The elegant resort of Marbella, situated in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca, on the Costa del Sol, in the province of Málaga. A model Mediterranean resort and firm favourite with holidaymakers from all over the world.Since the 70s, Marbella has been renowned as a playground for the rich and famous. Yet underneath all the swagger, there is so much more to Marbella. It has a wonderfully cosmopolitan atmosphere, exudes charisma; attracting visitors for its many facets: diverse beaches, mild climate, multitude of leisure facilities, including some of the best golf courses in Europe; Michelin star restaurants, world-class nightlife and International luxury shopping brands. Marbella is a charming, warm and welcoming city, beguiling to all who visit her. So it’s no surprise that time and again, it tops the most visited city in Spain list. Who wouldn’t want a piece of the action in Marbella?Marbella’s motto is "a way of life", if you are looking for a holiday that offers great beaches, wonderful all-year round climate, unique leisure facilities, gastronomy and entertainment, then choose Marbella, its way of life will enchant you.
History Although Marbella is a fairly modern town, it still has an interesting history and a significant architectural heritage. Some experts believe the first settlement in the Marbella area dates back to the Phoenician occupation in the 7th century, although there is no conclusive evidence of this. The Casco Antiguo (Old Town) dates back to the Roman occupation and was originally called Salduba (Salt City).
See & DoFrom the beaches and enclaves of east Marbella through to the western municipal of San Pedro de Alcantara, Marbella offers so many activities and facilities, visitors have no need to venture away from the area to enjoy a full and active holiday. In the famous Plaza de Naranja ’Orange Square’, you can while away hours, sipping sangria, taking in the beautiful surroundings and people, visiting the charming boutiques and gift stores. The labyrinth of tiny streets and alleys that surround Orange Square will reveal further tiny shops selling all forms of trinkets, fashion and souvenirs and there are some excellent restaurants and bars for a young and trendy crowd.Cross the road from the Old Town and you find yourself in La Alameda Park, filled with exotic plants and trees, leading down to an open exhibition area; where you can enjoy a permanent exhibition of Dali sculptures and temporary art and media exhibitions during the year.Down from the park is the Paseo Maritimo (Promenade); this is one of the favourite places for locals and visitors. The boulevard is filled with restaurants of all gastronomies, with terraces facing out to the beautiful Mediterranean.
Marbella's beaches: The Marbella coastline stretches from Cabopino through to San Pedro de Alcántara. 26 kilometres of golden sandy beaches, shelving down to the calm Mediterranean Sea.
To the east, Cabopino port and beach are home to a couple of laid-back and economical Chiringuitos (Beach Restaurants), the beach right next to the port has sunbeds for hire and is a popular kite surfing spot. As you move west away from the port, the beach becomes a nudist spot. Head west to the popular area of Elviria and the famous Nikki Beach and then on to one of the most beautiful and natural stretches of beach, which joins Elviria and the urbanisation of El Rosario. Funny Beach just outside of Marbella, is an amusement park on the beach, with go karts, parasailing, water scooters and a restaurant bar. Marbella town’s beaches are well equipped, with water sports facilities, beach restaurants line the golden sands, cooking sardines on the spit, the waters are calm, ideal for family beach days. Head further west into Puerto Banus and you have a mix of family beach zones and hedonistic beach clubs, where you’ll likely bump into a few celebrities and paparazzi. Finally, you reach San Pedro de Alcantara, at the western limits of Marbella. Here the wide, palm-fringed beaches are more laid-back, backed by a beautiful promenade and restaurants.Shopping: If you want to combine a beach holiday with a shopping trip, Marbella is an excellent choice. Between Marbella town and Puerto Banus you have an impressive mix of independent boutiques, luxury brands and international Spanish high street brands, such as Zara and Mango. The luxury Puerto Banus is crammed with designer boutiques, if you have a few hundred pounds to spend on a tshirt, bikini or pair of shoes, then this is the place to shop. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, then Marbella Old Town is a good shopping destination and La Cañada Shopping Centre on the highway above Marbella, is home to chain stores, boutiques, supermarkets, DIY stores. Here you’ll find the largest Apple store in Spain, Habitat and Marks & Spencer!
