Marbella is Spain’s most chic holiday resort on the Costa del Sol
Well known as the playground for the rich and famous, the upmarket resort of Marbella has a cosmopolitan vibe and a well preserved Andalucian history. Situated on the Costa del Sol, this chic destination is a favourite among the wealthy who frequent the world-class restaurants, luxury hotels, championship golf courses, fashionable boutiques, opulent marina and vibrant night clubs.
Be sure to dress to impress on your holidays to Marbella as you stroll along the quayside in the famous Puerto Banus Marina where million dollar yachts bob in the harbour. This is where celebrities are entertained as they lounge beach side sipping expensive champagne, Marbella is where jet setters come to be seen and show off their wealth.
The combination of the glorious Costa del Sol weather and the glitz and glamour make Marbella a real holiday hot spot. There is nothing not to like about this beautiful area of southern Spain and there is loads to see if you get bored with star spotting and turn a little bit greener with each luxury yacht that pulls into the marina.
We have compiled a comprehensive Spain travel resources page to help you plan and book a trip or holiday to Marbella with a budget busting hotel search comparison platform, travel insurance, low cost flights, discount car hire, tours, excursions as well money saving travel and holiday deals.
5 Interesting facts about Marbella
- Drag yourself away from the all the fun at the marina and you will discover Marbella has a lot more offer such as its lovingly preserved old town.
- Foodies will have a whale of a time in Marbella as the town boasts three Michelin starred restaurants, but booking months ahead is advised if you want to eat at any of them and maybe rub shoulders with a few celebs.
- Saudi Arabia’s late King Fahd had the uber luxurious Mar Mar complex, including private mosque and clinic built in Marbella and when he died in 2005 the town had 3 official days of mourning.
- Due to its sheltered position in from of the Sierra Nevada peaks Marbella has its own enviable micro climate with calm seas.
- The dubious character, ex Marbella Mayor, Jesus Gil, is credited with transforming it into the high end resort it is today.
Places to see and visit in Marbella
The Old Town & Orange Square
Marbella is full of history dating back to 1600 BC and this history is evident in the charming old Town which has a 15th century castle, churches, picturesque wrought-iron balconies whilst modern, stylish shops and charming eateries line the serene, narrow streets.
The famous Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) is a cluster of traditional, outdoor restaurants, tapas bars, café’s and orange trees. Privately owned boutiques specialise in everything from olives and homeopathic produce to exclusive Spanish designers. Strolling among the mix of old and new, the old town is a tranquil setting untill early evening when the vibe changes as it becomes a pulsating hub for people looking to dine al fresco and party into the night.
Puerto Banus Marina
Holidays to Marbella wouldn’t be the same without visiting the world renowned Puerto Banus luxury marina where the super rich dock their extravagant yachts. Visitors walk along the marina and marvel at the opulence floating on the water and delight in the clever names. Ultra luxury cars such as Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Aston Martin can also be seen on the marina front.
Puerto Banus is also home to the best names in fashion design from Dolce & Gabbana to Louis Vuitton and the jet-set can be found shopping here year round. Famous for its incredible variety of clubs, bars, pubs and discos, party goers flock to Puerto Banus to drop loads of cash in the up-market bars and clubs.
Marbellas golden mile
The Golden Mile is a four mile stretch between Marbella’s Orange Square and Puerto Banus. This exclusive area is home to some of the world’s most luxurious villas and estates. The Palace of King Fahd, along with the residences of Antonia Banderas and other top celebs are found here as well as the landmark hotels such as Hotel Melia Don Pepe, Hotel Marbella Club and the Puente Romano Hotel. Visitors can walk this stretch in two hours and marvel at the stunning homes, hotels and restaurants that make up the Golden Mile.
Marbella golf courses
Marbella is not only a play ground to the rich and famous, here many thousands of golfers from all over Europe choose Marbella as their preferred golf holiday destination. The Costa del Sol is home to over 60 championship courses, at least 20 of those courses are within a 30 minute drive of Marbella which makes it ideal for golfers looking for diversity of courses without having to travel for hours either way.
Shop until you drop in Marbella!
One of the top things to do in Marbella is enjoy the fantastic array of shops and boutiques on offer. From the swanky and chic shops in Puerto Banus to the impressive
La Canada Marbella international shopping centre located right by the main N340 highway. The centre is one of the best in Andalucia which also houses a large cinema complex. You will find quality shops to suit all tastes and budgets. Everything is on offer at La Canada in Marbella including sports attire and equipment, jewellery, boutiques, restaurant, cafeterias, a large supermarket , cosmetics, mobile phones and large DIY store. Top names at the centre include Zara, Kiehls, Foot locker, C&A, Tommy Hilfiger and much more.
An early evening stroll around the old quarter is well worth it as well as there are some quaint smaller shops selling local handicraft items.
Dining out in Marbella
There are plenty of options in Marbella to enjoy eating out. From low cost burger bars, to tapas, international and the glitzy restaurants located around the famous Puerto Banus harbour, and the charming up market eateries dotted around the old town, there is as they say, a place to suit all gastronomic tastes and budgets.
