Amazing Day Trips to Take From Marbella by Boat

Fuengirola is home to one of the most popular beaches on the Costa del Sol
Fuengirola is home to one of the most popular beaches on the Costa del Sol | Photo by Tom Brunberg on Unsplash
Mark Nayler

Decked out with chic beachfront clubs, Michelin-starred restaurants, upscale boutiques and a golden coastline, Marbella is one of the Costa del Sol’s hottest spots. While the coastal city makes for a great base for an Andalusian adventure, there are some fabulous other places along the coast well worth checking out. One of the best ways of navigating the sun-drenched region is by boat. Here’s our pick of some of the most manageable day trips to be had from Marbella…

Master the waters of Marbella.

Puerto Banús

The largely residential area of Nueva Andalucia centres on Puerto Banus, where high-end yachts pack the marina and gleaming Ferraris purr along the roads. Set back from the harbour are several streets lined with cafes, bars, restaurants and chic clothing boutiques. You’ll also find some of Marbella’s best nightspots, including Seven and Funky Buddha, and a compact beach fringed by chiringuitos (small bars selling drinks and tapas). Sail and motorboats can refuel at a floating gas dock.

While moored in Puerto Banus, stroll along the coastal boardwalk for 25 minutes to one of the Costa del Sol’s most overlooked beaches. Situated 11km (7mi) west of Marbella, Playa de San Pedro de Alcantara serves as a blissful sunning spot, with an expansive beachfront, superb amenities and stylish chiringuitos with waterfront terraces. There’s also a generous amount of shade, courtesy of mature eucalyptus and palm trees.

Estepona

Estepona provides a sharp contrast to the bling of Puerto Banus. Although just 20km (12mi) further west down the coast, it’s a quintessentially Andalusian town in which whitewashed townhouses are adorned with colourful flower pots and plants. Key sights include the Old Town’s main square (Plaza de las Flores), an orchid house with one of the largest collections in Europe and the spacious Playa de la Rada. Don’t miss creative contemporary tapas at La Bulla Gastrobar.

Fuengirola

This coastal town is usually sought-out for its 8km (6mi) of beaches and lively nightlife but sunbathing and clubbing aren’t the only things to do in Fuengi (as the locals call it). Make your way to Plaza de la Constitución (four minutes on foot from the port), where you’ll find shaded terraces for a spot of rest and recuperation. Then visit the hilltop Sohail Castle, which dates back to the Moorish invasion of Spain, and the Bioparc Zoo, where the avant-garde architecture is just as attention-grabbing as the nature park’s exotic inhabitants.

Benalmádena

Sail to Benalmádena to hang out with eagles and explore the ocean depths. In the marina itself, you’ll find the Sea Life Aquarium, where you come face-to-face with deep-sea creatures such as blacktip reef sharks, green turtles and seahorses. Once back on the surface, head to the cable car station and zip to the top of the 780m (2,560ft) Mount Calamorro, where you’re greeted by panoramic views of the Costa del Sol and inland mountains. You’ll also find the Jardin de las Aguilas (garden of the eagles) birds of prey centre, with the residents ranging from owls to eagles.

Torremolinos

Torremolinos was at the vanguard of tourism development on the Costa del Sol in the 1950s and 60s and it is now firmly established as one of southern Spain’s most popular resorts. Situated just east of Benalmádena (and only a half-hour walk if you’re anchored there), it offers six separate beaches spread over 7km (4mi) of coastline, ranging from the busy Playa del Bajondillo in the town centre to the quieter Playa Los Alamos further north.

Playa de Cabopino

Dock in the Puerto de Cabopino to visit one of the most unspoilt beaches on the Costa del Sol. 14km (9mi) east of Marbella, the Playa de Cabopino stretches alongside a protected area of natural dunes peppered with sprouting juniper and sea narcissus. Keeping vigil over the sands is the 15m (49ft)-high Torre de Ladrones (Thieves’ Tower). Built in the 15th century, the distinctive column is still the tallest watchtower on Malaga’s coastline.

Playa de Calahonda

For an afternoon stroll rounded off with sunset sangrias, head east after dropping anchor in the Puerto de Cabopino. Situated on the opposite side of the harbour from Playa Cabopino, the sand-and-pebble, 4km (3mi)-long Calahonda beach is flanked by a boardwalk that runs to Mijas, providing ample opportunities to watch the sun disappear over the Mediterranean. Both Luna Beach Calahonda (Mijas end) and Cocoa Beach Marbella (port end) have ocean-view terraces.

See more of Marbella.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Edit article