To visit Marbella is to enjoy one of the most tourist and charming cities in the entire Malaga province. it is so much more than the image that comes to mind when we hear its name. This city, indisputable capital of the entire Costa del Sol, offers much more than famous people, parties, Puerto Banús and VIP nights. As well as leisure, beaches, sun and luxury yachts, those who truly know it are perfectly aware that there are many more things to see in Marbella, home to a historic centre that preserves its traditionally Andalusian small town charm, small bars beloved of the locals, archaeological artefacts that evoke its Roman origins and Arabic past, and a natural world still to be discovered. The cosmopolitan capital of the Costa del Sol offers endless things to do in Marbella so that you can discover a city with great historical root that offers important artistic attractions that have been evolving in recent years:
1. Getting lost in the old town
Walking along Marbella’s historical district is to immerse yourself in the small fishing village it once was. It seems that nothing has changed since then enjoying narrow winding and whitewashed streets, bougainvillea balconies displaying colourful geraniums. The tapas bars contrast with gourmet restaurants and local craft shops mingle with large firms. Do not forget to visit the Etching Museum, it is full of surprises for those art lovers with works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Antoni Tàpies and Antonio Saura.
2. Eat some churros next to the Plaza de Los Naranjos
The walk through the historical district always ends up in the Plaza de los Naranjos and their particular town hall, an ideal place to to have some juice under the shade of the orange trees that give this square its name. It is worth wandering through its streets and find hidden corners, where we suddenly see monuments like the Church of the Incarnation. Just remember to start off your morning in the best of ways as locals do…what better way to do it then having some traditional churros? The Churrería Ramón has become a must in the city centre.
3. Take a picture next to the Castle Walls
Another must near the historical district are the castle walls dating from the XI and XII centuries, which offer a very picturesque view of Marbella. This is the most important vestige of the Muslim civilization in the city which you can find on the perimeter of the streets Solano, Portada, Arte, Salinas, Trinidad, Carmen, Ortiz del Molinillo and Virgen de los Dolores. We assure you you can take one of the best photographs of your trip from here.
4. Running along the promenade
Marbella is a great destination for sport lovers. At its promenade runners, cyclists, walkers and skaters gather to practise in the area all year.. The weather is good all year round and the relaxing atmosphere the sea provides makes it the best place to keep fit. If you’re ready to test your fitness, you can walk to Puerto Banús or the natural area of Duna de Artola.
5. Discover Dali on the Avenida del Mar
This is an emblematic place between the centre and the seafront where besides offering good views that lead us to the beach, you can appreciate the sculptures of brilliant artist Salvador Dalí up close along an avenue a very luxurious avenue, with marble floors and ostentatious railings.
6. Go for tapas in El Cordobés
Needless to say that Marbella has hundreds of tapas bars, but if we want to try an authentic one, cheap and offering good quality food, the place to go is El Cordobes, where marbellís mingle with tourists. Try the place’s potato salad, pickled anchovies, sardines or prawns, always accompanied by a refreshing cold beer. It will be a delicious experience!
7. Have Cold Fish and paella at the Beach Club Fuerte Marbella
You haven’t been to Marbella if you haven’t tried skewed sardines, fried anchovies or a good seafood paella. Beach Club Hotel Fuerte Marbella offers this and more, a typical beach bar but with contemporary spirit, which offers classical Mediterranean menu on the beach.
8. Take a selfie next to a luxury yacht in Puerto Banús
It is the symbol of Marbella and has been earned. Puerto Banus is the most glamorous marina in Spain and one of the best known in Europe. It is almost impossible to walk its streets without taking a photograph next to a yacht, a sports car or even some international celebrity. If you want a good souvenir of course this is the perfect place to go shopping at the most important international firms. Do not leave without drinking a mojito in the Astral Cocktail Bar, its pirate ship shape has turned it into a stop you cannot miss.
