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.
Best Time to Visit Marbella
Due to being protected by the Sierra Blanca mountains Marbella has its very own micro-climate which results in about 320 days of sunshine annually – the most in Europe. In winter the day time temperatures rarely fall below 15ºC and in summer they reach about 30ºC or higher in the afternoons. In the summer months there is very little if any rain. It does tend to rain in winter but it rarely lasts longer than a few days and then the sun come out again. If you prefer to avoid the crowds of tourists that descend during school summer holidays then May, June and September are the perfect months to visit the resort and you may find the temperatures more comfortable too.
Although the weather in winter is a bit too cold to swim in the sea or lie on the beach it is a great time to leave the cold and wet behind. The Marbella weather provides an opportunity to really enjoy the outdoor life all year round without having to worry about the cold and rain. For golfers escaping the north European weather take a look at our Costa del Sol Golf Courses page for more information.
Recommended Marbella Hotels
Many Marbella hotels are now within the budget of visitors to Spain as the town is no longer the exclusive millionaire’s playground of the past. The resort now attracts hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers every year who arrive via Malaga airport which is just 30 minutes away. Below we’ve recommended a few properties for you to consider that we reckon stand out from the rest.
El Fuerte Hotel (4-Star)
The El Fuerte Hotel overlooks the sea and is separated from the beach by only the promenade. It is set in beautiful lush tropical gardens where there are 2 swimming pools, one of which is covered and heated in winter. There are also a gym, sauna, turkish bath and tennis courts available. There are two restaurants one of which serves an incredible breakfast buffet in the mornings and dinner at night, the other one is on the beach and serves an excellent selection of fried fish dishes at lunchtime. The staff in this hotel are excellent, nothing is too much trouble and they will endeavour to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Golf Hotel Guadalmina (4-Star)
This oasis of golf, beach and exquisite cuisine offers the ideal holiday destination for relaxation and leisure. It is situated in one of the most exclusive areas of the Costa del Sol and is surrounded by emerald green golf courses and the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Each of the rooms offers fabulous views of the sea and the golf course from the individual private terraces.
H10 Andalucia Plaza (4-Star)
The H10 Andalucia Plaza is located in Puerto Banus, 800 metres from the beach and just 5 kms from Marbella in the heart of the Costa del Sol. Facilities are outstanding including two swimming pools and a casino. Nearby there are four of the best 18-hole golf courses in Europe.
Princesa Playa Hotel (4-Star)
This Aparthotel is located right on the front within easy walking distance to Marbella town centre. It is a modern building and all the rooms have balconies and sea views. There is a small pool on the top floor which has great views over the mountains and on a clear day all the way to Africa. The hotel has studios and one bedroom apartments with limited cooking facilities but they all have fridges and kettles. The buffet breakfast offers a wide range of dishes and all in all this hotel is very good value for money.
Hotel El Paraiso (4-Star)
This hotel is located on a hill between Estepona and Marbella and is surrounded by golf courses. It has 2 pools one of which is indoor and heated and also a beach club which the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to. The views from the rooms are wonderful either to the sea or to the mountains and golf course. The hotel also runs a free shuttle bus to Marbella, Puerto Banus and other towns.
Hotel Pyr (3-Star)
The Hotel Pyr Marbella is located in Puerto Banus, one of the most prestigious marinas of the world. It is a short walk from excellent beaches and is also close to the famous Casino of Marbella and a very short distance from a designer shopping centre.
Marbella El Faro Inn (3-Star)
This aparthotel is located in a modern complex in the centre of Marbella and only 150 metres from the beach. It has both studios and one bedroom apartments and they come with fully equipped kitchens. The staff are friendly and helpful.
Central Hotel (2-Star)
This small 2 star hotel is an excellent budget choice. Located in the centre of Marbella in a new building it is only a short walk from both the beach and the ‘Plaza de los Naranjos’ – the Orange Tree Square. All of the rooms are en suite, with balcony and are light and sunny.
Baviera Hotel (2-Star)
The Baviera is another good budget choice hotel located only a 5 minute walk from the historic centre of Marbella. It has a meeting room which makes it a good option for business travellers.
Take a look at Booking.com’s special offers on some of these top notch hotels in Marbella located within a short stroll of the beach.
Marbella Tourist Attractions
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!
Restaurants: Best Places to Eat in Marbella
Marbella is no longer the exclusive resort that it used to be which is reflected today in the vast quantities of eateries available to suit every pocket. Many tourists head to the restaurants around the Plaza de los Naranjos in the old centre of town. Most of these tend to be excessively touristy and overpriced. If you head down to the Puerto Deportivo you’ll find a whole range of bars and restaurants too numerous to list here.
What we’ve tried to do is provide a selection of quality restaurants below (many in the expensive category) as well as some well established places where their survival over the years is a testament to their excellence.
Address: Camino de la Cruz, s/n.
Type of Food: Mediterranean
Everything is of excellent quality at this jet set favourite where Mediterranean-Andalucian cooking is prepared using only the best local ingredients in an elegant Moorish building surrounded by gardens.
Goizeko and Dalli’s
Address: AV. Buchinger, s/n.
Type of Food: Basque
This Basque restaurant is a luxurious setting for an exquisite meal, with service and wines to match. Highly satisfying and reasonably priced.
Address: Plaza Altamirano 3
Type of Food: Traditional Local Fried Fish Dishes
Excellent value for shellfish, Malaga fried dishes and fish a la espalda in this restaurant in the historical centre of Marbella.
Address: N-340, Cádiz-Málaga, km. 178.
Type of Food: Spanish
Excellent choice of dishes ranging from their renowned roasts to the dish of the day which will be created from whatever is freshest at the market that day. Good service and an excellent wine list.
Address: La Bajadilla.
Type of Food: Local fish dishes
Excellent fried fish, grilled sardines on a skewer and baked fish dishes . Good value for money.
Marbella Club Grill
Address: Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe, s/n.
Type of Food: International
An attractive location for dinner whether in the dining room in winter or outside in the garden during the summer.
Address: Muella de Ribera, Puerto Banus
Type of Food: Seafood
Antonio’s is located on the front line of restaurants at the jet set marina of Puerto Banus. It is one of the longest established restaurants where you can enjoy excellent seafood dishes whilst watching the beautiful people go by.
Address: Pº. Marítimo Duque de Ahumada, 5
Type of Food: Seafood
This institution on the seafront promenade has long been considered the place to go for the best seafood in Marbella. Santiago Dominguez continues to ensure that his restaurant’s fine reputation is maintained.