Mouthwatering Morsels from Málaga, Andalucia, Spain
The city is slowly but surely slipping into party mode and getting dressed up in anticipation of the annual August Feria. Nobody does it better than the Málagueños in our opinion and a visit should be on everyone’s bucket list! It can be hard-core partying to do so for 9 days (and nights) in a row, so the secret is definitely to pace yourself!
Everything kicks off at midnight on the 10th with a magnificent firework display in the port, preceded by the opening speech or “pregon” which is always given by someone from the city (Antonio Banderas has given it in the past). This is followed by a concert on the beach into the early hours. The “Day Feria” follows from 10.00am on the 11th and this is the only day the wonderful horses and carriages are permitted in the city centre. Their procession starts from in front of the Ayuntamiento on the Paseo del Parque (a good place to see them) and then winds its way through the city up to Plaza Merced and Calle Victoria (Plaza Merced is another good vantage point).
The fact that Málaga has the “Day Feria” in the city centre also makes it unique as most cities have all their events at the official Feria Ground or “recinto ferial”. Malaga has a “recinto ferial” on the outskirts of the city, but that is used mainly at night (although the horses and carriages parade around their daily during daylight hours). It is wonderful to see the city centre so full of vibrant partying, and Flamenco and Sevillanas (another type of dance) are performed by both professional groups and bystanders. An impromptu Sevillana can suddenly start up on any street corner or in any bar and great fun they are. Be prepared for a lot of noise too, as every bar seems to want to out-do the neighbouring bar with speakers on the street playing Sevillanas and encouraging the impromptu dancers. Every genre of music is “covered” with live performances in the main squares from rock bands and soul bands to brass bands.
Of course people drink a lot as well and the city even has its own Feria drink called Cartojal (be warned – you don’t need too many of these!). Every single shop and bar/restaurant will be selling Cartojal. Everything winds down from 6.00pm in the city centre (the place looks like a bomb has hit it, but the authorities move in and by 9.00pm everything is spic and span again and you would never know that up to half a million people have been partying hard all day long!).
Time for a rest now and the famous Spanish siesta.
Come 11.00pm everyone is back in party mode for the “Feria de Noche”. The public transport system is geared up for this and buses run from all over the city roughly every ten minutes from about 10.00pm to the Feria ground (about 15 minutes away by bus) running all through the night until about 6.00am!!
The Feria ground is lit up by half a million light bulbs and is divided into two parts – one part contains the large fun fair (seriously large!) and the other part contains the “casetas”. These are individually-decorated, make-shift open-air marquees, owned or rented by a group of friends, a company or an association such as a Flamenco or Sevillana club, a bar or even a restaurant.The joy of Málaga Feria is that you can enter into 95% of them to eat, drink and dance as they are open to all members of the public (unlike Seville for example where entrance is by invitation and with some strict dress-codes and is seen by many as rather “elitist”). It really does make Málaga the “People’s Feria”.
With special thanks to our dear friend Emma Munck for permission to use some of her fabulous images in this post – she takes much better ones than us!! You can see more of her wonderful photos about her life in Malaga and around via this link. https://www.facebook.com/EmmaMunckFotografa
1) Ladies – make sure you have a large colourful flower for your hair and matching fan (you can buy these along most of the streets during Feria).
2) Expect noise and crowds – and a lot of it. Just immerse yourself in the atmosphere.
3) Pace yourself. We recommend doing the “day” feria on a few days and the “night” feria on a couple of nights – NOT doing both every day – that is real hard core (although many Málagueños do)!
4) Take time out by getting off the beaten track away from the historical centre for a lovely lunch in a quieter restaurant with air-con for a bit of down time!
5) Take bottled water and pace yourself with the feria drink Cartojal!
6) For the fireworks on the night of the 10th, if you want to see them from higher up (below the Alcazaba walls for example) – get there early and take a picnic! The best vantage points are usually taken by 9pm (so you will have three hours for your picnic – with chilled Cartojal from the ice box of course).
7) If coming in for the “day” Feria then use public transport from the outskirts (bus, Metro & Train). Parking in the centre is impossible! There is ample parking at the “night” Feria ground – but great public transport connection by bus too – don’t drink and drive!!