Marbella

Marbella, it says it on the sign as you drive in!  Actually, it says “Marbella San Pedro de Alcantara”, which is a pretty good indicator that the money is shifting west along the coast.  It’s a fantastic town, though!  The Casco Antiguo, Orange Square and the beach are great places!

February 2021 Update.  Orange Square to be destroyed?  Read more…

Marbella

Marbella - Costa del Sol Today OG01
Marbella – Costa del Sol Today

Brands, Boats & Bling

Not quite so much these days, but still, Marbella is synonymous with wealth.  Compare the city to other parts of the Costa del Sol and yes, you’ll see the streets a little more maintained and public flowers a little more, this is a very nice place to visit.

There are few things better than enjoying a coffee in the shade of a blooming orange tree and enjoying life.

The old town – El Casco Antiguo – is brilliant!  It’s small, it’ll take you half an hour to walk round, but it’s a great place to visit the boutique shops and have something to eat in one of the many, MANY bars, tapas places and restaurants.

Just on the main road through the town, there’s a small garden called Alameda Park.  Really nice on a sunny day and they have kids rides to keep them happy.  Walk from there down the Avenida del Mar towards the sea, with its 10 bronze Salvador Dali, made by someone called Bonvicini in Verona.  Statues and fountains line the way and make for a fantastic scene rolling down to the sea.

Take a walk along the paseo (promenade).  The beach and prom are great places to wander, people-watch and get food in one of the numerous bars and eateries.

It has a history of glamour and ‘playground of the rich and famous’, but really doesn’t feel at all like that.  Marbella is definitely better kept – cleaner streets, nice flowers everywhere – than many towns (Fuengirola, for example), but its reputation certainly seems to be in the past.

It still, very much, attracts bling and the blingy, but ‘real bling’ is probably more likely to be moving west towards San Pedro.  The iconic bridge marking the eastern entrance to Marbella used to just say, “Marbella”.  Now it says “Marbella – San Pedro de Alcantara”.

Alameda Park is small, but very nice.  Right on the main road, it’s chock-full of the most amazing trees and plants and has a huge round water fountain in the middle.  Lots of benches for sitting with a coffee and cake, lots of them clad with azulejos, Andalusian hand-painted tiles showing some of the city’s monuments and history.  In the higher season months, you’ll also find a small fairground – maybe ‘fairground’ isn’t the right word, but a few little rides and things to keep the kids happy.  My boys used to love it.  Now he likes video games.  🙁

Just down from Alameda Park, you’ll find Avenida del Mar.  If you like Salvador Dalí, you’ll be very happy here.  Leading from Alameda Park down to Marbella Marina, Avenida del Mar is a broad public area (no cars) with a dozen, or so, bronze statues, including Perseo, Mercurio, Trajano a Caballo, Gala Gradiva, Caballo con Jinete Tropezando, Elefante Cosmico, Don Quixote Sentado, Hombre Sobre Delfin, Gala Asomada a la Ventana, and Mujer Desnuda Subiendo La Escalera.

The Iglesia de la Encarnación is a fantastic renaissance/baroque church from the 18th century.  You’ll find it in the Plaza de la Iglesia, in the old town.

Marbella

Located at the western end of the province of Málaga, Marbella is overlooked by the Sierra Blanca mountains and the famous La Concha mountain (the peak shown in the photo above), where it enjoys particularly nice weather.

In the 1970s, Marbella was known as a playground for the rich and famous, and was therefore twice awarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world in terms of design and architecture.

The ‘casco antiguo’, or old town, is a great place to explore and relax.  Loads of shops, many using the almost ubiquitous ‘luxury’ as part of their pitch, to browse – anything from souvenirs to brand name clothing and fashion, plus a wealth of places to eat and drink.  Many cater for the tourist market, so expect tourist prices, but there are plenty of cafes of a more genuine Spanish flavour, where you can enjoy some of the real delights of Spain, including tapas naturally.  I recommend an afternoon of Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, some olives and a bottle of Ribera de Duero.  Watch the world go by and immerse yourself in some real history and culture.

Can’t Forget the Beaches!

With about four miles of pristine beaches and a brilliant promenade (Paseo Maritimo), any visit to Marbella would be wasted without a day on the beach!  As mentioned, it’s all geared up for tourists, so there are a godzillion options for eating and drinking, right by the beach.  If you can be bothered, a walk from Marbella to Banus along the paseo is absolutely recommended.  Make a day of an d get drink along the way!  A taxi back should cost about €10-15.

Shopping

If you are looking for something a little special and or unique, Marbella Old Town is a great place to spend an afternoon. You’ll find a wide range of boutiques, from chain stores to independent shops, restaurants and bars.

  • Vintage Deja Vu on Calle Pedraza is a great shop!  Full of all sorts of vintage clothing, accessories (hand bags and the like), even furniture, it’s a real Aladdin’s Cave of old stuff.  Definitely worth a visit.  Find Vintage Deja Vu on Google Maps, or visit their website at https://www.vintagemarbella.com/
  • Jbrown Leather Workshop on Calle Fortaleza is another good clothing and accessories shop.  As the name suggests, it’s all about leather stuff.  Not cheap, but great quality belts, bags and clothing.  Find Jbrown Leather Workshop on Google Maps, I don’t think they have a website.  Boo!
  • Delicias Urban Gourmet on Calle Caridad is a fantastic grocery shop and delicatessen.  A charming grocery store on the Costa del Sol. They offer a complete cupboard of exclusive gourmet products from the shop in the heart of the historic center of Marbella. Enjoy a unique establishment and a close service.  I recommend!  Visit Delicias Urban Gourmet on Facebook.

If you know of any other noteworthy shops around the old town, let us know in the comments below.

Golf

Marbella is a very popular destination for golfers and golfing holiday-makers with a number of courses close by – The Marbella Country Club, Santa Clara Golf, Rio Real Golf, just to name three.  Actually, there are more than 30 golf courses within a half-hour drive from Marbella.  Here’s just three of the quality courses nearby…

The Costa del Sol – also known as the Costa del Golf – is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe for golfers.  If sport is your thing, Marbella certainly delivers!  Play a round in the morning, then spend the afternoon on a tennis court or even swimming!

On an Unrelated Note

There are over 20 private CSCs (Cannabis Social Clubs) in and around the city.  Spain is is really good about these things.  Head over to the SpainWeedGuide for more.  Good luck!

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