Marbella is a coastal city situated in the South of Spain, on the Costa del Sol or what is known as Spain’s sunshine coast. Aside from plenty of sunshine and the blue Mediterranean sea, Marbella is famed for being one of the most luxurious destinations for the jet-set crowd.
With over 20 beaches spanning the 27 kilometres of shoreline, lively beach clubs and nightlife, lavish resorts, designer shops, incredible fine dining, there is no shortage of things to do for the elite traveller. Aside from luxury resorts and beaches, Marbella has a wealth of culture to discover.
Nowadays, it is home to hundreds of luxury properties belonging to celebrities, footballers and Saudi royalty, but Marbella dates back to the era of the Roman and Moors, in fact, you can visit the Roman Villa dating back to 200 AD which is decorated in lavish mosaics in Puerta Banus!
A trip to Marbella’s historic centre still bears tribute to the 90,000 square metres of city walls built by the Moors that once enclosed the city.
For foodies, the array of gastronomical offerings will keep them satisfied during their stay, with fine dining and Michelin restaurants as well as traditional restaurants offering up a slice of the local cuisine.
One of the biggest draws to the Sunshine Coast is golf and there are a total of 70 stunning golf courses in the Costa del Sol, within easy reach of Marbella, to keep you entertained.
What more can you ask for but sun, sea, sand, great cuisine and indulgence? Here in our guide to Marbella, we will show you how to make the most of your holiday on the sunshine coast, with a touch of luxury.
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Marbella on a luxury. We will show you what to do in Marbella, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Marbella or a long term stay.
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The best time to visit Marbella
With an average of 320 sunny days per year on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is a perfect destination for those looking for some winter sun and can be visited all year round. September and October are excellent months to visit, as most of the summer crowds will have dissipated and the Mediterranean Sea is warm and inviting.
Also, April and May are ideal times to visit in Spring. The most popular time to travel to Marbella is during the summer months and these are best avoided, during the summer crowds flock to the beaches and prices for flights and accommodation soar.
During the winter between November to February are the coldest months but temperatures range from a mild 12 – 16 degrees centigrade in the daytime to 8 degrees centigrade at night making it an ideal winter sun destination!
Luxury things to do in Marbella
Hit the beach
With a name meaning “Beautiful Sea” in Spanish, you could not visit Marbella without hitting the beach and basking in the sunshine or cooling off in the deep blue Mediterranean sea.
One of the most beautiful beaches is Cabopino which is a long stretch of sandy beach rated as one of the best beaches in Marbella, however, the beach is not equipped with restaurants and facilities so if you’re looking for a five-star experience you can visit the famous Nikki Beach Club.
This glamorous beach club offers five-star treatment fit for a celebrity, in fact, many world-renowned celebrities have graced the club including Lady Gaga and Colin Farrell.
Rent a sunbed and spend the day sipping on a refreshing cocktail, dancing on the beach, enjoying champagne tastings, sampling the local seafood and delicious cuisine from their menu.
If you travel in April you can attend their highly-anticipated opening party and even rub shoulders with local and international celebrities, you never know! From April to September there are regular events held including brunches, pool parties, DJ nights and more!
The beaches also offer plenty of opportunities to go wake-boarding, paddle-boarding, parasailing and jet-skiing which will keep any adventure junkie happy.
Take a stroll in the historic centre
Marbella has a gorgeous historic centre which is often neglected by tourists, however, it’s well worth a visit. The cobbled streets give the centre a village feel and are lined with art galleries, small local bars tucked away in quiet streets and boutique shops.
The narrow streets lead to a picturesque square lined with lush tropical vegetation and orange trees whose fragrance lingers in the air during the springtime.
The square is filled with small local bars where you can sip on a coffee and indulge in the pastime of people-watching or spend the early evening bar-hopping and sampling local tapas.
Some of the best authentic bars are small and poky but are well worth the visit If you want to experience traditional tapas, Bodegas La Venencia is an institution offering delicious and highly-prized Cinco Jotas Jamón ibérico or cured Spanish ham and other local dishes such as ox tail (rabo de toro) and lamb chops (chuletas de cordero lechal).
Another great option is La Capilla, the gastronomic brainchild of Paco Piedra and undoubtedly one of the best tapas bars in Marbella; try the Gazpachuelo, or cold tomato soup served with sherry, and the tuna, they also offer a wonderful selection of regional sherries.
