12 Places to visit in and near Marbella, Spain
Marbella is a fabulous city in the Costa del Sol in Spain. It is well known by the “famous and rich” people and you can spot them here. A place to relax, enjoy the sun and have great excursions all over Andalusia.
Some historians believe that Marbella exists from the 7th century BC. The first evidence of the city started during the middle ages. It is one of few cities in Andalusia that was already popular and big before the tourists came in the 1960s.
The first hotels were actually built in 1918 and 1926. So if you enjoy old buildings, this a place for you.
In 1954 Marbella Club opened. An international resort for movie stars, nobility, and business executives. This was the start of the Jet Set, that you will still find. Nowadays, you can find a lot of famous people on their holiday or and some even live in and around Marbella.
However, Marbella is also a coveted travel destination for everybody due to its sandy beaches, golf courses and warm temperatures all year round.
Best Hotels in Marbella
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Family-friendly Hotels in Marbella
Mid-Range Accommodation in Marbella
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Read more: where to stay in Marbella
As you can see, there is something for everyone. I really like the city for a few days and then continue to another city in Andalusia. But there are people that stay in Marbella for 3 weeks every year. Sometimes even 2 or 3 times a year. So there is enough to do and enjoy.
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1. Puerto Banus
Marbella exists out of two parts: Puerto Banus and Marbella. Puerto Banus is the harbor and this is the place most people go to. It is also a day trip from different cities in Andalusia like Malaga, Seville or Cordoba.
This is the place where you can find the Jet Set and the big stores. Gucci, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana and all the other brands you want are located here. This part is also known as the “Golden Mile”.
I just love to come here and watch people. Most are richer than I am and this gives some funny views. The boats and cars that you will find here are also so nice! But I have to warn you, the prices are also a bit higher. Last summer I had ice cream for 5 euro a scoop!
2. Explore the old town
Marbella itself has two parts, a new part, and the old city. The new part is close to the beach and is full of restaurants and shops. Have a nice stroll over the beach and enjoy a tasty fresh fish at the restaurants or a beach bar (chiringuito). Do you want more?
If you want more, then visit the old town (“casco antiguo“). The old buildings and small streets dotted with orange trees make the old quarter a great place to wander.
The old city still has the same layout as in the 16th century. One of the top buildings you have to visit is the church Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz. A beautiful white church from the 15th century. It was enlarged in the 18th century.
3. Historic Extension
It is a bit of a weird name, but Historic Extension is the name of a botanical garden. It is located between the sea and the old part and it hosts 10 sculptures of the well-known Salvador Dali.
It’s an art gallery under the sky!
4. Parks of Marbella
If you like walking and enjoying nature, then Marbella is a great place. There are some nice parks to visit in and around Marbella.
Alameda Park is a small park in the old city. A meeting place for the locals and nice selections of vegetation. Take a stroll or sit down and find the parrots.
Puerto Cabopino Beach and Marina are hidden gems. Walk along with the beach and the dunes and find this little marina with amazing views.
Constitution Park is a small park in the middle of Marbella. Find the cat family, bring some food and recharge in a relaxing place. There is a lot of vegetation and a lot of people go here to do some yoga or meditation.
5. The Wineries
Around Marbella, there are a few wineries or Bodega in Spanish. Most of them you can visit and enjoy a tour and taste some nice wines. You should make an appointment for this, but it is a very nice thing to do if you like wine.
Between Malaga and Portugal, there are a lot of wineries. You will find Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also sherry. Sherry is getting less and less popular, but now you know it comes from Spain!
6. Museums of Marbella
Marbella has some very nice museums and some are very specific. Like the Excellence Art Gallery SL. Home to beautiful art pieces, this gallery is 2 in 1: a café serving authentic Italian cuisine and selling colorful artworks.
Ralli Museums is a museum focused on Latin American and European art. They have 10 showrooms and the art pieces are from not-known to well-known artists. The museum is free, but the opening times are limited, so check before you go!
You can find some other nice museums like Museo del Grabado Espanol Contemporaneo and Galeria de Arte Alvaro Reja. So you can easily enjoy some art while enjoying the nice weather and beaches as well!
The museums and art galleries are all only a short walk away.
Places to Visit Near Marbella
Fuengirola is a town next to Marbella. There is a lot to do and it is a bit less rich. Here you will find a big shopping mall ‘Miramar’. Here you can find the H&M, Primark, Zara, and other more affordable stores.
The zoo is also located in Fuengirola. It is not that big, but they have a few rare species. If you have the time, it is nice to take a walk between the animals. Or visit the beach and all the restaurants. You will see that the atmosphere is different than in Marbella.
8. Benalmadena and Torremolinos
If you go a bit further than Fuengirola, you’ll end up in Benalmadena and Torremolinos. These are two beach towns with again a lot of nice restaurants.
There is a waterpark in Torremolinos. The one is Fuengirola is really nice for kids under 8, but the one in Torremolinos is great for all ages.
Benalmadena also has a butterfly park. A beautiful park with more than 1,500 different species. It is the biggest in Europe. Next to the park is an amazing Thai temple. So, do not forget to visit that one also! Torremolinos boasts some of the best beaches in Southern Spain.
Sevilla is one of the best cities in Europe if you ask me. It is reachable from Marbella, but you will need a whole day. The architecture is amazing, the history is great. They have even nicer parks than in Marbella and I fell in love with Plaza de Espana the moment I saw it.
Plaza de Espana is a big square with a special part for every province of Spain. There are a lot of street artists and locals. You can even take a boat trip across the square. Last time, I just sat there for an hour watching a flamenco show.
There are countless attractions to visit in Seville.
Gibraltar is pretty close to Marbella. It is a piece of England in Spain. Eat fish and Chips, make a picture in the red phone booths but most important are the monkeys!
On the Rock of Gibraltar live around 300 monkeys. This is the only place in Europe where you can find wild monkeys. The mountain also offers you some amazing caves to visit and enjoy.
You can go by car, but it is very difficult to park inside of Gibraltar. It is basically one big city and nothing more. So park just outside and walk across the border. It is way easier and cheaper!
Malaga is the city you will probably fly to. It is the capital of the Costa del Sol and it is amazing. Visit the Gibralfaro and enjoy the view. You can also enjoy the views oer Malaga from one of the rooftop bars the city offers.
Especially nice in the evening with all the lights!
You can take the train from Fuengirola and end up in the centre. This is the easiest and cheapest way.
Malaga is one of the most popular day trips from Marbella.
Ronda is a small city in the mountains. It is separated into two parts by a gorge. The bridge that connects the two has a lot of history and is beautiful.
There is also a hidden mine where you can walk down into the gorge and see the place where they could escape in case of a war.
For a typical Spanish city, a bit closer than Sevilla, Ronda is a must-see. It is so beautiful and breath taking that I could go there every week.
About the author
Caitlyn is the writer of Withcaitlyn.com. She also offers recipes and reviews next to her travel adventures and tips.
She is a Dutchie, but lives currently in Spain and continues her love for travel from there.