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All tips in a row, what to do in Marbella

Marbella has everything. From luxury beach clubs, parties on the beach to beautiful hikes in the beautiful nature. Marbslifestyle.com has brought everything together on one platform. From the perfect hotel to a total overview of what you can do in Marbella and the surrounding area.

We have made an overview for you in this blog. Simply click through to extensive reviews, events and beautiful locations to visit. Whether you want a nice lunch on the beach, do something active with the kids or a beautiful wine tasting with a subsequent lunch, we've listed it all.

For more inspiration, check out our inspiration blog, our location guide, event guide or an overview of our personal reviews of all the hotspots and hidden secrets of Marbella.

Beaches in Marbella

Marbella's famous for its stunning beaches. There's a 27 km (17 miles) coastline with 24 beaches. These beaches are different and range from family-friendly to nudist beaches. Most beaches have restaurants, beach bars, and shops catering to the needs of holidaymakers.

Guadalmina Beach

Guadalmina Beach is a secluded beach in San Pedro de Alcantara. The beach is stony and has limited vehicle access. It's quiet, peaceful, and has many little coves. It offers spectacular views of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and is home to the Almenar Tower and Ciliana ruins. 

San Pedro de Alcántara Beach

Lying midway between Marbella and Estepona, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach offers everything you need for a perfect beach getaway. It's the ideal place to relax and stroll on the sand, as there are no annoying buildings on the beach. It's readily accessible by car, and there are numerous bars and refreshment stalls nearby.

Nueva Andalucía Beach

Undoubtedly the most spectacular and unique beach in Marbella, the Nueva Andalucía Beach is characterized by dark, coarse sands. It has numerous small coves and a beautiful strip of seafront boardwalk. The promenade runs from Puerto Banus to Nueva Andalucia and is lined with shady palm trees.

Puerto Banús Beach

Puerto Banus Beach is the most glamorous and sophisticated beach on Costa del Sol. It overlooks River Verde and combines the best natural habitats with exclusive amenities, including the finest restaurants in Marbella, the Marina, and seafront shops.

Rio Verde Beach

Rio Verde Beach borders Puerto Banus. It's one of the popular beaches in Marbella, thanks to its central location and quality amenities. It's home to Rio Verde Villa Romana, a Roman Hispanic city.

El Ancón Beach

El Ancón Beach is a long and wide beach with fine white sands on the Golden Mile. It's popular with tourists during summer and is home to Victor's Beach bar, one of the finest beach bars in Marbella.

Nagüeles Beach

Nagüeles Beach is located alongside Marbella Club on the Golden Mile. It boasts a fabulous, newly-built boardwalk, plenty of beach bars, and offers lots of leisure activities. The beach is a huge hit with summer tourists, but it's the ideal place for a quiet day at the beach during winter

El Faro Beach

El Faro beach is a small and crowded beach at the center of Marbella, close to the Parque de la Constitución and next to the Marina. The lively beach is teeming with bars, restaurants, and shops. It offers all beach amenities, and all services provide access to the disabled.

La Venus Beach

La Venus Beach is perched in the center of Marbella City alongside Río Represa. Its fantastic location next to Marbella's seafront boardwalk and opposite the Alameda makes it highly popular and busy. It offers diverse amenities, from bars to restaurants and shops, with disabled access.

Bounty Beach

Undoubtedly the coolest beach on the Costa del Sol, Bounty Beach is dotted with palms and banana trees that keep you cool on a hot summer day. It's the perfect place to kick back and relax in the center of Marbella while listening to Chill Out music.

El Realejo Beach

With its calm blue waters, golden sand, and exotic vegetation, El Realejo Beach is the perfect place to escape the tourist horde. It's next to the Rio Real Golf Course, where you can tee off while enjoying the scenic view.

Los Monteros Beach

Los Monteros is a semi-urban beach with multiple dune formations a few kilometers from Marbella. Although busy, it's perfect for quiet sunbathing or building sandcastles with your little ones—there are many amenities, including bars, restaurants, and shops on this beach.

El Alicate Beach

El Alicate beach, with its calm blue water and golden sands, is one of the most best beaches on the Costa del Sol. It's not overly popular, so you're guaranteed quiet time at the beach, even during summer. It borders a most exclusive estate where Antonio Banderas lives.

Real de Zaragoza Beach

Long and narrow, Real de Zaragoza beach is the perfect place to sun and tan in Marbella. Bring your beach towel, lay on the golden sand, and soak in the beautiful sunshine for some quiet rest. Numerous restaurants and bars on the beach serve delicious food and drinks.

