Marbella is a city and municipality in southern Spain, belonging to the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalucía. It is part of the region of the Costa del Sol and is the headquarters of the Association of Municipalities of the region; it is also the head of the judicial district that bears its name.
Marbella embodies culture, entertainment and glamour; it is one of the most exclusive cities in the Mediterranean and the pride of the Costa del Sol. Twenty kilometres of coastline, four marinas, sixteen golf courses and a privileged climate, make it a destination beyond compare. Perhaps that is why Julio Iglesias, Sean Connery, Antonio Banderas, Eva Longoria and Naomi Campbell (just a handful of the many famous faces that are seen here) do not think twice when choosing Marbella as their holiday destination.
Visiting Marbella is a unique experience. From shopping in its luxurious boutiques to dining in its distinguished restaurants or having fun at their beach clubs, the possibilities are endless. But if the priority is relaxation, the city has twenty thalassotherapy centres and spas, alongside a first class selection of hotels in its three main centres: Marbella, San Pedro de Alcantara and Puerto Banus-Nueva Andalucía.
All of this has led to almost 4,000 Britons choosing Marbella as their place of residence.
NOT TO BE MISSED IN MARBELLA
Marbella is a destination that will not fail to surprise you. Even today its historical centre preserves the remaining fortress walls that surrounded the city in the Moorish period, and the Moorish castle. In one tower you can see built-in Roman capitals, revealing that even older construction materials were used to build the defensive enclosure.
An unmissable stop on the cultural route through the city is Cortijo Miraflores centre of culture. This 1704 mansion was a sugar cane press and mill. Today it houses the Museo del Aceite, rooms for temporary exhibitions, a library and a municipal art gallery. Behind the building, remnants of ovens and a rupestrian chapel from between the eighth and tenth centuries were found.
Also worth a visit is the Colección Municipal Arqueológica and the Museo Ralli, dedicated to the promotion of European and Latin American contemporary art. Furthermore, in the Avenida del Mar you can admire a collection of bronze sculptures by Salvador Dalí. This artery connects Marbella Marina with the Paseo de La Alameda, designed in the nineteenth century.
In the Plaza de los Naranjos, designed after the Christian conquest of Marbella, you have a view of the Hermitage of Santiago, the Town Hall and the Casa del Corregidor, built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They are in the heart historic centre of the town, with its white houses and balconies bedecked with flowers.
Near the square are the Capilla of San Juan de Dios and the sixteenth century Hermitage of Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz, and the seventeenth century Iglesia de la Encarnación. The latter consists of three naves and its front door, carved in Rococo-style ochre stone; it is truly wonderful.
The Hospital Bazán, located in the vicinity, houses the headquarters of the Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo, with works by Picasso, Miró, Tapies or Chillida. While the Museo del Bonsái, a short distance away, exhibits one of the most complete collections of its kind in Europe.
Marbella has interesting archaeological sites, like the Basílica Paleocristiana de Vega del Mar, in San Pedro de Alcántara. The remnants of the Roman town of Río Verde or those of the hot springs near Guadalmina also have some historical interest.
MARBELLA MOST IMPORTANT AREAS AND SURROUNDINGS
The coast of Marbella starts in Cabopino and finishes in Guadalmina, San Pedro de Alcantara. The following are the most prominent areas:
- Marbella East – Los Monteros
- Marbella Centre & Old Town Marbella
- The Golden Mile
- Puerto Banus
- Nueva Andalucia
- Guadalmina – San Pedro de Alcantara
The east area of Marbella, extending from Rio Real to the Port of Cabopino, is less developed and enjoys the best sand beaches, numerous “chiringuitos” and several golf clubs. The best known urbanizations are: Torre Real, Rio Real, Los Monteros, Los Altos de Marbella, Santa Clara, Las Chapas, El Rosario, Elviria, Hacienda Las Chapas, Marbesa and Cabopino. The small Port of Cabopino with some restaurants and bars, marks the beginning of the Marbella municipality by the East, coming from Malaga.
Marbella Center and Old Town Marbella
The original small village started here. “Old Town Marbella” is charming and traditionally Andalusian. It forms a labyrinth of narrowly paved streets, all leading to “The Orange Square” (Plaza de Los Naranjos). There are numerous shops, restaurants and cafes.
