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Marbella in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

If you are planning to visit Marbella and you only have 3 days, don't worry, the city has plans for all tastes.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

8 min read

Marbella in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Marbella | Simon Hermans

Born as a small fishing village and later converted into one of the most important centers of leisure, luxury and good living in Spain, Marbella has made a name for itself among the holiday destinations of many Spaniards, Europeans and tourists from all over the world. With charming little streets full of flowers, dream beaches and incredible cuisine, you will find endless options to have a great time.

If you are wondering what to see and do in Marbella on a long weekend, here I have selected for you some of the things and places you can not miss, ordered, of course, in a daily itinerary, so you can get the most out of these three days in the capital of the Costa del Sol. Are you ready? Here we go!

Day 1: Visit the old town, the Alameda Park, the Plaza de los Naranjos and the Alcazaba

Marbella Old Town| ©Lynn Vdbr
Marbella Old Town| ©Lynn Vdbr

The best thing to do when touring a city we don't know is to start at its most iconic sites. Although Marbella is a destination of beach, enjoyment and luxury par excellence, it also preserves a calmer side, with a superb cultural wealth that is worth knowing. It is a city that, over the years, has received the heritage of multiple cultures, which have left their indelible mark on its architecture, customs and people.

Experience the old town of Marbella

Take a walk through the old town, one of the most charming corners of Marbella. You will see all the beauty of its small streets, its white houses and its thousands of pots with geraniums. In its layout we can recognize the traces of an Arab past that, together with its Andalusian architecture, gives the whole a unique personality.

This is a walk that will undoubtedly leave you in love with Marbella. Here you can stop to take hundreds of photographs and, perhaps, buy some handicrafts to take home. Although any season lends itself to tour the old town, with warm temperatures you can enjoy much more, in fact, a walk through the old town is certainly one of the top 10 things to do in Marbella in summer.

If you prefer, you can make this beautiful tour of the old town of Marbella aboard a bike. There are many guided tours that take you through the most remarkable corners of the city while you pedal along with your guide, in small groups. An excellent way to get to know the city while getting some exercise. The bike can get into places that other vehicles can't, so you can really get to know the city in depth.

Book your bike tour in Marbella

Have a drink in the Plaza de los Naranjos

Located in the center of the old town, this square is one of the most important in the city. It has a small Renaissance-style fountain and a large number of terraces, where you can have tapas or a drink in the shade of its leafy trees. You will see that the Plaza de los Naranjos is the epicenter of the social life of the city of Marbella, a pleasant place that invites you to hang out.

Around it, in addition, you can see three buildings of great historical value: the Casa del Corregidor, the Casa Consistorial and the Ermita de Santiago. These three buildings are in a perfect state of preservation and are part of the most stately past of the city.

Visit the Alameda Park

Located about ten minutes walk from the Plaza de los Naranjos, at one end of the old town, is the Alameda Park, one of the most characteristic and beautiful spots in the city.

Built in 1792, it is an authentic green lung for Marbella. It has a beautiful fountain, which is surrounded by benches decorated with tiles, a botanical garden and a large number of trails, which invite you to walk through them quietly. Being located in the center of the city, it has become a very popular place for recreation and relaxation among its residents.

Tour the Alcazaba and the old walls of Marbella

After enjoying the old town, you can take a tour of the Alcazaba. This is the remains of an ancient castle and the walls that protected the city at the time of the Arab occupation. Built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they are currently preserved in very good condition and can be visited in its entirety.

A perfect place to visit with the family, as it is one of the 10 best things to do with children in Marbella. The little ones will be able to let their imagination fly and think about the battles that have taken place right there, a few centuries ago.

Day 2: Playa de la Venus, Avenida del Mar, Paseo Marítimo and some local gastronomy

Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall
Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall

Start your second day in the capital of the Costa del Sol with a breakfast just meters from the sea, at the blù café bar. Then I invite you to enjoy one of the biggest attractions that Marbella has: the sea.

Leisure day at Venus Beach

Located very close to the Alameda Park, the Venus Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Marbella. Here you can live some incredible moments, either alone, with friends or family, as it has activities for adults and children, water sports, restaurants and bars. In summer season it is usually very crowded and you can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea in all its splendor. With an average of more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Marbella is an ideal place to enjoy beach life. Golden sand, warm clear water and a lively atmosphere, you'll see why so many celebrities have chosen to vacation in this beautiful seaside town.

