Once the monopoly of the rich and famous, you now don’t have to be Johnny Depp or Angela Jolie to afford holidays to Marbella. Blessed with over 20km of film-set-perfect beaches and an Old Town that’s full of old-school charm, there’s plenty to see and do. It has also become something of a hotspot for food lovers, with some outstanding, world-class restaurants lining its beachfront and streets. Shoppers can flex their bargain-hunting muscles in the shops in Puerto Banus, which also happens to be where you’re likely to spot the odd celebrity or two. With gleaming, white villas cascading down the hills to meet the yacht-filled marina, Marbella looks straight out of a James Bond film and makes the ideal escape for couples or families looking to enjoy a slice of the high life.
Marbella is best for…
Golfers: The destination is in the heart of Spain’s finest golfing region, with some of the best courses and clubs in Andalucía just minutes away.
Night owls: From dancing on the Golden Mile to sipping cocktails in plush Puerto Banus, Marbella has the finest nightlife in Andalucía.
Shopaholics: The city’s cosmopolitan shopping is a big attraction, from designer boutiques to large, modern malls and colourful street markets.
Marbella Fast Facts
Language: While the primary language spoken here is Spanish, the locals speak English fluently, but do appreciate any attempts at a few Spanish basics, so pack your phrasebook or download our language app.
Currency: You’ll need to exchange your Sterling for Euros, before flying off on your holidays to Marbella.
Local time: Marbella is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Malaga Airport. Transfers to Marbella take 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Flight time from UK: The Marbella flight time is 2.5 hours.
Tourist Information: Further Marbella tourist information can be found at http://www.spain.info/en/.
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Marbella.
Marbella Weather and Climate
Temperature: Average of 24°C-29°C in summer.
Best time to visit: Easter for slightly cooler temperatures.
Basking in Spain’s classic, Mediterranean climate, summers here are hot, with up to 12 hours of sunshine day. If you like things on the warmer side, book your break between July and August, when the temperatures climb into the low thirties. For cooler conditions, better-suited to sightseeing, book your Marbella holidays in the spring or autumn, when the mercury hovers in the low-to-mid-twenties. Winters are mild, but wet.
By horse and carriage: It doesn’t get much more fun or romantic than seeing the sights from a horse-drawn carriage.
By taxi: Taxis are a good option for short journeys; the area’s full of taxi ranks and taxis can be flagged down from the street without much problem. Bear in mind that licensed taxis should have meters and will charge more at night.
On foot: It’s a lovely place to get around on foot, particularly in the Old Town where the streets are too narrow for cars.
Starlite: Taking place each July and over the course of a month, the Starlite Festival is the resort’s glitziest event. The festival is held in the open-air Nagϋeles quarry, a natural amphitheatre in the depths of the mountains behind the town. The programme of events features music, fashion and art and previous headliners include Enrique Iglesias, Jamie Cullum and Tony Bennett. The festival also includes a special VIP gala night for charity.
Marbella Feria: The first week of June sees the annual fair take to the streets in honour of its patron saint, San Bernabe. The fair features fun activities for kids, such as fairground rides, zip-wires and bouncy castles, plus live music, dancing, food, and a fantastic firework display to round the week off.
Things to do Around Marbella
With over 20km of coastline, divided into white-sand beaches, holidays to Marbella are perfect for sun-seekers. Lined with classy, buzzing bars and a beautiful seafront promenade, you can stroll along the Pasea Maritimo or head deep into the cobbled streets of the old town, filled with cosmopolitan pavement cafés, upmarket shops and Mediterranean restaurants. Fans of the five-iron are minutes away from spending days on the green, with the outskirts boasting some of the best golf courses in the world. Many visitors come simply for the nightlife, which bursts into life after dark in the stylish marina and legendary Golden Mile.
Beaches: Marbella is packed with stylish, sandy beaches. With gently-shelving shores that seem to melt into the blue of the Mediterranean, they’re ideal for those travelling with children. Be sure to check out Funny Beach for kid-friendly attractions such as go-karting, playgrounds and bumper boats. For something livelier, head to Banana Beach, known for its lively beachfront bars or the white sands of Playa Fontanilla, close to the Pasea Maritimo promenade. Playa Fontanilla is also one of the best places for watersports, and is popular with jet-skiers.
Attractions: The beautiful Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, winding between whitewashed 16th century buildings and opening out into hidden gems, such as Orange Square. Known as Plaza de los Naranjos in Spanish, Orange Square is the heart of the town, buzzing with cafés, bars and restaurants. Shopping here is superb, with many upmarket boutiques and shopping centres, as well as outdoor markets on Saturdays. Keen golfers can up their game at the championship courses and plush clubhouses set against a stunning backdrop of coastal scenery. Get into the swing of things at the Marbella Golf Club and Magna Marbella.
Nightlife: The world-class nightlife is one of the resort’s biggest attractions. The city has the largest concentration of glamorous bars, dance clubs and glitzy rooftop terraces in the Costa del Sol. The top places to visit for a night out include the famous Golden Mile, which stretches all the way to the marina in Puerto Banus. One of the most exclusive parts of Marbella, it’s not unusual to find A-list celebrities partying in chic bars in front of gleaming white yachts and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. If you’re interested in authentic Spanish cuisine, you can sample delicious tapas in the old town and Orange Square.