Rent a yacht at Puerta Banus
If you want to experience the Costa del Sol coastline in style, rent a yacht with Marbella Charters. Aside from yachts they also offer sailing charters sailboat rental and fishing charters and prices start from only €500 for two hours for a speedboat (fuel and VAT not included in the price)!
Spend a day out on the water with friends or family and maybe even spot some dolphins leaping in the distance or enjoy snorkelling in the warm Mediterranean waters.
If you don’t have your sea legs you can also enjoy strolling along Puerta Banus marina and check out the bustling energy of the bars, restaurants and cafes along the seafront.
What was once a small fishing village has now sprung into a destination for the jet-set and playground for the wealthy who come to flaunt their wealth.
The luxury marina is also lined with designer shops and trendy places to see and be seen which means that it’s an ideal way to experience luxury Marbella.
Dance the night away
Marbella nightlife has a worldwide reputation and for those who want to party, there are plenty of places to have a memorable night out including beach clubs such as Pacha, Nikki Beach or La Cabane where you can dance the night away and party to the early hours to a backdrop of the beach and the Mediterranean Sea.
However, the very trendiest nightclubs in Marbella are not found on the beaches, if you want to party with the Marbella elite head to La Suite Club in the Hotel Puente Romano, inspired by the famous Studio 54 in New York in a fusion of Roman architecture and a modern, Industrial feel, here you can dance the night away with local and international celebrities or enjoy a cocktail on their stunning open-air bar, La Térrasse.
Another favourite haunt for celebrities is Olivia Valere, an open air patio surrounded by archways in the Moorish styles and has hosted famous people such as Enrique Iglesias and Bruce Willis and well-renowned DJs and is the place to see and be seen amongst Marbella’s elite crowd.
Finally, there is also Aqwa Mist in Puerta Banus, which is a great club which plays host to plenty of international footballers and celebrities, there are regular DJ nights with internationally renowned DJs and even VIP rooms which you can rent out for the night with terraces, butler service and Jacuzzis for a hedonistic experience.
Visit Roman ruins
Visit the ruins of a Roman Villa dating back over 2,000 years in what was once the city of Ciliana built along Rio Verde, nowadays there are some remnants and ruins from what was once a thriving city.
You can view the stunning mosaics with designs that include what was commonly served up in Roman times such as chicken, seafood and rabbit which can be found it the kitchen area.
The unique mosaics of the floor of the Villa has a distinctive pattern not seen in other Roman sites, including well-preserved black and white stones encasing intricate designs.
There are vivid depictions including a mosaic in the dining room which shows dinner guests removing their shoes before entering, to indicate where they should remove them.
There also some remnants of columns that are also visible on the site. Visiting times are from 10.30 to 13.30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Take a stroll in Alameda Park
This city centre park is the perfect place to rest and catch your breath. Situated in near the Casco Antiguo (Historic Centre) in Marbella you can come and watch the world go by from one of the mosaic-covered benches under the cool shade of trees and with a fountain dating back to 1792 in the centre of the plaza.
The park is a meeting spot for locals and is the perfect place to begin your stroll in the botanical gardens or down to the historic centre or find a nearby café where you can while away the hours sipping on a café con leche.
Visit a spa
Indulge yourself with a luxury spa experience in Marbella. There are plenty of luxe spas where you can feel your stress and worries melt away, the most élite spas in Marbella include Marbella Club Thalasso Spa, part of Marbella Club Hotel.
The spa’s theme is the sea and products include saltwater, algae and seaweed products to the backdrop of the Mediterranean. There is also a traditional Finnish style sauna, hammam steam rooms and an indoor refreshing pool with fresh seawater.
Another stunning spa is the Six Senses Spa at Puente Romano Resort, here you can indulge in massages, facials, pedicures and manicures, take a dip in the icy-cold plunge pool, enjoy a steamy hammam or sauna.
All products used by Six Senses have been developed exclusively for the spa and will guarantee you leave the spa feeling like a new person!
Drive in style
Get around in style with a luxe sports car which can be rented from Luxury Rent A Car Puerto Banus.