La Víbora Beach

Located about a mile from the Cabopino Marina, La Víbora Beach is a golden sandy beach with plenty of vegetation and sits next to a spring. It's an ideal place to disconnect, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy various leisure activities.

Las Chapas Beach

Renowned for its tranquility, La Chapas is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches on the Costa del Sol. The glamorous beach houses some of Marbella's finest restaurants and clubs, including Nikki Beach, where you can enjoy the best food, world-class cocktails, and leisure activities. Although popular, Las Chapas Beach doesn't get crowded.

Cabopino Beach

Cabopino Beach is a famous tourist beach bordering the protected Artola sand dunes. It's perfect if you want a secluded spot to kick back and relax during your beach vacation.

Hiking Routes

Towering 1200 meters above Marbella, La Concha Mountain peak is a welcome change from the luxury lifestyle and sandy beaches. The massive rocky outcrop is part of the Sierra de las Nieves, a UNESCO-protected National Park. It's shaped like a shell, hence the name La Concha (Spanish for shell).

Getting to the top of La Concha is a 13.5-kilometer hike that takes 3 to 4 hours. The spectacular views from the highest point in Marbella make every minute of the climb worthwhile. You'll be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of Marbella and the Andalusian countryside. On clear days, you can catch a glimpse of Morocco from across the sea.

The area is home to dense vegetation such as ferns, chestnut, olive, cherry, Aleppo pine, and Spanish fir. You'll likely encounter various animals, including wild goats, badgers, foxes, stone martens, rabbits, and wild boars. The birds include griffon vultures, eagles, falcons, and goshawks.

Marbella Old Town

The old town of Marbella, also known as the Casco Antiguo, is a charming and picturesque area located in the heart of the city. This historic center is home to a number of narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, and orange trees that are typical of Andalusian architecture. It is a place where visitors can experience the traditional culture and atmosphere of the city.

One of the most popular landmarks in the old town is the Church of the Incarnation, a 16th-century building with a beautiful baroque-style interior. Visitors can also explore the Plaza de los Naranjos, a lovely square surrounded by orange trees, where locals gather to relax and enjoy the sun. There is also a charming market where visitors can find local products such as fresh fruits, vegetables and souvenirs.

The old town is also famous for its tapas bars and restaurants, where visitors can enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine. Visitors can also find a variety of shops selling crafts and souvenirs. This area is also a great place to find authentic Spanish clothing, shoes and accessories.

Overall, the old town of Marbella offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional culture and history of the city, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the authentic Andalusian way of life.

Visit villages Ronda, Marbella Old Town, Ojen, Estepona, Tarifa

Away from the ritzy and glamorous tourist district, Marbella has plenty of unique and exciting holiday destinations in store. Some places let you explore rich Spanish historical sites, while others let you experience authentic Spanish culture.

Ronda is a sleepy mountain village about 60 km from Marbella, dating back to medieval times. It's a popular day trip destination that's split down the middle by El Tajo, a 100-meter gorge. The gorge separates Hemingway's favorite city into the old medieval and modern parts.

Marbella Old Town is a charming village comprising whitewashed buildings set along narrow winding streets leading to a beautiful town square. The village bears architectural hallmarks from the Arabic and catholic monarch eras. The village is largely inhabited by locals and contrasts the ritzy parts of Marbella.

Tarifa is a port village by the Straits of Gibraltar and a perfect day trip destination. It's a perfect getaway if you wish to escape more of the Andalusian countryside or when planning a day trip to Morocco. The ferry services will take you across the Strait of Gibraltar and usher you into the exotic sights and scents of Tangier, Asilah, or Tetouan.

Vineyards

Your time in Marbella offers the perfect opportunity to pull back the curtain and explore Spain's thriving wine scene. You can book a trip to one of the numerous wineries dotting the Andalusian countryside and experience the rich wine culture firsthand. Some tours cover different vineyards but you can customize your experience and visit one you like.

You can spend a day at the Finca la Melonera, one of the oldest vineyards in Ronda. The winery dates back to Roman times, giving you a glimpse into over two millenniums of organic winemaking. The winery is about 2 hours from Marbella and includes a tour of its production facility and extensive vineyard. A wine-tasting session lets you sample some of its finest offerings alongside homemade tapas.

