Situated in Andalusia within the Costa del Sol region with Sierra Blanca Mountains as its backdrop is the city of Marbella Spain. It is the go-to destination for the famous and affluent. But of course, everyone is welcome to explore Marbella in Spain! This southern Spain town is known for its charming beaches, great nightclubs, and facilities for boats and yachts. There are also a lot of impressive attractions to visit in Marbella, Spain. Moreover, the city is home to plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants, so you’ll be sure to have a fulfilling dining experience. Learn more about what to expect from your Marbella holidays through this article.
Long before it became a point of interest for well-off families and nobles, Marbella, España used to be a small fishing and farming village. Romans founded the city in 1600 BC. Several civilizations also followed, notably the Vandals, Visigoths, and Byzantines. The Moors left the most significant mark in the city. In 1485, Marbella officially became a Spanish territory upon the claims of Catholic Kings. Following the Christian reconquest in the 16th century, Marbella developed the surrounding farmland for agricultural production. However, it was in the 19th century when industrialization started to flourish. New bridges and roads were constructed, and the creation of an iron foundry opened employment opportunities. Business people began developing hotels and residential properties in the 1940s, marking Marbella’s tourism industry. But it was in the 1990s where tourism took a hit. The city was even acknowledged as a “Universal City” because of this. In 50 years, Marbella made it from a simple, old village into becoming a thriving resort town and international tourist hotspot.
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Standing between the coastline and the Sierra Blanca mountains gives Marbella an appealing micro-climate. The weather in Marbella, Spain, has plenty of warm, sunny days. The average temperature in Marbella, Spain, throughout the year is usually around 19°C / 66°F.
From February to March, springtime is mainly dry and has less than 50 days of rainy weather. Summer is typically long, which runs from late May to the end of September. The summer months are the hottest and sunniest, reaching over 30°C ( 86°F). Therefore, it is the best time to spend your holidays in Marbella. During autumn in late October to early November, the winds become stronger, yet the weather for Marbella, Spain, remains pleasant. Unlike other parts of Spain, Marbella’s winter months are quite warm and relatively dry. The temperature during this season can drop to 17°C (63°F) and occasionally fall below 15°C ( 59°F) during January.
Activities in Marbella, Spain
Marbella isn’t a popular tourist attraction for nothing. Expect to never run out of things to do in Marbella, Spain, when you decide to visit.
Tour the Infamous Golden Mile
One of the most glamorous residential areas in Marbella is the Golden Mile. The Golden Mile Marbella is a boulevard that is 8 kilometers (4.9 miles) long. It is lined with tropical gardens, exclusive shops and restaurants, lavish properties, and a lovely seafront promenade on the Costa del Sol. There are plenty of things to do in the Marbella Golden Mile. Enjoy a dip or even have a thrilling jet boat ride experience at Marbella Beach, Spain. There is also an abundance of Marbella, Spain golf courses that can serve as your temporary playground. Book your Puerto Banus, Marbella Bike Tour: Port, Parks & Shopping here.
Get Lost in Casco Antiguo de Marbella
The Ancient District of Marbella is the oldest and most appealing neighborhood in Marbella. The Marbella, Spain old town dates back to the 15th century and is filled with interesting sights. The white houses typically have flower-adorned balconies, and every boutique has a unique character. Strolling through the cute, narrow streets will surely delight you. Book your Marbella Private Walking Tour here.
Party at Puerto Banús Marina
Puerto Banus is a luxurious port and well-known harbor for luxury yachts and boats. It is reported to be welcoming 5 million visitors a year, making it one of the most visited places in Spain. Party with celebrities or millionaires at the extravagant clubs and bars. Book a hotel in Puerto Banús to make sure you make the most out of your vacation.
Museums in Marbella, Spain
Marbella is rich in museums focused on the city’s prehistoric roots. The museums also manifest how art-inclined Marbella is.
Contemporary Engravings Museum
What used to be the old Bazán Hospital building in Marbella now houses an art museum called Contemporary Engravings. The 16th-century building displays a collection of the history of Spain’s printing and engraving industry. It proudly presents engravings from the 15th century and works of Dalí, Miró, Picasso, and other artists. For more information visit their website here.
Museo Cortijo Miraflores
In 1706, Don Tomás Francisco Domínguez y Godoy built Cortijo Miraflores as part of his country estate which also had oil and sugar mills. Several updates to the mills were made throughout the years. However, as time passed, it became abandoned. It was eventually renovated to be a museum. Today, the building has two museums. One shows Marbella’s olive oil industry items, while the other is an archaeological exhibition about Marbella’s history starting from early Palaeolithic times. They do not have a website; however, the address is C. San Pedro de Alcantara, 10, 29601 Marbella, Málaga, Spain.
