Located 20 mins from Mijas, Marbella made its name as one of the original Costa del Sol resorts, famous as a destination for the rich and famous. Today, Marbella is not exclusive as it used to be, however, there are still plush hotels, casinos, Ferraris, and millionaire yachts moored in the marina. The expansion of tourism brought about by cheap flights means there is something for every budget and Marbella has become a very popular destination for hundreds and thousands of holidaymakers every year coming to the Costa del Sol.
In spite of its modern and highly developed feel, Marbella still retains signs of its past with architectural ruins dating back to the Moorish occupation. In the center of Marbella is the old historic quarter, the casco historico, where you’ll find a maze of narrow streets, small plazas, and windows filled with flower plants. Plaza de Los Naranjos is the focal point of the old town, a lovely plaza surrounded by some of Marbella’s best restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops. At night the area comes alive with many late bars and nightclubs open until the early hours.
Alongside the main beach is the “Paseo Maritimo” (promenade) which stretches from the center of Marbella all the way to Puerto Banus. Along the promenade, there are many cafes, bars, and places to get something to eat whilst enjoying a leisurely stroll.
Between the old town and the beach is the Parque Alameda, a botanical garden with many rare plants that is provides shade during the hot weather. On the street leading to the beach, there are several statues by Salvador Dali. This is also the location of the annual arts festival held during the summer.
For many people probably the best reason to visit Marbella is its 27km of sandy beaches, many homes to the famous chiringuitos (beachside bars) selling fresh seafood dishes.