In this Marbella holiday guide, you’ll learn a lot about the city, from how to get there from Marbella airport, to Mijas, to the best beach clubs in town. Of course, insider tips, as well as Juan’s restaurant, where every evening a real opera is sung! The special, by a waitress and a cook. Of course, also with a small special about golf and the best golf courses in Marbella. Because that’s what the Costa del Sol region is famous for. We show you the most exclusive places to live, like the “Golden Mile” in the centre. Here you will find magnificent villas under palm trees with XXL swimming pools! You will also get to know Puerto Banús, with exclusive boutiques from Burberry or Louis Vuitton and the many yachts that are anchored here. Welcome to Marbella, the Miami of Europe.
Marbella: City, location and weather on the Costa del Sol
If you ask me about Marbella, there is only one sensible answer:
Marbella is the Miami of Europe!
A pleasant climate all year round, lots of sunshine, right on the Mediterranean and all this just a few hours’ flight away from European capitals such as Berlin, Stockholm and Rome. In fact, many Italians are here in Marbella, as well as Swedes and Germans. One reason for this are for example the countless, large and lush green golf courses. As well as the “Old-Town” of Marbella, the kilometer-long beaches and the Spanish attitude towards life. What this means, you will learn in this Marbella guide for your first holiday.
Location: South-southeast Spain, almost at Gibraltar
Marbella is located in Spain, more precisely on the south-eastern coast, just before the southernmost point of Europe.
Before starting, a piece of Marbella, from above!
Drive from the airport: In 40 minutes at the marina
Marbella itself, like the other coastal towns (Malaga, Mijas), stretches along the beach and coast. When driving from the airport of Malaga to Marbella, one hardly notices the transitions between the cities and districts.
Malaga, Mijos, Marbella: Route
The way from the airport to the center of Marbella takes about 40, 45 minutes by car.
Expressway, speed limit and coast
On the expressway you are allowed to drive a maximum of 120 km / h. In fact, you often even drive up slowly, because the road runs directly along the coast. The view is captivating, especially if you are coming from the northern regions of Europe.
During the drive, to your right are the residential areas and behind them the mountains. More precisely, the Sierra Blanca. The mountain range runs along the coast, through Istán, Ojén, Marbella and Monda. One mountain in particular stands out later in Marbella, the 1,215 metre high Mushel peak.
In Marbella they say that the mountain stops the heat from the inland, also the clouds! Therefore, the good climate, the many sun, but more about that later in the section “Climate and Weather” in Marbella.
To the right you have the mountains and to the left, the Mediterranean Sea is always visible. With good visibility, you can even see the African coast from here. Even Gibraltar (the southernmost tip of Europe, only a few kilometers to Africa) is only 30 minutes away by car.
So Marbella is different from the typical, European city. It is not centrally located, but typical for coastal cities, it stretches along the sea. Accordingly, you are more likely to travel by car than by bike or on foot.
Along the entire route from the airport to Marbella, you pass a lot of greenery through palm trees, you see golf courses and housing estates, with holiday homes and villas. Everything in the typical Spanish look. Here are mainly the properties that are used by the owners for their own holidays and when the occupants are not on site, the holiday homes and villas are rented out to tourists. The further you get into Marbella, the more exclusive the neighbourhoods become, especially when looking towards the mountains.
This is how many spend their autumn and winter time in Marbella. Then, when it is cold and wet in the rest of Europe! Why? In Marbella, the climate is always pleasant.
Climate: Weather and temperatures in Marbella
Temperatures – Due to the southern location with sea air and warmth from inland, a warm, not hot, climate has established itself here. Palm trees grow in this location and the oranges on the trees are ready to be picked in December. In fact, in December!
Pure Mediterranean climate.
All this, in Europe.
Plants and fruits: Green all year round
Here too, Marbella is very reminiscent of Miami, palm trees grow 20 meters, 30 meters in height. Orange harvest in December, palm trees and fruit all year round, that’s what everyone dreams of when they think of holidays and relaxation.
During the day the city is relatively protected by the high mountains from the more extreme heat inland.
Houses in the ground – Only 30, 40 km further in the mainland, for example, there is a region where houses are traditionally built in the ground! From above you see as only a small door, the rest of the apartment is under the ground and is thus always cooled. As I said, in Marbella such extreme heat, e.g. over 35, 36 degrees are rather rare.
Because, at the same time, a cool breeze blows from the sea, especially in the evening, so that it is not uncomfortably hot in the evening, even after hot days. The Mediterranean Sea provides for balance.
Clear starry sky through mountain and sea air
At the same time, the protection of the mountains ensures that few clouds pass over Marbella, even at night. Marbella is not a big city, like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or other European cities like Paris and London. The starry sky over the sea sparks like in few places in Europe.
Seawater desalination and irrigation – clouds, rain, all this is very rare in Marbella. Who wonders why I still have so much green here, most areas are irrigated, permanently. Marbella, and Spain as a whole, are among the most successful countries when it comes to seawater desalination. So they can create a lot of green despite the warm temperatures, a lot of sun. Hence the almost unique golf courses in the region, with almost always good weather.