Michelin Starred Restaurants:
Restaurante Dani Garcia
Restaurante El Lago
Other up-market and mid range eateries
La Taberna del Pincho ( Calle Miguel Cano, 7 )
Located in central Marbella this is a modern tapas bar offering tapas dishes from as little as €1.25 a plate so well worth a visit. They are open every day including Sundays and offer a large selection of tapas.
Le Kune ( Avenida Fontanilla 1 )
If you are looking for a tapas bar with a real Spanish atmosphere then La Kune is for you. Not too mention it serves a large variety of this most famous of Spanish dishes. You will not be wanting for choice as freshly made tapas are on display at the bar, one not to be missed.
El Patio de Marsical ( Calle Virgen de los Dolores, 13 )
Located in the old town of Marbella this charming restaurant offers a wide selection of typical Spanish fair. Popular dishes include salmon stuffed with large prawns and wild asparagus, clams marinera, tenderloin of Iberian pork and the delicious white rice with lobster and king prawn.
Los Bandidos ( Puerto Banus – Marbella )
Located within the famous Puerto Banus marina, Los Bandidos offers one the best fine dining experiences in Marbella. The restaurant opened in 1988 by Jill Lindberg who remains to this day at the front of house. Although quite small in size, Los Bandidos offers a classic elegance in casual surroundings. Top dishes here include gratinated mussels with spinach and Emmental cheese, Peeled western king prawns ‘pil pil’ with garlic, chili and herbs and the Sole ‘Los Bandidos’ in white wine sauce, Duchesse potatoes with medallion of lobster and prawns.
La Habana Lounge ( Puerto Banus )
This is another fine dining restaurant which enjoys a privileged position overlooking the multi million pounds yachts of the Puerto Banus Marina. Super fresh seafood, meats and rice dishes are the order of the day at La Habana. And what better setting to enjoy dishes such as Octopus Carpaccio, Red Tuna or a seafood Paella.
Best beaches in Marbella
La Sala Beach by the Sea
Situated within the town of San Pedro de Alcántara, next to the Guadalmina urbanisation, this beach has the thick golden sand that is typical to this area of the Mediterranean. Different water sports can be practised here such as windsurfing, jet skiing, and kayaking, as well as swimming and kite surfing.
The four star Guadalmina Hotel is nearby, and there are also two beach clubs and two chiringuitos (beach restaurants) with sun beds for hire. Looking for a bit of history on your holidays to Marbella? Then you will love Guadalmina Beach.
Just nearby is Bovedas, the 3rd Century historic ruins, which are situated within a protected archaeological area.
La Fontanilla Beach
La Fontanilla Beach is a rustic beach that varies in size depending on the tide. A hugely popular beach because of its location – it is right in the middle of Marbella, near the Marbella Port – and its facilities – the list here is endless, those keen on busy social beaches will be best off at La Fontanilla.
Located ten minutes from Marbella, Nikki Beach is one of the best and most famous luxury beach clubs in the world. The beautiful Blue Flag beach and crystal clear waters are the backdrop for this sexy, glamorous atmosphere.
These beach goers lounge under private, bamboo cabanas sipping champagne cocktails while world class DJs, dancers, flame-throwers and acrobats perform. Nikki Beach is the ultimate Marbella beach party experience for any holiday to Marbella.
Funky Buddha Beach
Nearby towns worth visiting
Known affectionately as the “Old Town” Estepona is one of the picture perfect towns which Spain does so well. Make no mistake this seaside town has plenty to offer tourists but has not gone down the mass tourism path and thus retains its pueblo charm.
There is a vibe about the holiday resort of Fuengirola that makes it quite unique amongst similar style resorts. Old meets new in a fusion of colour and activity and you will be hard pressed to find a more diverse mix of visitors than here.
The historic city on a hill is well worth a visit for its spectacular views alone. The Rio Guadalevín splits Ronda in half but the bridge that connects the two halves is no ordinary one as below you is a 100m chasm down to the river!
The only way is Marbella
Marbella has claimed extra publicity among young holiday goers since ITV’s hit TV programme ‘The Only Way is Essex‘ featured a special episode, cleverly entitled ‘The Only Way Is Marbs’, set here in Marbella.
Tours & Excursions - Book in Advance
Recommended accommodation in Marbella
The 5 star Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella ideally located between the town centre and Puerto Banus. First class amenities include a spa and wellness centre, gymnasium, Turkish steam bath and a rooftop terrace. The hotel's on-site restaurant provides Italian-inspired meals, which can be eaten on the al fresco terrace.
The hotel's on-site restaurant provides Italian-inspired meals, which can be served on the al fresco terrace. Reviewer Rating: 8.9
The 4 star Hotel H10 Andalucia Plaza is located in Nueva Andalucia within a 5 minute walk to the renowned Puerto Banus Marina. This popular hotel offers guests a large outdoor pool area and gardens, Turkish steam bath, suana and a beauty treatment centre. The first class La Brasserie Restaurant offers fine dining fusion cuisine for both lunch and dinner. Reviewer Rating: 8.1
The Globales Pueblo Andaluz is situated within a charming typically Andalucian estate close to Puerto Banus. The resort has 211 rooms all unique in style located around quaint patios and inner garden areas. Great facilities including, swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness centre, kids club, cafeteria and restaurant. Reviewer Rating: 8.0