Located in the south of Spain on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. With an array of shops, restaurants and sights, visitors are always kept busy. Although Marbella is quite a modern town, there are still a number of attractions with an historic past in the Old Town . Here are our top picks for the top 10 things to see and do in this seaside city.
Held every Saturday between 9am and 2pm, the Puerto Banus street Market is popular with tourists and locals alike. Located in the next town from Marbella, this market is the perfect place to explore and spend a nice Saturday morning. It is one of the largest flea markets in the Costa Del Sol with over 120 stalls to visit. Starting from the Puerto Banus Bullring and stretching all the way down to the port, market traders are selling everything from fruit and vegetable, to clothes, furniture and antiques. And once you reach the end, you can grab a harbor side coffee and admire the yachts in the port.
The area around Marbella is known for its wonderful beaches, enjoyed by hundreds of people every day in the summer months. San Pedro Beach is one of the more popular beach resorts, just a little down the road from the town. Awarded the Blue Flag in 1992 for its excellent facilities and cleanliness, this beach also includes a first aid post and a public telephone. The area is also adorned with a number of beach bars and restaurants which provide music and sunbeds for hire. However, at 1 kilometer long and 35 meters wide, its large size means that it never seems too overcrowded; and with cycle paths for those who are more into active beach going, it’s a great choice for everyone.
Established in 1992, this museum is the first of its type in Spain. Located in Marbella old town, the 16th century building was once home to Mayor Don Alonso de Bazán and is now recognized as a building of protected cultural interest (BIC). The building is still in keeping with the original renaissance style of the 16th century. It is dedicated to 20th and 21st century engravings and Spanish graphic artwork but is also home to the Marbella Cultural Delegation offices. Works include those of Picasso, Chillida and Tapies. Over two hundred exhibitions have been put on display, with the museum also organizing the National Engraving Awards every year. Every year the Awards display a variation of Spanish art in mediums such as etchings, lithographs and xylographs.
Also known as the Old Quarter of Marbella, this is a peaceful escape from the sites and buildings of the present day resort. The area is home to a number of buildings dating back to the 16th and 17th century, including a stone fountain which was erected by the first Mayor of Christian Marbella in 1504. This can be found near to the Orange Square which was built in 1485 and lies at the heart of Marbella Old Town. However, the most famous building in the area is definitely the Church of Saint Mary. With construction beginning in 1618, the church is designed in baroque style and is well known for its red stone entrance.
Situated along Marbella’s famous Golden Mile, the Ralli Museum is home to a large collection of artwork by living contemporary Latin American artists, in fact it claims to hold the most important collection of Latino-American art in Europe. It is one of five Ralli Museums; however is the only one in Europe. The Marbella Ralli Museum specializes in surrealist style works although does display other contemporary pieces in both permanent and temporary exhibitions. There are ten rooms of art to admire, including the works of famous European artists such as that of Miró and Dalí. Easy to get to, the museum is free to enter making it accessible for all members of the public.
Set up in 2011, Fly Blue Catamaran offers cruises between Marbella and Puerto Banus lasting around 30 minutes each way. This is a great way to view the Golden Mile Coastline. Cruises occur every hour between 11am-4pm and then again at 5.30pm and 6.30pm from Marbella Marina. The cruise ship docks in Puerto Banus port before making its return journey, giving passengers the option to spend some time in Puerto Banus before returning to Marbella. Alternatively, passengers can choose to remain on the cruise ship and relax on deck.
Cruise times: every hour between 11.00am – 4.00pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm
The Ermita de Santiago is the oldest Christian Parish Church in Marbella. The church dates back to the 15th century, after the conquest by the Catholic monarchs, but the site was a mosque before this time. The design is very simple with a rectangular nave covered with Moorish tiles as well as a statue of St James the Apostle. The side of the church overlooks the Orange Square in Marbella Old Town and is close to a number of restaurants and shops, making it both a convenient and pleasant day out. The Chapel of Santiago is also placed next to the church where the offices for the Brotherhood of the Holy Christ of love, Mary, Charity and San Juan Evangelista are headquartered.
Located in the Church Square within Marbella Old town, the church of Saint Mary of the Incarnation is the largest in Marbella. It was constructed in 1505, although it underwent a number of changes between 1720 and 1756 by those such as Pedro del Castillo and Salvador Gávez. The bell tower is one of its most popular features with a height of about 33 meters. The tower consists of four sections which a number of bells and clocks and also has a tiled pyramid spire. Each bell has its own individual name including ‘Holy Trinity’, ‘Saint Barnabas’ and ‘Virgin of the Incarnation’. The inside of the church also houses the chapels of the immaculate and the Virgin of Fatima.
Located on the Puerto de Cabopino beach, the Torre Ladrones is of Moorish origin and was once part of a defense formation. Also known as the Tower of Thieves, the tower was modified during the 16th century to give it its present appearance. Standing at 14.6 meters high and 3.65 meters wide, the tower contains several flights of stairs which lead to the roof. The site is close to a number of shops and restaurants as well as being free to the public for viewing. This makes it an ideal spot for visitors.
As one of Marbella’s urban beaches, Fontanilla Beach is a short walk from the city centre and is popular with tourists and locals. Running all the way from the Marbella Marina to the promenade and with an endless number of bars and restaurants nearby, this area is perfect for a day of relaxation. There are also a number of facilities along the beach including toilets and showers. It is 1,000 meters long and 30 meters wide which means there is plenty of room for holiday goers on a beach which is classified as having a ‘high occupancy’. Many also choose to try a number of activities offered here with jet skiing being a popular choice.