The moment between sunset and starry sky:
Weather in Marbella: Today + Temperatures
Here’s a little look at the current weather in Marbella:
Marbella City: Old Town, Villas & Starbucks
Marbella’s city center is made up of many small neighborhoods. However, the city itself feels larger than it actually is, due to the stretching along the coast.
Downtown and Old-Town
Old-Town of Marbella – One of the most important places is probably Marbella’s “Old-Town”. The name says it all, this is how you imagine the old town in Spain. Many small restaurants, small boutiques, small squares, orange trees and also small highlights, e.g. a wall with hundreds of blue flower pots (ideal for Instagram). Here in the old town you can find the real Marbella. Later in the tips, we also recommend a restaurant where an opera surprises you every night.
During the day you will find relatively few people in the city centre, due to the high temperatures, especially in the summer months! After all, there is hardly a breeze in the alleys of the city center. But in the evening, Marbella’s old town feels fast!
The “big meal” here doesn’t start at 6 or 7 pm. You start with a few drinks around 8pm, 9pm, then come tapas and only late at night, around 10pm, 11pm or even midnight, comes the actual dinner, the big main course.
Shopping: Shopping and tips
Puerto Banús – Another important spot, especially for the first visit, is Puerto Banús. In Puerto Banús you will find the big yachts, sailing ships and also a lot of shopping possibilities. However, it is not cheap here, because it is mainly Gucci, Louis Vuitton or luxury brands the Hermés.
Location in Marbella:
Rating on Google: 4.4 / 5.0 with 1,660 reviews
To the left and right of the port of Puerto Banús, beaches stretch out, as do large hotels. In addition, there are beach bars and many other ways to spend time here.
Golden Mile: Villas quarter in the center
Only a few minutes by car and you are on the Golden Mile. The Golden Mile is the most exclusive area, at least in the downtown area of Marbella. Here are large, stately villas. Accordingly, many streets are closed off by barriers.
The Golden Mile is above the main road (yellow on the map) and covers a wide area. The higher you go into the mountains, the bigger the villas and estates become.
Away from that, there is everything you need. From everyday groceries and markets like Lidl and Aldi, to small shops in the streets, to large shopping malls with Starbucks and Wendy’s, so also American stores that you can’t find in the city. This is what makes Marbella. With only 141,500 inhabitants. You can find everything here, as well as Gucci, Louis Vuitton & Co. in Puerto Banús.
Beach and shopping in Marbella
For many people, a holiday in Marbella means above all: relaxing, going to the beach and finally having time for shopping!
Beaches in Marbella: Almost 100% sand
If you’re spending your holiday in Marbella, you’re in luck, because here you’ll find almost exclusively sand! Directly on the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Gibraltar, the southernmost tip of Europe, you can have pure beach feeling. From the entire journey via Malaga and Mijas, in Marbella and up to the next town is Estepona.
That means where you go to the beach doesn’t really matter! You can find beautiful sand everywhere.
When it comes to space, you might want to look for a beach outside of the city center. Because of course most of the tourists are here and of course also the locals. That’s why many very good addresses, as well as Nikki Beach are not centrally located in the city, but a few kilometers outside the major tourist flows.
Toplist: Best Beaches in Marbella
What’s the community saying on Google? Thousands have left reviews, these are the best beaches:
- Alicate Beach
- Playa Nagüeles
- Cabopino Beach
- Puerto Banus beach
- Playa de Artola
- … and many more!
Believe me, you have so many possibilities to go shopping in Marbella! From big shopping malls where you can find many international shops, from Starbucks to Wendy’s, to many small shopping streets and of course many small boutiques in the “Old-Town”.
If you want an exclusive shopping experience then you have to go to Puerto Banús, here you will find luxury brands from all over the world, from Louis Vuitton to Burberry and Hermès. My first stop was at Louis Vuitton, in fact we even walked out with a pair of shoes. Why not! Fitting for our almost daily visits, to great beach clubs, here locally. Always at yes you can enjoy the good life.
Here you will find the Louis Vuitton Store and many other luxury brands:
Villas and holiday homes: Real estate
In Marbella there are pretty much all forms of real estate. So to speak, from the rental apartment, to the exclusive designer villas in the mountainsides.
Villas: Golden Mile
If you can afford it, you can live very exclusively in Marbella! On the one hand, there is the “Golden Mile”, or the entire area from the Golden Mile up to the mountain slopes. Here you find villa after villa. The higher up in the mountains, the more exclusive the location. Even more exclusive than in the Golden Mile, it gets a little further inland. Here there are small settlements where the super rich live. Again, they live somewhat secluded, so they are not directly accessible to everyone from the city. Besides the seclusion, security of course also plays a big role for these real estate buyers.
If you want to see the expensive villas in Marbella, drive along the coastal road, in Marbella it becomes the main road and orient yourself towards the mountains. You can start for example in the “Golden Mile”. But it is important that you cannot explore the area on foot.
Tip: It’s best to organise a good, high-quality car. After all, you will have to pass through some barriers where you don’t want to attract attention. You can find the map and location above, in the “City” section.
