Marbella Travel Guide: Advice on Planning an Unforgettable Marbella Vacation 

If you’re yearning for a European getaway that intertwines sun-kissed relaxation with vibrant cultural excursions, let us introduce you to a destination that might just top your bucket list: Marbella, Spain.

Close your eyes and picture this: azure skies stretching over the Mediterranean’s shimmering expanse, lush, rolling hills, and narrow, winding cobblestone streets bursting with an intoxicating mix of tradition and glamour. 

Can you hear the murmuring of the waves, the whispering palm trees, or the rhythmic flamenco melodies that echo in the balmy evening air? That’s the magic of Marbella calling you. And in this Marbella travel guide, we’ll help you plan the vacation of a lifetime – centered around our luxury villas.

Whether you’re hoping to toast the sunset from an exclusive beach club, soak up the rich Andalusian culture, or just catch some R&R at a luxury villa nestled in the hillside, this guide on what to do in Marbella will leave you inspired and confident as you start planning your itinerary.

And, we’ll even cover the basics beyond our favorite things to do in Marbella – like the best time to go to Marbella and where to stay in Marbella. 

We know you’re eager to put pen to paper and start planning your trip. But to kick off our Marbella travel guide, we need to determine if this is the right location for you. So, is Marbella worth visiting?

Is Marbella Worth Visiting?

From other Spanish locations like our Ibiza travel guide, Mallorca travel guide, or Alcudia travel guide, to other tropical destinations like our Anguilla travel guide, Seychelles travel guide, or Antiparos travel guide, there are countless places calling your name

So how does Marbella stack up on the figurative bucket list? In order to answer that, let’s first explain where Marbellas is, what it’s like, what it’s known for, and more.

Where is Marbella?

Is Marbella Worth Visiting?

Marbella is a dazzling city nestled on the southern coast of Spain in the region of Andalusia. Part of the Costa del Sol, Marbella sits along the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, enjoying over 320 days of sunshine a year. 

This beautiful city is about 60 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital, Malaga, providing visitors a convenient access point to this sun-kissed haven. But, what is Marbella like? 

What is Marbella Like?

In a few words: energetic, warm, inviting, rejuvenating

Imagine waking to a serene sunrise that bathes your luxury villa in a soft, warm glow, and stepping onto a landscape where sandy beaches and vibrant city life exist in perfect harmony. 

The blend of old-world charm and modern luxury sets Marbella apart, providing a uniquely appealing environment that beguiles visitors at every turn. This unique wonderland embraces you with a vibrancy that’s as warming as the Spanish sun itself.


What is Marbella Known For?

Marbella is known for its idyllic coastline and luxury lifestyle. It’s renowned for the ‘Golden Mile,’ a stretch of premier villas, private beaches, and five-star hotels. 

Visitors are attracted to the city’s marina, Puerto Banus, famous for its designer boutiques, high-end restaurants, and extravagant yachts. 

Yet, Marbella isn’t just about modern glitz. Its charming Old Town, with the iconic Orange Square, centuries-old churches, and boutiques, adds to the city’s allure. 

The city’s dynamic culinary scene, featuring Michelin-star restaurants and traditional tapas bars, also contributes to its reputation. Our Marbella travel guide captures these elements and more that make the city a beloved destination.

How Expensive is Marbella?

When it comes to cost, Marbella offers a spectrum of options to cater to various budgets. Compared to cities like Madrid or Barcelona, Marbella can be a bit pricier, especially in areas like Puerto Banus. However, the city also offers more affordable options for dining and entertainment. 

As a point of reference, a mid-range meal might cost around 10 to 15 euros per person, while a dinner at a high-end restaurant can go well over 50 euros per person. Accommodation varies widely too, from luxury villas and five-star resorts to more budget-friendly hotels and vacation rentals. 

So, while Marbella is renowned for its luxury, it’s also accessible for those seeking a less extravagant vacation. Our Marbella guide helps you navigate this range, ensuring you know where to splurge and where to save. That being said, should plan a vacation and travel to Marbella?

So, Should You Plan Your Vacation and Travel to Marbella?

If you’re looking for a destination that combines stunning beaches, rich culture, fantastic food, and an enticing blend of tranquility and glamour, then Marbella should top your list. 

It’s versatile, as there are so many things to do in Marbella –  whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore historical sites, indulge in retail therapy, or party the night away. And with a variety of options to suit different budgets, it’s a city that can cater to various travel styles. 

