‘Tour’. Just the mention of the word might conjure up visions of a guide with an umbrella droning on to a large group of disinterested tourists as they traipse round a series of overcrowded sights.

It’s time to leave those preconceptions behind, though. Because tours have changed.

In southern Spain, at least, tours these days tend to be unique experiences that take you deep under the skin of a place; inspiring, enlightening and helping you to make indelible holiday memories.

We’ve worked hard to find the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun tour guides to give you an access-all-areas insight to Spain. Here are a few of our favourite Marbella tours…

 

  1. Tapas Tour of Marbella

Tapas in Marbella

We can all go wandering around a town or city and trust in a mix of travel guides, social media and (gulp) TripAdvisor to help us find the best places to eat. But it can be hit and miss.

The beauty of a tapas tour is that you only get taken to the best, most authentic places, know exactly what to order in each bar and also have someone on hand to give you an insight into Spanish food, too.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. Off-road Buggy Tours

Marbella fun buggies

Leave city life behind and get into a motor powered (500cc) buggy: four wheels, low to the ground, a roll cage and the countryside to explore – this is a whole lot of fun.

Your guide will take you on a tour where you get to splash through rivers, skid round dusty corners, zoom through valleys and up mountains.

More information: Buggyfunmarbella.com

 

  1. Marbella Helicopter Tour

Helicopter Tour Marbella

Something a whole lot less exhausting but just as exhilarating is seeing the countryside surrounding Marbella from the air – by helicopter, to be exact.

There are lots of tours to choose from. A couple of our favourites are: flying over Ronda (seeing the town and its magnificent bridge perched on the gorge from the air is something else!); taking the helicopter for a romantic countryside lunch; or a tour of Marbella’s ultra-exclusive Golden Mile.

More information: Heliairmarbella.com

 

  1. Spirit of Jerez Tour

Spirit of Jerez Tour Toma & Coe

A day trip from Marbella to Jerez is a must for wine-lovers. The home of Sherry, you can forget everything you think you know about classic Spanish vinos and be swept away by the history and culture of one of Spain’s greatest wine towns.

Aside from a guided tour with tastings of the centuries-old Sherry wineries, you get to visit the Royal Equestrian School for which Jerez is also famous. Here you can visit the stables as well as seeing an exhibition of spectacular horsemanship.

Afterwards, there’s even time for a tapas lunch sampling platters of regional specialities. Washed down with a glass or two of Sherry, of course.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. A Day at an Olive Farm

Olive Oil Tour with Toma & Coe

Spend the day in a beautiful farmhouse (just a short drive from Marbella) learning about organic olive farming. Disconnect and reconnect with nature among fields of olives.

You’ll learn what the different olives taste and look like, and what the difference is between EVVO and lower quality oil.

You’ll also see how traditional methods are still used to harvest this golden oil which is so important to the Mediterranean diet – past, present and future.

After the tour you stay at the farmhouse for an al fresco rustic lunch of local produce, giving new meaning to ‘farm to fork’. There’s even a visit to a 15th-century chapel with its very own mosque.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. Malaga Cooking Tour

Cooking in Malaga

Here at LVC we’ve always thought that there’s no better way to get to know a culture than exploring it through its food. And it’s with this firmly in mind that we’ve chosen this Malaga cooking day tour.

Malaga city centre is only 50mins drive from the centre of Marbella so a easy day trip. Starting the day in a fresh food market in Malaga city you’ll be guided around the meat, vegetables, spices and fish to select what dishes are going to be made for lunch.

Once you’ve stocked up on supplies, you leave the big city behind and are driven out into the countryside north of Malaga to an 18th-century farmhouse.

Here you’re guided through various Spanish staple dishes, before settling down to eat them for yourself in a setting that couldn’t be more quintessentially Andalucian.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. Morocco Day Tour

Tangier, Medina, Morocco

One of the great things about visiting this part of the world is that you can easily add another continent to your travel log and nip across to Africa for the day.

This day tour allows you to get under the skin of Morocco’s rich cultural heritage, meander around the Kasbah, the Medina and food markets and be shielded from tourist traps and haggling. Lunch is in keeping with a sensory tour of Tangier keeping your taste buds tickled.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. Uber-Luxe Moroccan Overnight Trip

Tangier Palaces

For something a little bit special, you don’t get much more VIP than this overnight tour of Tangier.

You’re driven over from Marbella to Tarifa from where you can hop across the Straits, take in the sights, do some shopping, and then settle down to dinner in a private house/mansion that belonged to a Sheikh.

Contact: Tomaandcoe.com

 

  1. Tour of Gibraltar’s Tunnels

Great Siege Tunnels, Gibraltar

Gibraltar is just over an hour by car from Marbella old town. The little slice of Britain in southern Spain is certainly a curious place… plus, well, it’s got monkeys. So it’s hardly surprising that it so often makes visitors’ to-do lists of things to do when visiting Marbella.

Gibraltar is very small – so why do you need a tour we hear you ask? Well, it’s simply because the interesting part of this British territory is its history.

The Rock is riddled with military tunnels with long and colourful pasts, and the best way to see and learn about them is to go with a guide who can bring it all to life for you.

More information: Gibraltar-sightseeing.com

 

  1. Moorish Malaga City Tour

Malaga's Moorish Fortress

With its Pablo Picasso art heritage, shopping, diehard foodie credentials and lovely history-studded old centre, the city of Malaga offers a jam-packed day of sightseeing.

Rather than doing a whole city tour and trying to take it all on in a day, we’ve chosen a specific tour of just the Alcazaba.

Exploring this palace-fort with a guide gives you a unique insight into Moorish Malaga and a bit of general background into the captivating history of Al-Andalus – not to mention some beautiful views of the city.

This tour is only just over an hour long, so you’ve got plenty of time to see at least some of the rest of Malaga. Our top lunch tip is La Terraza de la Aduana: the views are wonderful; the service is excellent and the food’s delicious.

More information: Malagaadventures.com

 

11. Historic Ronda

Puente Nuevo bridge and the Ronda gorge

Ronda is a inland town, just an hour from Marbella. It has a wealth of historic sights to see from bull rings to palaces. It’s setting is spectacular sitting on a gorge and the old town is charming.

The tour visits all the sights in Ronda with a guide explaining the relevance of each as well as a boutique winery in a ancient monastery.

More information: Tomaandcoe.com

Why Hire a Tour Guide Rather than Going Solo?

Tours from Marbella

 

A guide takes the pain away from doing the research. They’ll take you to the best places, order the best food and drink and impart as much knowledge as you choose to absorb.

You’ll also get the opportunity to ask any burning questions you have about Marbella, or just Spain generally, with no stone left unturned.

A lot of tours can be private or in small groups so there’s no limitations as to where you can visit and what you can see because of group size. There’s no better way to experience the real Spain than through a local who really knows their stuff.

If this has spiked interest and you want to see the best places to stay in Marbella then our collection of luxury villas are here. And for more reading on things to do while on holiday to Southern Spain then there are lots of fun self-guided day trips to do from Marbella too.

Happy discovering!

 

 


Ben Cooper

A head-over-heels hispanophile, Ben is a one-time travel editor at Rough Guides, DK Travel, ELLEuk and Red Online.

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