A guide to things to do in Marbella
Marbella is the epitome of glamour: from the super-yachts and super-cars lining the marinas and roads to the five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants. A swanky spot on the Costa del Sol, Marbella sits where the majestic Andalusian mountains meet the rich, warm Mediterranean Sea. It’s the go-to place for the rich and famous thanks to its exclusive clubs, beautiful beaches and high-quality entertainment. Thanks to an influx of more affordable holidays, everyone can experience Marbella’s glitz and glamour.
Wander around the charming Old Town
Marbella Old Town gives you an entirely different experience to the ultra-hip and modern clubs and restaurants lining the marina. Roam around the labyrinth of narrow streets and explore the delights in the charming Castilian renaissance square, Plaza de los Naranjos. You’ll find many different cafes and restaurants serving traditional Spanish meals, tables and chairs nestled under the sweet-smelling orange trees. If you settle down for a while, you’re sure to catch a flamenco show or performance on the Spanish guitar. Marbella Old Town is the perfect place to relax, unwind and watch the day go by.
Hit the beautiful beaches
With 24 beaches along 25km of coastline, you’re spoilt for choice. Choose from exclusive bar- or hotel-owned stretches to fun, family-friendly areas. La Fontanilla Beach is the most popular beach in the city – its exceptional facilities and lively atmosphere means it gets quite busy, so get down early to save a spot. Cabopino Beach is slightly further out, but is often quieter – and the sand is perfect for little ones wanting to build sandcastles. Guadalmina has plenty of water sports if you’re after some action, while the famous Nikki Beach has world-class DJs, acrobats and plenty of Champagne cocktails.
Eat at the best restaurants
One of the biggest draws to Marbella is its fancy foodie scene. With almost 1,000 restaurants on offer, you can guarantee you’ll find exactly what you want. The city has some of the best restaurants in Spain and the most luxurious all-inclusive hotels in Costa del Sol, so it’s easy to find exceptional venues. You’ll find a number of places with Michelin stars and many others that serve up experimental gourmet delights. There’s a restaurant to suit any budget: while you can splash out on a fancy meal, it’s easy enough to find great-quality food for less.
Experience Marbella's nightlife
Marbella’s reputation for excellent nightlife doesn’t come unfounded. Whether you want to dance all night or sip cocktails under the stars, you’ll find a bar or club that’s perfect. If you’re looking to enjoy Marbella’s most glamorous, luxurious venues, head to the Golden Mile: you’ll find no-expenses-spared bars, clubs and hotels. The relaxed vibes of the old town – Plaza de los Naranjos – transform into a party atmosphere as the sun sets, so explore the hidden bars for a fun night out. Puerto Banus, by the marina, has a brilliant selection of clubs, ranging from the exclusive to the affordable.
Stroll around the marina
Visiting the marina in Puerto Banus is a must for anyone holidaying in Marbella. The super-rich come to the luxury marina to park their yachts, Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis while they shop at the extensive collection of designer boutiques – think Gucci, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana. Aside from the jaw-dropping wealth, it’s a beautiful place to visit, with many cafes and restaurants to choose from. It’s just 6km from the centre of Marbella, so it’s easy enough to wander down to. And because there are a few sandy beaches to relax on, there’s enough to do to spend the day.
With a huge number of top-class golf courses and resorts and a pleasant year-round climate, Marbella is heaven for golfers. You can choose from a number of championship courses, with at least 15 clubs within a half-hour drive from Marbella. Serious golfers will appreciate the course designs, created by some of the best names in the sport. And for novice or new golfers, there are many courses and schools to try – the most popular courses include La Quinta, Los Naranjos, Los Flamingos, Atalaya, Guadalmina, Rio Real and the famous El Paraiso.
Enjoy the theme parks
Marbella isn’t just about relaxing on the beach and wandering around the shops – there’s plenty of high-octane fun to be found, too. Choose from a variety of parks: fairgrounds, zoos, waterparks and high-speed rollercoasters. Funny Beach is the closest to the centre of Marbella, which has lots of fun, family-friendly rides. The two Costa Water Parks are brilliant inflatable obstacle courses floating in the sea, making them perfect for cooling off on hot days. Down the road is Benalmadena, which is home to a wide range of theme parks, including Tivoli World, a Butterfly Park and the Sea Life Centre.