Welcome to Marbella, one of the most popular and luxurious travel destinations in Spain. Vivid nightlife, thrilling parties, an enchanting old town, great beaches, quiet parks, weird sculptures, museums and art galleries, golf courses, luxury shopping, world-class restaurants… Add to that Mediterranean climate with warm summers, mild winters, and lots of sunshine and you’ll get a great destination all year round. Marbella offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement and definitely has something to captivate every traveler. Vamos! Let’s discover the best things to do in Marbella, Spain.
Interesting fact. Marbella means “Beautiful Sea” – it’s a combination of two words: mar – sea and bella – beautiful.
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Marbella, Spain FAQ
Marbella is located in Andalusia in the Province of Malaga on Costa del Sol in Spain. It lies in close proximity to Malaga and Gibraltar, and other smaller but beautiful towns like Estepona, Ronda, or Mijas Pueblo.
Yes, Marbella is a city worth visiting. We found its old town especially charming and enjoyed walking among its narrow cobbled streets full of whitewashed houses adorned with colorful flowers. Looking for nooks and crooks and interesting details was a real pleasure. If you’re into parties, you also shouldn’t miss this vivid Spanish destination.
Marbella is best known for being one of the most glamorous and luxurious places on Costa del Sol. The city mainly owns that thanks to Puerto Banus, a well-known city port that is considered one of the best yacht marinas in Spain. It’s lined with high-end shopping malls, stylish restaurants, and bars. Marbella is also famous for its vivid nightlife scene and thrilling parties that take place in many nightclubs and bars.
Marbella is a great destination for a one-day trip, a weekend getaway, and a holiday stay on Costa del Sol. Without rushing we managed to see all we wanted in Marbella in one day. But if you want to get to know the city even better or you’re up to some parties or enjoying a luxurious life to the fullest, we recommend staying at least for a few days.
The best time to visit Marbella depends on your personal preferences for things like weather, crowds, or desired activities. If you’re a beach lover and sunseeker the best months to visit Marbella will be between June and September. But it’s also the peak tourist season, so you have to expect huge crowds. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience with milder temperatures and fewer crowds – choose any other month during the low season. Additionally, you might find more affordable accommodation prices during these months.
Yes, Marbella is a walkable city and we think that most people won’t have any problems with moving around it. It’s very flat, without steep hills or many stairs.
Best Things to do in Marbella, Spain
Marbella Old Town
Marbella old town, also known as Casco Antiguo, is the most charming part of the city, where you can clearly feel a typical Andalusian vibe. There you’ll find narrow cobblestone streets full of whitewashed houses decorated with colorful flowers in vivid pots, quaint squares adorned with orange trees. Of course, there are also plenty of bustling cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries, and historic buildings. There are many things to do in Marbella old town, and it’s just a perfect place to get lost for hours to soak up the vibe of the city.
Plaza de los Naranjos
Plaza de los Naranjos, the Orange Square, is a lively square in Marbella’s old town that was built after the Christian conquest of the city from the Moors in 1485. Since then this beautiful place has become the heart of Marbella, a center of urban life, where locals and tourists socialize and relax in many coffee places and restaurants.
There are two historic landmarks located on the Plaza de los Naranjos: 16th-century Ermita de Santiago (the oldest parish church in Marbella), and Casa Consistorial, built in 1568 in the Renaissance style (currently Marbella Town Hall). In the center of the plaza, there is a Renaissance fountain surrounded by orange trees, which were planted in 1941, and from which the square takes its name. Without a doubt, Plaza de los Naranjos is among the best things to do in Marbella so be sure not to miss it.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (eng. Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation) is one of the main Marbella historic landmarks. The church was built in the 16th and 17th centuries, on the site of the former Mosque. Currently, it’s the most important church in Marbella. The church is open to the public daily, free of charge.
Murallas del Castillo
Murallas del Castillo (eng. Ruins of a Moorish Castle) are the last remains of the old Moorish Castle, which was built in the 11th century. It was built with materials from earlier Roman constructions. Nowadays there’s nothing really to see within the walls, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at. Ruins can be seen from the square with Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.
Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Veracruz
Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Veracruz (eng. Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz) is a historic church in the Marbella Old Town, located near the ruins of a castle. The chapel was built in the 15th century and expanded in the 18th century. The interior is a simple space with a single nave and typical Andalusian-style decor.
Parque de la Alameda
Just a few steps from the old town you can find a beautiful 18th-century Parque de la Alameda (eng. Alameda Park). There is plenty of lush vegetation which makes it a great place to escape from a buzzing city to relax. In the center of Alameda Park is an impressive fountain from 1762, Fuente Virgen del Rocio. There are also some unique benches made with azulejos ( painted ceramic tileworks).
Avenida del Mar
Leaving Marbella’s old town and Alameda Park behind, going towards the beaches, you’ll find Avenida del Mar. This is a short, marble-paved boulevard decorated with some meticulously-trimmed bushes, palm trees, and an open-air art gallery. It features 10 bronze sculptures designed by Salvador Dali and 2 additional sculptures created by Eduardo Soriano. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best things to do in Marbella.
