Marbella is a popular resort city in southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, part of the Andalucian region. It boasts a mountainous backdrop, miles upon miles of sandy beaches on the beautiful Meditteranean Sea, and endless sunshine as one of the warmest places in Europe. The natural beauty is paired with prestigious nightclubs, luxurious marinas, boutique stores, and fresh seafood restaurants that make Marbella worth visiting.
Though known for its beaches and late-night bars, there is more to Marbella than you may initially think! It is important to remember that Marbella is not solely defined by the glitz and glam of Puerto Banós. There are still many authentic neighborhoods with whitewashed houses and romantic flower-filled streets.
So, is Marbella worth visiting? It is a firm yes in our opinion! This guide is dedicated to showing you the reasons why this gorgeous Spanish city is a great destination for year-round vacations.
It won’t come as a surprise that the Costa del Sol region is one of the warmest places in Spain due to its southern location and endless days of sunshine. This coastline boasts 320 days of sunshine on average each year. Marbella is often said to have its very own microclimate going on thanks to the Sierra Blanca mountain range that surrounds the resort city, providing a natural geological barrier from weather fronts.
In summer, the average temperatures are around 84 ºF. This is hot, but not too unbearably hot like other places across Spain. Then in the winter, temperatures rarely drop below 54 ºF, making it a fantastic European winter escape.
Just picture the palm trees swaying in the gentle ocean breeze, the sun’s rays radiating down while you are exploring the great things that Marbella has to offer. The endless sunshine is perfect for sunbathing and having a dip in the ocean.
Iconic Costa del Sol beaches
We all know Spain has great beaches and it is safe to say Marbella is one of the best beach towns in Spain. Marbella’s city beaches are serviced by beach bars, cafes, and restaurants along the promenade roads. Whether you are looking for a quiet beach or somewhere that’s more lively, you will be able to find somewhere along the sandy coastline that suits your needs.
The main stretch of golden sand is the Playa de la Fontanilla, which runs along the Paseo Maritimo and the southern edge of Marbella. This long beach has sun loungers (€10 per day) and fantastic facilities so you can spend the whole day here. Or, choose to head further west, beyond the city center, and you’ll find the city’s fishing quarter and the lovely Playa Bajadilla. This sheltered bay has calm waters that are often favored by families with young children.
Other top beaches in Marbella include:
|Playa del Alicate||Sand dunes and pines make this beach very private and secluded. It is still close to the urban center.|
|Bounty Beach||Trendy and hip, popular with young travelers that want to party on the beach.|
|Playa Nagüeles||Golden sands and shallow water with a wooden jetty stretching into the water.|
|Playa de Artola||Unspoiled and quiet with sand dunes for privacy. Nude area of the beach.|
|Adelfa Beach||Tranquil with superb water quality. Fine sand and basic facilities.|
Whichever beach you pick, you will be greeted by stretches of fine golden sandy beach and warm Meditteranean water all along the Costa del Sol. Most beaches have sunbeds available to hire for the day, though some of the quieter locations don’t have this luxury and you will need to pack a towel. Some of the more popular urban beaches also offer water sports, beach volleyball, and other fin activities to keep tourists entertained in between sunbathing and drinking cocktails.
Explore Marbella’s old town
Marbella’s old town offers an insight into the Moorish background of the city, the foundation of culture and architecture throughout Marbella. Look past the modern resorts and glamor to see some of the prettiest and oldest neighborhoods in Andalucia, Spain, dating back to as early as the 10th Century.
Ramparts, whitewashed buildings, and even a castle make up the old town that extends up the hillside from Marbella’s main road. The streets are filled with beautiful flowers giving off alluring scents of orange trees and jasmine. As you explore Marbella’s Old Town, you will come across colorful squares that are a joy to amble around and explore at your own pace.
Plaza de Los Naranjos is the main plaza at the heart of the old town dating back to 1485. The central fountain is surrounded by typical white Andalusian houses, historic buildings, and orange trees – the namesake of this plaza. This is a fantastic place to get tapas, soak up the beauty of the Moorish past, and simply enjoy what is surrounding you.
Yes, we said Marbella wasn’t all about the late-night bars, however, the party experience is a valid reason why Marbella is worth visiting. Over the years, the nightlife scene has been cultivated to suit pretty much everyone. So whether you’re looking for a chilled cocktail bar to enjoy the sunset or a bouncing club to dance the night away, you are guaranteed to find it here.
Party lovers should head to the district just behind Paseo Maritimo. There is an abundance of late-night bars and clubs in this area. However, for the best partying you need to head west. Clubs along the “Golden Mile” host the world’s leading DJs every summer and is Marbella’s answer to Ibiza or Magaluf.
Another popular area of the city tourists head towards is Puerto Banús. It has venues for everyone, some more lively than others which are easy to find. Sala Beach is a good option for those who want a more tranquil nightlife experience in Puerto Banús. It offers an escape from the sometimes hectic speed of Marbella and offers poolside sunbeds during the day.
