Cortijo El Mirador Malaga Luxury Villa

Villas with Views that Will Take Your Breath Away

When it comes to luxury villas there are certain criteria we expect: design-led furnishings, acres of private space, the latest in luxury facilities, an enormous infinity pool, perhaps… and a view. Part of the magic of being on holiday for us is having a drink while watching the sunset or waking up and taking your morning coffee against a stunning sea view backdrop.

Here’s our pick of a few of the best villas with views in southern Spain…

Villa Cezanne, El Madronal, Benahavis

El Madronal Marbella

Set in a landscape that would make the great artist himself weep, the views from Villa Cezanne just don’t get much better!  Surrounded by a private estate of pine trees and cork oaks, you may spot the odd Jabali (wild boar) or young deer while sitting enjoying your morning coffee and the Sunday news. The views extend from the mountains down to the sea, as far as the bay of Puerto Banus and Marbella.

The best vantage point to take it all in? The black-tiled infinity pool of course, it reflects the skyline like a mirror. Very nice indeed.

Find out more about Villa Cezanne

Villas Los Flamingos 1 and 2, Marbella

los flamingos villa view

With floor to ceiling windows this villa in Benahavis invites the view indoors. Whether you’re in bed, walking down the sweeping staircase or in the garden, you have uninterrupted views of the perfectly maintained Los Flamingos golf greens which roll from the mountains at one side, down to the deep-blue Mediterranean and North African mountains at the other.

Find out more about Villa Los Flamingos

El Mirador Estate, Malaga

Villa with Poolside View

Perched high in the mountains east of Malaga is El Mirador. The name is an appropriate one – ‘mirador’ means ‘view point’ in Spanish, and this stylish villa certainly has them in abundance. Views from the pool, sunbathing and barbeque areas over the mountains and the sparkling Mediterranean beyond are incredibly special. Best of the lot, though, is the view from the massage bed while you’re having your stresses and strains worked out. Bliss.

Find out more about El Mirador

Villa Vivaldi, La Zagaleta, Benahavis

View from Pool at Villa Vivaldi

The pergola at the end of Villa Vivaldi’s garden is the perfect place to admire the coastline from up high in the exclusive La Zagaleta estate. On clear days Morocco can be seen, and the views are seemingly endless right the way along to Gibraltar. The house looks directly out to the sea, so most of the bedrooms and gardens enjoy fantastic views.

Find out more about Villa Vivaldi

Hacienda Vejer, Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz

View from Villa Bedroom Terrace

The Costa de la Luz, or ‘Coast of Light’, is well named. All year round, one of Spain’s most beautiful stretches of coastline is bathed in a light that’s almost otherworldly in its beauty. And that’s why Hacienda Vejer has made our list of best villas with views – from dawn to dusk the countryside surrounding the villa is touched with the most beautiful warm light.

Find out more about Hacienda Vejer

Villas Las Artes, Marbella, Los Monteros

sea views villa las artes marbella1

On the beach side of East Marbella, Villa Las Artes is a beautiful luxury villa by the sea. ‘By’, though, is perhaps something of an understatement – it’s practically in it. It could hardly be closer to the water, and the view from terrace to sea has no interruption – which makes it the perfect place to kick back and listen to the sea’s ebbs and flows while the sun drops to the horizon.

Find out more about Villa Las Artes

Paraiso de Camojan, Marbella

marbella view from villa

With a dramatic mountain jutting skywards behind, a lush lawn in front leading to the swimming pool and views out over Marbella and the Mediterranean it’s easy to see why we chose Paraiso Camojan as one of our pick of the best villas with views. To cap it all off, from the terrace seating area the sea peeps through the palms reminding you the beach is close by.

Find out more about Paraiso Camojan

Villa Kynthia, Paraiso, Estepona

estepona from a villa terrace

From bedroom to outdoor chill out area via the swimming pool, and practically every inch of space between, the 280-degree views that surround the graceful Villa Kynthia are seriously to-die-for. A garden with beautifully manicured lawns and mature plants surrounds the villa and frames the sea and mountain views. Absolutely breath-taking.

Find out more about Villa Kynthia

La Medina, Medina Sidonia, Cadiz

View at Villa La Medina in Medina Sidonia

High up on the hill in Medina Sidonia this beautiful villa gazes out over quaint Spanish rooftops and rolling Cadiz hills. The passing of day, from misty morning, to dazzling afternoon through to mesmerising sunset, is played out through a spectrum of colours. The exceptional vantage point of Villa La Medina means it has views over the historic town and beyond over the rolling countryside.

Find out more about La Medina

Like this pick of southern Spain’s best villas with views? For more beautiful getaways to escape to this summer, check out our full collection of luxury villas.

Marbella best spas

Seven of the Most Indulgent Spas in Marbella

To spa before the holiday or to spa during? That is the question.

While prepping for holidays it’s tempting to have a session or two to get your body smooth, relaxed, beach ready and primed for the perfect tan. But the LVC answer has always been before AND during. And with the summer just around the corner, we’ve whipped up a wonderfully indulgent pick of the best of what’s on offer near Marbella.

Women being massaged

Firstly, you should know that when we spa, we absolutely do not mess around. We have very high standards. The overall experience is the key: our criteria includes everything from expecting a beautiful spa area, relaxing mood and serene facilities, seamless service, divine products, world-class expertise and intelligent spa treatments. We’re wanting a holistic approach with perfect relaxation areas that invigorate the senses, recharges the energy levels and balances mind and body.

So here’s our pick of the best spas near Marbella that fit the bill…

Saltwater indoor pool at Thalasso Spa

Marbella Club Thalasso Spa

Address: Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, 29600 Marbella.

What: Thalassotherapy (the use of seawater, sea products, and shore climate in treatments). We’re all about bathing in the goodness of seaweed at the minute and love the way Thalasso Spa uses what Marbella has in abundance with its coastal location. There’s also a seawater pool, hammam steam baths and wood-burning Finnish sauna.

Products: Babor, Marjana Cosmetiques, Thalio, Natura Bissé.

We love: The Intensive body treatments which include body wraps and a specific-to-your-needs massage.

Point of difference: Med view seawater indoor pool – seriously, it’s wonderful.

Who’s it for: Single girls’ spa day treat, couples, star-spotters.

More information: Marbellaclub.com or ask our Concierge to book your dream treatment.

Pool at Six Senses Spa Marbella 

Six Senses Spa at Puente Romano Beach Resort

Address: Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, s/n, 29602 Marbella, Malaga.

What: Facials, massages, hammam, manicures and pedicures, hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pool, experience showers, herbal steam room and a sauna set in a beautiful facility.

Products: QMS Medicosmetics and The Organic Pharmacy (We know! We love The Organic Pharmacy, too).

We love: Vitamin C and Papaya Enzyme Peel 50 minute Facial. You’ll feel like you have new skin and fine lines diminished.

Point of difference: Signature Senses Facial by QMS Medicosmetics has been developed exclusively for Puento Romano Six Senses Spa.

Who’s it for: Everyone. This is one of our all-time favourite spas in Marbella. It has a wonderfully calming feel and is great for groups, frazzled mothers and couples.

More information: Sixsenses.com os ask our Concierge for further details and reservations.

 Finca-Cortesin-Thai-Massage

Finca Cortesin Spa

Address: Calle Casares, 2, 29690 Casares, Malaga.

What: A huge area full of natural light to spa in. Heated saltwater pool, saunas, Turkish baths, showers, relaxation lounge, Japanese bath (water maintained at a constant 10ºC) and a -12º snow cabin.

Products: Biologique Recherche.

Point of difference: Thai massages and a very attentive team to serve you. They’ll supply reading material, delicious tea or thirst-quenching drinks before you’ve even thought about wanting them.

Who’s it for: Couples and people needing to get away from it all for total relaxation. Oh, and ageing rock superstars, too – Axel Rose is known to spend weeks there.

More information: Fincacortesin.com or again, our Concierge has direct contacts with the spa to ensure the best slots.

Treatment Room at Kempinski Spa Marbella

Kempinski Spa at Hotel Bahia

Address: Kempinski Hotel Bahia, Carretera de Cadiz, Km 159, 29680 Estepona, Malaga.

What: Indoor relaxation pool, Finnish sauna, steam room, ice fountain, heated benches and a relaxation area.

We love: Their treatments and specially created spa menu for men – so many spas overlook the men. Our favourite is the Niance Men Revitalize facial.

Products: Niance and Thémaé.

Point of difference: Quartz Sand bath spa table (the only one in Spain). Try it, it’s dreamy.

Who’s it for: People who might want a quick spa circuit and treatment or who like to spa-light. This Marbella spa is easy come easy go and very accessible.

More information: Kempinski.com or get in touch with our Concierge to assist.

 Dipping pool at Healthhouse La Dunas Spa

Healthouse Las Dunas

Address: Urbanizacion Boladilla Baja, Crta. Cadiz km 163500, 29689, Estepona, Marbella.

What: A real focus on healthy lifestyle with treatments using mainly aromatherapy and hydrotherapy. There is a designated swimming lane, sensation path, vitality pool with jacuzzi, warm cave, cold cave, salt cabin, caldarium, snow cabin, sauna, steam bath and flotarium.

We love: Their Spa & Yoga sunset sessions with a 1 hour yoga class and 30 minute massage as well as access to the whole spa – an ideal treat.

Products: Algologie.

Point of difference: This is a wellness facility with luxurious surroundings; it particularly focuses on weight loss.

More information: Healthouse-naturhouse.com or contact our Concierge as the first step to feeling wonderful!

Dipping Pool At Villa Padierna Spa

Villa Padierna Thermae Spa

Address: Urb. Los Flamingos Golf, Ctra. de Cadiz, Km. 166. 29679 Marbella – This one is perfectly located for our Los Flamingos villas

What: Elegant Romanesque-inspired spa facilities with luxurious surroundings. Four steam rooms with different essential aromas and temperatures (one with sea salt, one Greek sauna, two Finnish saunas), a very atmospheric dynamic swimming pool, a flotarium and a Laconium as well as a treatment room with oxygen bubbles (yes, the ultimate treatment room).

