Marbella is one of the original Costa del Sol resorts, made famous by becoming Europe’s playground for the rich and famous. Indeed, mention the name Marbella and it usually conjures up images of plush hotels, casinos, multi-million dollar yachts and Ferraris.
But today Marbella is not exclusively for the jet-set. Being only 30 minutes drive to the west of Malaga airport and with the recent increase in airlines providing cheap flights, the resort is within very easy reach for most people and has become a popular destination for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers each year.
Of course, the main resort of Marbella is predominantly hotels, apartment blocks and beaches but the older parts of town still remain and hold the traditional Spanish feel and atmosphere.
Exploring the back streets of Old Marbella will reveal stately buildings that date back to the 16th century or beyond, along with small traditional shops, cafes and galleries – a far cry from the modern Marbella just a stone’s throw away that most people only know about and see.
Throughout the old town, small plazas lined with local bars and orange trees add to the traditional feel and are a great place to take a break and soak up the atmosphere before heading back to modern day life. To escape the hustle and bustle further, the Sierra Bermeja Mountains rise up behind the resort and are ideal for exploring by 4×4 or on foot; plenty of viewpoints provide opportunities to see the two and a half mile coastal spread that is Marbella.
At the Western end of that spread is Puerto Banus, Marbella’s own playground for the rich and famous, with it’s modern day marina packed with large yachts and motorboats, while back in the town centre you can find world-class shopping and entertainment together with all the attractions that a top holiday resort could possibly provide. The Avenida del Mar is the town’s principal seafront promenade, with countless bars and restaurants serving only the best quality food and drink. Or if you prefer, local traditional seafood dishes such as barbecued sardines on a spit or paella can be enjoyed at the nearby beach huts, or chiringuitos – well worth a visit.
Dotted around the immediate vicinity of Marbella are numerous Costa del Sol golf courses, making this part of the Costa del Sol one of the most popular golfing destinations in Europe. Tennis clubs, horse riding centres, bike hire, water sports and air sports such as paragliding all ensure that even the most adventurous holidaymaker won’t be going home disappointed, while the 12 or so beaches that Marbella boasts keep the sun worshippers happy!
The jewel in the crown is of course the Marbella weather – the area’s very own micro-climate results in a year-round average temperature of 19 degrees Celsius and 320 days of sunshine annually. Shorts and t-shirts in the summer and light trousers and sweater in the winter are all that’s required.
With this kind of weather and the huge diversity within the immediate area, it’s easy to see why Marbella is visited by so many people time and time again.
The interactive Marbella map below allows you to zoom in to get street names or zoom out for a wider view of the Costa del Sol.