Located between Malaga and Gibraltar Strait, Marbella is a beautiful old Spanish city surrounded by the Sierra Blanca mountains on the Costa del Sol. Although most people come here for the beaches, the Old Town itself is definitely worth your time to visit. With it's narrow winding cobblestone streets, sun bleached buildings, beautiful red and purple Bougainvilleas, small family run restaurants, chic boutiqes, and the famous Orange Square, believe me when I tell you that this is a place you will have a hard time leaving. Oh and for you golf lovers out here....Marbella is a golfers paradise, you will be hard pressed not to find a course for anyone's style here!
Approximately 30 Miles/51 Kilometers from Malaga International Airport, there is no train service, however, there are several options for transfer. A private taxi will cost you about 80 Euros each way for two people. A shared shuttle will be cheaper if you don't mind waiting for other passengers to be delivered to various locations along the way, which could take 30 minutes or longer than a direct ride. The local bus is the cheapest and only takes about 45 minutes to get to Marbella City Center, which is within walking distance of many lodging options. Tickets for the bus can be purchased on their website ahead of time (if you are like me and want to have it all prepared so you aren't wasting time getting to the fun stuff) or in front of the airport after you arrive. Unless you plan to explore other areas of the Costa Del Sol during your stay, there really isn't a need for a vehicle because literally, everything you need is within reasonable walking distance...and parking is really difficult in Marbella, most hotels do not have parking areas.
The paved seaside promenade in Marbella runs the length of the beach for approximately 12 kilometers starting at the fishing port in Marbella through El Ancon, Rio Verde, and Puerto Banus. It is lined with hotels, shops and many restaurants serving seafood, tapas, sangria and other items.
On the beach you will find several bars that sell food and rent loungers and umbrellas. They will bring your drinks out to you if you rent from them. There are also various sporting activities available on the beach such as kayak and paddle boat rentals as well as beach trampolines and such, a little something for everyone's pleasures! Heads up for those of you haven't been to a beach in Europe and, who may be more conservative, be aware that topless bathing is optional and fairly common in many places within Europe, Spain is no exception.
Paseo del Alameda is lovely 18th century park in the center of Marbella at the end of Alameda del Mar and, just steps away from the beach. Many beautiful trees provide an abundance of shade, making the park a cool retreat and a great place to sit (on one of the beautiful tiled benches) to people watch, and/or listen to the relaxing sounds of the water fountains which are located in various locations within the park.
Puerto Banus is a nearby harbor town that is known as the playground to the rich and famous. Here you will see the most expensive high end sports cars, mega yachts, boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Versace, grand hotels and penthouses, as well as many restaurants, bars and nightclubs. If you would like to see how the rich and famous vacation in Spain, the Fly Blue Ferry Gran Catamaran at the Marbella Marina offers ferry service to Puerto Banus at a nominal fee of 8.50 euros one way and 15 euros round trip on an hourly basis.
Like in many touristy cities, horse and carriage rides are also available to take you around the old town if you would like to view it sitting down. I am an animal lover and not a big fan of the horse and carriage thing, but the weather stays around 75 degrees F most of the year in Costa del Sol and the horses appear to be well hydrated and cared for.
If Girbraltar happens to be on your bucket list of places to visit, it's only about an hour or so from Marbella by car or bus depending on the traffic of course...........or if you are really adventurous, you can go by boat with Marbella Sun Rentals! There are just so many possibilities for a great time in Costa del Sol...so just take my advice... arrive, relax and enjoy....oh - and have a sangria for me!
If you have a favorite destination in Spain we'd love to hear about it! :)