We love: The facials,. Choose from a personalised treatment, the Michelle Obama or Sophia Loren. Well it if works for them…

Products: Piroche Cosmétiques, Carita, Micro Puncture Lab©.

Point of difference: The Roman plunge pool is pure elegance. This luxurious spa is the best for celebrity spotting, too.

More information: Villapadiernawellness.com or contact our Concierge who looks after our guests just next door.

Outside The Barbers Shop in Puerto Banus

The Barber Club Marbella

Address: Boulevar Principe Alfonso, 015, 29601, Puerto Banus, Marbella

What: A men’s barbers, coffee lounge and spa treatment club. Modern, fashionable and cutting edge, this place offers men’s facials, tanning, massages and grooming.

We love: That men are taking care of themselves – swoon.

Products: Penhaligon’s, Uppercut, Creed.

Point of difference: It’s all about the men and that’s unique in Marbella.

More information: Thebarberclubmarbella.com.

Want to wrap a trip to one of our favourite Marbella spas up into the perfect pamper day? Check out our essential guide to Marbella shopping.

To make sure your stay in southern Spain is as healthy and relaxing as possible, why not consider one of our retreat villas?

when is the best time to visit Andalucia

When’s the Best Time to Visit Andalucia?

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: it’s never exactly a bad time to visit southern Spain, as on any given day of any given week all year round, there’s something going on. However from full-on fiestas to solemn religious ceremonies, via annual harvests and music festivals, we’ve picked out a few of the very best times to visit.

Planning a Visit around the Weather

Weather-wise, when’s the best time of year to visit Andalucia? It’s a question that gets put to us a lot here at the Luxury Villa Collection. And the answer we always have to give is… it very much depends.

Andalucia’s a big region – four times as large as that default indicator of size, Wales – plus, it’s also an area of huge geographical diversity. So while you may have lovely winter sunshine and 20 degrees down on the coast, the snow might well be falling on the mountains inland.

Let’s focus on the positives, though, and the average temperatures in the region’s most sun-soaked province, Malaga:

Weather in Malaga, Average Temperatures

Traditional & Religious Events

Easter (Semana Santa) in Andalucia

Carnival – Cadiz; 2nd to 12th March 2017: The weekend before Lent is a massive party weekend in southern Spain and nowhere does it bigger than the city of Cadiz. It’s a noisy, messy affair where everyone takes to the streets in fancy dress and parties until sunrise.

Semana Santa – Seville; 9th to 15th April 2017: With the sound of brass and the scent of incense on the night air, every Easter the streets of Seville are filled with the processions of Semana Santa (or Holy Week). While Seville undoubtedly puts on the biggest and grandest display of devotion, other places of note include all the big cities – Granada, Malaga and Cordoba especially – while the small town of Velez-Malaga is a spectacular and lesser-known alternative.

Las Cruces de Mayo – Granada; 2nd to 3rd May: Another city, another full-scale party dressed up as a religious occasion. While the crosses which are displayed in squares throughout the city are undoubtedly lovely, Granada’s Las Cruces is, in reality, just a great excuse for a party. And why not?

Patios de Cordoba; second and third week of May: North, south, east or west, spring is one of the best times to visit Spain, wherever in the country you might be thinking of heading. Nowhere is that more the case than in Cordoba. In May, some of the oldest and most beautiful patios of the town’s historic centre are decked out in their full floral finery and opened up to the public. Unmissable.

El Rocio Pilgrimage – Huelva; Pentecost/depending on Easter: One of the region’s most impressive devotional displays, up to a million people have been known to make the journey to this remote church to see the Virgin make her spectacular appearance in the early hours of Pentecost Monday. With El Rocio sitting right in the heart of the Doñana National Park, it makes for a great excuse to explore one of Spain’s great natural wildernesses, too.

Music & Nightlife Events 

Flamenco festivals

Beach club opening parties, Marbella and Puerto Banus; mid-late April: Something of a curtain-raiser for summer on the Costa, the beach clubs throw everything they’ve got into their annual opening parties. Nikki Beach, perhaps the best of the bunch, gets their season underway this year on 28th April with most of the others falling either side of it.

Granada international festival of music and dance; 17th June to 8th July: While the flamenco on display during Granada’s annual festival is fantastic (2016 headliners include Eva Yerbabuena and Miguel Poveda), it’s undoubtedly the setting that steals the show. Sitting under the stars in the gardens of the Generalife accompanied by some top-class dance and exquisite views of historic Granada is an unforgettable experience.

Starlite Marbella; 13th July to 26th August 2017: Marbella‘s music festival is now a firm fixture on the Andalucia events calendar. 2017’s big international names include Elton John, Pretenders, and Anastacia, while Dani Martin, Malú and Morat top the line-up of Spanish performers.

Flamenco festivals; June-September: while Andalucia’s greatest art form is very definitely a year-round affair (check out our guide to Flamenco), it really heats up every year along with the summer temperatures. Malaga’s summer alone is studded with superb flamenco events from Alhaurin de la Torre (June) and Alora (July) to Antequera and Ronda (both August) before, finally, the main event of the Malaga Bienal Festival takes place in early to mid-September.

Ferias

Spain as a whole celebrates more local virgins’ and saints’ day than you can shake a stick at. But if there’s a capital of the religious holiday, it has to be Andalucia. Aside from the religious elements, they mean one thing: letting your hair down and partying in a colourful blur of flamenco dresses, fairgrounds, dancing and drinking under the stars.

Ferias are held from April until September and are one of Andalucia’s greatest spectacles. In terms of city ferias, a few of the main ones of note are:

  • Seville’s Feria de Abril: 30th to April to 6th May 2017
  • Feria de Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera; 13th to 20th May 2017
  • Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, Cordoba; 20th to 27th May 2017
  • Feria de San Bernabé, Marbella; 6th to 12th June 2017
  • Feria de Malaga; 12th to 19th August 2017

Gastronomy, Food & Wine Events

Down in Andalucia, the seasons – and the harvesting of the fruit of land and sea – still have a huge impact on people’s everyday lives. Spring sees olives, oranges, avocados, asparagus and the Almadraba fishing of bluefin tuna in Cadiz. By the late summer the region is exploding into wine harvests, while come the autumn the almonds and figs are bursting.

There are simply too many food and wine festivals in the region to name them all, but here are a couple that come with the LVC seal of approval:

Las Fiestas de la Vendimia y Otoño, Jerez de la Frontera; 1st to 18th September: One of the oldest ferias in Spain, Jerez’s annual Sherry shindig is a blur of wine crushing, bodega visits and tastings, flamenco, horses and general festivities.

Axarquia food festivals; August to September: this mountainous region to the east of Malaga has been getting something of a name for itself in recent years for its cluster of food-related festivals – and all the singing, dancing and general celebrations that comes with them.

  • Dia de Morcilla (blood sausage), Canillas de Aceituno; 29th April 2018
  • Dia de la Cereza (cherry), Alfarnate; 23rd June 2018
  • Fiesta del Gazpacho; Alfarnatejo; 5th August 2017
  • Noche del Vino (sweet wine), Competa; 15th August 2017
  • Fiesta del Ajoblanco (cold almond soup), Almachar; 2nd September 2017
  • Dia de la Pasa (raisin), El Borge; 17th September 2017

Sporting Events 

Polo at Sotogrande

Moto Grand Prix – Jerez Motor Racing Circuit – 22nd to 24th April 2016: one of the biggest events on the Spanish motorsports calendar roars into Jerez every April. The second race of the Moto GP season is a big deal in Spain, and the atmosphere track-side over the course of a long weekend in April is one of the liveliest around.

Golf on the Costa del Sol: while the region’s +300 days of sunshine mean that golf is very much a year-round sport in Andalucia, the best times of year to book a golf holiday are probably spring and autumn, when you get the sunshine without the searing summer temperatures. (Have a look at our pick of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol.)

Land Rover International Polo Tournament – Sotogrande; 28th July to 29th August: Sotogrande’s Santa Maria Polo Club hosts one of the highlights of the polo calendar every summer. One of the most prestigious events in Andalucia, it’s an occasion in which to see and be seen – obligatory glass of bubbly in hand – as much as it is to watch what’s going on out on the field.

Sanlucar Horse Racing, Sanlucar de Barrameda; 10th to 27th August: This hell-for-leather horseback sprint along the Sanlucar sands goes all the way back to 1845. The setting’s superb and the atmosphere’s lively (with more than a drop or two of Manzanilla being supped). Best of all, though, you get right up close to the action and feel the thundering of hooves underfoot.

Ski season in the Sierra Nevada: Europe’s most southerly ski resort opens for business every year with the first snows in December, before closing up again in late April (or even on occasions in late May). Which means that you can literally spend a morning on the slopes before dropping down to the coast and hitting the beach in the afternoon.

Nature & the Great Outdoors

Cherry Blossom in Andalucia

Flamingo migration at Fuente de Piedra; late February: For many of us bird-watching is not exactly the stuff of riveting holidays. However, seeing the flamingos at Fuente de Piedra is a little different. To catch a glimpse of them, as a vivid flash of pink against the blue sky, before they descend on the salt lakes of is one of the most beautiful natural spectacles in Europe.

Arrival of the cherry blossom, Axarquia; March (depending on the weather): Andalucia’s cherry blossom season may not be quite as well-known as Japan’s, but it’s still pretty spectacular. Alfarnate’s Ruta de las Pilas, a 12km round trip through the orchard-lined countryside, is one of the very best ways to experience it.

Beach weather; May onwards: While you can obviously stretch out on the sand at any time when the sun’s shining in southern Spain, locals tend not to venture onto them until summer has really kicked in. May and October can regularly touch on 30 degrees Celsius – more than warm enough for most of us to get the beach bag out, in other words.

Cork oak harvest – Los Alcornocales Natural Park; June-August: The serious business of the cork harvest is still carried out by hand and mule every summer in the cork forests of Los Alcornocales. A morning winding your way through the sun-dappled trees, stopping off to watch the trees being painstakingly stripped of their bark along the way, can be neatly finished up with a long, leisurely lunch in a stunning mountain town like Gaucin, Jimena de la Frontera, Ubrique or Zahara de la Sierra.

