The Three Kings Parade in  Málaga

Take your children to see the Three Kings Parade in Málaga!  Even without children, the Three Kings Parade (Los Reyes Magos), is both spectacular and extravagant. 

A parade that Malaga shows off with style and sparkle and definitely not to be missed!

What are the names of the 3 kings?

The million euro question is ‘Can you name all 3 kings?!’

I’ve been taking my children over the past 16 years to witness the excitement of the ‘cabalgata’ but as a pro-Santa expat living on the Costa,  I still struggle to remember their names, King Melchior, King Gaspar and the African King Balthazar.

Three Kings Parade in Malaga

It’s the one night of the year the really tall people of Malaga meet up for their annual conference

A dear old friend of mine, who happens to be a black Rastafarian from Grenada, residing with his Spanish wife and their young children in Alicante, told me that he’d unwittingly caused the abdication of their town’s King Baltasar and landed the throne for himself.

Why? Because he’d complained to the community last year that the one they were using was a white man and not black, and therefore not very authentic!

Where in Malaga is the Parade?

I asked my daughter who now considers herself far too old and too cool to be cheering on the kings, to at least stand with me along the Avda. del Parque which is a grand, tree lined avenue adjacent to a large park.  On the other side of the park, is the large marina (Muelle Uno). 

She agreed to accompany me as long as I left the plastic Mercadona bag for collecting sweets in, at home.

The Cabalgatas in most Spanish towns start around 5 or 6pm (dusk) and wind their way through the village or town, along its main streets.

If you happen to arrive early in Málaga, your eagerness is awarded with the pleasure of sitting in the street’s ‘front row’ on a little wooden chair provided by the the town hall. 

For those of us who’d calculated our latest time of arrival to avoid aching legs and boredom through endless waiting but not too late to miss the parade altogether, we chose our spot along the walkway in an elevated position on a bench.

Ways to get a better view of the Three Kings Parade Malaga?

As my daughter was attempting to shinny up a lamp-post for a clearer view, next to me an English tourist, possibly in her 50’s, also hoping to improve her view, was debating whether to stand on one of the foldable, wooden chairs that she’d luckily found herself in possession of.

Her husband offered his wife a helping hand as she gingerly stepped up on to it but the chair immediately snapped under her weight and she landed two feet back on the ground with a thud.

Malaga Three Kings

The Aliens were pleasantly surprised how well the Earthlings received them

Now if she’d been a small child like the majority of the evening’s audience, requiring a better view, dad’s shoulders would have served as an ideal perch.

This preferred method amongst the under 5’s also means that you’re more likely to catch the Kings’ attention looking like a very tall person with two heads and therefore guaranteed a handful of sweets thrown in your direction!

Sweets by the ton!!!

It’s probably just as well I was ordered by my teenage daughter not to bring a plastic bag as we’ve become rather particular with the types of sweets we want to bag up and take home. 

When it comes to 27,000 kilos of sweets to be thrown onto the streets of Málaga over a 2 hour period, one shouldn’t expect quality but only the small, boiled variety. 

However, being majestic Málaga, the city of culture, art, music, museums, large marina with visiting cruise liners etc., we expected a slight upgrade in the sweet department….and we weren’t disappointed….fruit jellies!

For future reference, they come in dark brown wrappers!

So Why The Sweets?

So tradition has it that the three kings parade into town, showering the children with sweets and then spend the rest of the evening filling the children’s shoes with gifts whilst they are sleeping.

Unless of course your child has size 48 feet or bigger, shoes are pretty useless for stuffing with a Playmobil farmyard or a Jedi lightsaber and any gifts over-flow is found under the family’s Christmas tree.

I’ve often wondered how Spanish children find the patience to hang on until nearly the end of the Christmas holidays for their presents! 

However, more and more Spanish families, especially along the Costa del Sol with it’s many foreigners, are tending to celebrate with their children both occasions, Christmas Day and Three Kings Day.

A special 3 Kings cake called a Roscón de Reyes is always eaten for breakfast on the 6th of January.  This traditional cake is a light, sweet dough, shaped into a large ring with a cream filling.  It’s covered in sugar and candied fruit and inside contains a little prize.

Similar to our Christmas day, family and friends come together to exchange gifts, eat and spend time together.

So whilst the Spanish were doing just that, my daughter and I decided to take a trip on the big Ferris wheel by Malaga Port for a birds-eye view of the city.

The Mirador Princess (Noria de Málaga)


This Ferris wheel is the largest, itinerant one in Europe and makes for a great treat on Three Kings Day.  It’s 70m high, with 21 glass pods that can fit up to 8 people.  There is also a pod for the disabled so that they don’t miss out on the amazing view!

Three turns lasting 15 minutes was ample time to take selfies, tumblr pictures and pick out the cathedral, Alcazabar and other historic looking towers and buildings.

Prices are low and it’s open every day.

Avenida del Parque, Málaga

As we came off the Ferris wheel and made our way back across the main street, last night’s parade was evidenced by empty sweet wrappers everywhere. 

Interestingly there were more of the posh sweets wrappers then those belonging to the cheap boiled variety. 

So i’m only presuming that the nice jelly ones were devoured on the spot and the boiled ones taken home to sit in a large, glass bowl on the coffee table until the summer, like they used to in our house!

If you haven’t yet experienced the Three Kings Parade in Málaga and you happen to be in this vibrant city on the night of the 5th of January, go and find yourself a good spot along the Avda. del Parque, or better still,  one of the town hall’s ‘ring-side’, wooden seats and whether you’re with children or not, enjoy an extraordinary and glittering procession of the kings coming to town!

With the Costa del Sol having a huge array of things to do at all times of year and for all the family, you will soon discover there is more to this beautiful coastline than just sun and sand.

If you are planning a trip over and need to see whats happening on the coast, contact us here, and we will send you the calendar for the time you are here.