Marbella is wrongly thought to be either one of the concrete nightmares of the Costa del Sol, or as a really expensive place to visit.
In fact, Marbella is a great destination to take a holiday, or even to live and work there. It has a big Spanish population, a stunning old town, lots of culture, fantastic cuisine and wonderful year-round weather. There are loads of things to keep you busy all year round, whether you come as a family, a couple, or a group.
We teamed up with Jet2holidays to put together top 10 things to do that will help you enjoy your holiday to the full.
Jet2holidays offers great value package holidays to Marbella from 9 UK airports. You’ll enjoy a huge choice of 2-5 star accommodation, with holiday ranges including activity-packed Family Favourites, sun-soaked Luxe retreats and All Inclusive holidays. That’s not forgetting return flights, 22kg baggage and transfers wrapped up in an ATOL protected package for just £60pp deposit.
No matter what time of year you visit Marbella, a trip to the beach is a must. The Costa del Sol boasts kilometres of sandy beaches, one of the very best of which can be found a 10 minute drive to the east of Marbella in the Cabopino area. All along these beaches are lovely beach bars, known as chiringuitos serving drinks and typical Mediterranean cuisine, right on the sand. The beaches and the sea all along the coast are clean and safe for swimming.
Stretching alongside the beach is the paved Paseo Marítimo – or beachside promenade. No holiday on the coast would be complete without walking along the promenade, taking in the views, soaking up the ambience and especially to enjoy one of the Coast’s spectacular sunsets. The promenade has now been joined up entirely with a spectacular wooden boardwalk to enjoy a longer stroll from Marbella all the way to Puerto Banus and even further towards San Pedro. To feel like a local, head to the paseo on a Sunday when all the Spanish come out in their Sunday best to stroll and chat.
Marbella’s historic and picturesque Old Town, or casco antiguo is a hidden gem which most tourists don’t manage to discover. It can be found near the centre of town just up from the Avenida Ricardo Soriano – the main street which runs through Marbella – and opposite La Alameda park.
With its picturesque, ancient architecture and maze of narrow cobbled streets full of boutique shops, funky art galleries, bars and eateries, the Old Town is almost like a separate village within Marbella.
At the centre is Orange Square, a beautiful and typically Andalucian square full of orange trees and tropical plants which is a must-see for any holiday, and where you can sit quietly in one of the many traditional cafes enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine, and watch the world go by.
The Old Town buzzes with activity and there are plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. Good restaurants are also in plentiful supply, serving everything from expensive gourmet food to authentic backstreet Spanish tapas and there are innumerable bars which are busy into the early hours of the morning.
South of Marbella’s Old Town, on the other side of the main road, you’ll find Parque La Alameda. This small park boasts a magnificent large central fountain decorated in traditional Andalucian tiles (a great photo opportunity!), huge tropical plants and decorated benches. This park is popular amongst locals and tourists alike as a tranquil place to take a break.
Marbella is perfect for shopaholics! The high street is full of clothes shops and the old town’s winding streets are packed with boutiques and small shops selling unusual gifts, toys, clothes, shoes and accessories.
For designer labels and the flagship El Corte Ingles department store, head to nearby Puerto Banus. Banus has incredible shops such as Versace, Robert Cavelli, Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani and La Perla all overlooking the impressive marina, as well as an upmarket shopping complex with top quality high street brand stores, art galleries, coffee shops, and a host of restaurants and bars.
If you want more affordable brands all under one roof then the La Cañada complex is a great place to go. It houses nearly three hundred shopping outlets, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and a cinema. La Cañada is situated immediately north of Marbella, just a short bus or taxi journey from the centre.