Our guide to when to visit Andalucia is far from definitive. There’s simply SO much more to see and do in this fabulous region of Spain – to the extent, in fact, that we’ve missed out, not just one but two, entire provinces in Almeria and Jaen.

So what’s stopping you? See the best of southern Spain from one of our luxury villas.

puerto banus waterfront shops

The Essential Luxury Puerto Banus Shopping Guide

If you like to shop and like your designer brands then there aren’t many places that come close to Puerto Banus. Why? For the sheer concentration of designer boutiques in a relatively small area: Bond Street may have the designer staples in mega-boutiques, but Puerto Banus has a very heels-friendly, bite-sized offering.

Here’s our guide to the very best luxury Puerto Banus shopping – whether you’re mad about Michael Kors or love a bit of Lanvin, there should be something for you in this little lot…

Versace

Conjunto Residencial Benabola, 8 (First shop into the port at the fountain)

No introduction is needed for this famous fashion house. Always a favourite for that evening dress to impress.

Gucci

Muelle Ribera, 15-16 (Near Salvatore Ferragamo)

gucci shop front puerto banus

Another shop front, another global fashion icon. Gucci’s PB instalment features lashings of the usual glamorous looks from the brand’s recent magazine front cover-conquering collection.

Tod’s

Muelle Benabola, 3 (At the entrance to Puerto Banus)

Household name Italian accessories designer Tod’s sells classic shapes in wearable colours. Their moccasins are a basic holiday necessity.

Carolina Herrera

Muelle Benabola, 5 (A little further along from Tod’s near Sinatra’s Bar)

Carolina Herrera is the high priestess of classic, high-end, stylish design. Head here for sheer sophistication.

Hackett

Calle Ribera, Casa L, 8 (Second road from the Port opposite Hermes)

Traditional British clothing brand Hackett is still doing what they’ve been doing since 1979. Expect the usual beautifully made men’s classics in their Puerto Banus store.

Hermes

Calle Ribera, 11 (Second road from the Port)

French label Hermes may be famed for its accessories (it’s a scientifically proven fact that you can never have too many Hermes silk scarves) but don’t overlook its ready-to-wear collection.

La Perla

Avenida de la Rivera, 33

Italian luxury lingerie designer La Perla’s Puerto Banus shop is a romantic, elegant affair full of pure silk, Chantilly lace, ribbon and feathers. They also have a gorgeous swimwear collection, too.

Lanvin

Muelle Ribera, 1b

view of lanvin puerto banus

Our favourite of the Paris fashion houses, Lanvin serves up edgy, feminine designs for urbanites, socialites and debs.

Salvatore Ferragamo

Muelle Ribera, 17K

Need shoes? Visit Salvatore Ferragamo. From classic heels to avant-garde statement shoes, the Italian designer’s shoes are a thing of legend.

Jimmy Choo

Muelle Ribera Casa N, 5-6 (Near Louis Vuitton)

One word: swoon. While Jimmy Choo’s sun-kissed Puerto Banus boutique couldn’t be further from his beginnings in East London, the clientele is much the same as anywhere else: fashion royalty and the international city jet set.

Louis Vuitton

Muelle Ribera, Casa N (At the end near Dolce & Gabbana)

louis vuitton puerto banus

Little introduction is needed for the French brand that managed to make luggage sexy. Suitcases and bags aside, you can pop in and browse their full range of holiday-friendly accessories and a ready-to-wear collection, too. 

Dolce & Gabbana

Muelle Ribera 3-4

Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana have been at the forefront of fashion for nearly three decades. Always fresh and inspiring, their designs are youthful with killer tailoring.

Hoss Intropia

Muelle Ribera, Casa Jota, 11-12

While Hoss Intropia can be found on most of the more desirable shopping streets in Europe they still have a unique edge compared to other high-end high street offerings. Their exquisite designs are ideal for wedding guest attire or summer evenings or… just any time, really.

Agent Provocateur

Muelle Ribera, Casa N, 12

Still pushing all boundaries with naughty but nice lingerie, swimwear designs and a boutique that’s as extravagant as their underwear. It’s impossible to leave without an armful of those pink and black bags.

Michael Kors

Muelle Ribera, 13

New York-based designer Michael Kors offers wearable, practical solutions for your wardrobe. The Puerto Banus boutique stocks his MICHAEL Michael Kors sports luxe range as well as his ready-to-wear collection.

Dior

Calle Ribera, Casa F, 15 (Second road from the port)

Dior Store Front Puerto Banus

Oh, Dior! Raf Simons left the helm in 2015 and the future is uncertain. However, customised accessories is where it’s at and Dior has just pretty much blown all other options out of the water. They’ve launched MyDiorSoReal sunglasses, so it would be rude not to purchase a pair. If you’re in sunnies this season make it Dior.

Tom Ford

Muelle Ribera, Casa F, 20

Tom Ford brought Gucci from the brink of bankruptcy in the 90s before setting up his own label in the noughties. Thank you Tom for having a store in Puerto Banus – we can’t get enough of the American chic, feminine designs.

High Street with Edge in Puerto Banus

Uterqí¼e

Calle Ramí³n Areces, 5

From the same house as Zara, Uterqí¼e is not luxury but it does do fashion accessories and some choice basic clothing items very well indeed. A good option to browse through for basic wardrobe-fillers.

338B

Calle Ramí³n Areces, 16B

This compact shop pulls together a youthful selection of clothes and accessories from recognised labels including Ted Baker (thank goodness), Highly Preppy and Sam Edelman (more shoes) among others.

Adolfo Dominguez

Centro Comercial Marina Banus

Also on the same road as Uterqí¼e and 338B is a shopping centre (Centro Comercial Marina Banus) with some high street stores inside. One of note is Adolfo Dominguez. It’s always worth visiting as it hits trends in a classic, effortless way with its easy to wear everyday favourites.

El Corte Ingles 

El Corte Ingles is the department store in Spain, it sits somewhere between the British stores of House of Fraser and Selfridges – or similar to Browns, if you’re North American.

The usual suspects are all present and correct in the cosmetics hall with the likes of Bobbi Brown, Bare Minerals, Chanel, Kiehl’s and Estée Lauder on offer. Elsewhere there are accessories from Bimba y Lola (a Spanish fashion brand to love, think Jonathan Saunders with uniquely bold, easy to wear designs), whole floors of women’s and men’s designer fashion (Burberry, Emporio Armani and Missoni to name but a few brands), as well as a good children’s department (yes there’s a Petit Bateau). Other floors include homeware, electrical goods and food departments – everything you’d expect from a large department store, basically.

Liking our guide to the best Puerto Banus shopping, but in need of more top retail therapy? Check out our edit of the very best Marbella shopping.

Blog Marbella Shopping Essentials

The Insiders Guide to Marbella Shopping

Marbella and shopping. Did two things ever sit together so naturally? It’s all in the heritage: the area was born out of the golden age of wealthy jet setters in the 50s. And there’s one thing the glamorous jet set of yesteryear (and present day, for that matter) know how to do – and that is spend it.

While just up the road, Puerto Banus is door-to-door designer boutiques, Marbella’s offering is slightly more varied and you have to work a little harder to find its most inviting independent shops.

To give you a bit of a helping hand, we’ve picked out a handful of the very best in our guide to Marbella shopping.

The Best of the Boutiques

My Dreamy Shoes 

Calle Nueva, 4

my dreamy shoes marbella

Dreamy by name, dreamy by nature. This small shoe shop in Marbella has a great selection of shoes for women and children, from wedges and espadrilles to boots and heels. If you want something a bit unusual in the way of footwear you’ll find it here.

Liz Cole Couture/The Hat Shop 

Calle Panaderia, 4

Liz Cole’s studio is just off Plaza de los Naranjos, tucked away down a narrow street. She sources the most divine collection of kimonos, as well as making made-to-measure clothing out of handmade silk. She can design and make anything you want, from 40s-inspired shirt dresses to 50s full skirts as well as modern shift dresses. A dress takes about two months from design, to fitting to the finished article – so plan your trip well.

Atelier Marbella Crea 

Avenida Miguel Cano 6 / Local 2 Bajo

atelier marbella

Need a hat for the wedding season or ladies’ day at Ascot? Let’s face it, buying a hat off the peg to go with an outfit never looks quite right – you nearly always have to get one made that matches the colour or style of your outfit. Fortunately, your ideas are in safe hands with Atelier as they are a long-established milliners (and school) in Marbella.

D.Oliva 

Calle Nueva, 9

DOliva gourmet wine shop Marbella

D.Oliva only stock the very finest produce from Andalucia – Owner David personally selects his wine from local vineyards and sells this alongside a mind-blowing choice and flavours of Spanish olive oil – try it with fresh pan de pueblo in the shop, or you can even book a full blown wine and food pairing (book it as part of an Old Town Marbella Tapas Tour with our colleagues at Toma Tours). It’s a great place to drop in to if you’re a food-lover.

Twist Boutique 

Centro Comercial La Colonia (San Pedro de Alcantara)

twist boutique marbella

Twist makes the cut for the LVC Marbella shopping edit as it stocks small brands that are casual, easy to wear and stylish. Don’t let the slightly dated shop fit and merchandising put you off as the collections are handpicked by the owner. It also stocks Hudson jeans and Ugg footwear.

Nina B 

Centro Comercial Centro Plaza, Avenida Manolete, 1, Local 39-40 (Nueva Andalucia)

A carefully selected range of clothing and accessories from largely Swedish designers fill this boutique in Nueva Andalucia. A range of unusual and sensibly priced brands such as Filippa K, Caterina Lucchi, Sixty Days and TCN make it well worth a visit.

Gunnels Fashion 

Centro Comercial Centro Plaza, Avenida Manolete, Local 18-19 (Nueva Andalucia)

gunnels fashion nueva andalucia

Born out of the need for unique, original pieces of clothing and accessories, Gunnels is a boho-chic, pretty, breath of fresh air. The owner is Swedish and is famed for her clogs (yes you heard correctly, clogs – just try them and you’ll see where we’re coming from). We love this boutique and always pop in when we’re in Nueva Andalucia.