9. Dive under the natural luxury of the coast: diving Marbella
Luxury is not only applied to shopping or parties; diving is one of the area’s sought after activities. One of the best known companies is Diving Life, which offers dives and courses from the Marbella coast to Gibraltar, where you can observe the flora and fauna that exists under the sea and even sunken ships … Don’t think about it, go for it! In fact Marbella is thought by many experts as one of the 10 best places to do diving in Spain.
10. Sunbathe in the most natural way at Duna de Artola – Cabopino
There are beaches for all tastes, but certainly there are two that you cannot miss. La Playa de la Venus is one of the most popular and well known to show off your beautiful body, but if instead you’re looking for privacy and nature your place is the natural area Duna de Artola. Here we find the beach of Cabopino, witness to what Costa del Sol was like in its purest form, with pristine dunes that plunge into the sea, a frequent place for nudists. We also recommend visiting the Cabopino Marina.
11. Enjoy the contrast between the mountain and the sea from El Juanar
As we said before, Marbella will only remind you of the sea, but that’s because you have not visited El Juanar. This place, shared with the nearby town of Ojén, is a perfect place for nature lovers to practice hiking, observing nature and especially enjoying the view from the top of La Concha (1.215m), where you can see the whole coast, a landscape you will never forget. Find out about the night tours that are organised when there is a full moon, simply amazing!
12. Bicycle routes
Marbella offers bike trails to practice on your own, as happens in the promenade, but also other trails guided by professionals. The company Marbella Bike Tours offers a three-hour tour along the city centre, the beach and fishing area.
13. Boat Trip
Relax being rocked by the waves is a pleasure, and from Marbella you can take boat tours or even rent your own. One of the most popular routes takes you to Puerto Banús, a new perspective to view the city. You can contact the Marbella Yacht Charters, among others.
14. Play golf on the best courses in the world
Marbella has some of the best golf courses in the world. As almost all of you know, all the area in Costa del Sol is also known as the Costa del Golf. Exclusive services and good weather all year round makes this destination ideal for any sport.
15. Sit down to read in the green areas of the city
The Alameda and Constitution natural parks are the lungs of Marbella, where the city gets oxygen and breathes the tranquillity of their flowery aromas. A rich mix of species among fountains, walkways and benches to enjoy the shade and cool, here time stops when you relax reading a book.
16. Have fun in La Polaca
La Polaca is one of the most famous bars and restaurants in Marbella. Everyone knows it for its pleasant cuisine, good price, nice terrace, a somewhat unusual décor, but especially for its atmosphere, so it is definitely a good place to meet people. We are not talking about a club; this is the perfect place to enjoy tapas, cañas or a gin and tonic, always enjoying very authentic music to start the night in the best way possible.
17. Discover the other Andalucian cuisine at Dani García restaurant
Dani García has created niche among the best restaurants in Spain with its Michelin stars. Its cuisine reinvents traditional Andalucian and Mediterranean diet with the most disconcerting forefront. Rather than reading about it, it is better if you try it yourself!
18. Clubbing: dancing all night at Olivia Valere
This may be what you have heard most about Marbella, together with Puerto Banús: clubbing and parties. It is a cliché, but true; the city boasts the best clubs in Costa del Sol and one of the classics is the Olivia Valere, with its sophisticated atmosphere, different environments and chic décor.
19. Strategic point for excursions
Due to its strategic location, Marbella is within walking distance of some of the most popular villages and places of Andalucia, so it becomes a suitable ‘base camp’ for renting a car and enjoying the Rock of Gibraltar, the burrotaxis of Mijas, the Tajo de Ronda, Casares charm, the ‘smurf’ village of Juzcar or Duna de Bolonia in Tarifa.
20. Rooftop Bar Belvue, Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel
No matter how you live your holidays and whatever you do during the day, there is no place like this one in Marbella to enjoy a 360-degree view over the city. The rooftop bar Belvue Amàre Marbella Beach Hotel has become ideal to experiment a unique view to the sea, where sunsets are unforgettable. On clear days you can see the African coast and the Rock of Gibraltar.
