Holy Week in Málaga is unlike any other. There are notable differences that make it special. First of all, it's a religious celebration that is less contemplative than in other cities. Second, the processions in Málaga are a real treat for the senses. The enormous thrones (or tronos, as the floats in Málaga are called, not to be confused with the smaller floats or pasos in other Andalusian provinces) carry the images that are swayed during the procession by the men carrying the throne, accompanied by thousands of Nazarenes and penitents with their large candles, processional marches, and the smells of incense and flowers.
The whole of Málaga takes to the streets for the entire Holy Week, ready to vibrate with their brotherhoods and honour them. At first glance, outsiders may get the impression that the city is a real chaos during these days. But nothing could be further from the truth. Holy Week in Málaga is full of traditions and rituals, schedules to keep to and places to visit. So as not to miss anything, it's vital to take into account what the best places to see the processions are and try to live this festive week like just another Málaga resident.
It's important to always have an itinerary to hand, which is basically a small booklet with all the routes and timetables of the processions.
The best places to see Holy Week in Málaga
The official route of Holy Week in Málaga
Start at the Alameda Principal, turn left going around the roundabout with the statue of the Marquis of Larios, go down Calle Larios and part of Calle Granada, right in the middle of the old quarter. The Association of Brotherhoods has more than 20,000 chairs along this route which, with luck and foresight, may be hired by locals and visitors. These streets provide one of the best views of the processions and, if you don't have a chair, it’s always possible to find a place to stand.
The "Tribuna de los Pobres" (Gallery of the Poor)
Named as such by the locals, this "gallery" is actually nothing more than a number of stone steps where Calle Carretería and Pasillo de Santa Isabel meet. It's a free gallery, with no protocol, where seating is on a first come, first served basis. And you need to get there early because it's one of the most popular places.
Official gallery in Plaza de la Constitución
This is an enormous grandstand with seating in Plaza de la Constitución, but it's much more difficult to hire a place here as it's occupied by the authorities and famous personalities of the city.
Brotherhood Houses in Málaga
There are a total of 44 brotherhoods or cofradías in Málaga with their corresponding processions. A great way to see them is to choose certain brotherhoods and watch their departure and arrival at the Brotherhood House, where you can witness stirring encounters between the thrones of the Christ and the Virgin.