Berdaguer 

Calle de Ramiro Campos Turmo, 10

Not forgetting the men, of course… Berdaguer is one of the more traditional, high-quality men’s clothing shops in Marbella. Stocking branded names such as Hackett, Burberry and Church’s, this boutique deals in classic clothing and a variety of accessories that would keep any man happy.

The Best of Vintage

These two vintage shops stock quality pieces from recognised names so it’s always worth popping in for that vintage Luis Vuitton backpack, Chloé silk dress or YSL circa 1984 belt you’ve always wanted.

Chic Vintage 

Calle de Enrique del Castillo, 1

chic vintage marbella

This little shop is filled from top to bottom with all sorts of vintage clothing and accessories. Be prepared to rummage, but there are gems to be found.

Ruz Vintage 

Avenida Ricarco Soriano, 21

Only stocking luxury brands, Ruz vintage has a great collection of clothes and accessories including a good selection of silk scarfs in perfect condition.

The Best Shopping Centre

Set back off the Carretera de Ojén and surrounded by palms, La Cañada makes for a great option if you’re wanting an afternoon away from the beach or the pool. There are a few designer names knocking about, but it’s largely the best of the Spanish high street that fills the space.

Adolfo Dominguez

Classic styles in good quality fabrics fill Adolfo Dominquez stores. Its collections are forever favourites that won’t go out of fashion. Think a sea of tan, creams, navy, black and a nod to fashionable colours. They stock men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, costume jewellery and sunglasses. 

Bimba y Lola

We love Bimba y Lola. Expect fresh designs that go from edgy, to classics with a twist. A relatively small collection is served up every season featuring bold colours, tailored trousers and dresses with shoes, bags and jewellery to compliment.

Purificacion Garcia

Men’s and women’s mid-range designer shop Purificacion Garcia always delights with flattering cuts, inventive designs and forever pieces.

If you’re after a suitably glamorous base camp for your Marbella shopping trip, check out our collection of luxury villas.

golden sundown estrella del mar

A Pick of the Best Marbella Beach Clubs

Beach clubs are how people ‘do’ the beach these days.

Gone are the days when you just rocked up at a strip of sand you liked the look of (which hopefully had some sort of restaurant attached for refreshment), hired a sunbed and a parasol and then gathered the soggy, dirty towels up at the end of the day. No, no, NO. Now it’s full service, extensive wine, champagne and cocktail menus, top-class international food, live entertainment and swimming pools. Oh, thank goodness.

Move over Miami, step aside Ibiza, there’s a new home to hedonistic pool parties and beach clubs: Marbella. And from the deep-down decadent and crazy to more relaxed and elegant affairs, here’s our pick of the very best…

Nikki Beach

nikki beach marbella aerial

The beach club that basically started it all, Nikki Beach is still the venue that sets the standards. The restaurant delivers quality dish after dish across a ‘global favourites’ menu with a few local Spanish flourishes. The sushi is fresh, the seafood platter is one of the best in Marbella (with or without the outrageous theatre that accompanies it to your table or poolside bed) and their key offerings are rotisserie-style chicken, lamb or suckling pig.

Food aside, the partying reputation of this hugely successful chain of beach clubs needs little or no introduction. It’s difficult to convey just how fabulous the parties are. The entertainment is BIG – think Cirque du Soleil and you wouldn’t be far from some of the events. The whole place has an air of extravagance about it. There are ample beds poolside, easy access to the beach, covered dining and a seriously well stocked bar. The tagline is ‘Tell only your best friends’. The secret is well and truly out, but it never disappoints.

Don’t miss their Amazing Sundays, Full Moon Parties, White Parties, and… well, any of their events, actually.

Opening party date: 13th April 2017.

Closing party date: The closing season Red party is on 1st October 2017.

Address: Playa Hotel Don Carlos, Carretera de Cadiz, Km 192, 29600 Marbella, Malaga; 952 83 62 39; Nikkibeach.com.

Puerto Banus & to the West

Ocean Club Marbella

ocean club poolside

Ocean Club in Puerto Banus is a dazzling vision of white and light blue. It’s beside the beach but not on it – so if you’re a sand-hater, it’s the one for you – while the decked terrace is adorned with circular beds that mirror the shape of the pool.

The party atmosphere ramps up and up throughout the day into the early hours of the morning. The atmosphere is relaxed during the afternoon until the sun sets when the no-holds-barred pool parties, complete with theatrical performances, begin and the music blasts out over the Med. On the themed nights nothing is too over the top to thrill the crowds who queue to enter – these parties are legendary. On specific nights the pool is transformed into a stage where entertainers (including plenty of famous names) whip the crowd into an outdoor, amphitheatre-like frenzy.

The cocktail list has a great selection of mojitos as well as the usual suspects. As for the lunchtime restaurant, it serves the likes of sushi, pizzas, pasta, salads, kebabs, club sandwiches, burgers and other food for party-goers. The choice of alfresco or indoor eating is a welcome extra for those needing a bit of respite from the midday sun.

Opening party date: Their White & Silver opening party is on 28th April 2017.

Closing party date: Black & Gold closing party is on 30th September 2017.

Address: Avenida Lola Flores, S/N, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; 952 90 81 37; Oceanclub.es.

 

Luxury Marbella Villas for Rent

 

La Sala by the Sea

sala by the sea pool

La Sala by the Sea certainly scores well on the convenience front: it has its own designated parking and valet service in the centre of Puerto Banus, so you can park up and be out of your car stretched out on a bed, drink in hand, in the blink of an eye.

This relatively small beach club has its own circular-shaped pool (not as large as many others’), a restaurant, treatment rooms and its fair share of party action during the summer. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner with an emphasis on seafood with the odd Asian twist. The drinks menu is average, serving the usual suspects – it’s neither surprising nor disappointing either. If you want to hire a beach bed around the club, towels and fresh fruit come in the hire price. However if you’d like to sunbathe on the beds on the beach they charge extra for the towels.

Opening party date: 26th April 2017 for the summer season.

Address: Av Jose Banus, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; 952 81 38 82; Lasalabythesea.com.

Sisu Boutique Hotel Puerto Banus

OK, OK, we may be being a bit naughty here, as Sisu doesn’t qualify as a beach club for the simple reason that it’s nowhere near the beach. However, it has a pool, a 20-person Jacuzzi and a vibe that’s very much in keeping with it, namely: tan, dip and party.

Besides, it is quite simply the place to party in Puerto Banus. It’s on-trend, it’s open 24 hours a day throughout the summer and its pool parties are mythical. Events vary from Black Diamond to Laurent Perrier, and the music is soulful house with live accompaniment. There are VIP areas, a restaurant, designer seating and beds – all of which makes it one of the best places on the coast to celeb-spot and pose.

Opening party date: they kick the 2017 season off with a Friday Pool Party on 14th April.

Closing party dates: 29th and 30th September 2017.

Address: Carretera N-340, Km 173, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Sisuboutique.com.

Further West – San Pedro to Estepona

Club del Mar

Club del Mar is part of the five-star Villa Padierna Palace Hotel complex. They don’t offer entertainment for the evenings as it’s only open from 11am to 6pm. It’s a wonderfully relaxing place in which to hang out during the day, though, whether you’re stretched out on the beach enjoying the full waiter service or eating high quality food in the light and airy beach house. (Top LVC tip: check out their caviar menu – it’s to-die-for.)

Opening dates: all year round

Address: Av. Bulevar Principe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 29602 Marbella, Malaga; 952 82 09 00 ext. 22189; Villapadiernapalacehotel.com.

Purobeach Marbella

puro beach marbella pool

Puro’s Marbella arm is part of a cabana-styled commercial complex called Laguna Village. Fear not, it’s a perfectly formed group of independent boutiques, eateries and services like valet and water sport rental – all of which makes for a unique plus to a night out by the sea.

Entertainment-wise the famous Puro house music with live DJs is a given, but to shake things up a bit they also put on occasional Flamenco nights.

As is becoming the norm, each hammock hired comes with towels and a welcome tray of fresh fruit and mineral water. Purobeach goes that little bit further, though, and also includes after-sun, cold towels and smoothie shot – just to make your day even more comfortable. Be sure to book in for a massage in their Nomad Lounges by the pool or on the beach. We highly recommend their orange aromatherapy massage – divine!

Opening dates: Puro is open all year round during the day (aside from Mondays and Tuesdays during November until March) and from June to September all night too (check out their site for exact hours).

Address: Carretera Cadiz, Km 159, 29680 Estepona, Malaga; 952 80 00 15; Purobeach.com.

East of Marbella

Funky Buddha Beach

funky buddha beach pool

Over to the east, Funky Buddha Beach may not be the largest of our selection, but it has its own particular following. The pool is average in size but more than ample for cooling down with a drink and chilling out to the live music. It generally attracts a younger crowd and it’s home to one of the more raucous scenes around. The cocktails don’t blow us away, but it’s a fun vibe with a touch of madness thrown in to keep it fresh.

Closing Party Date: Ultra Pool Party Sunday 24th September 2017

Address: Carretera Nacional Km 340 – 184; 29603 Marbella; Malaga; 699 009 808; Funkybuddhabeach.com.

Orange Beach Club by Hotel Don Carlos

This incredibly stylish Marbella beach club is part of the five-star Don Carlos resort. Open to non-hotel guests, it’s impeccably designed with beautiful furniture and excellent service. The strip of beach in front is very much part of the club and you can expect the same level of service there, along with a choice of sun loungers and fabulous Balinese beds.

After dark there’s live music throughout the summer in the form of female vocalists, jazz bands and swing groups. The entertainment (which usually starts around 8pm) is very much at the refined end of the spectrum. If you fancy a spot of spa pampering – in the form of a high-class treatment or two at the Don Carlos spa – followed by sun-downers at the Orange Beach Club, it’s hard to top.

Opening dates: from Easter to 2nd October

Address: Avenida Zurita s/n, 29604 Marbella, Malaga; 952 76 88 00; Doncarlosresort.expohotels.com.