The Museo Ralli was opened in 2000 and contains one of the most important Latin American art collections in Europe. The museum is home to ten exhibition rooms featuring different avant-garde movements that took place on both continents. In particular, the presence of Surrealism from Latin America and Europe. For more information about the Museo Ralli Marbella, visit their website here.
Monuments to See in Marbella, Spain
What to do in Marbella, Spain? Aside from hopping from one star-studded club to another, you can also discover the city’s unique monuments.
Salvador Dali Sculptures
Avenida del Mar is a prominent boulevard in Marbella’s city center. This wide pedestrian alley is also considered an open-air museum because it displays several Salvador Dali sculptures. You will always see people taking photos in this area. Be in awe of the products of Dali’s surrealistic visions simply through walking at this tourist center.
The Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation
Also called the “Cathedral of Marbella,” this church in Marbella Old Town is a majestic building existing since the 17th century. The cathedral is particularly notable for its size, height of its ships and central dome, and overall grandeur. The main entrance is also a sight to behold due to the door’s Rococo sculpted frame. Plus, it is decorated with different paintings and statues.
Murallas del Castillo
During the 10th century, a Moorish citadel known as the “Alcabaza” was constructed to protect Marbella. Two defensive towers called “El Castilo” were also built. In the 14th century, the castle and city walls were used against artillery fire. However, these were destroyed as per King Carlos III’s order during the 17th century. A few remains of the Marbella Castle Walls left to this day that tourists can view only from the outside.
Festivals in Marbella, Spain
Take part in one of the many festive traditions of Marbella throughout the year.
Feria de San Bernabé
Every June, Marbella organizes a week-long fair to pay respect to its patron saint San Bernabé (Saint Bernard). The fiesta is celebrated with music, rides, tapas, beer, and other entertainment. The celebration wouldn’t be complete without the traditional “casetas” set up just for the fair.
Noche de San Juan
San Juan Night is a merry festivity celebrated throughout Spain. This event memorializes the shortest night and longest day of each year. While every region has its unique way of celebrating this event, most cities incorporate bonfires, good food, and drinks. Also, tradition says that if you jump three times over the bonfire, you will be cleansed and have lesser problems.
Fiesta Del Toston
If you’re a fan of chestnuts, this is a Marbella festival you shouldn’t miss. The citizens of Marbella observe All Saint’s Day differently by going to the countryside. From there, people spend a lovely evening taking chestnuts and roasting them in the country. They also indulge in some local wine while dancing and singing. Better look for Marbella hotels in the countryside so you can quickly join in Marbella’s November chestnut tradition.
Shopping in Marbella, Spain
One of the best shopping scenes in southern Spain can be seen in Marbella. From clothes and shoes to handbags and pieces of jewelry, you’ll never run out of things to splurge on when shopping in Marbella, Spain. The Avenida Ricardo Soriano is the place to be for serious shoppers. Also, various designer shops line the marina area of Puerto Banús. Have a complete shopping Marbella, Spain experience by browsing through over 300 shops at Parque Comercial La Cañada located in the old town.
Day Trips from Marbella, Spain
Maximize your Spain vacation by exploring the areas nearby Marbella. Malaga is a popular destination that people also visit with they go to Marbella because it is the nearest airport. Check out our city guide to Malaga and plan to stay a few days.
This upscale beachside community in Costa del Sol is only a few minutes away from Marbella. It has numerous golf resort Costa del Sol courses where you can play. Apart from swimming in the golden beaches, Las Angosturas or the Angosturas Gorge serves as a perfect spot for your canyoning trip. This place also has an excellent selection of restaurants. Book your trip to go Canyoning in Guadalmina here.
Gibraltar can be a confusing place as it is declared a British Overseas Territory, yet it is located on Spain’s south coast. Spain is disputing the British sovereignty, but still, the Spanish can go freely to this town. Gibraltar has its fair share of tourist spots to discover. Gibraltar’s Highest Point is the best area to do some nature sightseeing. Don’t forget to drop by St. Michael’s Cave and be impressed with its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Book your full-day Gibraltar Experience here.
One of the most visited places in southern Spain is Ronda. What makes this place fascinating is that it is divided in half by the El Tajo gorge. The city’s most admired attraction is Puente Nuevo or the “New Bridge.” It’s also the hometown of the modern Spanish bullfight. Here you’ll find one of the oldest bullrings in Spain called Plaza de Toros de Ronda. Book your full-day trip to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas here.
