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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Marbella

Marbella Holidays

Yachts, Ferraris, designer clothes and big bar bills – for many people this is what comes to mind when they think of Marbella. While Marbella is still a hangout for the rich and famous, holidays here are becoming increasingly affordable and it's now a popular destination for those seeking late holiday deals to the Costa del Sol. People flock to Marbella for its fabulous beaches, incredible food, beautiful scenery and, of course, the exclusive clubs that you'll find around the marina.

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Heaps of sand

Marbella's vast choice of 24 beaches, nestled among 25 kilometres of coastline, range from exclusive party zones to family-friendly areas where you can enjoy some simple bucket-and-spade fun. La Fontanilla beach is probably the most popular in Marbella and can get very busy. However it does have a great atmosphere and exceptional facilities. East Marbella is especially well known for its beaches. For a family-friendly stretch of sand you should seek out Cabopino – a safe and popular beach with sand quality just right for building castles.

On Guadalmina beach you'll find lots of watersports to try as well as some beautiful historic ruins. And then there's the famous Nikki Beach, which is one of the best luxury beach clubs in the world and home to the ultimate Marbella beach party experience. It has world-class DJs and acrobats to watch while sipping champagne cocktails underneath your own bamboo cabana. La Sala by the Sea - formerly Buddha Beach - in the exclusive Marbella port of Puerto Banus has two tropical bars that overlook the Mediterranean which provides the perfect backdrop for a party.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Spanish
  • GMT + 1hr

Top-class dining

Marbella is home to one of the best selections of restaurants in Spain and boasts some of the most luxurious All Inclusive hotels in Costa del Sol. As a result of Marbella's influx of wealthy clientele you'll find a number of places boasting Michelin stars, which means exceptional food quality. These places can range from traditional, silver-service places to restaurants pushing the boundaries of contemporary gastronomy.

It's possible to eat the finest food you're likely to find in mainland Spain in Marbella – but, of course, this will come at a price. While we recommend treating yourself on at least one night of your stay, it is perfectly possible to eat extremely well in Marbella on a budget. Rather than sitting down for three square meals a day the beautiful phenomenon that is tapas means you can wander from café to bar to restaurant and graze all day on bite-size pieces of traditional Andalusia food. In the Costa del Sol the focus is on fish, and pescaito frito – small breaded fish, fried in olive oil and served with lemon – is a firm favourite.

However, between tapas and Michelin-starred extravagance it's worth bearing in mind that Marbella is home to a total of almost 1000 restaurants, which means the range of cuisine on offer is staggering. Spanish food is probably the best value, but it's possible to eat quality food from a different country every night of the week.

Nighttime fun

Of all of the holiday resorts in Costa del Sol, nightlife in Marbella has a reputation for being excellent. While there are plenty of opportunities to splash your cash, fun and affordable nights out are an option too. Nights out in Marbella can be filled with all-night dancing, but they can also involve quiet cocktails overlooking the sea or enjoying the atmosphere of a luxury world-class casino.

There are four main areas to Marbella's nightlife – Puerto Banus, the Golden Mile, the old town and Orange Square, known locally as Plaza de los Naranjos. Puerto Banus is Marbella's marina and between the luxury yachts and supercars you'll find a staggering variety of clubs, bars and discos, some of which will be pricey but you'll be surprised at how inclusive it can be.

The Golden Mile is a four mile stretch between Orange Square and Puerto Banus. This is where you'll find Marbella's most expensive estates, villas and hotels, and lots of places where you can enjoy fun but pricey nights out.

Marbella's old town is its historic district and the most beautiful part of the city. This is the best place to sit outside and relax, talk and enjoy a glass or two of something special. Orange Square is a cluster of traditional outdoor restaurants, cafés and bars, set among orange trees. It's a lovely, quiet place to relax by day and at night the atmosphere is transformed, and an exciting party vibe takes over.

Explore the marina

A stroll around Puerto Banus is an absolute must during any Marbella holiday. This luxury marina is where some of the super-rich choose to dock their yachts and park their Ferrari, Rolls-Royce or Lamborghini before moving on to shop in a range of designer boutiques. As well as taking in some of the unbelievable displays of luxury lifestyle here, it's also a beautiful area and home to lots of places to eat and drink that aren't just affordable to the world's wealthiest.

Serious golfing

The Costa del Sol is one of the world's favourite destinations for golfing holidays, and Marbella is an ideal base for exploring the staggering number of championship courses in the area. For serious golfers looking to play a variety of courses there are at least 20 within a 30-minute drive of Marbella. Los Naranjos, La Quinta, Los Flamingos, Atalaya, Guadalmina and Rio Real are the most popular courses within easy reach.

Days out

Most people visiting Marbella don't stray too far from the city limits – and we can hardly blame them with so much going on. However, if you are looking to see more of the area, then Marbella is positioned perfectly for seeing more of Andalusia and the Costa del Sol.

A great option for a day out with family or friends is the Mariposario de Benalmadena Butterfly Park. Here 2000 butterflies flutter around you, including some of the biggest in the world.

Another option for a day out is to take one of the 4×4 Safari Tours, where you'll get the chance to see the real Andalusia. You'll be taken on an off-road adventure in 4×4 vehicles by expert guides, who'll show you around the amazing Andalusian landscape and take you through the local villages, teaching you about the area's rich history.