So, let’s get into the basics of planning a trip to Marbella, looking at the best places to stay in Marbella, the best time to go to Marbella, and how to get to Marbella.

The Basics of Planning a Trip to Marbella: Figuring Out Lodging and Logistics

Where to Stay in Marbella

Below, we’ll set the foundation for an unforgettable trip to Marbella. 

This is the stuff that probably has you stressing out the most, so let’s get it all squared away so you can enjoy peace of mind and get to the fun part of our Marbella travel guide – the best things to do in Marbella

First up, let’s talk about the best time to go to Marbella. 

Our Recommendation For the Best Time to Go to Marbella, Spain

As your Marbella guide, we recommend you travel to Marbella in one of the windows: either April to June or September to November. Why? These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable prices compared to the peak summer season. 

The temperatures are comfortable for beach-going, sightseeing, and outdoor activities. However, if your primary goal is sunbathing and swimming, then the warmer summer months, while busier and more expensive, would be ideal. That’ll be July or August.

How to Get to Marbella, Spain in the Most Convenient Manner

When planning how to get to Marbella, the most common route is flying into Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport. 

From there, it’s a straightforward 40-minute drive to the heart of Marbella. If convenience and time efficiency are your priorities, consider pre-booking a private transfer for a direct and comfortable ride to your lodging. 

This is something we can assist with as your Marbella guide – but more on that in a moment.

Local Transportation For Getting Around Marbella 

Moving around Marbella is relatively easy. The city boasts an efficient public transportation system, including regular buses and taxis. 

However, if you’d like to explore at your own pace or venture beyond the city limits, consider renting a car. We recommend booking in advance to secure the best deals. 

But remember, the charm of Marbella also lies in its walkability, especially in the Old Town, where strolling through its narrow streets is a delight in itself.

Where to Stay in Marbella, Spain: Hotels vs Resorts vs Villas

where to go in Marbella

Perhaps the most important considerations when visiting Marbella are these: where to go in Marbella, and where to stay in Marbella. 

And the good news is there really are no wrong answers here – you’re spoiled with choices. From boutique hotels in the Old Town to luxurious resorts on the Golden Mile, options are plentiful. However, for an exceptional stay, nothing compares to the privacy, space, and personalized comfort of a luxury villa.

Imagine waking up in a plush bed, opening your balcony doors to an unobstructed view of the Mediterranean, and enjoying breakfast by your private pool. Then, after a day of exploring, retreat to your villa for a relaxing dip in the hot tub, a barbecue in the garden, or a movie night in your home theater. 

That’s what staying in a villa in Marbella offers – a tailor-made vacation experience that no hotel or resort can match.

Whether you’re traveling to Marbella with family, celebrating a special occasion, or looking for a high-end retreat, a villa offers you a home away from home with premium amenities. Moreover, our Marbella villas are conveniently located, ensuring you’re never too far from the city’s top attractions.

We have luxury villas in Marbella starting at just €2,375/week. Whether you prefer something hidden in a lush, private jungle oasis like Golden Mile Villas or you want to look out over the cliffs and take in superb views of the sea from Villa Fuentes, your perfect Marbella vacation is just a few clicks away.

Beyond where to stay in Marbella, you need to consider what to do in Marbella on your vacation. Below, we’ll finish up our Marbella travel guide by helping you plan out your itinerary.

What to Do in Marbella on Your Vacation

It’s time to start figuring out things to do in Marbella to make the most of your trip. From sightseeing to beach lounging, fine dining, partying, and more – there is no shortage of things to do in Marbella, Spain!

What to See in Marbella, Spain

Begin your exploration with Marbella’s charming Old Town, a labyrinth of narrow streets flanked by whitewashed buildings. 

This area is home to historic landmarks, including the Castle Walls and the Plaza de Los Naranjos, which features the 16th-century Town Hall. The Old Town is a must-visit not only for its history but also for its array of boutiques, art galleries, and cafes, which breathe life into its traditional charm.

Venture beyond the Old Town and you’ll find Puerto Banus, the city’s renowned marina, which is a spectacle of luxury yachts and high-end boutiques. Take a stroll around to indulge in the upscale ambiance and do some people-watching, you might even spot a celebrity or two!

The Best Beaches in Marbella, Spain

Marbella boasts an impressive 23 beaches along its coastline, each offering a unique allure. For a lively beach scene with beach bars, watersports, and parties, head to Bounty Beach. This is our personal favorite. 

But, you can also consider Playa del Alicate or Playa Nagüeles, two very energetic beaches with plenty to do. On the other hand, if you prefer a quieter and more family-friendly environment, Trocadero Playa, Playa de Levante, and Playa Hermosa are excellent choices. 