Best beaches in Marbella
Marbella’s beaches are often considered one of the best along Costa del Sol. There are more than 20 beaches to choose from in the area, and there is something for everyone – for whole families, party-oriented people, and those who prefer more privacy and a quiet atmosphere. Among the best beaches in Marbella, you’ll find Playa Venus and Playa de la Fontanilla, which are the closest ones to Marbella’s old town. Other great choices are Playa Puerto Banús, Playa de Cabopino, or Playa de Nagüeles. For a luxurious beach club experience head to Nikki Beach.
Puerto Banus is a world-renowned, exclusive sailing and leisure port located in one of the newest and most popular residential areas in Marbella, Nueva Andalucia. It was built in 1970 and currently is considered one of the best yacht marinas in Spain. In Puerto Banus, you’ll find many high-end boutiques, upscale restaurants, luxury yachts and apartments, and private villas. It’s a real playground for the rich and famous. Visiting Puerto Banus without a doubt is one of the most posh things to do in Marbella.
If you’re into golf, you might find yourself in a golfing paradise in Marbella. City offers dozens of golf courses for all ages and levels. Some of the best golf courses in Marbella include Los Naranjos Golf Club, Marbella Golf And Country Club, Aloha Golf Club, and Real Club De Golf Guadalmina.
Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz al Saud
Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz al Saud (eng. King Abdul Aziz Mosque) is an Islamic place of worship located about a 10-minute drive from the Marbella center. Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the construction of the mosque in 1981. It’s one of the first mosques built since the Christian Reconquest of Spain in the 15th century. King Abdul Aziz Mosque is a splendid example of contemporary Andalusian architecture inspired by the Moorish heritage. Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz al Saud is a really great thing to do in Marbella.
How to get to Marbella, Spain?
Where to park in Marbella?
Marbella offers many paid parking lots in the city, but if you want to save some money you can try to find a free place on the streets near Teatro Ciudad de Marbella, like Calle Rodrigo de Triana. In December we didn’t have any problems with that.
Airports near Marbella
The closest airports to Marbella are located in Malaga (65km away) and Gibraltar (80km away). From each of them, you can reach the city by bus or taxi. You can check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Marbella by bus
You can very easily get to Marbella by bus. There are many direct and usually cheap connections from many places like Malaga, Fuengirola, Ronda, or Gibraltar. Please check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Marbella by train
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Marbella. The closest one is located in Malaga, about 60km away, and from there you can take a bus or taxi to Marbella. You can check out a map of available train connections on acprail.com website.
Best Things to do in Marbella, Spain – Summing up
As you can see now, there are many various things to do in Marbella for all kinds of travelers. So no matter if you’re looking for the sun and sandy beaches, culture and history, parties and nightlife, or some glamorous and luxurious experiences – Marbella has it all. This city seamlessly blends relaxation, sophistication, and Mediterranean charm, making it an ideal getaway.
Our opinion about Marbella
For us, a visit to Marbella was a one-day trip from Mijas Las Lagunas, where we were living for a few weeks during our digital nomads life. We visited the city in December and during that time Marbella was fairly quiet and without crowds, which was a big advantage for us. During our day in Marbella, we managed to see everything we wanted, without rushing.
City didn’t steal our hearts like other places on Costa del Sol like Benalmadena Pueblo, Ronda, Antequera, Caminito del Rey, or Estepona, but we found it very pleasant to discover. We especially liked strolling around old town streets and exploring their nooks and crooks. Admiring weird sculptures in Avenida del Mar was fun too!
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Marbella?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Marbella:
Where to sleep in Marbella?
Hotel La Morada Mas Hermosa
Hotel La Morada Mas Hermosa in Marbella is a charming and stylish hotel with a great location in the heart of the old town. The hotel features beautiful decor, comfortable rooms, and a lovely rooftop terrace with fantastic views of the city. Guests rave about the friendly staff, the delicious breakfast, and the overall cozy atmosphere of this boutique hotel.
Hotel Central Boutique
Hotel Central Boutique is a charming and cozy hotel located in the heart of Marbella's historic center. The hotel has beautifully decorated rooms that are equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and TVs. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast buffet in the hotel's cafe or relax on the rooftop terrace with stunning views of the town and the sea.
Marbella Beach and Sea view apartment
Marbella Beach and Sea view apartment is a beautiful accommodation situated right on the beachfront in Marbella. The apartment offers stunning panoramic views of the sea and comes fully equipped with modern amenities to make your stay comfortable and relaxing. It is conveniently located near restaurants, shops, and other attractions.
OH Marbella Inn
OH Marbella Inn is a stylish hotel located in the heart of Marbella, just a few steps away from the beach. The hotel features comfortable rooms equipped with modern amenities and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast buffet each morning and the hotel also offers a bar and lounge area.
Amare Marbella Beach Hotel (Adults Only)
Amare Marbella Beach Hotel - Adults Only is a luxury beachfront hotel located in the heart of Marbella. The hotel offers stylish and modern rooms and suites, many with stunning sea views, and a range of amenities including a rooftop infinity pool, spa, and fitness center. Guests can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at the hotel's restaurants and bars.
Hostal Paco Marbella
Hostal Paco Marbella is a cozy and affordable accommodation option located just a few minutes' walk from Marbella's Old Town. The rooms are simple but comfortable, with private bathrooms and air conditioning. The hostal also has a terrace where guests can enjoy the sun and relax.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com
Marbella, Spain - Map of places
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