Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting?…
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…
1. Villa Chantay, Benahavis
From the pool, from the private balconies, from your bed and even from the bath – you can barely move at Villa Chantay without catching a view of the glittering Mediterranean. On clear days you can even see the mountains of Morocco shimmering in the haze beyond.
2. Villa Cezanne, El Madronal, Benahavis
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.
3. Villas Los Flamingos 1 and 2, Marbella
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 at the other.
4. El Mirador Estate, Malaga
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.
5. Villa Vivaldi, La Zagaleta, Benahavis
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.
6. Hacienda Vejer, Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz
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.
7. Villas Las Artes, Marbella, Los Monteros
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.
8. Paraiso de Camojan, Marbella
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.
9. Villa Kynthia, Paraiso, Estepona
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.
10. La Medina, Medina Sidonia, Cadiz
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.
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.
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Where is Marbella?First things first, though. Where is it? Marbella is in southern Spain - in the province of Malaga in the Andalucia region, to be exact - on a stretch of coast called the Costa del Sol. Here's a map of Marbella to help you get your bearings:
Where Do You Fly to?It depends on from where you're flying in. The nearest international airport to Marbella is Malaga. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (Aena.es) is 51km away and an easy 40-minute car/taxi ride. Virtually all the major airlines fly there direct from the UK and from across northern Europe. The next closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar (Gibraltarairport.gi), which is just over an hour's drive away. British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch all fly direct from the UK to Gibraltar.
From the USIf you’re flying into Spain from the USA you'll probably have to travel to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Aena.es). From there you'll have to either fly, take the fast speed AVE train (Renfe.com) or drive to Malaga and transfer from there to Marbella. The most convenient way to get to Marbella from Madrid is by the fast speed train taking just 2.5hrs or by flying taking only 1 hour and 15 mins.
how to get there from malaga airport
By CarThe best way to get from Malaga to Marbella is to drive. And if you're on holiday that probably means you're going to need to hire a car. As with almost all international airports, Malaga has a frankly baffling array of different car hire options to pick through. To avoid the scrum of the departures lounge, jump on the complimentary minibus to the offices of Niza, Helle Hollis or Enterprise situated a mere minute outside of the terminal. Inside the terminal you can find Sixt, Hertz and Europcar. If you're unsure of which company to use, click the following link. For a more luxury car hire service we'd recommend Sixt (Sixt.com). They're friendly, totally professional, trustworthy and have a range of high-end rental options, from BMWs, Audis and Porsches to Mercedes and Range Rovers - and even automatics. If you're travelling in a large group, they also have 8-12 seater self-drive minibuses available for hire. Of course if you're looking for ease, our Concierge can make the reservation for you to be dropped directly off at the villa. A car of your choice can be delivered to your villa. Once you've picked up your car/minibus hire, driving from Malaga airport to Marbella could hardly be easier. Directions from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport are as follows:
- Leave the airport and head southeast onto N-348
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on N-348
- Take the Torremolinos ramp to N-340/Cádiz
- Merge onto Avenida de Velázquez/N-340/MA-21
- Take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmadena/Algeciras. Merge onto AP-7
- Pass Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola
- Take exit 184 towards Marbella/Casco Antiguo/Avenida del Trapiche
By TaxiFor sheer ease, you can’t beat jumping in a taxi. A taxi rank is situated outside the arrivals sidewalk of Terminal T3, level 0. It's best to ask the driver, beforehand, how much a taxi is from Malaga to Marbella to ensure they don’t overcharge you. There are two transfer prices, and these are dependent on both times of the day and the day of the week. Transfer Price Band 1 is weekdays from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. Transfer Price Band 2 is weekdays from 22.00 to 06.00 hrs, all day Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, the August Feria and Holy Week. Band 2 transfer time is more expensive than Band 1. Alternatively, you can pre-order a taxi at Malaga Airport Taxi (Malagaairporttaxi.net) and get a price when booking. The transfer time from Malaga Airport to Marbella takes around an hour, in a taxi.
Other Ways to Get to Marbella
- By bus: It is possible to take a bus (Alsa.com) from Malaga airport to Marbella. But it's a whole lot less convenient than driving via hire car or private transfer.
