After browsing villas in Spain and booking your accommodation and flight for your ultimate Marbella holiday experience, you may probably wonder how to spend your Spanish holiday to the fullest.
With its almost year round sunshine, Marbella is a great destination for long holidays such as Easter or the summer. Whether you come as a group, a couple or as a family, there is always something for everyone to do and to enjoy.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Marbella according to The Travel Magazine
1. A Day at the Beach
No matter what time of year you visit Marbella, a trip to the beach is a must. The Costa del Sol boasts kilometre after kilometre of sandy beaches, the very best of which can be found a 10 minute drive to the east of Marbella in the Elviria and Hotel Don Carlos areas. All along these beaches are lovely little 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.
2. Paseo Marítimo
Stretching alongside the beach is the paved ‘Paseo Marítimo’ – or beachside promenade. No holiday on the Coast would be complete without walking at a leisurely pace along such a promenade, especially to enjoy one of the Coast’s spectacular sunsets. 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.
3. Marbella’s Old Town
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.
4. La Alameda Park
Due south of Marbella’s Old Town, on the other side of the main road, you’ll find a small park full of huge tropical plants, known as La Alameda, popular amongst locals and tourists alike as a tranquil place to take a break. The park features a magnificent large central fountain, decorated in traditional Andalucian tiles.
5. Avenida del Mar
Surrealist art lovers (or, indeed, all art lovers) can find an impressive collection of original sculptures by Salvador Dali in the Avenida del Mar, displayed in the open air in the very heart of Marbella. Head due south of the Old Town, go through La Alameda Park towards the beach and you’ll find a wide pedestrianised avenue with plenty of welcoming benches to rest your weary feet and admire the fantastic sculptures.
6. Parque de la Constitución
Just up from the beach near the centre of the town is La Parque de La Constitución, a true oasis of calm in this bustling modern city. It’s a great plance to visit, with beautiful trees, colourful flowers, a children’s park, an astronomic observatory, a cafeteria and a 600 capacity open-air auditorium which hosts opera, theatre productions, concerts and other cultural events.
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 Chloe, Versace, Robert Cavelli and La Perla overlooking the marina, as well as an upmarket shopping complex with top quality high street brand stores, art galleries, coffee shops, 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 outlets, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, a cinema, plus a tenpin bowling alley. La Cañada is situated immediately north of Marbella.
Although the Costa del Sol is not known for its culture, there are actually a number of theatres, art galleries and museums in the Marbella area as well as a packed cultural programme of concerts, dance, jazz and theatre during the summer months.
In Marbella, the Black Box Theatre offers plays in Spanish and English; the unusual Bonsai Museum features one of Europe’s most important collections of Bonsai Trees; and the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Engravings exhibits works by Picasso, Miró, Tapies, Chillida and several other important Spanish artists. The best art gallery close to Marbella is the Sammer Gallery, Puerto Banús, which is one of the largest modern art galleries in Spain.
For yet more culture, a day-trip to Malaga town and a visit to the Picasso Museum is a must!
9. Family Fun
There is just so much to keep the kids entertained in Marbella. A day at Funny Beach is perfect for those who love amusement, speed and adrenaline. There is a go-karting track, trampolines, video games, electric bikes and cars, a pool, children’s rides, as well as a restaurant serving kiddie-friendly fare and a bar with a live band on Sundays.
To explore the town without the leg-work you can choose from the Marbella Tourist Train or a horse-drawn carriage ride, both a popular choice with the kids.
There are also a number of cinemas showing English films, children’s theatre at the Black Box Theatre, a bowling alley and of course fantastic beaches. If you are happy to go a little further a field, there is Tivoli World Amusement Park in Benalmadena, the water park in Mijas-Costa, and Selwo safari park in Estepona – all within less than half an hour’s drive of the city and a guarantee of a boredom-free holiday.
For more teenage fun, there are many good organisations on the Coast who offer such adventures as scuba diving, quad-biking, jeep safaris in the National Parks, mountain treks on horse-back, canyoning in the region’s gorges, and paintballing.
10. Eating Out
One of the many pleasures of a visit to Marbella is the fantastic food. There are so many restaurants to choose from, serving all types of food and to suit any budget. The chiringuitos on the beach are great and tasty tapas is an excellent way to sample some of the local Spanish fare.