Marbella is a city in southern Andalusia, the undisputed pearl of Costa del Sol. It is located about halfway between Malaga and the Strait of Gibraltar, and its 150.000 inhabitants make it one of the most populated centers in the entire area.
Its beautiful pedestrian promenade, its delightful historic center and the charm of Puerto Banus make Marbella a favorite holiday destination for millions of tourists, mostly from Great Britain and Northern European countries, but in recent times it has also become a glamorous destination chosen by actors and sportsmen, who increasingly choose to buy a villa around here.
World famous personalities such as Sean Connery, George Clooney, Antonio Banderas, Julio Iglesias and Zinedine Zidane have their homes in Marbella, together with a large group of singers, musicians and personalities of all kinds. And it's easy to see why: the mild temperatures during the autumn and winter months, the beauty of the views and the numerous services offered make Marbella one of the destinations of the international jet set, but also of millions of tourists from all over the world.
Marbella is also a paradise for the golf lover since in its surroundings there are at least a dozen fields set up in a magnificent setting between the sea and the mountains. In addition Marbella has several riding schools, tennis clubs and agencies for all types of water sports.
What to see in Marbella
The historical center
Although many hotels are located along the entire coast and close to the sea, one of the must-see places in Marbella is its beautiful Old Town, a maze of pedestrian streets overlooked by small white houses adorned with flowers, interspersed with shops, bars and restaurants. A feast for the eyes, and it is really pleasant to wander aimlessly in search of the perfect photo.
The most important square in the historic center of Marbella is the Orange Square, that is the orange square, overlooked by the town hall built in 1568 by the Catholic kings in the Renaissance style, but also the house of the mayor, with its roof built in Mudejar style, and the Santiago chapel, the oldest religious building in the city.
Other interesting buildings in the historic center of Marbella are the Church of Santa Maria of the Incarnation, dating back to the early 1600s, the Chapel of Saint John of God, the ancient remains of mura arabe and the Hospital Bazan, which now houses the Spanish Museum of Engravings.
The coast of Marbella long well 27 kilometers, and overlook it 24 beaches. Each of them has very distinct characteristics, however there are some elements in common: many are of fine golden sand, and are almost all equipped with bathing establishments, bars and restaurants, changing rooms and a security service.
Among the most popular are the Artola beach, which is located in the protected area of the Dunes of Artola, e Cabopino, one of the few nudist beaches in Marbella, near the port of the same name.
Impossible not to come across the beaches Venus e the fontanilla, which are located very close to the town and are very popular with tourists and residents, while those of Puerto Banus and San Pedro Alcantara have been awarded the prestigious blue flag, for water quality, safety, services and environmental management.
For those who want to take a break from the beach and the sun, Marbella it is home to numerous museums of high historical and cultural interest:
- Contemporary Museum of Spanish Engravings: established in 1992, it houses a collection of prints dating back to the twentieth century, by artists such as Picasso, Mirò, Dalì and many others
- Bonsai Museum: also opened in 1992, inside there is a permanent collection of bonsai plants and some specimens for sale, especially olive trees and species such as Gingko, Oxycedron, but also pines, oaks and other species.
- Museo Ralli: inspired by Latin American art, inside there are sculptures by Dalì and Aristide Maillol, as well as paintings by Dalì, Mirò, Chagall, and many others.
- Museum of mechanical arts: a cultural center located in the Barriada del Ingenio, dating back to the XNUMXth century. Contains sculptures made by Antonio Alonso using second hand car parts.
Il Golden Mile, is the road that connects Marbella to Puerto Banus, and is actually about 6 kilometers long. This is where the most luxurious villas in Marbella, as well as some of the most impressive luxury hotels in the city.
It experienced a significant boom since the late 60s, and today it is one of the areas in Spain most visited by celebrities, VIPs and millionaires.
The Golden Mile is not to be confused with the New Golden Mile, which is the area between the urbanizations of San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona.
Puerto Banus is a marina located in the area of Nueva Andalucia, a few kilometers from Marbella. Its origins date back to 1970, when Josè Banus, a well-known local entrepreneur and builder, decided to build a luxurious area with shops and berths for 915 boats including yachts and normal motor boats.
From then on, the popularity of the area grew exponentially, and today Puerto Banus is visited by around 5 million tourists every year, as well as being a popular destination with celebrities.
It was built in Mediterranean style, and there are shopping centers, several bars and restaurants, and above all the marina: alongside the yachts it is not uncommon to see luxury sports cars, but also Rolls Royce or Bentley.
Tourists visiting Puerto Banus come mainly from Northern Europe and the UK, but also from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Beyond the marina, the streets of Puerto Banus are lined with bars, restaurants, luxury boutiques and night clubs.
Come to Puerto Banus
Puerto Banus it is about 15 minutes drive from Marbella, under normal traffic conditions. The two municipalities are connected byhighway A7, known as the Autovia del Mediterraneo. Alongside it runs the state road, not toll-free, which is worth taking for its splendid views of the coast.
Those who do not have a rental car will have the opportunity to reach Puerto Banus by bus or taxi: this option is of course much more expensive.
Where to sleep in Marbella
- hotel a Marbella there are many even if in the summer they tend to run out of availability very early and therefore we advise you to book a little in advance.
Beautiful the hotel facilities overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, almost all belonging to large hotel chains and equipped with swimming pools and bars a few steps from the sea, charming boutique hotels in the city and luxury villas and apartments for rent. Do not despair, however, if you do not want a luxury holiday away from the confusion views that you can easily find excellent accommodations even in family-run hotels and resorts in the hills.
Getting around in Marbella
It's easy to find your way around Marbella: the historic center can be easily explored on foot, while the main arteries of the modern area run parallel to the sea. It is possible to rely on public transport or arental car: in this case you will certainly have maximum freedom and independence, and it will be easy to go to the less frequented beaches or set out to discover the surroundings.
Interestingly, Marbella is the only Spanish municipality of over 100.000 inhabitants in not having a train station: the closest is that of Fuengirola, about 30 kilometers away. Those who choose to arrive in Marbella by train will therefore have to expect a long transfer by taxi or bus.
Speaking of buses, Marbella is very well connected with the rest of the municipalities of the Costa del Sol, including Malaga and its airport, but also Ronda, Gibraltar and some Andalusian cities such as Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Jerez de la Frontera.