Experience Andalusian charm & sophistication in the chic Costa del Sol town of Marbella.Words Nikki Beach Global
With subtle hints of its former Moorish occupation mixed with modern-day resort amenities, the sunny shores invite you to bask on the sands of famous La Fontanilla beach or bounce between the region’s family-oriented water, wildlife and theme parks.
A traditional Spanish city located on Andalusia’s southern coast, it’s a popular tourist resort and a tantalizing mix of old and new, all lined with seemingly endless sandy beaches.
From the quaint, narrow streets and pretty homes with flower-filled balconies, to the adrenaline-fueled variety of watersports, Marbella will hit the spot no matter what your style.
Famed for its long stretches of white sandy beaches and world-class golf courses, elegant Marbella is one of the top resorts on the Costa del Sol.
Situated in the foothills of La Concha Mountain, in the province of Malaga, it’s a model Mediterranean resort and firm favorite with A-listers from all over the world.
Celebrities including Melanie Griffiths, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Kate Moss, Kelly Osbourne, Piers Morgan, Pixie Lott, Shakira, Tom Jones and Samuel L. Jackson have all been spotted on Marbella’s Golden Mile.
ABOVE: Spain is a fascinating mix of people, languages, culture and food; all Spaniards share a love of food and drink.
What we’ve got
Far from the ‘concrete jungle’ it is sometimes labelled, Marbella is a party paradise with a cultured soul. The stunning old town boasts a wealth of history, offering an insight to a world gone by. Marbella gives you guaranteed sunshine throughout the year and is famous for fantastic cuisine with a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in town.
No matter what time of year you visit Marbella, a trip to the beach is a must. The Costa del Sol boasts endless kilometers of pristine beaches, one of the very best can be found a 10-minute drive east of Marbella, in the Cabopino area. Lined with fabulous beach bars, a stop at a chiringuito is a must. Serving drinks and typical Mediterranean cuisine, right on the sand, you can even take a dip in the ocean in between rounds. The beaches, and sea, are meticulously clean and it’s safe to swim at the majority of them, depending on the weather.
Stretching alongside the beach is the paved Paseo Marítimo – or beachside promenade – and for those who fancy a morning like a local, head to the paseo on a Sunday when all the Spanish come out in their Sunday best to stroll and chat. Explore the area, take in the views and soak up the ambience, but be sure not to miss one of the coastline’s spectacular sunsets.
No visit to Spain would be complete without enjoying some traditional tapas, an excellent way to sample some of the local Spanish fare. Catch of the day is usually served in the form of seafood paella and if you head to one of the many chiringuitos on the beach, the dining experience is fun, casual and memorable. Venture into the winding streets of the old districts and you’ll be spoilt for choice with charming establishments serving Mediterranean and traditional cuisine on bustling terraces. Marbella boasts a wide selection of restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes.
On the south of Marbella’s Old Town, you’ll find Parque La Alameda, a refuge of enchantment and tranquility. This small park boasts a magnificent large central fountain decorated in traditional Andalucian tiles and makes for a fabulous selfie opportunity!
Huge tropical plants flank decorated benches and the park is popular with locals and tourists alike making it a great place to meet those in the know, or simply as a tranquil place to take a break.
The cosmopolitan meets the traditional in Marbella with buildings of historical and architectural nobility just a stone’s throw from some of the best beach clubs in the world, including Nikki Beach Marbella.
- Season May - October
- Airport Málaga (AGP)
- Boat Coordinates N 36° 29′ 32” W 4° 46′ 388”
- Time Zone GMT +1
- Currency Euro (EUR)
- Language Spanish, English
- Electrics 220 Volts
When to go
Spain has a varied climatology although generally speaking, especially in the south, it benefits from favorable weather almost all the year round.
The three months from June to August are the busiest – especially with the Europeans. However, it’s not uncommon to see famous faces in Marbella no matter what the month.
In the last few years Marbella has played host to visitors including Michelle Obama, Eva Longoria, Ivana Trump, Antonio Banderas and David Cameron.
There are a number of theaters, art galleries and museums in the Marbella area as well as a packed cultural program of concerts, dance, jazz and theater during the summer months. Concerts have recently been performed by Alexandra Burke, George Benson, Seal, Tom Jones and Jamiroquai.
The Black Box Theatre puts on 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.
Most theaters and galleries are open year round but opening hours and regularity of shows tend to be longer during the summer months. If you’re a festival fan the iconic Starlite Festival is celebrated in Marbella from mid-July to the end of August and seems to grow in popularity each year.
The festival is a heady mix of concerts, fashion shows, art exhibitions, cinema premieres and a charity gala dinner in a giant, open air amphitheatre with 60 meter-high walls. It’s a spectacular event of intimate performances under the stars.
SCENIC RUN: Work out along the sea front promenade; walk, run, cycle or skate all the way to San Pedro and back. Or if that’s too optimistic go part of the way and back. It’s a stunning setting, with invigorating sea air and great views guaranteed.
Where to stay
Don Carlos Resort & Spa
A waterfall welcomes you to a garden of Eden at this splendid beach resort. Waters carve out a stream where fish and water lilies give a touch of life and color, while tropical birds sing in the palm trees above. The accommodation stakes are won hands down by the 12 exceptional Duplex Deluxe Villas where design, art, avant-garde and distinction come together as one. Each has two luxurious bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and each unit sleeps up to a maximum of five people, making them a great choice for those spending time with family and friends in Marbella. Each villa also enjoys the professional services of a butler. The resort has six restaurants, each with varying cuisine, as well as four swimming pools. The main pool is next to the Sol y Sombra Restaurant and is heated in winter.
Fancy a night in a palace, but with the ambience of a villa? Villa Padierna Palace Hotel garners attention from the masses thanks to its trademark luxury and detail-oriented staff. The place has a price tag to match but, if First Lady Michelle Obama and her family can stay here, why can’t you? This magnificent Palladian splendor in the style of a Tuscan palace is a marvel to look at. Created by English architect and master-builder Edward Gilbert, together with his patron Riccardo Arranz de Miguel, the five-star hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The playground of the world’s rich and famous ever since 1954, when Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe acquired Finca Santa Margarita, Marbella Club is an estate by the Mediterranean. Famous as one of the most exclusive getaways in the world and the best resort on the sun-splashed Costa del Sol, it’s more like a private residence filled with friends. The Marbella Club atmosphere is unique and one trip is all you need. A beachfront, boutique resort with the character of a classic whitewashed Andalusian village, personal service and elegance is assured amid bloom-and bird-filled subtropical gardens. All 35 guestrooms and 80 suites are set in the jasmine-scented subtropical gardens so lovingly enhanced by the Prince himself. Spaces include a furnished outdoor terrace overlooking the glorious gardens or views out to sea. Gleaming marble ensuites are all suited to two people, with separate rain showers and baths.
Nikki Beach Marbella
Playa Hotel Don Carlos
Carretera de Cádiz Km 192