The Amazing Ferias of the Costa del Sol

The Ferias are events for the whole family that gather locals and tourists around fun, tradition, food and culture – an experience that belongs in your bucket list!

July 7, 2023
Last updated: January 24, 2024

Ferias (fairs) are a big part of life in Spain. These are events that happen on specific dates defined each year and last for several days – up to a week, promoted by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) of each town. They offer daytime activities, such as funfairs and music shows, and nighttime activities, when there can be parties for teenagers (without alcohol) and others for those above 18 (with alcohol).  There can be religious processions in the mix as well. You see how inclusive it is and why it is a big deal.

Feria de Benalmádena, 2023. Photo by Mama Málaga.

Cities take it so seriously that they usually have what they call a recinto ferial (fair space), a big, paved area that stay mostly empty all year long, except for the fair time. Then they boom. But the feria doesn’t happen only in the recinto ferial, no. It often has different activities going on in several areas of the cities besides the recinto. You can check the program of the feria on the Ayuntamiento’s website or facebook pages and (if you are luck enough to find it) see where the activities that interest you are going to happen.

Maybe in order to avoid competition, the ferias of the different cities of the Costa del Sol do not overlap (much) in time. Despite that, these ferias are concentrated on the warmer months of the year  – approximately from April to October. On summer, there is a Feria going on almost everyday somewhere in the Costa del Sol.

I did a compilation of dates and programs and list them below for your enjoyment. As a matter of fact, some localities have more than one fair per year, so I list here the ones I know of; besides that, some neighborhoods within the cities also have their own ferias, which means that even if there are no major city ferias going on when you come, you probably can find some feria whenever you are in the Costa del Sol from April to October!

A last tip before we dig in to the Ferias: don’t go there by car, because it is impossible to park anywhere near. Also, parts of the streets surrounding the main Feria areas are blocked for security, and become walk-only streets. Walk, take an uber or use public transportation instead. 😉

Feria de Malaga

Ayuntamiento de malaga:

The Feria de Malaga happens in August. In 2022 it was from August 13 to August 20; in 2023 it was from August 12 to August 19. In both cases, it went from Saturday to Saturday.

You can expect shows with drones and fireworks, about a hundred (a hundred!!) presentations of music, theater and dance, mostly performed by local artists and most of them for free as well. There will probably be plenty of Flamenco, magic shows and even some horses and carriages. Even though almost a million watch or participate in the activities in the Feria, it probably doesn’t get (much) crowded because they don’t happen all at the same time, place or day.

A dance presentation happening during the feria de Malaga in 2022. Obtained from Malaga’s Ayuntamiento page.

Feria de Torremolinos

Ayuntamiento de Torremolinos:

The Feria de Torremolinos happens in the end of September and beginning of October. It is also called Feria de San Miguel, which is the city’s saint.  It usually starts with a romería (procession) on the last Sunday of September and the feria itself happens the following week. In 2023, the romería was on September 24 and the feria, from 27 of September till October 1st.

During the daytime, activities take place mainly in the Plaza de la Nogalera, and at night, at Torremolinos` recinto ferial. You can expect good food, a variety of musical presentations, lots of entertainment for the kids and beautiful city lights. The main day of the feria is September 29th, which is San Miguel’s day; on the last day of the fair, prices are lower.

Related post:
Feria de Torremolinos 2023 – it’s huge!

Feria de Benalmadena

Ayuntamiento de Benalmadena:

The Feria de Benalmadena, also known as Feria de San Juan, happens around St Johns’s day, June 24th. On the eve of San Juan’s day people gather on the beach, close to the Castillo Bil Bil, to watch the bonfires or, as in 2023, the fireworks. Then, during about a week there are several music and dance shows on different parts of the cities.

The recinto Ferial, the Plaza de la Mesquita and the Plaza Pueblosol, just besides the Benalmádena-Arroyo de la Miel train station, along several streets of Arroyo de la Miel, are the main locations of the fair’s activities, which range from religious processions during the day to rap parties during the night, including many activities for kids, both at day and at night. I didn’t find the program of Benalmádena’s fair in the Town Hall’s page, but found it in Olebenalmadena.

Benalmadena also has another Feria, happening in mid-august, called Feria de la Virgen de la Cruz that happens in Benalmádena Pueblo. In 2023 it happened from August 11 to August 15.

Check our first experience enjoying Benalmádena’s fair, that happened from June 24-29 in 2023, to see pictures of the specific areas and have a better idea of what the events look like from close. Spoiler alert: it included an inflatable waterpark!

The Recinto Ferial La Paloma, Benalmádena’s fair ground, during the Feria in 2023. Image from Olebenalmadena.

Related posts:
Feria de Benalmadena 2023
The radiant Feria de Benalmadena Pueblo (2023)

Feria de Fuengirola

Ayuntamiento de Fuengirola:

Different from most Costa del Sol cities, whose fairs have a religious background celebrating a conveniently chosen saint whose day happens to be in summer, Fuengirola’s fair represents the different countries of the world. Being the city in the Costa del Sol with more foreign residents and the second in Spain, I think Fuengirola’s option for making a different and international fair is excellent!

The Feria International de los Países – FIP (International countries’ fair) happens in the end of April / beginning of May. In 2023, It happened from April 27 to May 1, coinciding with the labor’s holiday; in 2024, it will be from May 1 to May 5. At Fuengirola’s fair you can expect several different casetas (little houses), each representing a country, offering their souvenirs and typical foods. Yummy! Lots of music, dance and activities for the kids are also there.

