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.
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).
From the beaches and enclaves of east Marbella through to the western municipal of San Pedro de Alcantara, Marbella offers so many activities and facilities.
In the famous Plaza de los Naranjos « 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 small 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 favorite places for locals and visitors. The boulevard is filled with restaurants of all gastronomies, with terraces facing out to the beautiful Mediterranean.
The Costa del Sol isn't known as Costa del Golf for nothing and Marbella is right at the heart of it. There are more than ten golf courses near the centre of Marbella. With over 300 days of sunshine, playing golf can be enjoyed year round.
The Marbella coastline stretches from Cabopino through to San Pedro de Alcantara. 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 sun-beds 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 urbanization of El Rosario.
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.
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.
The luxury Puerto Banus is crammed with designer boutiques.
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!
Most shops and businesses are open from Monday through to Saturday from 9:30 to 13:30 and from 16:30 to 20:00. Many smaller shops close on Saturday afternoons.
The bigger shopping centres and supermarkets are open from 10:00 to 21:00 without closing for lunch. They are also sometimes open on Sundays.
During the high season some shops stay open past 22:00.
Gastronomy & Nightlife
Whether you enjoy fine dining or traditional tapas, some of the best restaurants on the Costa del Sol can be found in Marbella. 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. These are our private recommendations.
Day & Night Restaurants
La Barca (Fish) : +34 952 82 44 59 restaurantelabarca.com
Lobito de Mar (Fish) : +34 951 55 45 54 grupodanigarcia.com
Los Mellizos (Fish) : +34 951 33 18 22 losmellizos.net
Altamirano (Fish) : +34 952 82 49 32 baraltamirano.es
La Venencia de Pepe (Tapas) : +34 952 85 79 13 bodegaslavenencia.com
La Navilla (Nacional) : +34 952 86 20 85 lanavilla.com
Paella’s y Mas (Nacional) : +34 952 82 25 11 restaurantepaellasymas.com
Santiago (Nacional) : +34 952 77 00 78 restaurantesantiago.com
Messina (Nacional, Michelin *) : +34 952 86 48 95 restaurantemessina.com
El Lago (Nacional, Michelin *) : + 34 952 83 23 71 restauranteellago.com
Skina (Nacional, Michelin **) : + 34 952 76 52 77 restauranteskina.com
The Harbour (International) : +34 952 86 55 34 theharbourmarbella.com
Cascada Marbella (International) : +34 951 56 78 49 cascadamarbella.com
Da Bruno Cabopino (International) : +34 952 83 19 18 dabruno.com
Ichiban (Sushi) : +34 952 90 00 06 ichibanmarbella.com
Genji (Sushi) : +34 657 88 51 85
Tahini (sushi) : +34 952 90 29 36 tahinisushibar.com
Stuzzikini (Italian) : +34 952 77 59 94 stuzzikini.com
Tartufo (Italian) : +34 622 19 19 84 iltartufo-ristorante.com
Davero (Italian) : +34 951 13 41 49
L’Angolino (Italian) : +34 952 86 50 52
Trocadero Arena : +34 952 86 55 79 grupotrocadero.com
Bono’s Beach : +34 952 83 92 36 bonobeachmarbella.com
Karma Beach : +34 952 90 38 27
La Plage Casani : +34 952 83 78 62
Soleo Marbella El Fuerte : +34 951 56 28 87 soleomarbella.com
La Red : +34 952 82 14 50
La Casa del Jamon : Avda. del Fuerte, 4 lacasadeljamon.net
Goyo Marbella : C/ Alonso de Bazán, 3 goyomarbella.com
Every year, there are numerous events organized in Marbella. They take place, in both the winter and summer months. The events give visitors a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the local culture and traditions.
Religious events such as the Virgin del Carmen or the celebrations in honor of Marbella's patron Saint, San Bernabé are popular local celebrations. The Tapa Feria is another one that comes highly recommended. Here are some recommended local events that should not be missed!
The Three Kings parade takes place on the 5th of January. The parade is always a huge hit with children who can see the three Kings accompanied by their favorite cartoon characters, all hurling sweets as they pass by. The floats carrying the Kings pass through Marbella's main streets Huerta de los Cristales, Severo Ochoa and Ricardo Soriano. Marbella
The Romeria de la Cruz de Juanar takes place every year on the 3rd of May. The Romeros (participants) go by foot to the “Cruz de Juanar” (altitude 1.160m). Legend has it that several fisherman got disorientated in the fog. When the fog cleared, the Juanar peak in the Sierra Blanca served as a guiding point back to safety. They decided to express their gratitude by creating the yearly pilgrimage.