Cruise around the coastline in a Maserati, Porsche, Ferrari, Rolls Royce or Lamborghini, there’s no better way to turn heads than at the steering wheel of a sexy sports car.
Shop till you drop
Marbella is a luxury destination that draws members of the jet-set crowd who love tt shop, so there is plenty of designer shopping if you want to flash your credit card! Head to Puerto Banus to visit designer shops such as Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Versace and Armani that line the streets overlooking the marina.
The nearby Corte Ingles shopping centre also offers many more options to satisfy your shopping needs. If you’re looking for unique jewellery, make sure to check out Neuhaus Jewellery in the stylish Hotel Puente Romano.
Marbella is home to a vibrant array of restaurants including some Michelin-star restaurants. The most famous chef from Andalusia is Dani Garcia who has won three Michelin stars, he owns several restaurants in Marbella offering traditional Southern Spanish food with a twist.
His restaurant Dani Garcia*** situated in Hotel Puente Romano has won three stars and serves up an innovative tasting menu called “Madre” (Mother) which showcases his love for his roots in Andalusia and dedicated to his mother who gave him his passion for cooking.
The menu has personalized signature dishes including dishes such as white gazpacho with prawns, stewed beef tongue served with caviar and Almadraba tuna steak.
For those with a more limited budget, Dani Garcia also has another more casual-dining restaurant in Hotel Puente Romano called BiBo with an a la carte menu offering great seafood and meat dishes at more affordable prices.
The desserts there are to die for and dishes are innovative and creative so there’s no excuse to miss out on trying this award-winning chef’s creations.
For other Michelin options head to Skina Restaurant, a favourite haunt of celebrities which has been awarded one Michelin star and can be found tucked away in the historic centre of Marbella.
The restaurant serves up delicious traditional seafood dishes such as espetos, sardines cooked over an open olive-wood fire. It features changing menus including Spanish seafood such as lobster, seasonal mushrooms and locally bred meats.
Where to stay in Marbella – Luxury Hotels
Hotel Puente Romano – The trendy and upmarket Puente Romano hotel is situated just in front of Nagüeles Beach and is a short walk from the Paseo Marítimo promenade making it an excellent choice for a luxury stay. It is also one of the trendiest places to be as it boasts 14 different bars and restaurants including two restaurants by Dani Garcia, the Michelin award-winning chef.
There are also fine-dining Japanese and Italian restaurants. The amenities include a buzzing nightclub, fitness centre, fabulous Six Senses Spa, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools and manicured gardens.
The rooms are elegant and spacious with flat-screen televisions, all mod cons and balconies, suites have living rooms and even hot tubs and dining rooms, the most luxurious option is a private villa with private pool and butler service.
Gran Meliá Don Pepe – The five-star Gran Meliá Don Pepe Resort is a stunning hotel situated on the seafront and the rooms are grand and fitted with marble bathrooms, the rooms also have excellent views either towards the mountainous backdrop of Marbella or over the blue Mediterranean.
An upgrade will provide you with a spacious suite with one or two bedrooms as well as a living room. Amenities at the hotel include a trendy sushi restaurant, oyster bar, Basque restaurant and a whiskey lounge.
Breakfast buffet can be obtained at an additional fee and is served daily on their terrace restaurant. The hotel also boasts an indoor pool, two outdoor pools, gym, business centre, meeting rooms and a spa equipped with hot tubs, massage treatments and sauna.
Nobu Hotel Marbella – The five-star Nobu Hotel is the ultimate trendy place to be, it’s an adult-only hotel with a great location, just minutes from a lively square and just a short walk from Casablanca Beach.
The hotel has beautiful, bright and contemporary rooms fitted with flat-screen televisions, minibar and patios or balconies looking over the Plaza. The four-bed suite includes a dining room, hot tub and kitchen.
The hotel also boasts excellent amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, a spa offering luxe treatments and an opportunity to unwind from the day as well as a gym and sports fields. There is also a contemporary Japanese restaurant, sleek cocktail bar and a rooftop terrace.
Amare Marbella Beach – This gorgeous Mediterranean-facing Amare Marbella Beach Resort offers bright and contemporary rooms equipped with flat-screen televisions and minibar whilst an upgraded room provides terraces and balconies with picturesque views over the stunning blue sea.