- By train: There isn’t a train connection from Malaga airport to Marbella.
Distances - how far is marbella from...
- Malaga (city): 61km away and 46 minutes' drive.
- Granada: 187km and just over 2 hours' drive.
- Seville: 258km and 2 hours 45 minutes' drive.
- Gibraltar: 78km and 1 hour 2 minutes' drive.
- Madrid: 584 km and 5 hours 45 minutes' drive.
A Bit of HistoryThe land previously belonged to the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, who it is said, used the estate as his party house and hunting grounds. The property and land went up for sale and a group of Spanish property developers bought it and put plans together to create a playground for the rich and famous in Marbella. Each villa is unique, with their own styles depending on the specifications of the owner.
Location & Getting There
So where is La Zagaleta?The large estate sits in Malaga province in the south of Andalucia. It’s in the foothills of the Ronda Mountains just 25 minutes from Marbella, 18 minutes from Nuevo Andalucia and the nearest beach. It's 20 minutes from the village of Benahavis, 40 minutes from Sotogrande port, 50 minutes from Ronda, 55 minutes from Malaga airport and just over an hour from Gibraltar airport. La Zagaleta is very easily accessed by car or helicopter. There's heavy security surrounding the estate and entrance is on prior permission only.
What Else is in La Zagaleta?It’s worth noting that all the facilities in La Zagaleta are for exclusive use to villa owners only; they pay an enormous service charge to be allowed to use the facilities.
Golf CourseLa Zagaleta golf club is only open to villa owners and their guests. They have exclusive access to two of the Costa del Sol's best private golf courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. La Zagaleta golf course - known as the Old Course - is to championship standard with 18 holes, Par 72 over a distance of 4800 - 6000 yards. Designed by renowned golf architect Brad Benz in 1991 and redesigned by Marc Westenborg in 2016, it’s a rewarding course with fantastic views to the coast and flanked by mountains. The New Course, Los Barrancos, is very different to the Old Course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, Par 70 with lots of obstacles over a distance of 4356 – 5381 yards.
The ClubhousesThe hub of the estate is the spectacular Old Clubhouse, or La Zagaleta country club. Measuring 5,100m² it has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, billiards, bowling alley, tennis courts, gourmet food supermarket, pro-golf shop and restaurants (see below). There's also a nightclub, bars and events space where there’s a full schedule of experiences and parties planned. The New Clubhouse is a thatched lakeside venue. A lot smaller than the Old Clubhouse, it's still just as popular with La Zagaleta residents for events or having a quick drink in the bar.
Horse RidingLa Zagaleta is home to some beautiful stables with indoor and outdoor schooling arenas. Horses can either be kept on a full livery basis, or horses and ponies can be hired for lessons or hacks. ‘The Riding Club’ equestrian centre has a team of instructors and well-schooled horses for all levels of rider including Arab, PRE and, for the children, Farabella horses and Welsh ponies.
RestaurantsWhy leave the comfort of a beautiful villa when you can enjoy a top-quality meal at home? At La Zagaleta there are Michelin starred chefs available for in-house dining throughout the estate. However, for owners the clubhouse has two restaurants: the formal dining Old Course Restaurant; and a terrace bar restaurant that's ideal for light bites and brunches.
Famous ResidentsThere is private security throughout the whole of La Zagaleta - so know one really know who lives or owns houses there. It’s a place where the super-rich and famous go to be away from the limelight. However, it is said that Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Vladimir Putin all have house in La Zagaleta.
What to Do NearbyWhen staying in La Zagaleta, the houses are so special that it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the estate. However, if you do want to see more of the area, here's our pick of easily accessible and great day trips:
- Ronda: historic, boutique wineries and ab-so-lutely beautiful.
- Benahavis village: a great option for restaurants; have a lunch or dinner in this pretty village.
- Granada: a romantic inland city and home to the Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malaga: the birthplace of Picasso with a fort, palace and Roman amphitheatre.
- Cordoba: historic city with a stunning mosque-church at its centre.
- Sevilla: one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Sotogrande: a lovely port, wake boarding lake and polo hub.