The most spectacular Cabalgatas or Three Kings’ Parade in Spain

One of the many beautiful things about Christmas is to see the enthusiasm with which these days are spent. The Three Kings’ Parade in Spain is one of the most eagerly awaited activities during the holiday season, especially for the little ones. However, nowadays the Cabalgatas or Three Kings’ Parade in Spain has evolved so much that it has become a real show of light and colour; which is why fans are starting to increase among the adult public as well. There are even some who enjoy it almost as much (or more) than the children!

In this way, the Three Kings’ Parades in Spain are fortunate to stand out for their magnificence, tradition, history, duration… Each parade is unique and making a route is impossible, as almost all of them take place on the night of the Three Kings, i.e. 5th January. However, more than one person has surely thought of visiting a different one every year. For these intrepid adventurers and for those who feel the magic of Christmas, and are still nervous about the arrival of the Three Kings, we recommend reading about the best Three Kings’ Day Parades in Spain. And shh… do not forget to leave a shoe for the Three Kings from the East.

Three Kings’ Parade in Alcoy, the oldest in Spain

The oldest Three Kings’ Parade in Spain is in Alcoy, Alicante. It is not surprising that the province with the most turrón is also home to the city that has the honour of having the most historic parade, first held in 1885. In the Three Kings’ Parade of Alcoy the Majesties are accompanied by Balthazar’s pages called “els negres. These are dedicated to climbing the buildings in the main streets carrying the gifts that they will give to the children.

They are so important that this parade is a Festival of National Tourist Interest, with around 1,000 people involved. The local marching bands are in charge of livening up the parade with melodies created for this day; accompanied by groups of drums and dulzainas. As a curiosity, the Three Kings appear on their impressive camels in the following order: Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar.

*Photo: Nicolás

Three Kings’ Parade of Santillana del Mar, along with the Autos sacramentales

Santillana del Mar (Cantabria) is one of those towns that exudes charm, with its cobbled streets and beautiful houses. It has one of the most curious Three Kings’ Parades in Spain; as it combines seven scenes from the auto sacramental (“sacramental act”) with four other scenes in the parade on the same day. It is a performance in which all the neighbours participate and thanks to which they can learn, in a different way, the story of the birth of the Christ child.

Madrid’s Three Kings’ Parade, a much awaited event

The Madrid Three Kings’ Parade is one of the most awaited. In its journey through some of the most emblematic streets and areas of the capital (Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, Paseo de la Castellana, Plaza de la Cibeles…) the parade is a display of celebration and joy. A total of 11 floats will accompany the parade in one of the best Three Kings’ Parades in Spain. Dancing to the rhythm of the music, those who pay attention will be able to get a lot of candy thrown from the floats, as well as hand over their present letter to the Three Kings.

Of course, you have to bear in mind that the Madrid parade is one of the most popular. There are many who ensure a place in the front rows from early on; so it is better to go with time and be patient.

Barcelona’s Three Kings’ Parade, full of magic

The expectation starts hours before the start of the parade with the arrival of the Three Kings by boat to the “Moll de la Fusta”. It is at this moment that the mayor of the city will hand over to them the “magic key“; with which to open the door of the city’s homes, so that the Kings can leave their presents there. In addition to the Three Kings, another of the most famous figures in Barcelona is the Paje Gregorio. He is not just any page, as he has magical powers with which he can guess which children have behaved well and which have behaved badly. He tells the Three Kings which children deserve the gifts they have asked for.

The floats promise games of light and colour, giants and children’s figures, the royal postmen, pages… They repeat the “xumeters“, which collect the pacifiers from the children who are no longer children. The charcoal float and the candy makers also appear in the parade.

Three Kings’ Parade of Málaga, 10,000 kilos of sweets

Ten thousand kilos of sweets are distributed in the Three Kings’ Parade in Málaga. This is the final touch to the now legendary Málaga Christmas, with the traditional lighting up of Calle Larios. This parade is made up of more than 10 floats with different motifs that will delight the children. The royal procession could not be better accompanied: music bands, dance groups, parades

The three largest floats are reserved for the Three Kings, the absolute protagonists of the parade. Halfway through the parade, on the balcony of Málaga Town Hall, a child will read his letter to the Three Kings themselves, who will greet those present.

Three Kings’ Parade of Seville, the longest in Spain

With a duration of 6 hours the Three Kings’ Parade of Seville is the longest in Spain. The route is made by no more and no less than 33 floats; accompanied by a choir of bell ringers and Bedouin hosts. Without a doubt, it is one of the most entertaining Three Kings’ Parades in Spain. In order for the Kings to enter the city and the houses of the Sevillian families, the Heraldo Real asks the mayor for the keys to the city.


About the author

Other news of interest
No one in Spain misses the Campanadas on New Year's Eve or Nochevieja in Spanish. Más información
The tradition of nativity scenes in Spain seems to come from Saint Francis of Assisi. Más información
We can find examples of windmills all over the Peninsula, and even in the Balearic Más información
There are some Spanish towns that could be part of a Dickens’s book. Whether by Más información