Breakfast is included and served daily in the restaurant looking over the Mediterranean, there is also a bar on the roof, an in-house gym and an indulgent spa as well as both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
It is also a pet-friendly hotel so you can bring your furry friends with you! Amare boasts a trendy beach club and with plenty of parties, DJ nights and events which makes it a hotel best suited to those who enjoy a bit of nightlife.
Luxury tours to do in Marbella
Private Tour of Caminito Del Rey
Discover the breathtaking Caminito Del Rey, a tour along what was once a disused service road that was transformed in 2015 into one of Malaga’s main attractions for avid walkers.
The three-hour guided walk on the path clinging to the walls that surround a gorge offers stunning views of El Chorro and the surrounding countryside.
The tour begins with your hotel pickup in Marbella and a drive in a comfortable vehicle into the Andalusian countryside, ticket prices and guide are included in the price. Food and drink are not included. The total time of the tour is eight hours from pick up to drop off at your hotel.
Tour of Ronda and lunch in a vineyard
This intimate small-group tour allows you to experience the wonderful wines that come from the microclimate of Ronda with a visit to two boutique vineyards, wine tasting and lunch amidst the vineyards as well as a few hours of self-guided sightseeing in the gorgeous historic city of Ronda where you can admire the stunning Puente Nuevo that traverse the 120 metre-deep gorge that leads down to the Guadalevín.
River or pay a visit to Spain’s oldest bullring which has a fascinating museum with insight into Andalusian history and culture. Price for the tour includes pick up and drop off at your hotel, lunch and of course wine.
Sherry tasting tour of Jerez
Explore the picturesque city of Jerez on a full-day tour, famed for flamenco, white horses and fantastic wine and sherry.
The tour will take you through the streets to visit the Alcazar or historic castle with its Arab baths, tranquil gardens and mosque, followed by a visit to Jerez cathedral.
After a delicious lunch, you will be taken to a winery where you can taste some stunning local sherries. Transportation and entrance tickets are included in the price, lunch is not included.
VIP Tour of Tangier for a day
You can see the hazy blue peaks of Africa in the distance from Marbella, but did you know you can visit Africa in a single day?
The African continent is only two hours away and will transport you to another world. Visit Tangier on this full-day (12-hour) tour with a local guide and explore the narrow streets of the Medina, visit the Souk and explore the Kasbah to discover more and fall in love with this multicultural enclave.
A private, official guide will be leading your tour, transfers and hotel pick-ups are included as well as lunch.
Visit the Rock of Gibraltar
If you want to visit the British enclave of Gibraltar, head out on this private guided tour which will take you through the city centre of Gibraltar, visit the Rock, explore a castle from the era of the Moors as well as enjoying some other experiences including a cable car ride.
The ten-hour tour will ensure that you travel in complete comfort with your private guide and chauffeur.
VIP visit to Granada and the Alhambra Palace
Visit the legendary Alhambra Palace on this private ten-hour tour from Marbella. The tour will take you to explore the magnificent Alhambra palace which dates back over 1,200 years with an experienced guide, you will also have the opportunity to visit the picturesque Albayzin neighbourhood and Sacromonte to learn more about the Moorish influence on Spanish culture and history.
Visit the historic markets and streets of Granada and also explore the famous caves of Sacromonte or take in the views of the city from balcony viewpoints looking towards the Alhambra.
The price per person includes hotel pickups, transfers, a three-hour guided tour of the Alhambra Palace and Nasrid Palaces and makes for an unforgettable experience.
Recommended tours in Marbella
- Bioparc Fuengirola Entrance Ticket
- Alhambra trip from Marbella or Malaga
- Private Full-Day Tour in Ronda from Marbella or Malaga
- Ronda Private Wine Tour and Tapas from Marbella
- Private Tour with Abeto del Sur – Caminito del Rey for 4 to 7 persons – Ardales
- Marbella small group walking Tour
- Buggy Experience – Marbella
- Private Day Trip to Ronda from Marbella
- Mijas Village Private Day Tour
- Malaga private half day trip from Marbella
- Private Full-Day Gibraltar Tour from Marbella or Malaga
- Gibraltar Sightseeing Day Trip from Costa del Sol
- Cordoba Full Day Trip with Mosque Entrance from Costa del Sol
- Private boat trip from Puerto Banus (Marbella)