21. Discover Marbella’s rich biodiversity on its urban trails
We invite you to take a pleasant stroll along the trail running through Marbella’s urban centre, and to discover the local area’s abundant and diverse flora and fauna. This route, approximately 5 kilometres long, features self-guiding signs that provide information in different languages.
The recommended starting point is Paseo de la Alameda, where you can view a range of different plant species that decorate the street, and learn a bit about their history. Its centuries-old araucarias, its plane trees for shade and its Judas trees are just a few of many species.
The route takes in over 20 spaces in the city. These spaces include: Avenida del Mar, with its sago palms; Plaza de la Constitución, populated with Canary Island pines, fig trees, Mediterranean cypresses and birds like the robin and the common firecrest; La Fontanilla beach, inhabited by numerous different types of sea birds; and Arroyo Guadalpín, where birds like the Bonelli’s eagle and plants such as ferns can be seen.
Discover and enjoy the rich biodiversity found in the streets, squares, parks and other places of interest in Marbella’s municipal district.
22. Discover San Pedro de Alcántara
San Pedro de Alcántara is a district in Marbella where you can enjoy a wide range of activities, such as golf, shopping (either on calle Marqués del Duero or at the Thursday market at the fair enclosure), enjoy its beaches, a relaxing stroll along its promenade or the most Andalusian of traditions: go tapa hopping.
There are many things to see and do in San Pedro, so if you visit Marbella, get away for the day and you won’t regret it.
23. Go shopping
If you like shopping, Marbella is the perfect place. The city has been transformed over time into one of the chicest shopping epicentres. Long gone are the days when if you wanted the latest fashions you had to go to Paris or Rome, since the most fashion-forward designers have landed in the heart of the Costa del Sol and opened the most select establishments.
24. Visit Ojen
Marbella is separated from Ojén by around 6 miles, so, if you visit this city, you must go to this pretty town of the Las Nieves mountains.
Visiting Ojén is the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle, since it is a small haven peace and quiet. Steep, narrow streets, fountains, small squares… visiting this locality is a real pleasure.
25. Gorge-walking in el Guadalmina
Canyoning in El Guadalmina is the ideal way to start gorge-walking, since it is a natural enclosure surrounded by mountains of unrivalled beauty. If you decide to do this activity, we can assure you that you will have the best time ever, since it is not very difficult to do and there is a wide variety of jumps, slides and amazing natural pools.
26.ENJOY A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE
Among the many alternatives offered by Marbella, we recommend you enjoy its sunrise, a haven of peace and quiet in this bustling cosmopolitan city.
27. SEE AN ELEPHANT ON THE BEACH
Its seems impossible, but it’s not. Only in Marbella can you see an elephant on the beach, but there’s no need to be scared since it’s an elephant-shaped shower. This lovely initiative attracts a crowd of visitors to take a souvenir selfie.
28. TRY A DELICIOUS SERRANO JAM SANDWICH
One of the most enjoyable activities you can do in the capital of the Costa del Sol is to eat a delicious ham sandwich. There are a multitude of places where you can enjoy this gastronomic delicacy.
29. ENJOY A MORAGA ON THE BEACH
A moragais one of the most attractive and fun activities you can do. It is a night party on the beach where you can try the best seasonal fish and meats. If you remain unconvinced about this activity, just remember that between mouthfuls you can swim in the light of the moon. What more do you want!
30. CELEBRATE VIRGIN OF CARMEN DAY
The Virgen of Carmen is one of the most traditional festivals on the entire Costa del Sol and, as you would expect Marbella goes all out with this tradition. It is worth seeing the maritime parade that starts at the Fishing Port and heads in the direction of Puerto Banús before returning to the Marina. Quite a show!
WHERE TO STAY
If you decide to come to Marbella do not hesitate in staying at Amàre Beach Hotel Marbella or at El Fuerte Marbella a historic establishment on the Costa del Sol, now transformed to 5 stars, is the Marbella hotel that best combines casual luxury, an exclusive and welcoming atmosphere and the sheer comfort offered by its location on the city centre’s beachfront, which offers stunning sea views right across Marbella’s seafront promenade.