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Join the Festivities at Nerja Carnival 2025!

Experience the vibrant and fun Nerja Carnival 2025 in Malaga province and its unique celebrations.

By Liza S. | Updated 1 May 2024 | Málaga | Events | Login to add to YOUR Favourites Favourites Icon or Read Later

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Nerja Carnival

Welcome to the vibrant world of Andalucia's festivals! In this guide, we'll dive into the colourful and lively Nerja Carnival. Nestled in the heart of Spain's southern coast, Nerja bursts to life with this annual extravaganza, blending tradition, fun, and culture. Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned festival-goer, our guide will equip you with all the essentials - from the carnival's history to practical tips for enjoying the festivities. So, pack your spirit of adventure, and let's explore what makes the Nerja Carnival a must-visit event!

When is the Nerja Carnival 2025?

The Nerja Carnival (also known as Carnavales de Nerja) is an annual event, but its dates aren't set in stone. Typically, it unfolds over three to four days in February or early March, just before the Lent season begins.

The dates for Nerja Carnival 2025 have not been confirmed yet. In 2024, Nerja Carnival took place from 8 to 11 February 2024

The History of Nerja Carnival

Let's time-travel back to understand the roots of the Nerja Carnival.

Originally, this festival was a local affair, a spirited expression of joy and liberation before the solemnity of Lent. Over the centuries, it transformed, mirroring the changing tides of Spanish history. Today, it's not just a local festivity; it's a vibrant celebration of Andalucia's rich cultural heritage.

Imagine the streets of Nerja, quiet and subdued during the Franco regime, when public celebrations were often subdued. But as Spain embraced democracy, the Nerja Carnival re-emerged, brighter and more boisterous than ever. It's a testament to the resilient spirit of the local community, who revived their cherished traditions with newfound enthusiasm.

Each year, the carnival weaves together stories from the past with contemporary themes. It's like a living museum, showcasing traditional Andalucian customs alongside modern artistic expressions. From the flamboyant costumes that echo historical attire to the pulsating rhythms of modern-day music, the carnival is a delightful blend of the old and the new.

The Nerja Carnival isn't just about having a good time. It's a celebration of identity and community, a time when locals and visitors alike come together to share in the joyous spirit of Andalucia. This festival is a vibrant reminder of the power of community, tradition, and joy - a true cultural gem in the heart of southern Spain.

So, as you step into the world of the Nerja Carnival, you're not just attending a festival; you're becoming part of a living, breathing story that continues to evolve and enchant with each passing year. Get ready to experience a slice of history, wrapped in a fiesta of colour and joy!

Nerja Carnival 2025: What to Expect

Nerja Carnival typically kicks off on Thursday and the celebrations continue all weekend until Sunday. The Nerja Carnival has a curious tradition, the burial of the boquerones.

The carnival begins on the Thursday with the official opening. On Friday, there is a costume contest, children's contests and in the evening around 9:00 p.m. is the Momo Carnival Presentation and the election of the Carnival Nymph.

The Great Carnival Parade takes place on Saturday afternoon, ending the day with the awards ceremony in the Plaza de España. On Sunday, the festivities end with the massive Entierro del Chanquete in which people dress in mourning, ending with the fireworks display.

During the carnival, Nerja transforms into a kaleidoscope of colour and sound. Streets are adorned with decorations, and music fills the air, creating an atmosphere of unbridled joy. Every corner of the town, from the main squares to the narrow alleys, becomes part of the carnival canvas.

Key venues of the Nerja Carnival are:

  • Balcon de Europa: This iconic viewpoint becomes the epicentre of the carnival. Imagine a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea, with the buzz of the festival all around you.
  • Plaza de España: Another hotspot is the Plaza de España, often hosting major events and performances.
  • The Old Town: The winding streets of Nerja's Old Town come alive with impromptu dances, music, and parades. It's where the heart of the carnival beats the strongest.