Festivals: Starting around June, the summer season in Marbella gets going and with it comes a host of festivals and parties. Events include a weekend of pure luxury, at the Marbella Luxury Weekend and the annual Marbella Feria, a week of flamenco, flounce and frivolity. The summer solstice is celebrated on the beach for La Noche de San Juan, where bonfires are lit all along the beaches of Marbella. These three events take place in June. The world-renowned Starlite Festival comes to Marbella in August, bringing together musicians and artists from around the world in a series of concerts to raise money for charity. Finally, the eco-holistic Arte Sano festival, which takes place in July and November in San Pedro de Alcantara is a fun, free and sunny weekend of healing arts, eco market, children’s workshops and music.
Museums: Marbella might not be a big city, but it has its fair share of cultural attractions. If the day is overcast and you don’t fancy shopping, then we recommend a trip to the Bonsai Museum (Museo de Bonsai), which houses a wonderful collection of Bonsai trees from all around the world, in it’s fantastic garden-museum.
Art lovers have the choice of the Ralli Museum, a contemporary art space, with works from Latin American artists; the Poligono Gallery, a wonderful space created to emulate the art district in Beijing. The Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo houses exhibitions of engraving and art works from national artists.
Golf: There are 10 golf courses in the Marbella area alone and over 50 in the region of the Costa del Sol. Local courses include: Rio Real, Los Naranjos, La Quinta, Marbella Club and Aloha Golf.
Places to visit
In the famous Plaza de Naranja ’Orange Square’, you can while away hours, sipping sangria, taking in the beautiful surroundings and people, visiting the charming boutiques and art galleries.
The labyrinth of tiny streets and alleys that surround Orange Square will reveal further tiny shops selling all forms of trinkets, fashion and souvenirs and there are some excellent restaurants and bars for a young and trendy crowd.
Cross the road from the Old Town and you find yourself in La Alameda Park, the park is filled with exotic plants and trees and you will feel like you have arrived to a tropical forest in the centre of Marbella. During many weeks of the year there are exhibitions on show in La Alameda.
Down from the park is the Paseo Maritimo (Promenade); this is one of the favourite places for locals and visitors. The boulevard is filled with restaurants of all gastronomies; all look to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
There are heaps of activities to keep a family occupied in Marbella, but if you want to venture out of town, pop down the road to Puerto Banus, making sure you stop off to visit some of the cool cafes and restaurants on the Golden Mile (Milla de Oro). Puerto Banus is notoriously known across the globe for its glitz and glam, chic and showy boutiques, clubs and yachting port. And it’s not far off the mark. If you have the cash to dash for a shopping spree, then here you can shop Gucci, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, the designer list is endless. If you don’t have a spare couple of grand to go shopping, you still need to experience the port. During the day you can enjoy a stroll to the end of the portside, rhapsodize over the luxury yachts and then enjoy a Cosmopolitan cocktail at one of the portside bars, where you can sit on the terrace, watching the world glide by in their Ferrari.
The neighbouring town of San Pedro de Alcántara combines a traditional old-town, with a more modern seafront. There are some superb restaurants and a long, clean stretch of family-friendly beach.
Head up into the mountains behind Marbella to enjoy day visits to some of the inland, whitewashed pueblos of the region. The closest village is Ojen, around 10 minutes drive from the coast, nestled between the Sierra Blanca and the Sierra Alpujarra and just five minutes from the stunning Sierra de las Nieves natural park. A charming town, small but perfectly formed. Slightly further inland you have the villages of Monda and Coin, and Istan is reached heading inland from the Golden Mile. Many foreign residents have settled in these parts, but the villages still retain an air of the past and are worth a visit. You can spend a day out visiting several of the local interior villages, to get a feel of Andalucian life.
Gastronomy & NightlifeWhether you enjoy fine dining or traditional tapas, some of the best restaurants on the Costa del Sol can be found in Marbella, East Marbella, Puerto Banus and San Pedro de Alcántara. Traditional tapas bars, jostle with fish and seafood restaurants, beach bars, Michelin-star establishments and international diners. Whichever way you turn in Marbella, you’ll come across a restaurant. Head to the old fishing port for a plate of fried fish, clams sardines. The Old Town combines budget tapas with some real fine dining establishments.
If you want to eat and then party, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Marbella. Glamorous beach clubs, stylish cocktail bars, rowdy tapas until the early morning. You choose.
Marbella has an exceptionally mild micro climate, protected by the impressive Sierra Blanca mountain range, the winters are mild and the summer months reach 32-35 degrees. You don’t need a car, but if you want to get out of town and visit some of the region’s beaches and villages, then it’s advisable.