Marbella Andalusia’s holiday capital is a great place for a really great break away. This glamorous Mediterranean destination, with its eclectic mix of top things to do, caters to every interest. Apart from guaranteed sunshine and excellent world class beaches, there is much to explore both in the Old Town and in Marbella itself, and there is a wide variety of top activities to choose from. Activities range from watersports and mountain biking to the challenge of its prestigious golf courses. Another top attraction in Marbella is the choice of nightclubs where a little celebrity-spotting, yields much to talk about when you return home.
- 1 Puerto Banos
- 2 Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
- 3 Castle Walls (Murallas del Castillo)
- 4 Church of the Incarnation
- 5 (Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación)
- 6 Paseo Maritimo
- 7 (Beach Promenade)
- 8 Bonsai Museum
- 9 Las Bóvedas (The Baths)
- 10 Roman Villas (Villa de Rio Verde)
- 11 Basilica Vega del Mar
- 12 Golfing in Marbella
- 13 Nightlife
- 14 Cycling
- 15 Mountain Biking
Here, next to the harbour filled with luxury yachts, is this very select and modern club. Located in the harbour town of Banús with its delightful plazas, wide boulevards and sheltered beaches, the club is surrounded by beach bars nightclubs and luxury hotels. If you want to check out the lifestyle of the rich and famous there is nothing to beat a stroll around the harbour before visiting this select club for a little refreshment.
Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
Here among the narrow streets of white washed buildings, you will find churches, squares and fascinating boutiques and shops.
In the centre of Old Town is Los Naranjos Plaza (Plaza of the Orange Trees), which dates back to 1485. Here too is the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), the Magistrate’s House or Casa del Corregido, which adjoins the Capilla de Santiago Apóstol (Chapel of Saint James the Apostle). In the centre of the square is a bust of King Juan Carlos I and the surrounding gardens are a delight. This square was, and continues to be, the beating heart of the city where one can come and explore or take time to sit among the terraces and enjoy a restful break from sightseeing.
In the old quarter is the former 16th century Hospital Bazán that houses the Museo del Grabado Español which is considered to be the best museum of Spanish Engraving in Spain. Any visit to the Old Town should also include the La Encarnación Church, an immense 17th-century religious monument.
Most of all though the Old Town is a place of enchantment, filled with a charming mix of the cosmopolitan and the traditional existing side by side.
Castle Walls (Murallas del Castillo)
Another top thing to do in Marbella is to take time to visit The Castle Walls which date back to the 10th century and the time of the Moors which stand as a reminder of the city’s past. Sections have now been restored as this site is of extreme local importance.
Church of the Incarnation
(Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación)
This most beautiful 16th-century church stands in the centre of Marbella. It is an example of impressive period architecture and with its 3 naves and elaborate interior well worth a visit. Regular daily masses are held here and many of the religious events begin or are celebrated here.
To the East of the city, between Los Monteros and the Don Carlos hotels are the very best beaches Marbella has to offer. Here is a 4mile (6km) vista of wave-lapped yellow sands of the Costa Bella and El Alicate beaches where the shallow seas offer safe bathing. There are beach bars aplenty and elegant beach clubs among the sand-dunes that cater to all tastes and budgets. The sea is shallow and safe for bathing and for the more active beach goer there are many top water sports to choose from.
You don’t have to be a collector or Bonsai practitioner to enjoy the displays in this delightful museum as it contains the best-regarded collection of Bonsai trees in Europe. Here also, is the world’s best olive tree collection as well as the Pinsapo Pine which in its natural state is now close to extinction. You will find the Museum in Arroyo de la Represa Park.
Las Bóvedas (The Baths)
Once an important part of daily life in Marbella housed in a once opulent building are part of the best Roman remains in the city and are to be found in the San Pedro area near the Villa de Rio Verde.
Roman Villas (Villa de Rio Verde)
The Rio Verde is to the west of Marbella approximately 1km from Puerto Banus and a short walk from Playa Rio Verde. These are part of what remains of the Roman settlement and are preserved by a surrounding fence. To visit the Roman Villas and view from the fence is one option but to enter you will need to book and visit in a group.
The villas were known for having the most unusual mosaic floors but sad to report that on 9th January 2016 unauthorized persons entered this precious site and stole part of the Medusa mosaic. However, the Villas are still worth visiting as they hold much of interest.
Basilica Vega del Mar
Once a building of great beauty, the Basilica is today, a historic ruin. It was built in the 4th century and is therefore of high historical significance. Much of the layout and the actual structure is still visible. It was here that many of the archaeological treasures were discovered and can now be seen on display in the National Archaeological Museum.
Golfing in Marbella
Among the top things to do in Marbella especially among the well-heeled is to play a challenging round of golf. Marbella has many prestigious golf courses that are held in high regard by the golfing fraternity, and in some of the prestigious clubs members can be counted from 20 different countries. In fact Marbella is often referred to as the world’s golfing capital. So no matter whether you are a beginner or an expert there is a course to suite both your level and expertise, from 9 hole to full 18 hole courses. For the expert Las Brisas Royal Golf Club whose 18 hole course requires a strong golfing ability, and for others who want only to relax and enjoy a good round with views over the Mediterranean to add to their enjoyment, there are the Golf Rio Real, the Country Club and Monte Paraiso Golf. If you fancy a little night golf there is La Dama de Noche Golf Club. Whatever you level of play, whether you are a casual holiday player or competitive regular player you will find a course to suite you in Marbella.
No holiday to Marbella would be complete without a chance to party. The glitz and the glamour of Marbella, together with its terrific nightlife, is what draws many to return time and again. Puerto Banus is the top place for exclusive clubs which offer glamorous party venues. Along the Golden Mile, which often hosts open air concerts, are the homes of the super-rich where celebrities live as neighbors to the Saudi Royal Family. If you have come to Marbella to party then you will experience no shortage of late night bars, clubs and restaurants in which to let your hair down. Nikki Beach is one of the super elite night clubs where you can party with the world’s elite, taste the finest of foods, and revel in an atmosphere not to be found anywhere else.
One of the top things to do in Marbella is to hire a bike. Cycling through the Old Town to the many points of interest is becoming a must for many visitors. It is a delightful way to explore the narrow streets and visit Salvador Dali Square, or the fisherman’s village along the way. Leaving your bicycle, in order to explore, is not a problem as the bikes are all fitted with locks.
Ride along the Golden Mile and along the Paseo Maritimo Promenade, stop off for a swim, and enjoy what the clubs or bars offer along your way.
If you are keen on mountain biking this is a great place to experience some really thrilling terrain. In the Sierra De Las Nieves, Sierra Bermeja Sierra de Grazalema are single track trails which connect the mountain villages and offer a really good, dry and rocky ride. A good idea is to go with a guide on a tour specific to your pace and with the backup of a support vehicle. Serious mountain bikers can choose a ride to Istan, high in the Mountains and approximate 35km in length. A very taxing ride not to be attempted by the casual biker.