Marbella Center is the newer area of the city, with numerous businesses. The walk along the seaside promenade is very pleasant. This marble paved promenade stretches several kilometers, from the fishing port all the way to San Pedro de Alcantara. Some luxurious apartment complexes are situated here, like Gran Marbella, Los Cipreses and Jardin del Mediterraneo, by the Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel.
The Golden Mile
This famous stretch, between the Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel and Puerto Banus, is considered the prime location in Marbella, which received its exclusive reputation from the opening of the Marbella Club Hotel in the 50s. Aristocratic and elite families owned summer homes in this area, which initiated Marbella as an exclusive resort destination. Many of these beautiful old homes still exist today, such as Casa Los Llanos and La Coneja, which you can look up on our website. Today, this area boasts the best hotels, and many restaurants and shops along the roadway.
Mediterranean style urbanizations and single home villas have also been built in the hills above this area. The Mediterranean village “La Virginia” is on the Hills at the back of Marbella, as well as many other residential urbanizations like Sierra Blanca, Cascada de Camojan, Nagueles, Las Lomas del Marbella Club and Puente Romano. Nearer to the beach you will find urbanizations such as Casablanca, Santa Margarita, El Vicario, La Coneja, Los Verdiales, Las Torres del Marbella Club, El Ancón Playa, Oasis y Rio Verde. Luxury apartment complexes are here, like Alhambra del Mar, Marina Mariola, Las Cañas Beach, Marina Puente Romano and Oasis de Banus.
The famous Puerto Banus is home to some of the most exclusive private yachts in the world. HRH Conde de Barcelona (King Juan Carlos’ father) often sailed into Puerto Banus on his sailboat “Giralda”. Today, a bronze bust of Don Juan de Borbon sits near the lighthouse in his memory.
The port has grown into Marbella’s main recreation area, with the opening of high-fashion designer shops like Lanvin, Carolina Herrera, Armani, Louis Vuitton, El Corte Ingles department store, banks and countless restaurants, cafes, bars, piano bars and movie theaters. Some of the most luxurious apartment complexes are found here, like Los Granados, La Alzambra just across Puerto Banus, Playas del Duque, El Embrujo de Banus, Laguna de Banus, Malibu y Bahia de Banus.
Nueva Andalucia is almost a residential city of its own. It is called the “Golf Valley” due to its numerous golf courses. It is mostly residential, with beautiful single home villas and urbanizations, and is located on the hills by Puerto Banus. Albatross Hills, Aloha Park, La Corniche and Las Alamandas are among the luxury apartment communities in this area.
Guadalmina – San Pedro de Alcantara
The town of San Pedro is part of the Marbella municipality. San Pedro retains its quaint Andalusian village atmosphere, with many small shops and cafes. The new part by the sea promenade is called Nueva Alcantara. Guadalmina borders with San Pedro to the east, and splits into Guadalmina Baja on the sea side, and Guadalmina Alta on the hill side. Many beautiful seafront homes are located here. The Guadalmina small shopping center is lively with residents meeting for coffee at D’Alicia’s, or noon time aperitif and lunch at the many good restaurants and tapas bars. Many renowned personalities, such as former Spanish President Aznar, own homes in this area.
Benahavis is a quaint hillside village, which Marbella residents often visit for lunch at one of the countless village restaurants. The broader hillside area of the village includes such renowned and prestigious urbanizations as La Zagaleta, Los Flamingos with the five stars Hotel Villa Padierna, Monte Mayor, the Marbella Club Resort with its golf course and equestrian center, and El Madroñal, as well as La Alqueria, Atalaya and Monte Halcones.
Estepona municipality term borders with Guadalmina to the east, where Casasola is situated. The town of Estepona remains authentically Andalusian in spirit, as it has not been impregnated with the international flair of Marbella. The port offers a variety of restaurants and bars. The broader area is extensive, and includes such urbanizations as Menara beach, Cabo Bermejo, Torre Bermeja, Los Granados del Mar and Los Granados Playa, which together form a stretch locally known as “The New Golden Mile”. The five stars hotel Kempinski is located on this coastal stretch, as well as the Laguna Village shopping center. The best equestrian center on the Costa del Sol is also located here on the hills (Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa del Sol). Estepona offers several golf courses such as El Paraiso, Atalaya and Valle Romano on the west part.