Olive Grove (Granada, Ronda)

Spain is home to the largest olive groves in Europe, with most of them found in the Andalusian region. Visiting the olive groves of Granada and Ronda immerses you into a world of liquid gold, as olive oil from this region is popularly known. It's your chance to taste and sample the best of Andalusian olive oil and appreciate traditional oil pressing technology still in use.

Signing up for an olive grove tour lets you experience the best of both worlds. It lets you experience the olive oil while touring some of the picturesque landscapes in the region. A typical olive oil tasting tour last about three hours and takes you through an authentic olive grove. You can sample the best flavors of Andalusian olive oils – mild, strong, fruity, spicy, and bitter. The educational tour will also teach you various olive oil types – virgin, extra virgin, label, acidity, color, cold pressing, and more. By the end of the tour, you'll be an olive oil connoisseur

Pueblos Blancos (White Villages)

Pueblos blancos are a staple in Cadiz and Malaga provinces. The white villages in Marbella shimmer brightly under the hot Andalucian sun, creating a beautiful white spectacle.

Most of these villages date back to the 15th century, offering insights into Andalusia's Arabic heritage. The Arabs resorted to whitewashing entire villages for practical and political reasons.

The Moors used a combination of narrow streets and whitewashed walls to combat the Mediterranean heat. Traditionally, the whitewash comprised slaked lime, a powerful disinfectant, and insect repellant.

Walk the beautiful cobblestone streets winding between the beautiful whitewashed building to appreciate the architectural ingenuity from the 15th century.

Old Town Marbella, Espera, Ronda, and Arcos de la Frontera are some of Marbella's most popular white villages.

Visit Malaga

Malaga is another seaside paradise by the Mediterranean and the hometown of Pablo Picasso. It provides the best beach vacation experience by combining rich Spanish culture with the sea and a lively city full of modern and historical offerings. Malaga's historical spots include Alcazaba, one of the biggest Arabic fortresses in Andalusia, and the Gibralfaro Castle, La Manaita, and the city of Picasso.

The city has a vibrant art scene with several museums, including the Carmen Thyssen Museum. And the St Petersburg Russian Museum Collection. You can also spend a day on any of its 16 beaches, including the legendary La Malagueta urban Beach. Muelle 1 is a shopper's paradise with beautiful shops and restaurants. The Pedregalejo seaside neighborhood is popular for its traditional Spanish cuisine, including grilled sardines on skewers.

Marques de Larios, a beautiful and busy thoroughfare with flowery decoration, is the tapas' capital of Malaga. The area and the neighboring streets come alive at night with various sumptuous offerings that will keep your mouth humming with delight.

Caminito del Ray

The Caminito del Rey will heighten your holiday spirit with unforgettable views while strolling over a walkway suspended 100 meters over a cliff face. Once considered the world's most dangerous walkway, this spectacular walkway takes you through cliffs, a large valley, and canyons. The 7.7-kilometer walk will take you about four hours, but the experience is timeless as it is priceless.

Every inch of the Caminito del Rey is spectacular, rewarding you with breathtaking views. There's also the heightened experience of being suspended cliff face that drops over 100 meters. And crossing the Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes, a beautiful river gorge with walls towering over 700 meters high.

For safety and convenience, the trail is only walked in one direction – downward, from north to south. You'll begin the descent from the town of Ardales and exit in Alora. There's a restaurant and several car parks in Ardales, and a shuttle bus runs between the entry and exit points.

Lunch at the Beach

The combination of sun, sand, and delicious food makes Marbella's beaches the perfect lunch spot. You can enjoy delightful food by the Mediterranean Sea, bathed by beautiful scenery while watching the waves. The entire Costa del Sol is dotted with beach bars or chiringuitos, with delicious culinary offerings.

Chiringuitos range from cheap and cheerful bars to elegant restaurants offering table dining. While the décor may vary, these beach bars are all about food. The menu ranges from local dishes with freshly caught seafood and fish to international cuisine. Most chiringuitos offer loungers alongside food and drinks for a unique lunch at the beach experience.

The chiringuitos in Marbella include Victor's Beach, La Plage Casanis, Chiriguito Puente Romano, and Mistral Beach.

Rent a Bike

Uhmm… Children on a segway. Surprisingly, taking a scenic tour of Marbella on a segway is the perfect way to introduce your young ones to the thrills of driving. The budding drivers get special segways that are customized to their skill levels. You have nothing to worry about, as they can ride alongside the adults like real pros. Ride this sophisticated yet fun means of transport along the beautiful Marbella coast and create lots of fun for the entire family.

