With luxury yachts, beach-centred resorts, and Michelin star restaurants it’s no surprise that Marbella is a stomping ground for the rich and famous. But you don’t need to have a six figure income to be able to holiday here.
Recently, this city known for its extravagance, has become more and more affordable, bringing new visitors to its shores and showing us a different side to its holidays. This lively, star-studded city is jam-packed with budget friendly attractions and exciting sightseeing opportunities, you just need to know where to look.
Here’s everything you should know, including a little inspiration on where to go and what to see.
Gorgeous glittering coastlines
If unwinding on the sands with a drink in your hand and a palm tree overhead is your idea of a perfect holiday then Marbella is for you.
It’s got 24 fantastic beaches to choose from along its 25-kilometre coastline, with many situated along the central Golden Mile area – which is much longer than a mile. With so many beaches around you’ll have your pick of coastlines and plenty of space to stretch out on a sunlounger or two.
Whether you want to hit the seas for some watersports or party on the sands at one of the pop-up bars, Marbella has a beach for you.
Playa Fontanilla is one of Marbella’s central beaches, ideal for a lazy flop near your hotel. Starting at the marina it runs parallel with the promenade so you have restaurants, bars and shops at your fingertips. Or El Alicate in Marbella’s suburb of Elviria is a long strip of sand ideal to take the family to.
It can get crowded in the summer but making up for that are excellent facilities including restaurants serving up traditional tapas and chilled sangria.
However, to properly experience the Marbella lifestyle you need to head to the famous Nikki Beach. This bustling coastline is home to some of the best luxury beach clubs in Spain and will give you the ultimate beach party experience.
Stay until the sun sets for world-class DJs and a chance to get down on the dancefloor.
There aren’t a lot of other places in the world that have the same amount of diversity when it comes to their cuisine. Marbella has a massive range of culinary delights from Michelin star fine-dining restaurants to hole-in-the wall secret gems.
Food here has a wide range of influences, so you’ll find traditional Spanish items including paella and tapas as well as Western favourites, fresh seafood and Asian and European items. Marbella has over a thousand restaurants to choose from, so you really will be spoiled for choice.
If you’re travelling here on a tight budget don’t worry, tapas are extremely affordable and allow you to order as much or as little as you like.
But if you do want to dine in style, Michelin-starred Messina is a bright and contemporary dining room on the seafront across from La Bajadilla Beach. Its flavours cover Spain, South America and Asia, with an excellent tasting menu and impeccable service.
Marbella’s nightlife scene has a reputation for being one of the best in the world and many A-list celebrities flock here to join in on the fun.
The party zones in this city are divided into four main sections including Puerto Banus, the Golden Mile, the old town and Orange Square. They each have their own distinct nightlife flavour and price tag.
To have a chance to run into some familiar celebrity faces spend your time nightclub hopping in Puerto Banus. This is Marbella’s marina area and is where you’ll find a variety of exclusive clubs, bars and discos, all with a hefty cover charge.
Marbella’s old town is more down to earth, with quiet bars and pubs along its windy streets – sit outside and enjoy a pint or cocktail as you people-watch and enjoy the traditional Spanish backdrop.
History and Marbella may not seem to go hand in hand, but this busy city has several historic attractions dotted along its streets.
A must-see for any Marbella holiday is the old town and it’s here where you’ll find the majority of cultural and historic sights. This traditional Spanish quarter is home to a small harbour, cobbled stone streets, bright mosaics, classic white-washed houses and quaint shops and cafes.
While you’re there, walk through the modern Avenida del Mar plaza and check out the array of sculptures by Salvador Dali including one of Don Quixote.
The old town is also where you’ll find the Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion. This catholic church was built in the 16th century and is Marbella’s oldest church – it still holds mass each day, which visitors are welcome to attend.
Down the road is Murallas del Castillo, an 11th-century Arabic castle whose ruins are also open to the public and available to walk around and explore.
Mingle with the rich and famous
Of course every trip to Marbella needs to entail taking a stroll down to the Puerto Banus Marina.
This luxury destination is holiday central for the rich and famous. Its water is lined with fabulous yachts and its streets are crowded with flashy sports cars.
If you’d like to experience some of the same luxurious living make sure to save up some extra euros so you can spend an evening in one the fine-dining restaurants and grab a drink at one of the classy, exclusive bars.
There’s also a huge range of designer shops for you to flaunt some cash in, or you can just window shop along with the 99% of other holiday-goers. No matter how much you want to spend this marina is a sight to behold and one the most popular holiday spots in the city.
Marbella’s got all the sun-soaked holiday essentials, including delicious spots to eat, postcard worthy beaches and an incredible nightlife scene. Are you planning a trip to Marbella anytime soon? Let us know where you plan to go and if any of these spots are on your list.