Brazil’s capoeira show at the Feria Internacional de los Países, 2023. Image from the page of the Feria de Fuengirola, which also contains de program of the fair!

In the first half of October (between October 6 and 12 in 2023), there is a second Feria de Fuengirola, called Feria del Rosario. The main theme of this celebration is the horse, so you can expect to see people dressed in traditional horsemen costumes and carriages on the streets. Lots of traditional sevillanas and flamenco dance and musical shows are to be expected through the whole duration of the Feria del Rosario.

Related post:
Feria del Rosario 2023 – horses galore!

Feria de Mijas

Ayuntamiento de Mijas:

The Feria de Mijas Pueblo was celebrated from September 5th to 10th in 2023. This Feria happens in the historical part of Mijas (Mijas Pueblo) and is dedicated to the city’s patroness, the Virgen de la Peña. But Mijas actually has 3 ferias. Besides the one in Mijas Pueblo, there are also the Feria de Las Lagunas (in 2023, from June 28 to July 02) and the Feria de La Cala de Mijas (in 2023, from July 26 to July 30).

I post here a link to their page that tells the date and programs of upcoming events, including fairs. In 2023 they offered a special dinner for registered citizens of older age, several shows, religious processions and a procession for kids, with big inflatables, among other activities!

Ferias of the Costa del Sol
Promotional poster of the Feria de Las Lagunas, Mijas, 2023. Obtained from the Ayuntamiento of Mijas.

Related post:
Feria de Mijas Pueblo – tradition in double

Feria de Marbella

Ayuntamiento de Marbella:

Marbella’s feria, also called Feria de San Bernabé, in honour of the city’s Saint, happens around June 11th. In 2023, it went from June 06 to June 12. You can see the full program of the Feria here. Several attractions and shows were offered, including an inflatable waterpark and religious events.

In Marbella there is also the Feria de San Pedro de Alcantara, a neighborhood of the town that is almost a town in itself. This Feria lasts for a week and includes fireworks, a drone show and lots of musical entertainment in the beautiful fairgorunds of San Pedro, closing the Ferias season in the Costa del Sol. In 2023, it happened from October 16 to 22.

Related post:
Feria de San Pedro de Alcantara – Marbella 2023

Feria de Estepona

Ayuntamiento de Estepona:

In 2023, the Feria de Estepona happened from July 04th  to July 9th. It included a funfair, fireworks, attractions for kids, musical shows, a horse show and a Spanish-style bull fight! You can find a promotional video of the feria below, obtained from Estepona’s Ayuntamiento page:

Yearly chronology of the Ferias

End of April or beginning of May: Fuengirola (FIP)
Beginning of June: Marbella
End of June: Benalmádena
End of June : Las Lagunas (Mijas) right after Benalmádena’s
Beginning of July: Estepona
End of July: La cala de Mijas
Mid-August: Benalmádena Pueblo
Mid-August: Málaga
Beginning of September: Mijas Pueblo
End of September: Torremolinos
Beginning of October: Fuengirola (Feria del Rosario)
Mid-October: Feria de San Pedro de Alcantara (Marbella)

Final remarks about the Ferias

Its hard to find information online about the Ferias, except for when its already too close, like a week or so ahead. Before that, you mostly know that the Feria will happen, and if you live in the area you have the previous feria memory to use as a reference of what to expect and where. If you are new or a tourist, you may skip it completely.

Only close to the Feria days you can find the program with all the activities that it will offer, plus times and locations. Still, the program is often a bit mysterious; it says things like “Caseta de menores Nipati Nipami Light (menores de 18 años)” and if one doesn’t know that Nipati Nipami is a musical group, it is hard to understand that it is going to be a party / show for minors. And what minors? Teenagers or little kids? In this case, teenagers – not for Kiddo yet.

Cities spend time and resources in creating a beautiful poster of each feria for each year (like the one for Las Lagunas fair, shown above), but the amount of publicity those posters get is very small, in my opinion. It is the cover of the program, that is, as previously mentioned, hard to come by; it is not often displayed even on public areas of the cities.

The events at the different fairs are a bit similar – festive lights and decorations, religious processions, many music shows, funfairs – but they are fun. The ayuntamientos try and add unique attractions here and there, which is important and makes a big difference, but I personally don’t think it is worth following all the Ferias from city to city (unless you are a big fan, of course), as it would end up getting repetitive. When it is close to you, though, it is very cool and well worth a visit to spend different days, see what the city has prepared and enjoy the city at its best.

The time of the Feria is a special time for the cities and the Ferias themselves are quite a part of Spanish culture. It takes a city to put a Feria together and people take pride in it; you will see many residents of all ages wearing the traditional flamenco costumes – an indisputable sign of belonging.

Many of the Ferias are reserving a day or a few hours of one of the days to be as silent as possible, in order to allow the autistic communities to enjoy the fairs confortably. On those hours there is no music and the rides sounds are off. Most ferias also have a día del niño (childrens’ day) when all or at least some paid attractions cost less.

There is no entrance fee for the fairs and many of the shows are free as well. Those presentations that happen in auditoriums, though, may either be paid or require a previous online booking. Food is usually paid – but not always, as some of the unique events involve sharing a paella or other traditional dishes. Some attractions are paid too, such as those you find in the funfairs. So chose which feria you want to attend, check the ayuntamiento’s page or Mama Malaga for locations, activities and last editions, bring the family and come prepared to have fun!

Next: Transportation in the Costa del Sol – joyfully riding waves and wheels

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