Besides the segway, you can opt for electric tricycles, bicycles, scooters, and even choppers. Segway operators in Marbella offer different vehicles to cater to your varied needs, including larger and more powerful rides for thrill seekers.
Segway rentals are a great alternative to walking when touring Marbella with children and other family members. They eliminate fatigue while allowing you to explore the sights and sounds of the Costa del Sol. Since segways are fully automated and have few wheels, they're a safe and fun means of transportation for the entire family.

Shopping

Marbella is a shopper's paradise, from authentic artisanal markets to bustling retail strips to megamalls. The upmarket tourist town boasts scores of interior design stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, designer boutiques, and back street shops. Whether you're shopping for homeware, clothing, gourmet goodies, or souvenirs, the town will cater to all your shopping needs.

If the weather isn't ideal for the beach, the Marbella shopping scene has plenty of rewarding indoor adventures in store. However, remember that most smaller stores close for siesta for the better part of the afternoon, from 2 pm to 5 pm, and may be closed on Sunday. Otherwise, most outlets are open till late to let you shop till you drop.

Avenida Ricardo Soriano and Puerto Banus Marina are the ultimate shopping destination for designer clothing, shoes, jewelry, and more. You'll find leading designer brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Stradivarius, Escada, and more.

If department stores are more your thing, you'll love El Corte Ingles in Puerto Banus. The store covers six floors and puts everything you need under one roof, from designer labels to electricals, perfumes, and cosmetics. La Canada delivers a delightful shopping experience if you prefer shopping malls.

Nightlife (Clubbing)

Marbella is a world-famous party destination with a mind-boggling number of exclusive nightclubs. The seaside town is popular with the world's elite, and celebrities often fly in to enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Marbella is an international reference point for people craving a nonstop party atmosphere.

Marbella's nightlife comprises clubs that cater to all types of revelers and party animals. You can party in some of the most exclusive venues on the Costa del Sol. Here you can rub shoulders with international celebrities as you sip expensive cocktails and listen to the best music by international DJs. On the flip side, you can party in nightclubs popular with locals and enjoy an authentic Spanish party atmosphere characterized by Spanish music and exotic dances.

The Marbella clubbing scene offers a personalized nightlife experience that will heighten the holiday experience. Every nightclub delivers a beautiful ambiance, and a hip crowd and offers a range of drinks to suit every palate. Some of the best nightspots in Marbella include Olivia Valaire, Memento, La Suit, Pangea, and Nota Blu.

Spa

Booking a spa session is a luxurious way to pass the time during a wet day in Marbella. It's your chance to pamper your mind and body while safeguarding your health and wellness. Spa therapy dramatically benefits your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Luckily, Marbella boasts some of the finest spas in the world.

Book a luxury spa session and have a professional masseuse knead your knots away. Marbella offers every type of luxury massage imaginable. You're spoiled for choice, from Shiatsu to Swedish, hot stone to aromatherapy, sports massage to deep tissue, trigger massage to reflexology.

Since most spas are found in luxury hotels and resorts, they boast other luxurious offerings. That includes hydrotherapy, sauna, experience showers, steam rooms, and hammams. You can top your luxury spa experience by getting your hair and nails done by a professional who'll leave you looking your absolute best. You also have plenty of options for specialized services such as medical rehabilitation or physical therapy.
Some places offer yoga lessons as part of the luxury spa experience to help calm your mind while protecting your mobility.

Rent a Yacht

When you're vacationing in Marbella, the Mediterranean will always call you to explore its exciting offerings. Whether you're a thrill seeker or prefer a luxurious cruise in the blue waters, you have plenty to choose from. You can go parasailing, jetskiing, or wakeboarding for some high-adrenaline action. If you need something more, sign up for a white-knuckle boat ride. The high-speed ride will have you bouncing the waters at 50 mph and leave you gripping the boat till your knuckles turn white.

You can charter a yacht and live the like the ultra-wealthy celebrities for a day. Surprisingly, you can band together with your friends or other holidaymakers and hire a luxury yacht in Marbella without breaking the bank. A yacht can take you further out into the open sea. You can also visit an exclusive beach club and have them deliver food and drinks to the vessel.

Drinks

Marbella is a prolific party destination with a well-established drinking culture. The seaside town boasts a wide selection of bars catering to every taste, style, and preference. You can sip champagne from an exclusive resort bar, sip local wines in a traditional bodega, enjoy a cold cocktail in a chiringuito, or try some craic in an Irish bar.

