With a name like a Hollywood superstar and celeb scattered shores to match, Marbella has taken up the mantle for luring in stars, moguls and millionaires wanting to carve out a chic spot along the tourist heavy Costa del Sol. Yet, despite its yacht glazed marina, ritzy beach clubs, and bling bars – there’s another side to the sun-splashed town, one that sits a little closer to its Andalusian roots.
The Old Town of Marbella is a charming racket of tight-wound streets that run like tributaries into flower strewn squares. There’s pint sized tapas bars on every corner, hidden corners, and corridors for shaded sangria sessions, and orange trees that spill their ripe citrusy scent out into the bustling nights. Even beyond the appeal of the Old Town, Marbella enchants. Caught between the Sierra Blanca Mountains and the soft light of the Mediterranean Sea, there’s endless opportunity to enjoy the natural setting. Bicycle rides, beach parties, hikes in the hills, cultural encounters in local neighborhoods and seafood feasts – Marbella offers a rich experience that goes beyond the glitzy champagne myths.
The Golden Mile of the Costa del Sol is celebrated for its long sweeping beaches and Marbella doesn’t let the side down. The Beach Club scene is world famous, with the likes of Nikki Beach ensuring five-star style beside the sea. Marbella is a tapestry of relaxation; golf courses bring a splash of green to the countryside, beautiful villas and big-name boutique resorts pull out all the stops for a fashionable stay, and there are excellent art collections and museums to feed all your cultural needs. Chic and classy without compromising Spanish charm, Marbella is sheer magic.
Marbella is graced with a lush Andalusian climate throughout the year. Summers see soaring temperatures that invite plenty of parasol lounging and saltwater plunges, and winters too remain soft and mild. The soaring peaks of the Sierra Blanca create a microclimate on these shores, meaning sweet summer days in their mid-20’s and winters seeing an average of around 17 degrees with only five days of rain.
When to Visit
The summer crowds adore Marbella, making it a popular spot on the Mediterranean jet set circuit. One of the best times to visit Marbella has to be in September and October, when the throngs have dispersed but the glorious glut of sunshine remains, ensuring its still warm enough for splashing in the sea. Spring is another tempting month but you can be sure that between the months of May and August the prices rocket but the beach parties are at their most vibrant.
Attractions and Activities
The Costa del Sol is brimming with beautiful sandy beaches and Marbella is home to plenty. The closest one to the center of town is the Playa Fontanilla with its blue and white ocean colors and pretty promenade lined with restaurants and shops. If you are seeking blissful blue flag awarded shores then San Pedro Alcantara makes for an idyllic spot to spend an afternoon swimming in mirror like waters and kicking back on floury sands.
Marbella doesn’t have a glitzy reputation for nothing and Puerto Banus is where that side of the chic destination comes to life. The elegant marina is often packed with supersize yachts, glistening pearl white against the sea. Of course, where the millionaire crowd can be found you can expect lavish places to eat and designer boutiques. For more mingling with the diamond encrusted crowd, Nikki Beach awaits with its white leather loungers, sleek open-air bar, and ultimate VIP vibes.
Marbella enjoys a wealth of far-flung visitors and has a long illustrious past that saw the city occupied by Romans and Moors. Yet, even in its modern era, Marbella still retains much of her Spanish style and legacy. Wandering the neighborhoods you can see gorgeous traditional neighborhoods like Miraflores and Divina Pastora. These are places bustling with local markets, beautiful churches, street stalls and local tapas joints for soaking up the bright energy of ancient Andalusia.
Aside from cocktails and class, Marbella has a wealth of culture to explore. Art lovers in particular will be smitten with the Salvador Dali bronze statues lining the way between the Paseo Maritimo to the Parque Alameda. There’s also the Museum of Spanish Engravings, the Ralli Museum specializing in surrealism, and the Bonsai Museum for witnessing one of the worlds best collections of Bonsai trees.
How to Get There
Touching down in Marbella is easy business thanks to solid connections across Europe. Malaga Airport is close by and offers connections with close to a hundred destinations. This is one of the biggest airports in Andalusia and serves as the main gateway for those booking holidays along the Costa del Sol.
Private taxis sit at the exit waiting for arrivals heading to the gold and blue shores of Malaga. Journey’s can cost close to 70 euros so for those traveling with a few people in tow, it may be worthwhile to pre-book a minibus transfer to avoid surprise costs. There’s also the option of hopping on a bus for a more cost-effective option, although summers can be busy and only come once every hour or two.
Car hire in Marbella is an excellent choice for those who are curious about exploring the rest of the region and traveling along the glimmering coast of the Costa del Sol. Pick up your car at Malaga Airport where you will find big name brands and indie choices, and head towards the signs for Algeciras – Marbella. Once you hit Fuengirola you can take the AP7 toll road to cut out the chance of summer traffic.