Beach Club Estrella del Mar

sunset estrella del mar

The beach club at Hotel Vincci Estrella del Mar is more of a daytime casual affair than party central – somewhere to lie back on a Bali bed and relax, rather than dance till dawn. Because of the close proximity of the hotel there are great spa facilities, including an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, gym and treatment rooms. The club itself is on the beach, with wonderful lawned areas and a fantastic infinity pool around which they hold live music events and fashion shows.

Opening dates: all year round – it’s a good place to have a leisurely lunch in the winter sun.

Address: A/, km 190.5 Urbanizacion Estrella del Mar, desvio Urbanizacion Golden Beach, 29604 Marbella, Malaga; 951 05 39 90; Beachclubestrelladelmar.com.

La Cabane Beach Club

pool scene cabane marbella

Part of Hotel Los Monteros, this impeccable Marbella beach club is a pristine wash of blue and white. Clean-lined sunbeds and shades line a very welcoming pool indeed – this is a daytime-only club so there are no crazy parties or dancers, just a relaxed place to lounge by the sea. The welcome package you receive when you hire a lounger includes fruit skewers, towels and personalised waiter service. On weekends the restaurant lays on a seafood buffet which, OK, might sound a bit cheap and nasty, but in actual fact the food is fantastic with the freshest of fresh produce being served up.

Opening times: April, May and October: From Fridays to Sunday, from 11am to 6pm; June, July, August and September: Open daily from 11am to 7pm.

Address: Calle Jabali, 29603 Marbella, Malaga; 952 76 27 20; Monteros.com – Stay just a stone’s throw away at family-friendly Villa Malibu, or the exquisitely high-end Villa Las Artes

And a little further afield…

Finca Cortesin

finca cortesin beach club dining

Yes, we know Finca Cortesin isn’t in Marbella but so classy is its beach club that we just couldn’t leave it out. It’s an elegant and sophisticated affair where you relax immediately upon arrival, want for nothing and feel thoroughly loved throughout your stay and leave feeling utterly serene. The tasteful seating and sunbeds are either clustered around the infinity pool or facing out to sea on this attractive, and less developed stretch of coast. The restaurant serves up casual seafood and rice dishes, but to Finca Cortesin’s five-star standard.

Opening times: It’s open Wednesday till Sunday during April, May, June and September. During July and August it’s open 7 days a week.

Address: Bahia de Casares, Malaga; Fincacortesin.com.

Planning a party-filled summer break on the Costa del Sol with friends? Check out our collection of luxury Marbella villas to rent.

Want to book a bed or get VIP entrance at one of the best Marbella beach clubs? Our concierge will happily arrange it for you.

La Zagaleta Villa Vivaldi pool sea views

Nine of the Best Amazing Swimming Pools

Stop what you’re doing for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine yourself stretched out on a daybed soaking up the sun under the bluest of blue skies, a glass of chilled Champagne in your hand.

Now, we’re willing to bet two things: firstly, that those winter blues were momentarily banished; and secondly that what you had in your mind’s eye looked rather like one of these amazing swimming pools.

Best Infinity Pools

Infinity pools are not a new concept. Well, not to the French, anyway – the first was built in the Palace of Versailles. History aside, these are most definitely the crí¨me de la crí¨me of swimming pools. The best examples are used to create an optical illusion, where the water of the pool blends into the sea or the sky to all round stunning effect.

villa picasso infinity pool

There’s nothing like beautiful surroundings to help you relax – and this modern pool whispers ‘unwind’. There are two types of pools: inward, enclosed ones and open, outward-facing ones. This angular L-shaped pool is very much the latter. Welcoming steps draw you down, not only into the water, but also towards a spectacular view of Los Flamingos golf course. An infinity pool where the view seemingly never ends is perfect for such an ultra-modern style of house. Not only does this pool have a view, but it also adds to it.

Find out more about Villa Picasso.

Pool with sea views

Some people say if you have the beach on holiday, you don’t need to bother with a pool. We beg to differ. Having both is surely the best option of all? This pool has made it onto our list because of the sheer, beautiful simplicity and audacity of its location – less than 10 metres away from the Mediterranean. The two huge urns at each end of the rectangular infinity pool both bring exquisite symmetry and serve a practical purpose as the spiralled entrance steps. Elegant, stylish and tasteful.

Find out more about Villa Las Artes.

Pools with Total Privacy

Cortijo el Mirador pool view

There’s only one way someone would be able to see you taking a dip in this pool – and that’s if they were hovering directly above you in a helicopter. This tasteful villa, secreted away high in the mountains down a long private road, is a hidden idyll. The kidney-shaped lagoon-style pool sits below the house so the poolside fun is separated from the peaceful sanctuary of the living quarters. Of course, there’s an outdoor kitchen poolside, so everything you need is right to hand.

Find out more about Cortijo el Mirador.

madronal villa swimming pool

For us, this pool is reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age. We can easily imagine Katherine Hepburn gliding down that staircase, dropping her robe and diving elegantly in to the water. It’s a private hideaway pool, and the feeling of being enclosed by its lush gardens only adds to the sense of glamorous seclusion.

Find out more about Hacienda de Madroñal.

Jacuzzi Pools

The Retreat - Luxury Villa in Ronda

We have a particular soft spot for unique pools, and so this huge pool/Jacuzzi hybrid had to be included in our list of Spain’s best villas with pools. When the sun goes down the best place to be is in a heated Jacuzzi. Nestled in the centre of the huge pool, overlooking mountains, this Jacuzzi can be reached by wooden bridge making it easy for the drinks to be topped up as you recline and relax surrounded by warm water – heaven.

Find out more about The Retreat.

Lap Pools

Villa Solise lap pool

For our money, a beautiful pool has to be part of the overall design of the villa. Luxury villas with pools should have an overarching calm synergy, where one compliments the other: the comfortable indoor living areas should spread outside to the pool, outdoor kitchen, dining areas and chill-out zones to form a restful and relaxing whole. And this pool may not be huge, but it does just that.

Find out more about Villa Solise.

Huge Pools

Villa Vivaldi La Zagaleta villa

Luxury private pool

When it comes to pools size really does matter – particularly if you’re travelling with a large party. This contemporary yet classical villa has a seriously roomy 17m pool, which can be heated on request. It also has a beautiful Japanese style pagoda, ideal for the heat of summer – when, frankly, any sort of exercise is too much – or for supping a cocktail or two.

Find out more about Villa Vivaldi, La Zagaleta.

Pool at Villa San Bernardo

Lagoon pools, with their inviting, curved edges are always particularly welcoming. This seductive affair made the LVC edit of amazing swimming pools as it has barstools, a separate Jacuzzi and even an island. We like the idea of having an island to swim around – it adds a bit of variety to languorous pool-time drifting.

Find out more about this villa in El Madroñal.

Indoor Pools

indoor swimming pool marbella

When travelling during the shoulder seasons or in the winter an indoor heated pool is a real treat. Being able to use a pool all year round is the epitome of both luxury and health and wellbeing. This villa has an indoor plunge pool as part of its spa as well as a heated indoor pool. If the sun is shining and an outdoor pool is the order of the day then this villa has not one but two outdoor pools to choose from. And these aren’t just normal pools, either: one is an angular infinity pool, the other is a lagoon pool with a waterfall. Four amazing swimming pools in one villa? It could only be Marbella.

Find out more about Paraiso de Camojan.

Mountain Views from La Zagaleta

Eleven of the Best Costa del Sol Golf Courses

With more than 50 courses in just a shade over 100km, not for nothing is the coastline west of Malaga known as the ‘Costa del Golf’.

A golf holiday here offers something for all abilities, too, from gentle municipal hacks to tournament courses for seasoned scratch handicappers.

So without any further ado, here’s the LVC pick of a few of the best Costa del Sol golf courses…

Marbella Golf & Country Club, Benahavis

sea views marbella club

We begin appropriately enough, at the beginning, with the grande dame of Costa del Sol golf courses: Marbella Golf & Country Club. It may not be the oldest course in the region (that honour goes to the Malaga Parador which dates back to the 20s), but founded in 1954 and part of the resort of the same name, it very definitely leads the way in the old-fashioned glamour stakes.

And the course? Designed by Dave Thomas, set back a little from the coast to the north of Benahavis, its gently undulating fairways wind their way between well-placed water features upwards towards the mountains.

Stunning setting aside, the course is both in consistently great nick and challenging, with a mix of elevated tees keeping even low-handicap players guessing for distance and club selection. A major selling point of Marbella Club is the gap between tee times (a generous 12 minutes minimum) which means that the tension when you shank one into the rough is slightly reduced. A class act.

The 19th hole: Tie in tee times to coincide with an evening table booked at Juan Galvez’s The Grill, the hotel’s fabulous (and heavily meat-centric) restaurant.

Address: Carretera Benahavis, Km 3.7, 29679, Malaga; Tel: +34 952 88 06 08; Marbellaclubgolf.com.

La Quinta Golf & Country Club, Nueva Andalucia

5th hole la quinta marbella

La Quinta ticks a lot of boxes. A mature and well-kept course that was designed by Spanish pros Antonio Garrido and Manuel Piñero, it perhaps plays a little easier than some of the others on this list. That’s not to say it’s not a high quality course – nor that it doesn’t have its challenges in the form of some tricky fairways and cavernous bunkers – merely that it’s suitable for mid-handicappers.

The course is made of three nine-hole loops – San Pedro, Ronda and Guadaiza – which can be mixed and matched as you see fit. As a result, along with a scenic driving range, it makes for a good warm-up round at the start of your golf holiday. 

The 19th hole: Soothe stiff backs with a post-round soak, steam and massage in the hammam-inspired La Quinta Spa.

Address: Avenida Tomas Pascual, s/n, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Tel: +34 952 76 23 90; Laquintagolf.com.

Finca Cortesin, Casares

finca cortesin clubhouse

A fairly new addition towards the western end of the Costa del Sol in Casares, Finca Cortesin is a sophisticated luxury resort that mixes indulgence with style and taste throughout.