You'll find the most exclusive and expensive bars, such as Seven in Puerto Banus. These bars cater to the wealthy and carry a distinct range of drinks that suit the glitz and glamour of the playground of the rich and famous.

High-end cocktails, including mojitos, caipirinha, cosmopolitan, sex on the beach, and summer rye, are a staple in the high-end bars. The bars in Old Town Marbella, including Taberna Del Pintxo, carry authentic Spanish drinks. Traditional tapas bars serve the best locally made wines and tapas to give you an authentic experience of the rich Spanish drinking culture.

Balloon Tour Ronda

Booking a hot air balloon tour is an excellent way to explore Ronda, a uniquely picturesque village in Southern Spain. A balloon flight gives you a bird's eye view of Ronda's iconic sights. They include spectacular Roman ruins, Old Town, the iconic 100-meter gorge, the Roman temple, and the ruins of Acinipo.

The wind direction determines the exact flight paths, but you're treated to magnificent views of the Andalusian landscape from all directions. The air balloon flies 12 meters above the ground and clear days with blue skies.
The non-private air balloons carry up to 10 passengers, and the flight lasts one hour. Children above six years can enjoy this spectacular tour but must be accompanied by an adult. Pregnant women aren't allowed on the hot air balloon. The ride isn't ideal for people with serious heart or bone conditions.

Jet Ski Rental

Jetboats rides roll your love for water and speed into one spellbinding adventure for the whole family. Book a jet boat ride and experience the stunning coastline at more than 75 km/h.

The budding speed enthusiasts in the family will treasure this fast, fun-filled, and extremely wet boat ride. Each boat ride lasts 20 minutes, but there's nothing vanilla about it. Each trip is a wild combination of slides, power breaks, bursts of speeds, and 360-degree turns that generate massive waves.

You'll need the cold splash to contain your mounting excitement. The modern, large-capacity jetboats are powered by powerful engines and carry up to 10 people. There's plenty of space for the entire family to enjoy this spectacular ride.
There's a safety briefing before each trip, and life jackets are provided to each member of your clan for an incident-free experience. Bring swimming gear, a hat, sunscreen, and a towel; you will get soaked during your boat ride. You'll need to make a reservation to enjoy this thrilling family adventure in the Mediterranean Sea.

Sierra Nevada

While Marbella is famous for its sun, sand, and beach lifestyle, it also offers snowy peaks for your skiing pleasure. A trip to the Sierra Nevada, the largest ski resort in the region, takes you to the Mulhacen, the highest mountain peak on the Spanish continent.

The peak stands at 3,479 meters above sea level, making it a unique skiing destination. The ski season opens in November and lasts six months to the first week of May. The ski resort offers a total of 110 km of skiing slopes. They're grouped into 131 color-coded courses to accommodate skiing enthusiasts of all skills and ages.

It's home to various resorts, hotels, bars, and restaurants to give you the time of your life. Anyone can hire skiing equipment and take skiing, snowboarding, or sledding lessons. The ski resort is only 30 minutes from Granada and a three-hour drive from Marbella.

Istan

Istan is a historic town with a strong Arabic influence perched in the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. It's 15 km from Marbella's beaches and popularly known as Spring of the Costa del Sol due to its beautiful landscape, fountains, river Verde valley, and magical corners.

Popular historic buildings in Istan include Escalante Tower on Steet San Miguel, dating back to the Moorish period. It was built to help defend Marbella from invaders. The church of San Miquel dates back to the 16th century and is a historic battleground between Arabs and Christians. The village is rich in Moorish culture, including irrigation channels and beautiful fountains like the Fountain and Laundry of El Chorro.

Istan is strategically perched in the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, between river Molinos and Verde. It offers sweeping views of the natural park and plenty of outdoor activities, including climbing, canyoning, trekking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and more. The village is popular for its spectacular viewpoints and local cuisine comprising fresh ingredients from nearby farms.

Golden Mile

The Golden Mile is a famous road that stretches four miles from Marbella's western edge to Puerto Banus. It's an exclusively affluent part of Marbella with some of the best luxury villas, hotels, and mountain view estates. Some famous hotels include the Marbella Club, Melia Don Pepe, and Puerto Romano. The area blossomed during the 1960s tourism boom.

A motorway runs through the Golden Mile, dividing it into two sections. Golf courses, business centers, hotels, and other luxury services line the highway. The motorway's beachside is fully developed, while the mountainside is still up and coming. The new Golden Mile refers to the area between Estepona and San Pedro.

Bart Eichhorn
Author: Bart Eichhorn

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