating the incorporation of Malaga into the kingdom of Castille in 1487.
Manilva – Santa Ana, on the 26th July
Marbella – San Bernabé, in mid June
Mijas – Virgen de la Peña, in mid September
Monda – San Roque, in mid August
Nerja – Virgen de las Angustias and San Miguel, from 8th to 12th October
Ojén – San Dionisio Aeropajita, from 9th to 12th October
Rincón de la Victoria – Main fair takes place at the end of August
San Pedro – Main fair takes place around 19th October
Torre del Mar – Santiago and Santa Ana, at the end of July
Torremolinos – October Fair, from 4th to 7th October
Velez-Malaga – San Miguel, at the end of September