Two things stand out about the golfing here, though: first of all, despite only having been built in 2006, it’s a mature course with fairways lined with lots of old cork and olive trees and some spectacular scenery; secondly, at nearly 7,000m it’s an absolutely monster. Weak drivers need not apply.

The 19th hole: play an early morning’s round and spend the afternoon stretched out by the pool, before heading down to their beach club for sundowners.

Address: Carretera de Casares, s/n, 29690 Casares, Malaga; Tel: +34 952 93 78 00; Fincacortesin.com.

La Zagaleta, Benahavis

la zagaleta fairway

Winding its way up into hills and woodland above Marbella, La Zagaleta country club has two courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. Both are amongst the very prettiest of this very pretty bunch, with many holes snaking their way through tree-lined valleys criss-crossed with occasional streams. This is the real joy of playing here: not only does nature start as soon as the fairway stops on many holes, but at almost no point do fairways run alongside one another. They feel like golf courses that are integrated into the surrounding natural landscapes rather than imposed on it.

There’s just one potential hitch: it’s a members’ only affair. So unless you’re fortunate enough to have friend who’s in the club you won’t be getting in.

The 19th hole: forget about that disappointing scorecard by heading for the clubhouse’s bowling alley, exclusive for residents of La Zagaleta with prior arrangement (check out our villas in La Zagaleta).

Address: Carretera Ronda Km 38.5, Benahavis, Malaga, 29679; Tel: +34 952 85 54 50; Lazagaleta.com.

Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande

valderrama water hazard

Valderrama Golf Course has in the past picked up the accolade of the best golf course in mainland Europe. The list of competitions it’s held over the years is a long one taking in the Andalucia Masters, the Volvo Masters and the first Ryder Cup to be played on European soil. Suffice to say that, whichever way you come at it, it’s one of the best places to play golf in Spain for the serious golfer.

And the emphasis here is very much on Serious with a capital ‘S’. The greens are lightning fast, the fairways at times breathtakingly tight, and the rough unforgiving. But the thing that sets Valderrama apart is the fact that there’s not a single dull hole – whether they’re winding their way through the cork woods, both visually and in terms of the challenge they throw up, each offers something slightly different, right up to the famous 17th with its death or glory tee-off.

The 19th hole: start by booking an afternoon tee time. Then, at the end of your round, step off the 18th green, walk to the clubhouse, order yourself a glass of fine champagne and watch as the shadows lengthen over the fairways. Drink it all in. You’re surrounded by a piece of golfing heritage.

Address: Avenida de los Cortijos, s/n, 11310 Sotogrande, Cadiz; +34 956 79 12 00; Valderrama.com.

For accommodation that’s equally refined, choose Villa El Chorrito Sotogrande neighbouring Valderrama golf club.

Los Flamingos, Benahavis

views los flamingos golf benahavis1

Los Flamingos is Malaga golf ground zero. Right in the heart of the action, and part of the exclusive Villa Padierna resort complex, there are three courses sitting side by side: Alferini, Tramores and Los Flamingos.

Of the three, Alferini is the trickiest – long with punitive rough and countless challenging approach shots. Tramores is a short, friendly warm-up course (an extended pitch and putt, if you like) that’s ideal for grooving your swing. Los Flamingos, though, is probably the most inviting for the average golfer. Designed by Antonio Garcia Garrido, it’s a mix of gently rolling parkland and hillier holes. After a tight front nine, the back nine opens up a bit making for a very pleasant day of golf in the Andalucian sunshine.

The 19th hole: while it’s nowhere near as relaxing as a cold beer or two back in the clubhouse, the Michael Campbell Golf Academy is a great place to hit the driving range, take a lesson (private and group tuition is available) and iron out any kinks in your swing.

Address: Villa Padierna Golf Club, Urbanizacion Los Flamingos Golf, Carretera de Cadiz, Km. 166. 29679 Marbella, Malaga; Tel. +34 952 889 157; Villapadiernagolfclub.com.

Choose one of our Los Flamingos Golf villas for a convenient stay that’s also within easy reach of the coast’s restaurants and bars.

Los Naranjos, Marbella

9th hole los naranjos

This Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed course celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. Like the other courses he turned his expert hand to on the Costa del Sol, Valderrama, Sotogrande and Las Brisas, it’s as pleasant to play as it is to look at. Aesthetically, the 9th is a particular highlight: having successfully navigated a lovely right to left dogleg, you can lean on your putter and admire beautiful views of La Concha.

In terms of difficulty, it’s something of a course of two halves, with the back nine a more leisurely walk in the park(land) after the challenging terrain – plus tricksy water features and bunkers – of the front nine. It sits firmly in the mid-range end of the spectrum, though, and for higher handicappers is nowhere near such a daunting day out as some of the championship courses on this list.

The 19th hole: the club is Swedish-owned and there’s been great excitement about the appointment of a Scandinavian chef to head up the recently refurbished restaurant in the clubhouse. Locals have been booking the morning tee times to align their rounds with a spot of lunch.

Address: Plaza de Cibeles, s/n, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Tel. +34 952 81 24 28; Losnaranjos.com.

La Cala Golf, Mijas

sunset la cala golf

Why settle for one course when you can have three? Variety, after all, is the spice of life. Beyond the fact that La Cala Golf takes in 54 holes, each course offers a very different set of challenges to keep your golfing holiday from getting samey.

Campo Asia is the oldest of the three and, with its tight approaches punishing any lapses in accuracy, is not to be entered into lightly for all but the lowest handicappers. Campo America is a long course offering stunning views to the Sierra de Ojen and down to the sea – and slightly more forgiving fairways if you’ve allowed yourself to get distracted by them. A gentler, more leisurely round can be had at Campo Europa. While it’s on the long side, the fairways are broader and flatter and the greens are bigger than handkerchiefs.

Away from the three main courses themselves, there’s even a six-hole par three to warm up – perfect if you’ve just stepped off the plane and need to get your game in order.

Address: Urb. La Cala Golf s/n, Mijas Costa, 29649 Malaga; Tel. +34 952 669 016; Lacala.com.

The 19th hole: The clubhouse is one of the most attractive parts of La Cala. The Laurel Restaurant is a great start to an evening out, with a nice line in drinks and snacks as you watch those coming in struggle with the difficult 18th. You’re part of a luxury resort here, though, so you can also nip off for a quick ‘Back Into Balance’ massage if your back’s starting to creak after all the golf.

Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

green sotogrande golf course1

This grand old course, inaugurated in 1964, was the first on the Costa del Sol to be designed by Robert Trent Junior. Totally reformed in 2016, it now offers one of the finest rounds of golf in southern Spain.

It’s very easy on the eye, too, with lush, rolling fairways winding their way through cork, eucalyptus and pine woods with regular glimpses of the glittering Mediterranean. Standout holes include two on the front nine – 4, a long par three, and 12, a fiendishly tricky par 4 – but the back nine is also dotted with challenging holes typified by water features and bunker-encircled greens.

Visitors aren’t allowed on the course on weekends, or at one or two peak times of year like Easter week and high summer (mid-July to the end of August) so it’s one for spring or autumn. The history, prestige and impeccable maintenance comes with a hefty green fee making it, all in all, one for the serious golfer rather than the low-handicapper out for a relaxed few holes.

Address: Paseo del Parque, 11310, Sotogrande, Cadiz; Tel. +34 956 78 50 14; Golfsotogrande.com.

The 19th hole: The seafront is just a short saunter from the clubhouse. Here the Trocadero beach club is a great place for a bite to eat and a cooling swim after a long round.

Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

las brisas approach shot

After a tricky few years of remodelling, it’s fair to say that Las Brisas is back where it belongs – right up there amongst Spanish golf royalty. The only snag is: if you’re not friends with a member, you’re not getting on.

You kick things off with a long par 4 where both your drive and approach have to be inch-perfect if you don’t want to see your ball disappear into a lake. And it barely lets up for a minute from there. The 5th is a monster, while with water lining the left-hand side of the fairway all the way down to the green, the 12th punishes even a hint of waywardness. The 7th and 16th are a pair of pretty-as-picture par threes that lull you into a false sense of security and as a result can see you shedding shots in the green-side bunkers.

Address: Calle Londres, 1, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Tel: 952 81 30 21; Realclubdegolflasbrisas.com.

The 19th hole: The course may be private, but the restaurant’s open to the public – and is excellent. It makes for a great place to meet non-golfing friends for lunch after a round.

Aloha Golf Club

green at aloha golf

With its rolling parkland fairways running between water features, whispering eucalyptus and bright purple jacaranda trees or stretching away to stunning views of La Concha, Aloha’s certainly something of a looker. It may be one of the more expensive golf courses in Marbella, but it’s also one of the best having been selected to host the Andalucia Open (PGA European Tour) on three occasions in recent years, as well as 2016’s Andalucia Women’s Open.

It’s a tough course, and at over 6,200m, a long one, too, with some of the par 3s – like the 12th – playing very long. There are doglegs aplenty where a decent fade or draw is a requirement to have a sniff of a chance at par, and quite a few blind shots. The greens, invariably ringed by large bunkers and two-tiered on a few occasions, play like lightning. Leave your putting game at home here and your scorecard will certainly feel it.

Address: Urbanizacion los Olivos I, 6B, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Tel: 952 90 70 85; Clubdegolfaloha.com.

The 19th hole: During the summer months, golf in southern Spain can be something of an endurance feat. Which is why Aloha’s large swimming pool, complete with loungers and parasols, can look like a shimmering oasis in the desert at the end of a round.

Costa del Sol Golf Holiday Need-to-Knows

When’s the best time of year to play? With over +300 days of sunshine per year, it’s never exactly a bad time for a Costa del Sol golf holiday. Autumn and Spring, though, are perhaps the most popular seasons as the temperatures are pleasant, without ever hitting the scorching summer highs. 

How much are green fees on the Costa del Sol? It very much depends. At the upper end, the green fees at Valderrama won’t leave you with much change from €400, whereas a round of golf at Los Flamingos or Los Naranjos might set you back somewhere in the region of €70-80 in low season.