Depending on your budget, you may be tempted by the gorgeous boutique shops that line the cobblestone streets of Marbella. The old town has some exclusive stores nestled in between the charming old buildings and plazas. These classy boutiques sell everything from clothes to jewelry, shoes to artisan gifts. However, these shops are not cheap, so be prepared with your credit card or simply enjoy the window shopping experience.
If you are on a tighter budget, you can still load up on the souvenirs and get a shopping fix in Marbella. You will be able to find classic Spanish gifts in beach stores, shopping malls, and the Centro Comercial Centro Plaza in the Puerto Banus region of the city.
You can also bag a bargain at the street markets that are dotted throughout the city. One of the most famous and more popular street markets in Marbella is the Las Albarizas, Calle Platino. This market takes place every Monday from 9 am to 2 pm. Make sure you spend some time here looking over the 350 stalls that sell anything from clothes and jewelry to fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Fresh seafood and tapas
Visiting Marbella gives you the opportunity to try a beautiful array of authentically curated flavors and meal experiences. While enjoying the warm nights on the rich Andalucian coast, you can sample some of the most exquisite tapas or paella dishes and experience the beauty of Spanish food culture. No visit to Marbella would be complete without trying the delicious and fresh seafood. The coastal location of Marbella provides some super fresh seafood. You will find seafood featured in many of the tapas dishes and paellas. It is often also proudly displayed at restaurant entrances, allowing you to choose your own catch of the day.
Food is a good reason why Marbella is worth visiting! From sharing tapas bars to exquisite fine dining in the old town, Marbella has a fantastic range of food options. Here are some of the top restaurant recommendations to help convince you some more:
There really is something for everyone and every budget in Marbella when it comes to food. Make sure you treat yourself at least once and enjoy an evening of fine dining and sample the delicious fresh flavors of the Meditteranean.
Art and museums
Marbella has a surprisingly vibrant art scene with a good number of museums showcasing the rich history of the Andalucian region. As you walk around Marbella, you will see the Roman and Moorish past weaving through the streets and into the remaining old buildings. Near Hotel Puente Romano, there are remains of a Moorish bridge and the columns are now part of the medieval city walls. All of this is on offer for tourists to explore without even stepping foot into one of the museums!
Marbella is also home to some of the most intriguing open-air collection of bronze sculptures by Salvador Dalí, even though he was a Catalonian artist and never actually lived in the city. Ten of the surrealists’ fascinating bronze works are scattered along the Avenida del Mar for people to enjoy day and night.
Other museums and art galleries in Marbella, perfect for soaking up the culture, include:
- Bonsai Museum
- Museo del Grabado Español
- Museo Ralli
World-class golf courses
Perhaps golf is a passion of yours and if it is then Marbella is probably already on your hit list of places to visit with your clubs. The Costa del Sol is a well-known paradise for golfers thanks to the endless sunshine and dry climate. Many golfers, amateurs and pros, head to this resort city for a golfing holiday or manage to swing by while on vacation with the family.
There are several country clubs in Marbella that are open to tourists to book a tee time and enjoy the world-class 18-holes that are on offer. Some golf clubs to check out are Los Naranjos Golf Club, La Quinta Golf & Country Club, Cabopino Golf Marbella, and Aloha Golf Club.
Don’t worry if you are not a golf pro just yet. There are also some really great crazy golf courses in Marbella dedicated to entertaining the tourists passing through. Fuengirola Adventure Golf is the place to head to for a fun day out with the family or group of friends in Marbella.
Hiking and adventures
Marbella is surrounded by the incredible Sierra Blanca mountain range that offers great hiking and viewpoints to discover. Cycling is another popular activity to do in the Costa del Sol region as the roads are quiet and the climbs are challenging. Both cycling and hiking make use of the peaks and climbs the surrounding mountains offer.
La Concha is a peak that every outdoor enthusiast should go conquer, though it is recommended to do in the cooler months! The steep valley and tree-less peak offer fantastic views across the Marbella resort town and beyond. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. As a hike, La Concha takes around 4 hours in total and is suitable for beginner hikers. When you do head into the mountains, just be aware of any wild animals that call this rugged terrain home. Adventures are best when you are fully prepared for what is out there.
Other adventures in Marbella are out on the water. Water sports activities are perfect for thrill-seekers. You can spend the day fueled by adrenaline on jet skis, parasailing, wakeboarding, or on white-knuckle powerboat rides. There are slightly slower water adventures in Marbella though. Look to hire a yacht for the day and explore the beautiful coastline, stopping off for swims and snorkeling stops along the way and having a taster of the glitz and glam Marbella is known for.
Conclusion: Is Marbella Worth Visiting?
So there you have it, a complete set of nine reasons why Marbella is totally worth visiting! If you are a sun worshipper and want to walk through beautiful parks filled with fragrant flowers, then this is your paradise. For beach lovers and tapas connoisseurs, Marbella is your oyster to delve into. Make sure you pack your camera to capture the moments and level up your IG grid.
Yes, the party life and glitzy glam radiate through the cobbled streets of Marbella. However, there is so much more to this city waiting to be discovered. Have we managed to convince you that Marbella is worth visiting?