Marbella's patron Saint is San Bernabe (Saint Bernard). Every year there are celebrations in his honor that start around the 11th of June and last for a week. The day fair and nightly celebrations take place all over Marbella, but in particular, in the Albarizas area. Flamenco, dancing, plenty of drinking and eating, concerts and parades.
Virgen del Carmen. The Virgin of the sea. Celebrations take place on the 16th of July. The parade passes through the traditional fishing port, to Puerto Banus and onto the Marina. The Virgin is eventually put back in the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion. Plaza de la Iglesia, 29601 Marbella
The Tapa Fair, also known as Marbella de Tapas is celebrated yearly in early August. It takes place on the Avenida del Mar. Some of Marbella's finest bars and restaurants prepare Tapas which can be tasted. Entry is free, but Tapas have to be paid for. Not to be missed.
Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the World with close to 3000 years of history. It offers a wealth of amenities and attractions. Cultural highlights include the Picasso Museum, Thyssen museum, the Centre for Contemporary Art (CAC), the Alcazaba, the Gibralfaro castle and the Cathedral. The city also offers an ample selection of beaches, shops and restaurants.
Puerto Banús is an oasis of luxury. This well-known residential area is located a short distance from Marbella and offers high quality services, many shopping boutiques and a beautiful marina.
Ronda is located approximately 50 km south-west of Malaga and 30 km from Marbella. It is steeped in history and culture. Celts, Phoenicians, Romans and Muslims have all left their mark. Ronda is located in one of the most privileged locations in Andalucia, perched on a cliff overlooking the surrounding countryside.
Gibraltar is a corner of England in Southern-most Spain. With only 6.8km2 of area, Gibraltar offers a surprising quantity of things to see and do. Tax free shopping, a trip up the rock, the siege tunnels, St Michael’s cave and, of course, seeing Gibraltar's most famous inhabitants, the Barbary apes.
Perched on the hillside high above the sea, Mijas Pueblo is a traditional whitewashed Andalusian village and is just 20 minutes from the nearest coastal resort of Fuengirola.
The pueblo has managed to retain a very authentic Spanish feel and although now a major tourist attraction, it has definitely not compromised its charm. Many visitors who come here will admit to Mijas Pueblo holding a special place in their hearts.
If it’s fantastic views, to die for restaurants, and a bit of culture you’re after, then Mijas Pueblo is the place.
Tarifa is located at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa de la Luz and across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco.
The beaches of Tarifa (Bolonia, Punta Paloma), have become famous for being the best in the entire Iberian Peninsula.
In Tarifa, you will see one of the best preserved castles in all of Andalusia it was built in 960 by Abd-ar-Rahman III.
The Puerta de Jerez is an arch that serves as a passage to the Historic Center and the Food Market. It is tremendously beautiful to walk through its alleys, some of which are really narrow, and see the traditional limestone houses.
The Caminito del Rey is a path built into the walls of the Gaitanes gorge, between the municipalities of Ardales, Álora and Antequera.
It is a pedestrian walkway of more than three kilometers (in addition to 4.8 kilometers of accesses), attached to the rock inside a canyon, with sections of a width of just one meter, hanging up to 105 meters high above the river, in walls that become vertical.
The passage of time deteriorated it a lot: almost the entire route lacked a railing and there were collapsed segments, leaving only the support beam. In 2014, works began to rehabilitate it. A new walkway was built, with wood paneling along its route.It has been known in the past as the "world's most dangerous walkway".
The Antequera Dolmens Site
The Antequera Dolmens Archaeological Site, included in the List of World Heritage Sites of te Unesco, is made up of the Dolmens of Menga, Viera and El Romeral in Antequera, Malaga, and is considered one of the best and best-known examples of European megalithic complexes. Megaliths were the first forms of monumental architecture in European prehistory and were developed, according to data currently available, from the beginning of the 5th millennium BC, the Neolithic period, about 6,500 years ago.
The Cueva of Nerja is located 158 meters above sea level and is, at 4,823 meters, one of the caves with the greatest topographic development in Andalusia. It has three entrances, two subcircular torches and, next to them, an entrance enabled one year after the discovery, in 1960, for the access of the visits.
The 5 most brilliant cities in Andalusia
Andalucía is the southern most region of Spain and the most populated of all seventeen autonomous communities with over 8 million inhabitants.
The name dates back to the Arabic ‘Al-Andalus’, which referred to the regions of Spain that came under Arabic administration, in various periods between 711 and 1492.
The all year round mild climate enjoyed in Andalusia makes it one of the most popular destinations in Spain for travelers and holiday-makers who come to enjoy both summer and winter sun vacations.
