Marbella Carnival 2024: Your Complete Guide to experience the Marbella carnival

Marbella is preparing to experience its well-known carnival for another year. Here’s all the information you need to enjoy this great event to the full.

We sure know how to party here in Marbella, and you can enjoy amazing events throughout the year. One of the more unusual and less well-known festivals for tourists visiting Marbella is Carnival. We think it’s a great event and want more of our guests to be able to enjoy it to the full, even if they don’t speak Spanish. In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about Carnival in Marbella, with insiders’ advice to help you party like a local!

Let’s start with an introduction…. Carnival is celebrated in Spain every year, 7 weeks after the first full moon of the winter and on the last day before the start of Lent. That sounds a bit confusing to work out, but if you have Pancake Day on your radar, then you’ll find it easier to place. The biggest parties and events take place on the weekend before Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), but there are things going on over a two-week period.

Marbella Carnival comprises of a few different events and activities over that period. Don’t expect a Rio or Notting Hill style carnival, this one is very different, but it is a great opportunity to let your hair down. There are always parades, dancing, music, costumes and of course opportunities to eat, drink and be merry. Marbella Carnival is a lot of fun! We’d recommend it for families with young children, as well as couples and groups in their 20s and 30s, looking for an excuse to get dressed up and party.

When is the Marbella Carnival 2024 celebrated?

This year, Marbella Carnival is taking place between the 3rd and the 17th of February. The Town Hall has announced an exciting schedule of events throughout this period, taking place in both Marbella and San Pedro de Alcantara. Bars and clubs will also organize special carnival parties and there are often DJs and live music later on in the day for partygoers to enjoy.

You’ll also find carnival celebrations taking place throughout the Costa del Sol. If you’re here during this time, ask at your local tourist office, or have a look for posters around the Town Hall buildings, and on Facebook, to make sure you don’t miss out!

Insiders’ Tip – What about a day trip? Cadiz is famous for its carnival celebrations, particularly for its music and comedy, and is just under two hours’ drive from Marbella. Why not enjoy a few activities in Marbella and then jump in your car for a day out in historic Cadiz for another version of Carnival in Spain.

Here are the key dates for your diary for Marbella Carnival 2024:

3rd February – Official launch of the carnival in Marbella’s main theater from 9pm and performances from local carnival groups.

11th February – The launch of the children’s carnival 12.00

13th-15th February – Kids’ “chirigota” competition

13th to 15th February – Musical Group competition “Concurso de Agrupaciones Carnavalescas”

17th February – Carnival Parade from 17.00

18th February – Mejillonada de Carnaval

28th February – Chorizada de Carnaval

Marbella Carnival Announcement Poster

Every year the Marbella Carnival is promoted widely, using a powerful poster. These posters are always striking and have been funny and cartoonish, or stylish, funky and cool. There is a competition to find the best poster each year. Local residents and artists had until the 8th of January to submit their poster designs. More than 50 entries were submitted to be judged by a jury. They selected five finalists and handed it over to the people of Marbella to cast their votes and choose the poster for the Marbella Carnival 2024.

The winning poster was designed by Javier Carmona, who won €600 for his entry, as well as the prestige of seeing their design across Marbella. The design featured emblematic places around the city and is a striking image to represent this year’s carnival.

Main events of the Marbella Carnival 2024

Carnival launch

This is an official event in Marbella’s main theater Teatro Cuidad de Marbella to launch this year’s carnival, which takes place on the 3rd of February from 21.00. Expect speeches and awards and an introduction to the festivities ahead. As well as the speeches, there will be performances from local musical groups of the following well known songs – ‘Mejor me callo’, ‘Este año salimos por los pelos’, ‘La joya’, ‘Los refugiados’ and ‘La cuadrilla’.

Tickets are free, but need to be collected from these locations – the Events Department of the Town Hall and the Asociación Cultural Carnavalesca Marbellí. Please note that this event will be a struggle for any visitors without a very high level of Spanish.

There’s also a launch for the kids’ carnival, which takes place at the Parque de la Represa at midday. In this event, there will be a speech to open the carnival and the process to choose the key figures of the carnival. These are the Spanish equivalent of the carnival queens and princesses and are known as Venus, Ninfas and Dios Momo. There will also be kids’ entertainment from clowns and entertainers. This will be a bit easier to take part in for non-Spanish speakers, but will still be a little confusing without a high level of Spanish.

Musical Group competition

This year, they are bringing back the popular “Concurso de Agrupaciones Carnavalescas”, for the first time since the pandemic. This is a hotly contested competition to be crowned the best group in the carnival and many associations enter to be judged. These are Musical Carnival Groups, which must have singers and feature a certain number of musical instruments, including drums, Spanish guitars and kazoos. They are always dressed up in fantastic costumes as well, to bring both music and color to the competition.

A lot of work goes into preparing for this competition, and there are semi-finals and finals to decide the winners. These are taking place daily from the 13th to the 16th of February at Marbella’s main theater, close to the Old Town.

As well as the prestige of winning, there’s a lot of money to be won too! The first prize in the two categories is a whopping €3,500, second prize wins €2,000, 3rd €1,400 and 4th place gets €900. There are a total of 8 teams that win prizes, so it’s well worth taking part!

There is also a kids’ competition, which is open to the schools in Marbella and features performances in the Palacio de Congresos from the 13th to 15th of February. The winning group will perform in the adults final on the 16th, alongside the adult finalists.

Carnival Parade

Expect fantastic costumes, music, color and laughter to erupt on Marbella’s streets during the carnival procession.

On the 17th of February from 17.00, the big parade takes to the streets of Marbella from the main high street of Ricardo Soriano. You’ll see groups of kids and adults in fantastic costumes walking through the streets, as well as lots of music from brass bands and the traditional chirigota musical groups that will have been competing over the previous days.  It’s a fantastic sight for all the family.

As well as the parade, there are two stages set up, on Avenida Nabeul and in the Parque de la Represa, with lots of fantastic musical performances. There are even some groups from Cadiz, famous for its carnival, coming to perform. Performances in the Represa Park, behind Marbella’s Old Town start at 20.30.

Why not get dressed up yourself and join the fun?

Carnival and free food

On the 18th and 28th of February are two more interesting events, blending delicious Spanish food with carnival traditions.

The Mejillonada de Carnaval takes place on the 18th of February at the Represa Park and is an opportunity to enjoy free mussels and musical performances, times will be confirmed closer to the time.

On the 28th of February in the José Rodríguez square is the Chorizada de Carnaval. This is the final event which brings the 2024 carnival to a close. It features performances from a variety of the carnival groups and an opportunity to enjoy delicious chorizo.

Please note, that this is approximately a 20-minute walk from Marbella Old Town and in a less touristy area, but a good opportunity to explore the “real” Marbella.

We hope this guide has helped you understand what the Marbella Carnival is all about. Do go along, particularly to the carnival parade, and enjoy the color, sound and fun of the carnival.

If you need a holiday rental in Marbella for carnival or later in the year, please don’t hesitate to contact us or browse the vacation rentals on our website.



From Vacation Marbella wants that everyone knows the benefit about staying in Marbella. There are a plenty of activities that you can do with your family, friends or even with you pet. Share the information with everyone and who knows, maybe could join your plans!