Places to Stay in Marbella, Spain
Marbella is a huge resort town with lots of Marbella villas, hotels, and hostels available.
Affordable luxury hotels, like the Gran Melia Don Pepe Marbella, are also available in the old town.
If you are visiting for a short time, choose Downtown hotels like Hotel Apartamentos Princesa Playa Marbella. For beach lovers, consider Vibora Beach and Cabopino Beach areas. Don Carlos Marbella is the perfect hotel to stay near Vibora Beach. Meanwhile, Marriott Marbella Beach Resort is an excellent hotel choice in Cabopino Beach.
Get easy access to Marbella’s nightlife by staying in Playa Nagueles hotels like NH Marbella Hotel. Lastly, if you want to experience living in Puerto Banús, there are plenty of hotels you can choose from. Alanda Club Marbella is one of the best family-friendly hotels in Puerto Banús.
Restaurants to Eat in Marbella, Spain
The gastronomic scene in Marbella is something Spain is proud to have. There are 4 Michelin-starred restaurants in Marbella, Spain: Dani García, Skina, El Lago, and Messina. A plethora of choices of beachfront dining spots, health and well-being-focused cafés, and cosmopolitan bistros are also available. Real foodies are also keen on the best-kept secret Marbella, Spain restaurants.
If you’re craving some Japanese cuisine, Ta Kumi is the restaurant to go to. On the other hand, taste some Thai specialties at Sukhothai Restaurant. Choose among the varied Spanish menu while soaking in the luxurious setting at Villa Tiberio. Don’t miss having an al fresco dining experience while devouring exotic international flavors at the Breathe Restaurant Gastrobar & Garden.
For reviews on these restaurants and others check out TripAdvisor here.
Drinking and Nightlife
It’s not a surprise that the vibrant nightlife in Marbella, Spain is one of the reasons why this city never runs out of vacationers. The most spirited and most opulent bars are in Puerto Banús. Seven is a top elite bar in the city that mainly attracts a wealthy clientele. Other luxury bars in Puerto Banús are News Café and La Sala. Book one of the hotels in Marbella Puerto Banús so you won’t miss out on the fun.
If you are staying in one of the beach resorts in Marbella, have your nightlife experience in the traditional chiringuitos. Aside from your drinks, enjoy a serving of espetos while you dance to dynamic music. Other beach bars include Trocadero Arena in Playa Rio Real and Sonora Beach Bar, which is slightly outside of Marbella. Mahiki Beach is one of the most popular beach clubs in Marbella.
How to Get to Marbella, Spain
Unfortunately, there is no Marbella, Spain airport available. If you are coming from another country, fly to the nearest airport in Marbella, Spain, the Pablo Ruiz Picasso International Airport. From there, travelers can rent a car, take the bus or train going to Marbella.
There are no direct trains travel from Málaga to Marbella, but you can catch a train ride at Malaga’s María Zambrano train station going to Fuengirola. After dropping at Fuengirola, look for the bus station on Calle Alfonso XIII and ride a bus to Marbella.
Next to Malaga’s María Zambrano train station, there are buses on Paseo de los Tilos that can bring you directly to Marbella. Travel time may take around 1 hour and 20 minutes. As always, your most convenient option is hiring a rental car.
Where is Marbella?
It is a beachfront city and municipality in southern Spain. Marbella belongs to the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
- Marbella to Barcelona is approximately 1174 km (729 miles).
- Alicante to Marbella is approximately 525 km (326 miles).
- Marbella to Ibiza is approximately 1042 km (647 miles).
- Seville to Marbella is approximately 182 km (113 miles).
- Marbella to Cadiz is approximately 177 km (110 miles).
Are there any direct flights to Marbella Spain?
No, there is not. The city does not have an airport. You will need to fly to nearby Málaga Airport (40 km or 24 miles) away. From there you can rent a car or take the bus to Marbella.
What is the time in Marbella Spain?
Current Time: CEST — Central European Summer Time
Difference: 6 hours ahead of New York
Current Offset: UTC/GMT +2 hours
Next Change: CET — Central European Time
Are there gyms in Marbella Spain?
Yes, there are several gyms throughout the city. You will find whatever type of exercise you are looking for there.
What is the best place to stay in Marbella?
We have given some excellent recommendations already. However, if you want more the (adults only) Amàre Beach Hotel Marbella, the popular Melia Banus Marbella, and the luxury Kempinski Hotel Bahía Beach Resort & Spa are also excellent hotels.