If you’re planning to spend Christmas somewhere different this year, why not make the southernmost tip of Spain? With plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures all year round, amazing lights and festive events, the Costa del Sol makes a great spot. You’ll find a winning combination of traditional and modern plus some delicious food and excellent present-buying opportunities. Read on to discover five reasons why you should spend Christmas on the Costa del Sol this year.

Christmas light extravaganzas

The first reason why Christmas on the Costa del Sol is an extra special occasion comes in the festive lighting. All the resorts shine very bright at Christmas with star turns in Malaga and Marbella.
The city of Malaga takes centre stage with one of the best Christmas light displays in Europe. Calle Larios gets a design that runs the length of the entire street and offers a light and sound show three times every evening. This year’s theme is a festive forest with angels, flowers and autumn leaves. See them from 29 November to 6 January.
The Marbella Christmas lights might not be as big as those in Malaga, but they certainly shine very brightly. Those in the Old Town are particularly pretty, adding to the festive atmosphere in the cobbled streets and alleyways. Don’t miss the giant Christmas tree in the Avenida del Mar. See the Marbella lights from 29 November to 6 January.

Christmas sunshine

Expect plenty of good weather at Christmas on the Costa del Sol. The area is famed for its mild winters with daytime temperatures easily warm enough to eat al fresco. Come the evening and things cool down a little, but you’ll still find it a lot warmer than Christmas in northern Europe!
Get ahead: combine your Christmas trip with a round of golf (or several). Book your game at Rio Real and make the most of our dynamic prices offering you more golf for less. Check them out here.

Christmas markets

If you’re visiting the Costa del Sol in the run-up to Christmas, you’ll be looking to do some present shopping. There are several great markets in the area such as:
·         Christmas market in Marbella – in the main square in Puerto Banús during the Christmas period with arts and crafts stalls, food and a skating rink.
·         Traditional market in Marbella – the lovely enclave of La Virginia in Marbella celebrates its Christmas market in December. Full details here.
·         Christmas market in Malaga – the city has several markets with one of the biggest in Muelle Uno selling handicrafts, gifts, clothes and accessories.

Christmas food

Every region has its own culinary traditions for Christmas and the Costa del Sol is no exception. While you’re visiting, make sure you try the typical dishes for Christmas. Be sure to sample the different types of turrón (nougat), mantecados and polvorones (pastries), and marzipan. If you’re here for 6 January, Epiphany and the day the Spanish give and receive presents, enjoy some roscón de Reyes (Three Kings’ Cake). Discover the gift hidden inside and enjoy being King for the day.
Get ahead: book a very special meal for Christmas, New Year or Epiphany at El Club at Rio Real. Get your taste buds watering with the menus here.

Christmas traditions

The Costa del Sol might be a thriving and modern tourist destination, but the area remains true to its traditions. This is particularly true at Christmas when you’ll discover some deep-rooted customs that include:
·         Christmas in miniature – intricate nativity scenes (belenes) with tiny figures and working models depicting the Biblical story of Christmas are one of the biggest traditions. Most resorts on the Costa del Sol have a ruta de los belenes (nativity scene tour) that you can follow to see the best. Ask at the tourist office for a map and information.
·         Christmas concerts – Christmas on the Costa del Sol wouldn’t be complete with its concerts featuring traditional songs (known as villancicos), often accompanied by the typical zambomba instruments; organ recitals; or classic choir concerts.
·         Three Kings Parade – the most exciting night of the year for the young (and not so young!) takes place on the evening of 5 January when the Three Kings parade through all Costa del Sol resorts. The largest take place in Malaga and Marbella, but even the smallest villages celebrate their arrival.
Get ahead: don’t miss your chance to celebrate Christmas on the Costa del Sol in style. Book your stay at Rio Real Boutique Hotel now for the festive break of a lifetime.

hotel boutique Marbella


What makes a hotel boutique? What can you expect to find in your room that tells you the establishment is somewhere unique and more importantly, that you’re a special guest? Read on to discover the essential ingredients you can expect to find in boutique hotels in Marbella.

golf courses Costa del Sol Río Real


There are over 70 golf courses on the Costa del Sol so you’re literally spoilt for choice. This makes deciding which one to play at regularly or while you’re on holiday something of a challenge. To help you pick a course that offers the best playing experience, we’ve put together a list of the criteria that make up a good golf course. Then all you have to do is find the one that ticks all the boxes.



The arrival of cruise ships in Marbella takes a step closer to reality this November when works start on the extension of the Virgen del Carmen Marina. Completion on the berth for shuttle boats should be completed by the end of the year and allow passengers from ships over 30 metres long to land in the centre of Marbella.