There are so many things to do in Marbella, starting from stunning beaches, amazing cuisine, a number of venues, and unique architecture. By taking a relaxing walk throughout Marbella you can already get an amazing experience of lifestyle and culture. This city is full of life and has endless possibilities for tourists.
Despite evolving tourism, Marbella still kept its traditional Andalucian charm that can be enjoyed alongside local bars. There are so many things you can visit and experience here, so we will help you out with few ideas. Enjoy!
Enjoy the Beach
The best things to do in Marbella are definitely related to the beach. Beaches in Marbella are the true gem of this city and it would be a shame if you miss out on this kind of experience. Admiring the Sunrise on the beach is something you should definitely put on your to-do list. Aside from that, taking a stroll on the beach is a fun and healthy activity where you can enjoy the view and walk on warm, fine sand at the edge of the sea.
The best time for a walk are dawn and dusk, but you can enjoy the walk on the beach at any time. The best thing is that just a few steps away from any street in heart of Marbella, you can find amazing beaches, accompanied by bars and restaurants. There is also an option for getting massages on the beach and trying out your skills in different aquatic sports. Standup paddleboarding is getting especially popular as it gives the possibility to fully explore the crystal blue sea.
Best beaches to visit
Playa de la Fontanilla is the closest beach to the center of Marbella and just a short walk away from Old Town. It extends over 1000 meters with a gorgeous promenade, restaurants, and shops. Playa Real de Zaragoza is a favorite beach known for its snack bars and trendy restaurants.
Just steps away from Puerto Banus, Playa del Alicate is another gem of long sandy beachside with many restaurants and parasol rentals. Worthy of mentioning is also Guadalmina beach, Linda Vista Beach, and San Pedro Alcantara. If you travel with your family, choose beaches rated with ‘Blue Flag’. That means that these beaches have calm and safe waters, ideal for swimming and little kids.
Marbella-Puerto Banus walk
If you enjoy walking and sightseeing on foot, then put this on the list of the things to do in Marbella – you won’t regret it. Put on comfortable footwear and get ready for a walk of 7 kilometers. Mostly, this is the tour along the promenade of the city, but once you get to Puerto Banus, you will discover the symbols of the city and all its luxuries. Puerto Banus is one of the oldest marinas on the Andalucian coast and it’s a must-visit place for tourists.
Enjoy shopping in fashionable boutiques, have a drink in one of their many bars, or try delicacies in top restaurants while admiring luxury yachts and cars. The street market in Puerto Banus is also very interesting. It’s a chosen place for the celebration of fashion and decorations from different parts of the world. You will find crafts from young designers of Morocco, Turkey, India, and more. Very close to Puerto Banús you have our The Palace Marbella, a luxury villa for rent, from where you can visit Puerto Banús without any problems.
With over 15 kilometers of Promenade, there is definitely enough space to enjoy a relaxing walk. Enjoy the beautiful landscape, smell of the Mediterranean Sea, and murmur of waves. Another way to enjoy this tour is by biking. You don’t have to be an expert cyclist for this tour, it’s an easy and smooth ride with lots of bars throughout the tour where you can stop and rest. Promenade will also give you a beautiful view of passing ships.
Visit historic churches in Old Town
Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Veracruz and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación are just two of the Marbella attractions you can find in the Old Town. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Church of Incarnation) is one of the most important churches of this place. It was built in the 16th century by Catholic Monarch, standing in the place of the former Mosque of Marbella. In the 16th century, it was a common practice to replace the mosques with a new churches.
The building itself is a spacious basilican with a barrel-vaulted central nave. The Corinthian columns make this building really stand out, along with the distinguishing feature of the facade – the main drove carved from ochre stone in Roccoco style. Inside, you can see the Sol Mayor Organ, one of the finest types of modern organs built in Spain. It is open to the public every day, with two masses being held every day and several on Sundays.
Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Veracruz is historic church near Murallas del Castillo, built in 16th century as a part of Franciscan conent. The facade of the church features stone details with a glazed-ceramic tile roof. The Interior is pretty humble with just a single nave and traditional Andalusian decor. Close by, you can find another church Capilla de San Juan de Dios on Calle Caridad. This chapel was a part of the hospital, also built-in 16th century by Spanish Monarch. Even though it’s small and unassuming, the iconography on the inside is impressive.
