Not for nothing is this villa known as 'Matisse'. A classically designed 4-bed luxury villa in a stunning La Zagaleta setting, it's definitely something of a work of art. A retreat to noble Spanish…
Benahavis is one of the most affluent postcodes in Andalucia thanks to the mansions of La Zagaleta and El Madroñal. Neighbouring San Pedro grew out from a small fishing village to become a vibrant little town full of shops, tapas bars and Spanish character.
Just ten minutes from Marbella centre lies the little town of San Pedro neighbouring the district of Benahavis. This is a destination of choice for visitors who want something just as luxurious, but more laid-back than Marbella and Puerto Banus.
Where Marbella offers glamour and refinement, the area surrounding Benahavis has become popular amongst discrete celebrities having been chosen by Michelle Obama for her trip to Andalucia, as well as the annual setting for charity events organised by stars like Antonio Banderas and Eva Longoria.
Marbella’s smaller sibling San Pedro Alcantara serves the buzzing residential areas of Guadalmina and La Quinta, as well as villas in the luxury suburbs of Benahavis with the exclusive addresses of Los Flamingos, El Madroñal, La Zagaleta, Los Arqueros and Atalaya.
Located a few minutes west of downtown Marbella and Puerto Banus, it’s a small vibrant town of shopping streets and little squares basking in the sun where you’ll find a great selection of cafés, tapas bars and quaint restaurants. It’s also pleasingly down-to-earth and very typically Andalucian, as can be seen from its architecture, its ambience and the fun-filled four-day summer feria held in October.
Life here still moves according to traditional southern Spanish rhythms, so don’t expect much activity during the summer siesta when the locals retreat indoors for lunch and a rest. At night, when temperatures cool off, townspeople of all generations head out for a stroll through the streets in the old town or on the promenade.
- In Benahavis and San Pedro you’ll find old Spain keeping pace with a modern and luxurious lifestyle.
- Benahavis Pueblo is a pretty whitewashed village with a treasure-trove of top-class restaurants.
- The suburbs of Benahavis are home to some of the most exclusive and best luxury villas in Spain.
- San Pedro’s recent makeover has made it one of the loveliest towns on the Costa del Sol.
- Relax in pleasant squares with tapas bars, restaurants and shops; it’s a Spanish town where you can enjoy real Andalucian life.
- Play some of the best golf courses in Europe, as well as racquet sports and outdoor adventures.
- San Pedro beach has a relaxed Spanish vibe, palm-lined promenade, play areas, beach clubs, restaurants and cafés.
- Modern Nueva Alcantara is home to some of the best restaurants in the Marbella area.
With half a dozen first-class golf courses within a 10-minute drive, San Pedro and Benahavis make for one of the best golf holiday destinations in the whole of Europe. Los Arqueros, Magna Marbella Golf, Guadalmina, Atalaya and El Paraiso are the nearest to San Pedro, while Los Flamingos, Monte Mayor, Marbella Club and La Zagaleta are the stars of the show in Benahavis.
If that choice doesn’t spoil you too much, then just half an hour down the road takes you to the world-class Valderrama and Sotogrande, and the famous ‘Golf Valley’ of Nueva Andalucia is just minutes away.
In addition, the immediate region is also home to several racquet clubs such as the Nueva Alcantara Tennis Club, which offers tennis, padel, aerobics and dancing classes all within stylish surroundings. Such venues provide a popular social setting, as does the beachside promenade that separates San Pedro’s sandy beach from a park area complete with public fitness equipment.
If jet skiing or canoeing on the sea are not your thing, then you can also try the popular cable ski club situated at a purpose-made lake on the western side of San Pedro. The adjacent chill-out bar is just the ticket for a relaxing afternoon.
Finally, adrenaline-lovers can enjoy the nearby mountainous countryside above Benahavis which offers hiking, mountain biking, canyoning and a practically never-ending list of sports and activities for those who love to get active in the great outdoors.
Head into San Pedro town and it won’t be long before you chance upon a decent traditional, family-run restaurant, tapas bar or café.
Tapas bars make up the mainstay of the San Pedro dining scene along with cafeterias. The latter are particularly popular for a morning coffee and pastry, or traditional country bread toasted with tomato, olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Just across the broad new park that separates San Pedro proper and its newer seaside extension, Nueva Alcantara, there’s a culinary hub with a growing reputation. It boasts not only San Pedro’s finest restaurants, but also some of the best in Marbella as a whole, with top-class Italian, French, Asian and international cuisine, proving that even relatively low-key towns can offer a touch of glamour and sophistication.
For a real foodie treat, however, you can do a lot worse than to head into the village of Benahavis. Known as the ‘Dining Room of the Costa del Sol’, here you’ll find many excellent local and international restaurants clustered around the tiny village centre.
You won’t find the international boutiques and designer brands of Marbella and Puerto Banus here, but strolling through the compact streets of San Pedro you’ll come across a more typically Spanish street scene of charming, family-owned businesses.
Modern facilities such as mobile phone or computer shops live side by side with quaint, old-fashioned establishments like shoemakers and specialist knitting shops, creating a setting that reminds you that you are, undoubtedly, in Andalucia. Pick up delicious Spanish cured meats and local olive oil with a freshly baked loaf in one of the family-run stores, chances are the tomatoes are organic and home-grown too.
Also great for when you’re out and about are the convienient ‘centros comerciales’ dotted along the main A7, where you’ll find banks, a selection of cafes and restaurant and often a supermarket or two.
And if you do need to top up your suitcase with a few holiday designer labels, then the shops in the centre of Puerto Banus are an easy 10-minute drive along the coast, and the boutiques in old town Marbella lie just beyond.