Marbella holiday highlights

Where is Marbella?
Marbella is a popular resort town on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, backed by the Sierra Blanca mountains. It’s about half an hour’s drive from Malaga airport.

Marbella Old Town
The Old Town is where you’ll find Marbella’s traditional side. White-washed Casco Antiguo has charming squares where you can grab a table at a quaint little café and gaze out at fragrant orange trees and blooming bougainvillea. Explore the cobbled labyrinthine lanes, pop into stylish boutique shops and admire art work at local galleries.

Estepona Although sunny Estepona is a resort town on the Costa del Sol, it has more of a traditional inland Andalucian feel. The small local population has stayed true to its fishing village origins and there’s charm and character at every turn. Alongside two beautiful Blue Flag Beaches, there’s a delightful Old Town where pretty flower displays take centre stage. This ‘urban garden’ has labyrinthine streets dotted with flower pots and is home to one of the largest orchid houses in Europe, with more than 2000 varieties housed under huge glass domes. There’s a strong art scene, too: Estepona has nearly 30 giant murals and a collection of statues dotted around the town. Estepona is also a great place to base yourself for a longer holiday; from here it’s easy to reach Marbella, Puerto Banus and Malaga, as well as the extraordinary small city of Ronda, which is stretched over a deep canyon.

Marbella’s beaches sweep along the length of the town and down to Puerto Banus. There are 24 beaches – including six Blue Flag beaches – ranging from quieter coves to all-out-family-fun stretches of sand with watersports and inflatable water parks. Then there’s the Golden Mile, lined with ultra-luxe homes and hotels, and home to an attractive seafront promenade.

Food & drink
There’s a huge choice of places to eat and drink in Marbella – this sprawling town has a whopping 700 restaurants. Mouth-watering local staples include gambas al pilpil (garlic and chilli prawns), Iberian ham croquetas and espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers). There are great little chiringuitos (beach shacks selling drinks and tapas) for low-key dining, all the way up to Michelin-star restaurants. The beach club scene is big in Marbella, with sleek day beds and cosy cabanas dotted around exclusive areas of beachfront, but you’ll find rustic beach bars where you can toast the sunset with the locals, too.

Marbella has some of the best golf courses in Europe and it’s been a golf hot spot for years. Golfers will love the big-name-designed courses, impeccably-kept greens, modern facilities and scenic tee-off points, as well as the welcoming club houses for a post-game drink and a chat.

Extend your time in Spain and combine Marbella with Inland Andalucia, where you can discover more of the region’s history and culture. Hire a car and you’ll be able to leisurely explore sprawling wine estates, rolling hills and spectacular cities.