Plaza de Los Naranjos
Churches are not the only Marbella attractions in the Old Town. Plaza de Los Naranjos is one of the things you will definitely notice – a beautiful town square that used to be the center of urban life. Today, it’s a place where locals and tourists socialize and relax. In springtime, Plaza de Los Naranjos is blossoming with orange trees planted in the middle of the square with several restaurants having outdoor patio setting just beneath these trees.
The town hall, also called Casa Consistorial is one of the important historic landmarks found in this place, built in 1572 and enhanced in the 17th century, now standing as a perfect example of Spanish-style architecture. One of the must-see attractions in Marbella is the Ermita de Santiago church that stands on the Plaza de Los Naranjos. It’s a small and simple whitewashed church that possesses a noteworthy contemporary sculpture of the Saint James the Apostle.
Avenida del Mar
If you are wondering what to see in Marbella, the answer might be right here, especially for art lovers. Avenida del Mar is the lovely pedestrian way that stretches from Parque Alameda to Paseo Maritimo and it serves as an outdoor showcase. A part of the permanent exhibition is Salvador Dali’s imaginative bronze statues, including 10 of his works and 2 additional sculptures from Eduardo Soriano.
Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz al Saud (Marbella Mosque)
Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz al Saud or Marbella Mosque is the first Mosque built since Christian Reconquest of Spain in 15th century. It’s one of spectacular examples of contemporary Andalusian architecture inspired by Moorish heritage, built by Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia. It’s just a 10-minute walk from Marbella’s Old Town and the well-maintained gardens around the Mosque will definitely be worth the walk.
While looking for things to do in Marbella, consider visiting Plaza Altamirano in the corner of Casco Antiguo. It’s a perfect ambiance of Old Town, the lovely cobblestone square filled with old-fashioned street lamps and leafy palm trees. The quaint old buildings are featuring classing balconies with ironwork, emphasized by blossoming bougainvillea. This charming ambiance can be enjoyed by the outdoor terrace seating of few close restaurants.
Aside from the delightful environment, there is another interesting tourist attraction – Archaeological Collection housed in the Department of Culture’s central office. It holds all the archaeological discoveries of Marbella such as Roman Baths, Rio Verde’s Roman Villa, Alcazaba, and Veda del Mar Paleochristian Basilica.
Sports and Adventure
Wondering what to see in Marbella – but looking for something more exciting? Canyoning in Guadalmina is the answer for you. It’s an ideal place for doing canyoning, with a relatively simple route and a variety of slides, falls, and natural pools. We promise a ton of excitement and fun if you choose this activity.
You will find many sports to enjoy in Marbella as a tourist and you will be able to test your skills in many different things. However, if you are a golf lover, then this will be the perfect place for you! With stunning landscapes, you can enjoy many different golf courses. Now you know the reason Costa del Sol is also called Costa del Golf!
With amazing flora and fauna and unique underwater life, diving in Marbella is something you don’t want to miss. You can enjoy diving along the coast of Marbella until you almost reach Gibraltar and explore the beauty that hides underneath the surface of this crystal blue waters.
Marbella is the perfect base camp considering the incredible geographic location, being close to all the beautiful towns and places in all of the Andalucia. You can rent a car and enjoy Tajo de Ronda, Rock of Gibraltar, Caminito del Rey, Dolmens de Antequera, Bolonia Dune in Tarifa and more. The Rock of Gibraltar is especially interesting, dominating the entrance to the Mediterranean between the continent of Africa and the southern tip of Spain. Gibraltar has the most interesting caves in Europe but most people come to see the Gibraltar Barbary macaques.
Explore the unique history, geography, flora, and fauna of this place. You can also spot the Strait of Gibraltar, the location of the mythological Pillars of Hercules. It was the limit of the world for Greeks until the 7th century BC. Until 1492 it was the limit of the known world, beyond the Mediterranean basin, which historians relate to the known Latin phrase ‘Non Plus Ultra Terrae‘. The Northern column was the Rock of Gibraltar, while the South column was the monte Hacho in Ceuta or Musa Mount in Morocco.
Caminito del Rey (tickets here) is one of the scariest hikes in the world, so if you are looking for a true adventure this might be the right place. It’s completely renovated and safe for hiking but it’s a thrilling and spectacular experience, to see El Chorro gorge from over 100 meters in the air.
Museums to visit
Museo Ralli is just between Puerto Banus and Marbella’s Old Town. It’s definitely a worthwhile excursion, with 10 spacious exhibition rooms. This museum is a part of the Ralli Museums, the group that has other branches in Uruguay, Santiago, Punta del Este, Chile, and Caesarea. These museums boast the best collections of Latin American art in the entire world. In these museums, you can discover an extensive collection of contemporary artists from various Latin American countries. The paintings on display will show the influence of the greatest European masters.
Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo is another great place to visit in the Old Town. This museum occupies elegant Renaissance Gothic-Mujedar building, that was originally the Bazan Hospital. In the 16th century, it was registered as a protected historic monument. This is a one-of-a-kind museum in Spain, devoted to the preservation and exhibition of contemporary engravings and Spanish graphic artwork of the 20th and 21st centuries. With an extensive collection of more than 4000 artworks, you can enjoy the biggest names in the permanent collection including Goya, Miro, Picasso, and Dali. Temporary exhibitions are frequently organized in the museum.
Murallas del Castillo
The Murallas del Castillo or Ruins of the Moorish Castle are standing as the last remains of the Moorish citadel (fortified castle and city). These crenelated walls with two towers are the only relic of Muslim civilization still existing in Marbella. The walls date from the 10th and 11th centuries, from the Moorish Caliphate period. There is nothing to visit within the walls but they are definitely worth the visit as the enormous proportions of these walls leave a strong impression of the ancient citadel’s grandeur.
Enjoy the local cuisine
Marbella is a perfect place if you enjoy good food. You can’t visit this city and not try the culinary proposals by Dani Garcia – the international Marbella chef of Costa del Sol. His restaurant offers are an unrepeatable culinary experience. His proposal can be pricy, so keep that in mind before you make a decision. If you walk by the Los Naranjos Square you have to stop and recharge your batteries with traditional churros. It can also be a great way to start your morning accompanied by a great coffee.
Seafood and fish are always fresh and of great quality, so you will find many restaurants offering amazing foods of this kind. Try traditional fried fish, grilled sardines or exquisite paella, and much more! Try delicious food in a novel way with the Andalucian custom of tapa hopping. Tapas hopping will be a great way to start the evening in the historic center. Ice cream can be a great option for any time of the year. The best thing about ice cream parlors in Marbella is that they are usually open any day and most of them also offer cakes and coffee.
Waterfront Restaurants in Marbella
In this city, you will find a lot of restaurants on the beach, especially in Puerto Banus. Puerto Banus is the most fashionable and famous marina in Marbella and its glitzy scene is where all the jet-setting crowd goes to see and be seen. This is the perfect place to enjoy waterfront restaurants with outdoor terraces. The ambiance is amazing, you can savor delicious food while enjoying luxury yachts.
However, that is not everything – Marbella has so many options to enjoy food a few steps from the sea. The beach bars of Costa del Sol are attractions by themselves. The entire coastline is full of incredible options to enjoy a Mediterranean diet in a privileged setting. Marbella can boast about the most exciting gastronomic corners to delight locals and tourists. It’s hard to choose the wrong place as all of the restaurants and bars are doing their best to keep their reputation. Try another place every day to try different foods and discover unique flavors in inventive dishes.
Places for Nature Lovers
For all nature lovers, there is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a green wide space with lots of vegetation. The Park of Three Gardens in San Pedro de Alcántara extends over 95,000 square meters with more than 10,000 different plants. You will find palm trees, orange trees, pomegranate, fig, and olive trees in the Arabic garden. In Mediterranean Garden, you will see pines, strawberry and rosemary trees, and similar plants typical for that area. There is also a Subtropical Garden with different types of ficus, palms, oleander, jacaranda, and oranges.
Paseo de La Alameda is another gorgeous park, full of lush vegetation, shady pine trees and leafy palms. It’s a peaceful public park that joins the Alameda del Mar and Paseo Maritimo along the seafront in the Old Town. Park features marble walkaways on its public promenade, decorative benches, and fountains. One of the most distinguished fountains is Fuente Virgen del Rocio, made in 1762.
Aside from being a refreshing oasis, it is also home to botanical gardens and the first designated green space in the city. If you look for something more exciting, the natural reserve of Ojen is one of the places to discover in Marbella. You can enjoy the ride through the reserve in a 4×4 convertible and discover the wild nature. This place is not a Zoo or Safari, but a natural shelter for wildlife with intention of preservation of nature and education about the environment. It’s ideal for family trips and to meet wild animals like mouflons, mountain goats and deer.
Address: C. Castilla, 61, 29688 Villa Hayfaa, Málaga, Spain Phone: +34 670 25 57 81 Province: Málaga