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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

Marbella, a complete travel guide

Updated: Jan 7


Marbella is one of the travel destinations that has been on my list for a very long time. The first attempt to get there was at the very beginning of 2020, but the pandemic turned my plans upside down. In the end, I managed to get there at the beginning of September, in 2022.


During the vacation I had in Andalusia, I allocated only one day for Marbella, enough to cross it from head to tail and to offer you some information, which I hope will be useful for a future trip in this place. Surprisingly, or not, after walking almost 30 km (yes, it's a personal record), I had time to stay at the beach, even though I'm not an adept, this relaxation was more than welcome.


I also had a (failed) attempt to enter the water. I gave up very quickly, because it was so cold that my feet froze instantly. I want to mention that it was not cold outside, it was over 30 degrees. I leave a link where you can check the water temperature for the period of your stay.



HOW TO GET TO MARBELLA The nearest airport is Malaga Airport. To get to Marbella, you have 3 options: - rented car, I wrote a separate guide about renting a car; - bus to Marbella, directly from the arrivals bus station, Avanza bus L-607; - private transfer, reservation here;





- 3 stars hotels or less: Pialmont House, Casa Elena, Apartamento Fontanilla, Hotel Claude Marbella;



WHAT TO VISIT IN MARBELLA


HISTORICAL CENTRE OF MARBELLA


You cannot say that you have visited Marbella, if you have not taken a short walk through the old center, considered one of the most beautiful historical centers in Spain. Here you can admire the architecture of the buildings, but you can also enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the dozens of bars and restaurants. The narrow and cobbled streets, with houses decorated with colourful flower pots, certainly look their best in June-July, when the climbing flowers are in full bloom. They give a special air to the place, through their colour. The most beautiful streets/places, which are worth seeing are: Plaza Santo Sepulcro, in which, as in all the squares of Spain, there is a small church. This area is also one of the entrances to the historical district of Marbella.


Marbella, Costa del Sol - best places to visit - old town

Plaza de la Iglesia, where you will find the most important church in Marbella, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnation. The church still has walls built in the medieval era. The landscape of the market is completed by palm and orange trees.


Ortiz de Molinillos and Calle Carmen which is actually one in continuation of the other, being practically one street. It is one of the most photographed places in Marbella. As it is in Mijas Pueblo, there is no shortage of traditional blue pots hanging on the walls of the buildings.


Calle Gloria, is a street with shops with various local or Spanish products. This intersects with Calle Valdez, a bit narrower, but just as interesting. The building on the corner was the one that particularly caught my attention.



Calle Ancha is a commercial and lively street and somewhat wider, compared to the rest of the much narrower streets. Certainly, the attraction of this street is the colorful flowers on the buildings. Before entering this street, there is Plaza Puente de Ronda, which is also a beautiful square.


Plaza Santo Cristo, which is at the end of the street, on Calle Ancha. Both the church and the entire square were built in the 15th century.


Plaza de los Naranjos was built in 1485, when the Catholics took over the city from the Muslims. They demolished some houses built in the Islamic period to make way for the market. One of the important buildings in this square is the Ermita de Santiago, a small but very beautiful church. Also in this square, there is the city hall building.



The walls of the castle in Marbella During the time when Marbella was under Muslim domination, very high defense walls were built, with 10 observation towers and 3 access gates. Over time, these walls disappeared, with the city expanding. In some places, pieces of this wall can still be seen. The so-called castle is represented by these old walls.


The walls of the castle in Marbella - Costa del Sol Andalusia

ALAMEDA PARK is the ideal place to enjoy a little coolness in a hot day. The vegetation of the park is so thick and rich that sunlight does not penetrate, keeping a cool atmosphere. It is located a few minutes from the historic center and is not a very big park. The lush and dense vegetation makes you think of a jungle. The central point is the artesian fountain, decorated with colored tiles, as in the case of the benches.


Next to this park is a cake shop, where I am sure you will be tempted to enter, the cakes on display look absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, the service is not the best, and the cakes taste horrible (obviously, it's a purely subjective opinion).


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit


SALVADOR DALI STATUES, which you can admire right at the exit from the park, on Avanida del Mar. In the recent past, this street was part of the park and it changed when an underground parking was built. This street connects to the beach area.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit



THE BEACHES OF MARBELLA Marbella is ranked among the top resorts with the best beaches in the world, some of them being recognized as blue flag beaches. The flag is a certification received by a beach that meets certain conditions related to the protection of the environment, but also the services offered. I did a full tour, looking for the best beach and as a general characteristic, all beaches are clean, have toilets and showers with cold water.