Highlights of the Nerja Carnival

As you step into the streets of Nerja during the carnival, you're greeted by a riot of colours and an infectious energy that's uniquely Andalucian. The Nerja Carnival is a distinctive blend of traditional Spanish fiesta elements and local cultural quirks, creating an experience that's both familiar and wonderfully unique.

Here are some Nerja Carnival highlights you shouldn't miss:
  • Grand Procession: The highlight of the carnival is undoubtedly the grand parade. Floats, elaborately dressed dancers, and musicians wind their way through the streets, creating a moving spectacle of creativity and joy.
  • Annual Theme: Each year, the carnival adopts a different theme, influencing the costumes and floats. From historical figures to pop culture icons, the variety is dazzling. Participants spend months preparing their outfits, competing for the title of the best costume in various categories.
  • Flamenco Fusion: True to its Andalucian roots, flamenco music and dance form the heartbeat of the carnival. But it's not just traditional flamenco; expect a fusion with contemporary music genres, creating a rhythmic blend that's irresistible to dance to.
  • Live Performances: Bands and artists perform on stages set up around the town, with everything from traditional Spanish songs to modern hits keeping the energy high.
  • 'El Entierro del Chanquete' (Burial of the Chanquete): A quirky and humorous tradition unique to Nerja is the mock funeral procession on the last day of the carnival. It symbolizes the burial of a fictional fish, Chanquete, marking the end of festivities and the onset of Lent. Participants dress in mourning attire, but the mood is anything but sombre, with plenty of laughter and cheer.

While the nights are for partying, the daytime events are family-friendly, with activities and performances catering to younger audiences. It's a delightful way for children to experience Spanish culture.

If you're visiting Nerja for Carnival, be sure to dress up and join the parades! Whether you're in a simple mask or a full costume, immersing yourself in the carnival spirit is the best way to experience it. Be prepared to dance, laugh, and celebrate in a way that only Nerja knows how!

Making the Most of Your Nerja Visit

To make the most of your time in Nerja, be sure to read our visitors guide to Nerja for more information.

Here are our top recommended activities and tours in Nerja:

Where to Stay in Nerja

Carnival is a popular festival in Spain and many visitors come specifically to enjoy these festivities. If you’re planning to visit Nerja during this time, it’s highly recommended to book your accommodations in advance!

Here are some hotels to consider:

  • Budget: Hostal Tres Soles is situated on one of Nerja's most characteristic streets and is just a few minutes' walk from the famous Balcon de Europa and the stunning beaches that line the coast.
  • Mid-range: Hotel Balcon de Europa is positioned right in the heart of Nerja, and offers a more upscale experience without breaking the bank. It's named after the famous viewpoint, which is just a stone's throw away.
  • Luxury: Parador de Nerja is a top choice for a splurge in Nerja. This upscale hotel sits atop a cliff with stunning views of the Costa del Sol.

Or check the latest deals in Nerja below.

Booking.com

Recommended Spain Travel Resources

Travelling to/around Spain and need some help? Here are our favourite travel resources.

We usually use Booking.com to look for hotels or apartment rentals. Lots of choice & you can unlock more discounts with their Genius loyalty programme!

To research transportation options around Spain, we like using Omio. It’s an easy way to compare different modes of transport and prices in one place. To search train routes, schedules, and prices, we recommend using Trainline.

Renting a car gives you the ultimate freedom to explore Andalucia at your own pace. Click here to compare car rental prices. (You’ll be surprised at how affordable it is in Spain!)

For last-minute holiday deals, check out Expedia UK.

Looking for things to do? Viator has a huge catalog of activities and tours across many cities in Spain. We also love Get Your Guide!

Guruwalk is our favourite platform to find the best free walking tours in a city.

For money transfers or spending overseas in foreign currency, Wise is our favorite borderless banking service (we love their debit card that's without fees!).

Travel insurance is a must to protect against emergencies and unexpected incidents. Get a quote from SafetyWing here.

For an easy way to stay connected on the road, get an eSim from Airalo. It's affordable and, best of all, you'll be connected the moment you arrive!


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