How do I find the best Costa del Sol golf deals? Whether it’s making sure you get the most favourable tee times or booking you the best caddy, the LVC concierge team are on hand. Ask and you shall receive.

Like our pick of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol, and now looking for a suitably indulgent place to stay? Check out our collection of luxury golf villas.

After something a little less energetic from your holiday? Stretch out on one of our pick of the best Marbella beaches instead.

jose carlos garcia restaurant interior

The Definitive Guide to the Best Restaurants in Malaga

It’s said that, once upon a time, Malaga boasted more bars per capita than anywhere else in Europe. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s certainly true that scruffy, spit ‘n’ sawdust neighbourhood joints out-numbered decent restaurants and tapas bars in the city until relatively recently.

How things have changed. From newly opened gastro markets in the Old Town centre to sophisticated beach-side terraces and full to bursting gourmet tapas bars down narrow alleyways, there are more great places to eat in Malaga than a city of its size has any reasonable right to.

If you want to get a taste of what it’s like to live like a local in a city where the people are very serious about their food and drink, then hit Malaga, basically. And while it’s been tricky to narrow them down, here are a few of the Luxury Villa Collection’s pick of best Malaga restaurants…

Best for Gourmet 

Jose Carlos Garcia

Terrace at Jose Carlos Garcia

The only Michelin-starred restaurant in Malaga is at the port, just next to the lighthouse at Muelle Uno. It’s the culinary base of Jose Carlos Garcia who is one of the most famous names in food in the city. The chef himself will be in the kitchen while you dine in this pleasant, spacious dining room which extends onto the terrace outside when the sun shines. The dining room is one of our favourites in the city: its hard-edged industrial chic is offset by a comfy softness – think a sharp glass box with classic Eames chairs in grey, and thick pile rugs to soften the pressed concrete. (LOVE it.) Food-wise, it’s the finest of fine dining with plate after delightfully crafted plate descending on your table over the course of a meal.

Address: Puerto de Malaga, Plaza de la Capilla, 1, 29016 Malaga. Telephone: 952 00 35 88. Restaurantejcg.com. 

Best for Fusion

Mixtúrate Gastrobar

One of the latest additions to the hip and happening Soho district, this restaurant takes you literally on a journey round the world. Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico, provide the roots but Europe and Asia pop up all over the menu too. It’s casual dining with one of those kitchens you can peep into – recommended if only to see what it takes to put the dishes together – and unusually for Malaga, not much of an outside terrace.

You’re not here to sit al fresco, though; this one’s about the food. A first glance at the menu can leave you a little puzzled, but owner Andrés does a great job explaining just what to expect on your plate. From the carrot croquettes and the ‘steaming’ clam ceviche to the duck with cassava and passion fruit and ubiquitous pork loin that gets a total revamp with a chili-coconut and chimichurri sauce, this is a whole new culinary experience. Top it off with one of the finger-licking desserts served in Kilner jars. All dishes are shareable but you’ll probably want them all to yourself. And if you’re in town in the week, don’t miss the lunchtime menu – 3 courses plus a drink for €11.90.

Address: Calle Casas de Campo 4, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 951 33 08 06.

Best for Art Lovers

Óleo Restaurante

oleo terrace

All that talented creativity going on at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) next door flows right on through to the menu at Óleo Restaurante where taste buds go into overtime. A sleek, but informal venue with a great riverside terrace – an oh-so-perfect spot for a sundowner G&T – this restaurant never fails to provide a great dining experience.

At the helm is Sergio del Rio whose culinary creations combine Mediterranean dishes with a touch of nouvelle cuisine, but not so much that you don’t recognise what’s on your plate. So, good-old patatas bravas get an extra shot of heat via a spicy foam, traditional red tuna is joined by half-dried tomatoes from nearby Alora and the up-and-coming Malaga kid goat becomes the main ingredient in the Vietnamese rolls. You get the idea.

Taking the oriental connection that bit further is Rui Junior whose sushi ranks as the best in town. Prepare to be spoilt for choice. This is casual dining and all plates are suitable for sharing. And the best of all? The bill at the end – mains range from €7 to €22.

Address: Edificio CAC Malaga, Calle Alemania s/n, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 952 21 90 62. Oleorestaurante.es.

Best for a Post-shopping Lunch

Restaurante La Deriva

Dining room at La Deriva

On a corner in Soho, just before you reach the river, is the stylish La Deriva. Ticking all the boxes for a relaxed vibe, good service and good food – and within easy strolling distance from Calle Larios – it’s ideal for a refuelling stop after a morning’s shopping with friends. The food is excellent overall, but there are standout dishes like the mouth-wateringly tender grilled octopus, oysters and saffron risotto served with jamón and sundried tomatoes. Other things not to miss include a superior cheese board and a wide selection of Vermouths.

Address: Alameda Colon, 7, 29001 Malaga. Telephone: 951 28 69 21.

Best for Traditional Tapas 

Tapeo de Cervantes & Meson de Cervantes

Casa de Cervantes was one of the first tapas bars in Malaga to open with the emphasis on quality – great wine and top-class produce were always a given. It dared to offer small but perfectly formed tapas at pretty hefty prices (for this corner of Andalucia, anyway) and they were full to bursting practically every night of the week, albeit in a tiny joint near the Teatro Cervantes. So, other tapas bars around Malaga stood up and took notice – cue a collective city-wide game-raising. Since then their sister restaurant opened around the corner to allow people to have full dishes in a slightly more formal, sit-down set-up. Food-wise expect artichokes with Jamon Serrano, bull’s tail in Malaga wine and clams in Sherry. It’s casual dining (with an emphasis on sharing) in a noisy, bustling dining space, the service is good, and it has a very strong wine list of local and international wines, too. A big LVC favourite.

Tapeo de Cervantes – address: Calle de Carcer, 8, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 60 94 58. Eltapeodecervantes.com.

Meson de Cervantes – address: Calle Alamos, 11, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 21 62 74. Elmesondecervantes.com.

Best for Kids 

As for family-focused, child-friendly eateries in Malaga there… really aren’t any. However, the southern Spanish are very accommodating when it comes to children, so smaller plates for smaller people will be produced if requested. 

Vino Mio

The situation of this restaurant is great for parents with especially energetic broods: right on a square next to the Teatro Cervantes, they can run themselves ragged within eyeshot while you sit back with a chilled glass of wine. On the food front, we’re talking international, so the menu is varied and more likely to be familiar to smaller, non-Spanish mouths. The portions are incredibly generous, so it’s important to remember to leave room for their delectable double chocolate Guinness cake. If you’re a fan of flamenco, they hold a show at 8pm every evening. Check the website below for more information.

Address: Plaza de Jeronimo Cuervo, 2, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 60 90 93. Restaurantevinomio.es.

Best for Sharing & Pairing

Alexso

facade of alexso

Slightly off the beaten track but still just a few steps from the centre, Alexso has quickly established a name for itself on the Malaga foodie scene. The venue comes small on space but huge on taste, with Chef José Antonio Moyano taking local recipes, giving them a whole new look and then throwing in some surprises for good measure. So that invisible fried egg really does taste like the real thing. And who’d have thought of putting Malaga salchichón (cold sausage) into an éclair? But it works and works well.

Dishes make ideal sharing plates – an option we’re always keen on because you get to work your way through lots of different items on the menu. Pairing is something else Alexso excels at, and the waiters are more than happy to step in and recommend the perfect wine for a dish. The restaurant also has two set tasting menus: Alexso Route (allow an hour and a half for the seven dishes) and Cooking Up Sensations (just over two hours for ten dishes).

Children are made to feel very welcome at Alexso, with friendly waiters, colouring books and pens.

Address: Calle Mariblanca 10, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 951 91 35 85. Restaurantealexso.es.

Best for an Informal Bite

La Luz de Candela

spinach salad la luz de candela1

La Luz de Candela is very much a family affair: French chef Charlie heads things up in the kitchen, while his daughter Candela runs front of house with great energy and charm. The food ethos of the restaurant is simple but appealing, revolving around slow cooked local, seasonal ingredients – Mediterranean cuisine as it should always be cooked and presented, basically.

The dining room has a home from home feel with little more than 10 tables, and where possible dishes are served in half plates as well as full plates, making it ideal for a relaxed evening with friends. It doesn’t have much curb appeal – but there are no seats outside so, frankly, who cares? It’s really all about the quality of food and relaxed atmosphere. On LVC’s last visit we were particularly taken by the scallops and the desserts (yes, plural – we did try all the desserts on the menu).

Address: Calle Dos Aceras, 18-20, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 648 85 32 53. La-luz-de-candela.com.

Best for Vegetarians & Vegans

Siete Semillas

Vegans, on the whole, don’t fare too well when it comes to dining options in Spain, but in Malaga, Siete Semillas comes to the rescue. Not only do vegan dishes always feature on the menu, other dietary restrictions and food intolerances are simply no problem at all. How’s that for a breath of fresh air?

The funky venue – we love the industrial loft-look with super high ceilings and upside-down spider plants – sits on Atarazanas Market’s doorstep so you know you’re in good company. But it gets even better because everything, and that’s absolutely everything, is organic. And your non-vegan fellow diners get a look in too because the daily menu (€14) includes vegetable as well as meat options. The taboulehs and soups (hot and cold) are particularly good as are the organic juices and smoothies. And if it isn’t time for lunch, grab a coffee and a slice of one of the homemade, organic cakes. Delicious and virtuous. Not a bad combo.

Address: Plaza Arriola 1, 29005 Malaga. Telephone: 645 93 57 96.

Vegetariano El Calafate

Always full to bursting, El Calafate is the best vegetarian restaurant in Malaga. They have a €9.50 set lunchtime menu which changes daily (it’s slightly more expensive on the weekends). It offers the usual things you’d expect from any self-respecting veggie restaurant with thick soups, curries, stir-fries, Moroccan-inspired dishes and one or two vegan options. The candlelit dining room can accommodate a largish group (of up to around 14 people) but you have to book it in advance.

Address: Calle Andres Perez, 6, 29008 Malaga. Telephone: 952 22 93 44.