Nevertheless Andalusia has a whole lot more to offer and the different provinces are very distinct in their character, flavor and landscape.
The incredible city of Sevilla needs to be at the top of every traveler's list of places to visit in Andalusia. Seville, with just under 700,000 inhabitants, is actually the capital of the province of Andalusia.
It is a charming city. Picture small, narrow streets and detailed, decorated tapas bars and cafes bustling with happy people; the sound of flamenco show girls' footsteps and the background music of the Spanish guitar.
Seville has an ambiance, a real culture and gastronomic experience of its own.
It's is a tapas mecca, where restaurants and bars compete with one another to invent the most innovative and tasty dishes to accompany the great selection of wines that come from the area.
There are a large number of attractions to experience during your visit to the Andalusian capital; we recommend visiting the stunning Plaza de España, as well as the atmospheric Puente de Triana. Seville also features an impressive selection of museums.
Málaga's most impressive sites include the magnificent old town and city centre, a grandiose cathedral that was never fully finished, the well-known shopping street named Marques Larios, and certainly both the Alcazaba fortress and Gibralfaro castle. Málaga also happens to be the birthplace of the legendary Pablo Picasso; in 2004, the Picasso Museum first opened its doors and it has quickly become one of the city's most-visited attractions. Don't forget famous tapas bars, and especially the famous Atarazanas Market, which sells the freshest, cheapest produce and serves up some tasty fish and seafood.
Málaga is also one of the best destinations for a traditional experience of Spain's take on Easter – Semana Santa, or Holy Week. During this week, the town comes to life in a series of collective gatherings and processions, with happy people and exciting events creating a charismatic vibe in the city streets.
The city dates back more than 3,000 years; it is considered the oldest city in Europe, where Columbus once set sail for the Americas. Cádiz' long history is clearly visible in its very streets! Their narrow features reveal fabulous squares and plazas, monuments, and cafes where locals and tourists alike wander in and out of. The city's luminous attractions include the magnificent baroque cathedral, the Catedral Nueva. You should also reserve time to visit the Santa Catalina fortress, which offers a brilliant view of the city. Next to the fort, Parque Genoves park can be found where you may wish to enjoy a café con leche in the shade of palm trees.
If you would like to combine your urban stay with a bit of a beach retreat, head just outside the city to the 3 km long Playa Victoria. The beach is home to a cozy Chiringuito where you can admire the sun as it sets over the sea, leaving a sky with shades of pink, purple, and orange.
Córdoba is a historically important centre of Andalusia, as it was once the capital of Hispania during Julius Caesar's time, and it also served as the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba.
Today, the city's well preserved old city district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Its most popular attraction is its mosque built in the 700 and 900 centuries, La Mezquita.
La Mezquita brilliantly combines Islamic and Christian church architecture, and it remains one of the world's largest mosques. There is also a magnificent Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos Fortress next to the Quadalquivir River which is also among the city's top tourist attractions. You should also visit the Jewish quarter of the Old Town and stunning Puente Romano bridge. For art lovers you can you visit the Julio Romero de Torres Museum. In May, the Cordobans open their doors (or rather, patios) to the fabulous Festival of Los Patios to compete for the title of most beautiful outdoor setting.
The Sierra Nevada mountain range lies at the foot of fabulous Granada. At one time during the 1200s, Granada was known as the capital of the Islamic Kingdom. Islamic culture, from food to architecture, is still very apparent in Granada.
Granada's most famous attraction is the palace at the top of a hill: the magnificent Alhambra Palace! As the most visited site in all of Spain, and previously considered in the running as a World Wonder, this historic relic is a must-see.
In addition to the Alhambra, tourists can visit the magnificent Moorish Quarter of Granada, enjoy the excellent (and often free) tapas bars, and wander through the city's narrow alleys of Andalusia's most famous poet, Federico Garcia Lorca. You should also check out the cave flamenco shows unique to the city and do some shopping while in town!
The beautiful city of Ronda is located within the province of Malaga.
The city is divided into two, the old town and the newer one where the shops are located.
The view from Puente Nuevo over the surrounding countryside is ideal for stunning vacation photos. The Ronda bullring houses a museum that shows different aspects of this Spanish tradition. Ronda is a good destination for a day trip if you are vacationing in Marbella.
The Doñana National Park
The Doñana National Park is a paradise for bird watchers.
This park, located in the province of Huelva, is another place classified by UNESCO.
Pink flamingos, geese, vultures and many other species live in this impressive park.
Huelva is also a popular destination with its long sandy beaches with warm, transparent water.