Holiday home: Beach location
In Marbella, however, you will also find many holiday homes, especially on the beach locations, left and right of the city. As already described in the introduction, Marbella stretches over the entire coastal area and accordingly the settlements are also extensive, with small and large holiday homes.
They are often owned by owners who rent them out as holiday homes for many months. So you can enjoy the luxury of Marbella itself, for example in the cold autumn and winter months in Europe. In spring and summer, the holiday homes are then rented out to tourists.
A good deal! Because, as a rule, you pay 20% commission to the local managers. So, if the house costs 1,000 euros a month, whether renting or paying off the loan, but 3,000 euros can be earned per month (minus 20%, 600 euros), after renting or paying off the loan, you still have 1,400 euros a month left!
Real estate for golfers
Marbella is the Miami of Europe. There are over 100 golf courses in the area, all within an hour’s drive. In Marbella alone you will find about 20 golf courses and golf clubs. Golf courses in Marbella are very popular! Therefore, the business is booming and meanwhile more and more properties, directly at golf courses are designed. Therefore very popular, also very special, the various properties that are built directly on or around golf courses!
The great advantage for all golf fans, the golf club is only a few minutes walk away. E.g. directly through your own garden, past your own swimming pool. You are already at the 1st hole. Very practical, for all those who practice golf as a hobby and sport. The membership is included in these properties, so you can play directly.
Whether as a permanent residence or as a temporary property, which is rented outside of the own use, there are extremely many town houses and villas, especially for golf fans. The big advantage, the way to the golf course is not far, often it just leads through your own garden, past the pool.
Golf in Marbella: Number 1 in Europe
In addition to the city and the beaches, or of course also in addition to the Mediterranean climate, but above all had one thing to offer, golf courses! Therefore, the designation, Miami of Europe, is also so appropriate.
Tip: Los Naranjos Golf Club
A good tip for golfers is for example the “Los Naranjos” golf course. “Naranjo” is the Spanish word for “orange tree”, “Naranja” means “orange”. The golf course is called like that because there are a lot of orange trees in this area. The golf course is managed by Swedes. In Marbella there are a lot of them! Besides the wide, lush green, you will also find a great culinary offer, with international cuisine. Los Naranjos is definitely worth a visit, not only for golf, but also for delicious food.
The best golf clubs in Marbella
Marbella is not only a dream destination for holidaymakers looking for sea and sun, but also for golfers! The city offers centrally and in the surrounding area several exclusive golf courses with varied courses for passionate golfers or a shooting ranch for beginners and beginners. We have selected some of the most popular and best rated golf courses for you and present them to you here. Whether it’s a large golf course with a restaurant and associated hotel with all-round care or a secluded, quiet golf course with a sea panorama: Marbella has the right golf course for every golfer!
More top recommendations for Marbella can be found here:
Restaurants and Beach Clubs: Good life
Here are 3 more tips: 2 beach clubs and 1 distinctive restaurant in the old town of Marbella!
Why 2 Beach Clubs? If you want to enjoy the good life in Marbella, you absolutely have to go to beach clubs or restaurants. On the one hand, you can meet your friends here to end the day, and on the other hand, you can decide for yourself whether you want a delicious meal, another jump into the sea or directly into the pool. Relax on a lounger with cocktails and snacks.
Only 10 minutes from Old-Town, in the middle of the beach:
Nikki Beach: Las Chapas
Nikki Beach Club – Off the beaten track of the city centre, you’ll find Nikki Beach Club in Las Chapas (Marbella). Right on the beach, extremely cosy and with fantastic and stylish food. Stylish? Yes! The sushi alone, but read more here! Our tip for those who want beach club, extremely tasty food and drinks.
You’re right downtown? Then you should check out this beach club:
Ocean Club: In the City
Beach Club XL – Directly in the center of the city, in the middle of the hotels and shopping streets, lies the Ocean Club, directly on the beach! Best location, everything kept in white, an XXL pool, live DJ, dancers… more is not possible. The reviews on the Internet are top, almost 5 out of 5 stars gives the community on Google. Reason enough for a visit, in one of the recommendations for Marbella, the Ocean Club.
Insider tip: Juan! Restaurant with spontaneous opera
Here is an absolute insider tip, which I really only know through good friends! In the middle of downtown (Old-Town), you will find Juan’s Restaurant. Every evening, absolutely surprising, under palm trees, in the courtyard of the restaurant, comes something that no one expects at dinner: An opera! Sung by a real, married couple who work in the kitchen and in the service, respectively. Both are trained opera singers and when Juan heard about it, he found it so charming that unless there is a small live performance every evening.
Not in fine pinstripe, suns in the typical clothing of kitchen and service. The performance goes 10 to 15 minutes each and includes two to three liters, with a special charm, in the night of Marbella.
El Patio De Mariscal – Calle Virgen de los Dolores, 3, 29601 Marbella
Tip: Nearby is a beautiful church “Templo de Dios”, hidden in the alleys.
The beautiful Old Town, miles of beaches, villas on the Golden Mile and outside the city and Europe’s number 1 when it comes to golf courses. This is Marbella!