Picturesquely located on Spain’s glorious Costa del Sol, where Andalusia meets the Mediterranean Sea, Marbella stands out for its unique combination of adventure, entertainment, spectacular shopping, 5-star dining, and fashionable beach life.
Each year, jet-setters from around the world flock to the swankiest Spanish resort to soak up the sun and get a taste of quintessential Andalusia, but also to experience the ultimate in Mediterranean glitz and glamour at Marbella’s uber chic addresses.
Listed below are the top 5 best things to do in Marbella:
Roam the Charming Marbella Old Town
If somehow you only have time for one quick stop in the elegant Spanish resort, let it be the charming Marbella Old Town. The picturesque maze of narrow streets that comprise the city’s Casco Antiguo revolves around a delightful Castilian renaissance square – Plaza de los Naranjos. Here, a number of pavement cafes and restaurants litter the romantic enclosure, serving traditional food and beverages in the shade of fragrant orange trees.
This is a wonderful place to indulge in Andalusian delicacies, cool off with a cold drink, and watch the world go by. If you’re lucky, you can also spot an alfresco flamenco show or a bohemian artist playing its rusty Spanish guitar.
After a tasty meal in the beautiful Plaza de los Naranjos, take a stroll through the delightfully narrow streets of Marbella Old Town, shop for some original souvenirs and traditional products in the old-fashioned boutiques, and marvel at the gleaming whitewashed architecture that lines the alleys, giving the area a rapturous Arabian feel.
Soak Up the Glitz and Glamour of Puerto Banus
Whether you’re a jet-setter or just want to catch a glimpse of how the rich and famous play on the sunny Costa del Sol, Puerto Banus is definitely the best place to go. The most fashionable marina in Spain lies only 6 km southwest of Marbella and offers everything from sandy beaches and high-end shopping to exclusive restaurants and amazing nightlife.
Here you’ll find streets nonchalantly lined with big name boutiques such as Gucci, Dior, Chopard, or Dolce & Gabbana; spectacular million-dollar yachts moored in the harbor; a catwalk-like seafront bursting with beautiful people and polished Rolls Royces; as well as a wealth of stylish party venues for both day and night entertainment.
Have Fun in the Themed Parks
Marbella and the surrounding area are packed with a variety of themed parks, from zoos and water parks to fabulous fairgrounds that entertain visitors of all ages. The closest to Marbella center, however, is the Funny Beach, an enjoyable amusement park with go-karts, electric cars, video games, and many exciting children’s rides. Thanks to its convenient location on the beach, the park plays host to a nice chiringuito where you can have a snack and a cold drink, as well as a pretty good range of watersports, such as water skiing and banana rides.
If you’re looking for more water fun, Marbella’s Costa Water Park offers two stunning locations, one in Marbella and the other in Puerto Banus. Both parks are floating in the sea and provide an excellent variety of water activities.
Benalmadena – the pretty coastal town between Fuengirola and Torremolinos, is home to a wonderful range of themed parks such as the Tivoli World, the delightful Butterfly Park, or the Sea Life Centre.
Other notable attractions around Marbella include the beautiful Bioparc Fuengirola (30km from Marbella); Torremolinos Aqualand (47 km from Marbella); the Parque Acuático Mijas; and the amazing Selwo Safari Park (near Estepona), which is also the largest and most beautiful safari park in the entire Spain.
The pleasant year-round climate along with the abundance of high-quality golf courses and resorts that dot its breathtaking landscapes make Marbella one of Europe’s premier golf destinations.
Marbella’s Golf Valley is home to more than 15 top-quality golf clubs, most of them with courses designed by the finest artists in the field. Some of the most prestigious include La Quinta Golf & Country Club, Los Naranjos Golf Club, and the legendary El Paraiso, but there are also some excellent newcomers that will please any golf enthusiast out there, from the experienced to the aspiring player.
Hit the Beaches
With so many exciting activities on offer, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Marbella is actually a beach destination with all the bells and whistles. The elegant town is blessed with over 16 miles of glorious coastline divided into 24 fine sandy beaches, most of them packed with excellent leisure and watersports facilities.
The most popular include la Fontanilla Beach, El Faro, and Venus – in the city center; Cabopino and Las Chapas – to the east of Marbella; as well as the beaches of San Pedro Alcántara and Puerto Banus, both of them awarded with the European blue flag.
Another interesting feature of Marbella’s shoreline are the glamorous beach clubs dotted around. For the discerning partygoer who fancies dancing in the sun in sophisticated surroundings, the golden beaches that surround Marbella offer a variety of options that range from international names such as Nikki Beach and Puro Beach to local gems like Ocean Club, Sala Beach, or Del Mar.