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Marbella, one of Southern Europe’s most popular tourist destinations with fantastic beaches, top class restaurants, exclusive shopping, and history to boot.
Punching way above its weight, Marbella on the Costa del Sol is an international destination for the rich and famous as well as everyone else who demands a beachside town with character, something that Marbella certainly doesn’t lack.
The city motto is “A Way of Life”, and indeed, Marbella attracts people who love the city and everything it offers, and is often favourably compared with St Tropez as a destination and lifestyle city.
The centre of town is the old historic quarter, the casco historico, where you’ll find a maze of narrow streets, white wshed buildings, little plazas, and windows filled with flowering plants. Plaza de los Naranjos is the central point, and it is here that you’ll find the main tourist office, as well as some of Marbella’s best restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops.
Within the plaza there is a 15th century fountain surrounded by orange trees, the town hall built in the 16th century, and the Casa del Corregidor, a palacial building constructed in the 17th century. Plaza de los Naranjos certainly is a beautiful plaza. Despite its size, Marbella is a city, it is easy to believe you are still in a small village as you wander the streets of the old town.
Towards the beachside of the Casco Historico, you’ll find the Parque Alameda, a botanical garden with many rare plants that is completely open to the public, and in the vicinity several open air statues by Salvador Dali. It is from here that the colourful horse and carriage drivers mingle waiting for their next fare, and if you have the time this is a magical way to experience the city.
The Parque Arroyo de la Represa, which starts near the old castle walls of Marbella is you will also discover the only Bonsai museum in Europe, with miniature trees as old as 500 years on display. There is also a duck pond and menagerie for kids to enjoy, whilst back down at the beach you’ll find several playgrounds.
Being a Mediterranean city, you can expect seafood to be popular, and local delicacies you should try include sardines on a spit, paella, fish a la espalda, prawns, calimari, lobster all prepared in the traditional Mediterranean ways. Of course other styles are plentiful as well, from traditional tapas, to modern contemporary Spanish food, and everything else.
Accommodation in Marbella is plentiful and varied, from beachside, to inner city, and within the Marbella golf courses as well. Our growing list of Marbella hotels with reviews should be a priority for anyone planning to visit.
As the capital of the Costa del Sol, Marbella offers much more than its size would indicate, world class accommodation, gourmet international restaurants, exclusive shopping, pro designed golf courses, and weather that inspires exploration all year round.
Since Roman times there have been settlements and fortresses at Marbella, and for most of its history the village was a minor fishing port. The historic centre was built by the Moors, although the town wasn’t founded until the 12th century, several hundred years after the Islamic invasion of Iberia.
The town area is quite small, only extending from the beach to the mountains, the Sierra Blanca, that can be seen just behind the village. The historic centre is in Marbella, but San Pedro de Alcantera and Puerto Banus a few kilometres along the coast are also major centres.
Owing to the mountains rising so close to the shore, Marbella has a curious micro-climate different from other parts of the coast and inland, in fact the city has an annual average temperature of 18 degrees celcius, and usually 320 days of sun.
For most people probably the best reasons to visit Marbella are its 26km of golden sand beaches, many of them privately managed to keep them clean and guarantee you a sun-lounger. The famous chiringuitos, beachside bars, are easy to find, in fact you might struggle to find a beach without one nearby. Water sports such as kite surfing are very popular, and yachting fans will find the marinas and peaceful waters of the western Mediterranean quite agreeable.