Best for Living like a Local 

Refectorium Catedral

Ordinarily we would never recommend eating in the same square – or even the same vicinity – of a city’s cathedral. However, the Refectorium is a rare exception to the rule. There’s great service (some of the best in the city) in this busy, modern, light and airy restaurant, while the food is a mix of time-honoured classics cooked to perfection and the sort of wonderfully simple, let-the-produce-speak-for-itself dishes that are what Spanish cooking is all about. Everyone raves about its Russian salad – and with good reason, too: this pretty bland and basic Spanish staple is transformed into a mouth-watering morsel.

Although the restaurant welcomes children, the well-heeled clientele are less welcoming to small children. It’s an adult’s establishment, in other words; a place to enjoy the food, service and atmosphere.

Address: C/ Postigo De Los Abades, 4, 29015 Malaga. Telephone: 952 60 23 89.

Best for a Smart Pre-Night Out Dinner

Restaurante Montana

patio at restaurante montana

Housed within a small palace to the far north of the old town, Restaurante Montana is definitely something of a looker. Opening out from a plant-filled central courtyard, the grand 19th-century premises dovetail beautifully with stylish, modern interiors, and the lighting inside and out is just right.

It’s far from a case of style over content, though, as it offers fine dining without the foodie fashion whims. We love to sit in the sunny courtyard and order a plate of melt-in-the-mouth Jamón Iberico as an after-shopping treat. In the evenings, its excellent international wine list, cocktails and comfortable seating area make it the perfect place to kick back after dinner and plan out the next steps of a night out. It’s convenient, too: highly unusually for a restaurant in Malaga city centre, it also has its own parking.

Address: Calle Compas de la Victoria, 5, 29012 Malaga. Telephone: 952 65 12 44. Restaurantemontana.com.

Best for a Big Group 

Bodega El Pimpi

Traditional Tiles at El Pimpi

This place has seemingly been around since time began. What started as a traditional tapas bar where everyone from the ages of 19 to 90 went to have Jamon Serrano washed down with Malaga wine (made from sweet Moscatel grapes – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) is now a Malaga institution and must-visit. The setting is outstanding and typically southern Spanish: inside, it’s all tinkling fountains, tumbling plants, huge wine barrels from floor to ceiling and photos of famous people who had visited over the years. It’s cavernous, too, with two floors and several different sized rooms that can be easily taken over by large groups. Taking the décor and atmosphere out of the equation, the food is only so-so to be completely honest. But it’s well worth a visit, even if it’s just for a pre- or post-dinner drink inside or out on the terrace looking over the Roman amphitheatre.

Address: Calle Granada, 62, 29015 Malaga. Telephone: 952 22 54 03. Elpimpi.com.

Best for Views

Restaurante Especia Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro

Malaga Parador Restaurant

If you like a vista with your vino, it doesn’t get much better than at the Parador up next to the Gibralfaro Castle. Treat your taste buds to some delicious local cuisine while you feast your eyes on the bright lights of Malaga and the Mediterranean below your feet. Views are pretty good from inside the restaurant, but nothing short of exceptional on the outside terrace and certainly the best at any table in Malaga. With chef Bartolomé Rodrigo at the helm, the menu puts the accent on local produce harvested from the nearby Axarquía mountains, Guadalhorce Valley and of course, the Med (all part of your table view). Dishes change with the seasons; on the menu this summer are refreshingly cool soups – try the almond and garlic with fig bread or the thick tomato porra malagueña with Iberian ham – and fresh salads as well as fish and meat dishes. Plus some Malaga classics such as fried fish and battered aubergines with honey. The dessert menu falls a little short, but you’ll be too sweet on the views to notice. And if you want to make that vino with a vista that bit extra special, time your dinner to coincide with sunset.

Address: Castillo de Gibralfaro s/n, 29016 Malaga. Telephone: 952 221 902 Parador-de-malaga-gibralfaro/gastronomy

Best for Beachside

Gutiérrez Playa

Malaga excels at chiringuitos, beach bars that specialise in locally-caught fish and seafood, and it’s difficult to go wrong for a lunchtime bite. One of the best sits on the western side of Malaga Bay near the Russian and Car Museums. Gutiérrez Playa has been around for a while and this experience plus the fact that the family runs one of the busiest fishmongers in the nearby Huelin market means they know what they’re cooking. Staples on the menu include deep-fried fish – think anchovies, baby sole and whitebait – delicately flavoured salt-baked fish and that Malaga classic, chargrilled sardines on an espeto cane. If you like your fish cooked gently over an olive wood fire, try the other espeto specials – langoustine, bream, squid or octopus. Book your table on the sand where you’ll dine just yards from the Mediterranean and stunning views of the Bay.

Address: Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas 2, 29004 Malaga. Telephone: 952 118 908

 

If you have a bit of a group (or even just the two of you!) and fancy having a local expert show you around Malaga, then why not book a Malaga tapas tour with our partners Toma & Coe?

Like the sound of our pick of best restaurants in Malaga, but staying a little further up the coast? Check out our selection of top places to eat in Marbella.

cycling, mountain biking, andalucia, costa del sol

Top Activity Holidays in Andalucia

As Europe’s most popular holiday destination, Andalucia is not in the business of disappointing its visitors – no matter what interests they might have. Most would immediately associate Andalucia with week-long, sun-drenched escapes spent lazing on the beach or by the pool, but a week’s holiday doesn’t necessarily have to include such slothful yet satisfying pastimes.

Thanks to the diverse landscape and 800km-long coastline that southern Spain boasts, the range of thrilling activities on offer is broader than just about anywhere in Europe. That’s right: even adrenaline junkies can be guaranteed of the perfect getaway. From kite-surfing and jet-skiing to quad-biking and snowboarding, there are plenty of white-knuckle activities to get stuck into, if you dare!

Kite-surfing

Kitesurfing in Spain

Kitesurfing in Spain (Source: Kitesurf Tour Europe)

Possibly now even more popular than surfing, kite-surfing certainly guarantees thrill-seekers an experience they won’t quickly forget. After learning to fly the kite (harder than you might think), learners strap into the kite-surfboard and ride the waves to their pumping heart’s content. Quite a bit of upper body strength is needed to be able to hold on for longer than a few minutes, but with enough practice anyone old enough to do it can succeed.

Where? Estepona

Who? Freedom Kite School – Kitesurfestepona.com.

Contact: info@kitesurfestepona.com

Jet-skiing

jet-skiing in spain

If you love a good buzz but would rather have an engine do all the hard work for you, then jet-skiing is definitely worth considering. As you might expect there are the usual and obligatory safety measures to complete (and fully understand) before you are permitted to hop on this high-speed joy-wagon, but when the moment comes there’s no hanging around, as you’re propelled forwards at break-neck speeds into the tide.

It’s a bumpy ride, but well worth picking up a few bruises for.

Where? Marbella

Who? Marbella Jet Ski – Marbellajetski.com.

Contact: Daniel@marbellajetski.com

Rock-climbing

Rock-climbing in El Chorro

Rock-climbing in El Chorro (Source: Jerome Bon)

With so many mountains to climb it’s no wonder Andalucia is regarded the world over as a rock-climber’s paradise. Beach-goers may not be as enthusiastic but anyone looking for a little excitement away from the waves might want to consider an afternoon scrambling up the side of a large cliff or rock either in the Malaga or Granada province of the region.

Be sure to have fun and give it your all if you go rock-climbing but if you’re even slightly squeamish when it comes to heights, just remember: Don’t. Look. Down.

Where? El Chorro

Who? Rockbusters – Rockbusters.net.

Contact: info@rockbusters.net

Mountain-biking

cycling, mountain biking, andalucia, costa del sol

Mountain-biking in Andalucia (Source: Juan Pablo Olmo)

Andalucia has a well-deserved reputation for having some of the best mountain-biking trails in all of Europe, from technical and bumpy downhills to tame cross-country routes. Thanks to the abundance of sunshine the region receives, conditions are nearly always perfect for some biking, no matter what time of year.

The terrain is perfect for hairy off-road excursions, which will leave you breathless and with adrenaline flowing through your veins, not to mention a wide grin from ear to ear. Just bear in mind the aches and pains that’ll hit you the next day.

Where? Serrania de Ronda, Sierra de Nieves and Grazalema Natural Park

Who? Andalucian Cycling Experience – Andaluciancyclingexperience.com.

Contact: +34 677 028 469

Quad-biking

quad-bikin, quad bike

Source: “Polaris Scrambler” with Wikimedia Commons license.

For a truly alternative driving experience, waste no time in climbing aboard a hulking quad bike and letting rip in the Andalucian countryside. Beginners and advanced riders alike can be guaranteed of a fantastic day out thanks to the endless scenes of breath-taking beauty and wealth of terrains suited to all levels.

It may be a little unnerving to begin with, but as soon as you find the rhythm and get used to the roar of the engine beneath you, you’ll fly like the wind…

Where? Sierra de Las Nieves, Marbella

Who? Quad Mountain Adventures – Quad-mountain-adventures.com.

Contact: info@Quad-Mountain-Adventures.com

Skiing & Snowboarding

Sierra Nevada, Andalucia (Source: Melissa Ramirez [CC BY-SA 3.0 es], via Wikimedia Commons)If you’re holidaying in Spain during winter and willing to make the 2-3 hour trip across the region to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, you can spend the day either skiing or snowboarding at the impressive, 100km2 boasting Sierra Nevada ski resort. There are pistes suited to all levels – from greens right through to blacks – a snow park, halfpipe, boardercross and of course plenty of cosy restaurants to settle down in if you’re only there to watch!

The views on a clear day are unsurpassable, and it is even possible to see the peaks of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains towering on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Where? Sierra Nevada, Granada

Who? Sierra Nevada Ski Resort – Sierranevada.es.

If you’re looking for an activity suitable for all the family – the very young and elderly included – then take a look at our post on family-friendly things to do on the Costa del Sol.

Alternatively, if you want someone else to take care of the organising, leaving you more time for having fun, then get in touch with our concierge manager at concierge@theluxuryvilla.co.