Meeting Dalí on the Avenida del Mar

With only 3 days, my advice is to dedicate one morning to the beach and then continue visiting the city, otherwise you will have a lot of things to see. Walk along the Avenida del Mar. Located just 5 minutes walk from Playa de la Venus, this is a relatively short pedestrian avenue, where, besides being a very pleasant walk, you can enjoy 9 amazing sculptures of the great Salvador Dali.

As in the Parque de la Constitución, the works of art of the Spanish artist, central figure of the surrealist movement, are located along this beautiful urban promenade. It is worth walking among the fountains and palm trees that decorate the place to come face to face with, for example, the bronze image of Perseus holding the head of Medusa.

Take a tapas tour of Marbella

If you are a lover of good food, one of the favorite options for travelers visiting Marbella is to take a tapas tour of the best bars in the coastal city. An incredible experience that will allow you to spend some time tasting some of the most typical flavors of the local cuisine, while you will learn part of its history from the hand of your specialized guide.

Gastronomy is always a way to get in touch with what is most typical of each town or region. Savoring the local flavors will bring you closer to their people and customs. In Marbella, fish and seafood are always present, so you can't miss the rice and paella specialties. Therefore, a tapas tour through the old town is an excellent idea.

Book your tapas tour in Marbella

Enjoy the local atmosphere in the Paseo Marítimo

Continue enjoying a place with style, the Paseo Marítimo of Marbella. Along its 7 kilometers, you will find tapas bars and restaurants, stores, atmosphere and the best views of the coast. A place you can not miss if you are passing through Marbella.

And if dinner time comes and you are one of those who enjoy a good glass of wine and a delicious seafood dish, be sure to book your place on a boat trip along the coast of Marbella, with wine and seafood tasting. In addition, you will be able to witness the sunset at sea. One of the best ways to end this second day.

A boat trip around Marbella will leave you fascinated with the beauty of its coasts, which, as the sun goes down, begin to light up. An unforgettable postcard, to enjoy alone, as a couple, with friends or family.

Day 3: Puerto Banús and flamenco night

Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall
Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall

The good things also come to an end, make the most of your third and last day in Marbella. For today, I propose you to visit Puerto Banús. Also located in the district of Nueva Andalucía, since its inauguration in the 70's, this place has become an unparalleled tourist destination that you cannot miss on this 3-day trip.

Visit Puerto Banús

From the center of Marbella take the bus line 1, which goes along the coast, and in less than 15 minutes you will have arrived at Puerto Banus. The ticket for the bus is around 4 or 5 euros per passenger. On the way you can enjoy the privileged view of the Mediterranean.

This is one of the best day trips you can make from Marbella, here you will find a huge amount of activities to spend a magical day. Puerto Banus has the possibility of doing various water sports, you can see yachts and luxury boats.

This place has been for over 50 years one of the most chosen destinations for personalities from the world of film and music, European royal families and the Persian Gulf, among others. Puerto Banús is an ideal place to browse luxury boutiques, dine in one of its exclusive restaurants or enjoy its tireless nightlife.

Enjoy the best international gastronomy in front of the sea

When you are here you can't miss the delicious seafood casseroles, paellas and fish dishes, they are absolutely delicious. Although, I must tell you that, in the port area, there are options for all tastes. Puerto Banús is a place that receives visitors from all over the world, so here you can find Asian, Greek or Italian restaurants , pizzas or even gourmet burgers and fries. Find a restaurant overlooking the sea and live a unique experience.

End the night with a flamenco show in the historic center

After a day of pure sun, beach and luxury, I suggest you take bus line 1 back to the center of Marbella, so you can get ready for a night of pure gypsy dancing and singing. To end this last day in Marbella, what better than to witness an authentic Andalusian flamenco show. There are many places with shows of an excellent level. This is undoubtedly one of the best activities to do in Marbella.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, flamenco is much more than a style of music, it is a way of feeling. You will be able to live all the emotion of one of the most intimately Spanish artistic expressions. Recommended for the whole family.

The show does not include dinner, so I recommend that you head to the Paseo Marítimo, and say goodbye to Marbella with some Mediterranean food at Alabardero Beach Club. A place where absolutely everything is delicious, and every dish is prepared with the utmost delicacy. Take my advice, you won't regret it.

Book your authentic flamenco show in Marbella

That's all for this time, I hope the article has been useful for you, and that you enjoy this wonderful coastal city. Marbella in 3 days may seem little, but if you adjust the itinerary a little you will see that you get the most out of the city. See you next time!