When offered a day trip to Marbella, do not think twice. This Mediterranean destination is a real find in Andalusia, which tops the wish list of many travelers and competes with the glamour of the French Riviera. At first sight, the town seems a mix of respectable restaurants, exclusive boutiques, green golf courses, chic yachts, turquoise marinas, and sandy beaches, but inquisitive tourists with itchy feet will also unveil Marbella’s boundless historical and cultural heritage.
A day in Marbella begins in the Old Town, which is a mere maze of cobbled pedestrian streets, red-tiled roofs, whitewashed houses, and a multi-colored ocean of flowers. Here you can see Moorish buildings adapted for use by Europeans and mosques refurbished as Christian places of worship. The town’s main church is the Renaissance and baroque-style Iglesia de la Encarnacion church, formerly a mosque, which was later transformed into an opulent basilica. Marbella’s heartbeat is felt in the town’s main square, Plaza de los Naranjos, comfortably surrounding a group of orange trees which produce heavenly fragrance when in blossom. The square hosts the medieval Town Hall, widely known for its beautiful facade, ornate balconies, and frescoed interior.
Within walking distance, away from the noise and bustle, you will find a quiet square with quaint buildings and iron street lamps, Plaza de Altamirano. Trimmed with palm trees, climbing plants, and bougainvillea, it has best preserved the appearance of old Marbella. Marbella’s true gem is the Alcazaba remains of an old Moorish castle, soaked with the charm of ancient history. Its impressive defense walls and fortifications used to protect Marbella from foes. Nowadays, the site draws people as a relic of Muslim civilization and the site of outdoor concerts.
After a delicious lunch, you may stroll along the Paseo Maritimo or explore a captivating collection of miniature trees and shrubbery in Museo del Bonsai. The best place to spend siesta hours is perhaps Alameda Park, where you can find refuge from the hot Spanish sun under the foliage of tropical trees. Strolling along the trimmed hedges of the Avenida del Mar walkway among Salvador Dali’s sculptures and souvenir shops, you can reach Marbella’s marina, Puerto Banus, and its best Blue Flag beach, El Faro.
Marbella’s marina is awesome at any time of the day, but absolutely incomparable in the evening. It has earned a reputation of a summer vacation paradise due to its bars and nightclubs, water sports facilities and terraced seafront restaurants with fantastic seafood. Decorated with Dali’s huge rhino statue at its entrance, Puerto Banus is a mere display of luxury and posh visited by around 4.5 million people annually. Sports cars, boutiques, jewelry stores, and yachts draw your attention wherever you look. This is where you get that unmistakable Riviera-style experience.
Fashionable and spotlessly clean Marbella is popular among celebrities and movie stars, and the rich often choose it as their place of residence. But the best thing about Marbella is that every tourist is a welcome guest here.