The museum of nativity art won’t feature in many guidebooks and likely isn’t on most people’s list of places they must visit on Spain’s sun-kissed Costa Del Sol. But particularly at Christmas, a visit to the Museo de Arte Belenista (International Museum of Nativity Art) should be on everyone’s festive to-do list. Even non-religious visitors will appreciate the incredible detail and scale of these models depicting the nativity.
What started as a festive hobby has become a little-known but significant international art movement, with annual conventions taking place across Europe to discover the newest and compete for the best models of the nativity. The museum houses an extraordinary collection of these models, covering more than 5000 square meters with more than 70 nativity scenes built predominantly across Southern Europe.
Scenes range in size from very small (one is built in a small sherry barrel) to very large, covering entire rooms of the exhibition complete with running waterfalls and rivers. Not all are traditional, with one depicting the nativity in the bridge of the starship Enterprise, complete with model Spock, and one set in the carnival at Rio de Janeiro.
Know Before You Go
It's recommended to book your visit in advance. You can find the museum's up-to-date hours and admission fees on its website.