For the naturist, Cabopino Beach offers designated nudist areas amidst its luxury yachts and watersport offerings. Another great option for those considering letting it all hang loose on their agenda is Playa de Artola.

Shopping Sprees in Marbella, Spain

Shopping in Marbella is a delightful mix of luxury and authenticity. Puerto Banus is the hub for high-end shopping, featuring designer brands and luxury boutiques. You can really spoil yourself and enjoy the luxury of Marbella here – from Dolce and Gabanna to Versace.

For a more local shopping experience, head to the markets in the Old Town where you can find fresh seafood, local produce, and handmade crafts. If you’re taking a cuisine class or want to bring back produce for your personal chef, this is a great way to pass the time. 

You can also bring back an authentic piece of your Marbella vacation from Old Town, be it traditional ceramics or handmade leather goods.

things to do in Marbella, spain

Marbella’s Nightlife: From Classy Bars to Iconic Clubs

As the sun sets, the things to do in Marbella are just getting started – as the nightlife comes to life. Start your evening with a classy bar in the Old Town or along the Golden Mile. Then, move the party to one of Marbella’s iconic clubs. 

Puerto Banus is the center of Marbella’s nightlife, with venues such as Pangea, Tibu, and Ocean Club, known for their music, atmosphere, and potential celebrity sightings.

Top Dining Experiences in Marbella

While we recently unveiled the best restaurants in Mallorca, Spain, it’s important that we give credit where credit is due: the culinary adventure awaiting you in Marbella is worth the trip alone.

The dining scene here is as diverse as the destination’s attractions. You can find everything from traditional tapas bars in the Old Town to Michelin-starred restaurants along the Golden Mile. Enjoy local favorites like paella and pescaíto frito (fried fish), or try international cuisines at one of the city’s many fusion restaurants. A few of our personal favorite dining establishments include:

  • Perlage (international cuisine)
  • Alelí (Italian cuisine)
  • La Estrellita (Mediterranean cuisine)
  • Tragabuches (traditional Analusian cuisine)
  • Kona (Japanese cuisine)
  • Tagus (Spanish cuisine)
  • Casa al Madena (Morrocan cuisine)
  • Luna (Pizzeria)

Day Trips from Marbella

While you’re looking for things to do in Marbella, have you considered the possibility of exploring a surrounding area instead? Marbella’s strategic location allows for several enticing day trips. 

Ronda, with its dramatic cliffside location and historic bullring, is a popular choice. 

Alternatively, you can head to Mijas, a charming whitewashed village in the mountains, known for its burro-taxis (donkey taxis) and panoramic views. 

For nature enthusiasts, the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park offers hiking trails through a biosphere reserve.

Enjoy Some R&R in Your Luxury Marbella Villa

Of all the things to do in Marbella, your trip wouldn’t be complete without enjoying some downtime in your luxury villa. With private pools, spacious terraces, and stunning sea views, these villas offer a serene retreat from the city’s bustle. 

Savor a glass of local wine on your balcony as you watch the sunset, or take a dip in the pool under the Spanish sun. It’s these private moments of relaxation that make your Marbella vacation truly unforgettable.

Marbella guide

Wrapping Up Our Marbella Travel Guide

As our Marbella travel guide draws to a close, it’s clear that this sun-kissed city on Spain’s Costa del Sol is more than just a travel destination – it’s a world of luxury, culture, natural beauty, and unforgettable experiences

From the quaint charm of its Old Town to the glitz and glamour of Puerto Banus, Marbella captivates at every turn. And, Marbella offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure –  whether you’re sinking your toes into the golden sands of Playa Nagüeles, strolling through the bustling streets of the vibrant city center, or immersing yourself in a late-night flamenco performance.

We hope this conversation on traveling to Marbella has left you eager and inspired to begin planning your own trip. We’ve talked about the best time to go to Marbella, the best places to stay in Marbella, and what to do in Marbella once you arrive. With the Marbella vacation centered around our luxurious Marbella villas, you’ll second guess ever returning home!

We can’t wait to welcome you to Marbella – the jewel of the Costa del Sol. Until then, keep dreaming, keep planning, and remember that the magic of Marbella is always just a plane ride away. Adiós for now, and see you in Marbella!

Sign up for exclusive e-mail updates on our new villa additions, top promotions and carefully curated vacation ideas.

    Our team is here to help you with any questions you have.
    contact us