Intimate family estate with Andalusian style and privileged location
Marbella and its neighbour Puerto Banus offer a luxury travel destination with the ideal combination of sunshine, old town charm and a chic, modern vibe.
Over the years Marbella has changed with the times, developing into a small, but vibrant and cosmopolitan city.
A few things remain the same, however: a beautiful setting, a privileged climate and a series of distinct areas.
Known above all for its beachside promenade, beaches, yacht harbour and broad, leafy avenues, Marbella’s downtown area also includes a charming historic quarter.
Partly contained within impressive medieval walls, this small but compact quarter of cobbled streets and quiet squares is home to pretty churches, elegant galleries, independent fashion and craft boutiques and a great many restaurants, tapas bars and sunny terraces.
The Golden Mile
West of the old town, if you follow the main Avenida Ricardo Soriano past the conference centre and the iconic copper Pirolí tower, you soon hit the famous Golden Mile of Marbella.
This road, which connects Marbella and the marina of Puerto Banus, cuts like a palm-lined artery through what is perhaps the best address in Marbella. It’s here that you find the famous Marbella Club Hotel and the Puente Romano, with its renowned tennis centre, but also fine dining restaurants, glamorous nightclubs, stylish beach clubs overlooking yachts moored just offshore and exclusive luxury villa zones.
Leaving these privileged enclaves of grand villas and mansions behind, you come to Puerto Banus, the famous playground of Marbella. Centred around a charming marina lined with mega yachts, Puerto Banus offers the full suite of nightlife, beaches and shopping with an emphasis on opulent hedonism.
Besides a great many luxury shops you’ll find small malls and a grand Corte Inglés department store. If you’ve tired yourself out shopping there are beach clubs, spas and also a very cosmopolitan selection of restaurants, bistros and cafés to choose from.
San Pedro Alcantara
If Puerto Banus is where Marbella comes to play then the lively little town of San Pedro is where people come for a gentle stroll or to absorb the Andalucian atmosphere. The shops, restaurants and cafés may be less exclusive, but together they produce a very authentically Spanish street scene.
Extending outwards from Marbella and San Pedro are attractive, green, low-density residential zones. Here many residents from Northern Europe have settled in charming townhouses, luxurious apartment complexes and some of the finest luxury villas Marbella has to offer.
To the east, Marbella extends from Rio Real and Los Monteros near the town’s edge all along the coast, passing the leafy suburban areas of El Rosario, Elviria, Las Chapas, Calahonda and the pretty little marina of Cabopino en route.
From Rio Real to the trendy beach clubs of the Hotel Los Monteros and Nikki Beach at the Hotel Don Carlos, this eastern area is marked by open undulating land lined with world-class golf courses and, dotted with chiringuito beach bars and fish restaurants, some of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol.
- A glamorous resort popular for its golf courses, marinas, nightlife and high-class luxury holiday villas.
- One of Europe’s favourite holiday retreats for all year round sunshine.
- A charming cobbled old town with boutique shops and tapas bars.
- Glitzy Puerto Banus marina with beautiful yachts and high-end gourmet restaurants.
- Designer shopping, boutique little stores and indoor malls for fashion and travel mementos.
- Activities ranging from adrenaline adventures to relaxing health spas.
Whatever activity you’re thinking of, be it active, cultural, sport, nightlife, shopping, fine dining or sheer relaxation and pampering, Marbella has something for everyone in the finest climate in Europe.
Besides the sailing, water sports and boat excursions on offer at the marinas of Marbella, Puerto Banus and Cabopino, this region’s other great sporting asset is its many first-class golf courses. From the championship courses of the Golf Valley, a luxurious residential area just north of Puerto Banus, the green arteries of fairways extend in all directions.
The beaches on the New Golden Mile, between San Pedro and Estepona, draw crowds watching surfers and kite-surfers from the comfort of beach bars, while others opt for pampering in the luxury spas of resort hotels.
Just a short drive down the coast is Selwo Park, a large safari park that covers several valleys and recreates the eco systems of Africa, the Americas and Asia in an open natural setting.
Venture a little further inland and you come to the foothills of the mighty coastal mountain ranges. Here soaring peaks, forested hills and green valleys with waterfalls and rock pools attract hikers, mountain bikers, nature lovers and riders from equestrian centres such as the Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa del Sol.
While some come to admire the natural scenery or to spot deer or birds of prey hovering overhead, others like the canyoning, mountain climbing or forest trails available in the countryside or at Aventura Amazonia, a popular adventure park in Elviria.
The gourmet scene in Marbella is truly international. Here you can enjoy almost any cuisine you can imagine within a 20-minute radius, from family owned ‘chiringuitos’ serving the day’s fresh catch on the beach to Michelin-starred establishments offering modern creative menus with carefully selected wines.
For an authentic Spanish feast you can head to the beaches east of Marbella where you’ll find charming seafront restaurants reached by dirt tracks. Here you can eat like a king, with plates piled high with ‘pescaito frito’ (fried fish) washed down with a cool ‘tinto del verano’ (red wine and lemonade).
In Marbella old town tiny tapas bars and neighbourhood restaurants are tucked away down narrow cobbled streets. These range from traditional tapas to fine dining gems where you can enjoy an Andalucian tasting menu complete with wines to enhance each course.
Puerto Banus is home to a dizzying selection of restaurants, from pizza and pasta, to Greek, Asian and mouthwatering seafood. The price tag may sometimes be a little higher, but with such a stunning backdrop as the most luxurious marina in Spain we think it’s more than worth it.
No matter what your taste or budget, Marbella will be sure to hit the spot when it comes to shopping. Here you can find the best of Spanish high street fashion alongside labels like Versace, Gucci, Escada and Cartier.
The main high street through the centre of Marbella is home to the likes of Zara, Cortefiel and Mango – as good a high street fashion selection as you’ll find anywhere in the world.
You can also find many familiar brands all under one roof in the fantastic indoor shopping mall, La Cañada, located on the A7 just on the outskirts of Marbella to the east of the town.
If you take just a tiny detour off into the back streets of the old town, or between the main street and the beach, you’ll come across unique little boutiques, art galleries, jewellery stores and interior design inspiration where you can pick up a souvenir or two to take back home.
For designer labels, Puerto Banus is home to names like Chloe, Missoni, Versace, Tom Ford, Hermes, Dior, Jimmy Choo, Burberry and many more; you can also find a couple of high-street labels here, too.