So from east to west: PLAYA DEL PINILLO, located in the eastern part of Marbella, is a wild beach, with sand, but also with pebbles. The entry into the water is smooth. There is also a private area with sunbeds, umbrellas and a bar/restaurant.


It is quite wide and there are free parking areas. You can find one of the free parking lots on the street that goes down to the beach, near the bridge that says Marbella.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit, best beaches

PLAYA DEL CABLE, located in the near Playa del Pinillo, is a wide beach with fine sand and a smooth entrance to the water. There are several areas with sunbeds, umbrellas, restaurant, massage areas, but also public areas for towels. The parking is located near the Marina.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit, best beaches

PLAYA DE LA BAJADILLA, located near the marina, in a somewhat more animated area, with hotels close to the beach, restaurants and boutiques with various souvenirs. There are both areas for towels and for sunbeds, playgrounds for children, outdoor fitness room, areas with palm trees and massage places. Amare Beach is also part of this beach, but it is an area with a separate entrance, even having a swimming pool near the promenade. PLAYA DE LA VENUS is a beach with sunbeds, umbrellas, playgrounds, bars and restaurants. Here you can rent boats and kayaks. PLAYA DEL FARO, divided into several artificial golfs, with polluted water, probably the currents bring all the mess there. Only the first part, from the left, is arranged with sunbeds, where it is wider, advancing towards the west, it becomes narrower.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit, best beaches

PLAYA DE LA FONTANILLA is located in the most animated area of ​​the resort, for this reason it is more crowded than the rest of the beaches. It is a narrow beach with sunbeds, umbrellas, dining and massage areas. There are some pebbles at the entrance to the water, but is mostly a beach with fine sand.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit, best beaches

PLAYA DE CASABLANCA is a nicely decorated beach, but also with slightly higher prices. From here, the area starts to become less populated, the beach being almost empty (at the beginning of September). Hydrobikes can also be rented on this beach.

PLAYA NAGUELES is a bit wider than the previous beach, gradually becoming narrower, until it disappears completely, going west.


PUERTO BANUS is a slightly more luxurious area of ​​Marbella, both the prices and the quality of the services being adequate. Here you can visit the Marina Purto Banus, or you can relax at one of the beaches. I would say that nature also wanted to offer some luxury, the beaches of this area being absolutely gorgeous. I recommend them without hesitation. If you come by car, I recommend you park near the Playa de Rio Verde area and walk to the resort. Parking is very expensive in the area, some are charging at the minute. We were lucky to find a parking lot for one euro/day at the end of Los Granados street, in the area of ​​the wooden bridge. If you arrive in the morning, you have every chance to find a free space.


Marbella, Costa del Sol, Andalusia Spain- Best places to visit, best beaches

HIKING IN MARBELLA Yes, you read that right, from Marbella there are several hiking trails, I leave two of them here: - El Castano Santo - the path starts from San Pedro Alcantara, it is 20 km long, and the duration is 5 hours/way; - La Concha, overlooking the Costa del Sol. The path starts from Puerto Rico, located between Ojen and the highway to Canada. The hike lasts 8-9 hours/way;



OTHER ACTIVITIES AND DAY TRIPS FROM MARBELLA - Day trip to the Guadalmina Canyon, tickets here; - Catamaran excursion in search of dolphins, tickets here; - Mountain bike tour, tickets here; - Excursion to Gibraltar, tickets here; - One-day trip to Morocco, tickets here; - Wine and tapas tasting tour, tickets here;


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT MARBELLA: So do I recommend Marbella for a long stay? Judging by what I like: visiting, exploring and snorkelling, I would say no. One day is more than enough. If I would like to stay at the beach, to have restaurants close at hand and the seafront to walk in the evening, then I would say yes, I recommend it. I also filmed two vlogs, one with the old center and one with the beaches, you can find them on my YouTube channel. For more travel destinations and photos, you can follow me on Instagram.


Read also about other locations in Spain: Nerja, Mallorca, Hiking in Tenerife, Barcelona, Ronda, Hiking on El Caminito del Rey or 3 beautiful locations in Andalusia.


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