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Best Day Trips from Marbella

Marbella is a beautiful tourist destination that deserves to be visited and enjoyed in its entirety. At the same time, the surroundings of this coastal city are also quite attractive. Therefore, excursions from Marbella are also a recommendable plan if you have enough time to enjoy this type of activities.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

11 min read

Best Day Trips from Marbella

Sunset in Marbella | Chino Rocha

The best things to see or do in Marbella have everything to do with the touristic nature of this place. Which has established itself as one of the most visited corners of the Spanish coast. And which has also become a synonym of luxury and exclusivity for many millionaires who have found in some of its locations an ideal destination for the summer.

On the other hand, there are hundreds of excursions that take you from Marbella to other nearby communities so that during your visit to the region you can enjoy all the attractions that this corner of the Andalusian coast has to offer. So in this publication I have taken care to find for you some of the best getaways of hours or even half a day so that in your short or long stay in Marbella you can marvel at the beauty of the province of Malaga.

1. A trip to Istan by Buggy

Reservoir of La Concepción in Istan| ©Antonio
Reservoir of La Concepción in Istan| ©Antonio

Istan is a modest community among the mountains surrounding the Costa del Sol, which is that section of Andalusia that has given it the worldwide fame that characterizes Marbella. From this coastal town, where you would be staying, it can be reached by driving for about an hour. However, there is a much more entertaining way to explore this mountainous part of the Andalusian landscape and that is on a 4-wheel off-road motorcycle, popularly known as a buggy.

This is an excursion for true adrenaline lovers, as it is an ascent that mostly takes place on paved terrain. However, eventually you will take dirt trails that allow you to appreciate the beauty of this place and let you get as close as possible to the best viewpoints that are located around the Embalse de la Concepción.

Keep in mind that this excursion is guided by a specialist in the terrain and in the history of the region, which means that at no time you run the risk of getting lost. The payment for the excursion also includes safety equipment such as bandanas to protect you from dust and goggles that serve the same purpose.

Hydration is also provided and we must not forget the fact that this is an activity designed for groups of people who are willing to share the vehicle. There will be a driver, but also a co-driver. So the price of the experience is divided between two.

Interesting details

  • Price: the usual rate for an excursion from Marbella to Istan on 4 wheel motorcycles is usually about 160 euros. So if you want to travel alone in your buggy you will pay that full rate, but if you have a co-pilot then you would pay 80 euros per person.
  • Duration: this excursion usually lasts about two hours approximately, but it may be extended a little to 2 hours and a half.
  • Means of transport: a buggy is a completely safe and even comfortable vehicle that will allow you to get to Istan experiencing a little more entertaining driving.
  • Advantages of this option: this experience usually leaves in two shifts during the day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is very convenient for those who want to make the most of their day and already have other activities scheduled with a single schedule for the rest of the day.
  • Disadvantages of this option: this activity is not available for people in wheelchairs and it is not recommended for children, travelers with lumbar problems and much less for pregnant women.

Enjoy a buggy excursion to the village of Istan by road

2. Private day trip to Ronda

Bullring of Ronda| ©Keith Roper
Bullring of Ronda| ©Keith Roper

Ronda is another of the corners of Andalusia that are worth visiting when in Marbella and probably a private trip to tour its historic streets and beautiful scenery is one of the best ways to enjoy this experience. This is a small city that is located on top of a mountain and there is a whole section that is divided in two by a gorge known as El Tajo.

Meanwhile, these private tours are designed for relatively large family groups looking to get to know this beautiful community by the hand of a guide specialized in the history of the region. The guide would provide personalized accompaniment for each and every stage of the touristic exploration. That is something that makes the difference to be able to understand the importance of the site you are knowing and to be able to answer all your questions and concerns at the exact moments when they arise.

Keep in mind that this type of excursions usually include a direct pick up at the hotels or residences of their participants, as long as it is a site located within Marbella. There is usually a minimum age for participation of 10 years and due to the characteristics of the vehicles it is not usually an itinerary available for a person in a wheelchair.

In the town of Ronda you will visit places such as the famous Plaza de Toros with more than 250 years old or the well known Puente Nuevo, which is a stone bridge built in medieval times over the gorge known as El Tajo. The cathedral, the Plaza España, the streets of the historic center and free time for lunch at the establishment of your choice are other features of an excursion like this.

Details of interest

  • Price: this type of excursions have changing prices, but the usual rate per person is 150 euros, but you should know that everything related to prices is adjusted according to the number of participants. Children between 10 and 17 years of age usually have a 50% discount.
  • Duration: the approximate duration of this type of excursions from Marbella to Ronda is usually about 7 hours. However, depending on the number of people and the time taken at each of the stops, it can be extended up to 8 hours or it can also be reduced to 6 hours.
  • Means of transportation: they are defined according to the number of participants, leaving a minibus as the most common alternative. Although in minimum groups a 7-seater car may be chosen.
  • Advantages of this option: a private excursion is a more intimate and exclusive way of getting to know a tourist destination. At the same time, it can be the most convincing option for those who are really interested in knowing all the most secret details associated with the monuments and constructions visited in the itinerary.
  • Disadvantages of this option: this type of excursions usually only start in the morning and that can be a serious logistical impediment for those who have the first half of their days in Marbella occupied for work reasons or other older tourist commitments.

3. Guided tour of the historic center of Estepona

Flower square in Estepona| ©Ayuntamiento de Estepona
Flower square in Estepona| ©Ayuntamiento de Estepona

Estepona is a tourist destination that has always been linked directly and closely with Marbella, as both places are located at the two ends of the Costa del Sol. In turn, a guided tour through its historical center can be an excellent idea for those who have been looking for entertaining excursions in the surroundings of this city.

Basically, it is a planned tour through the center and the most important sites of this community. So you will visit places such as the marina, the promenade, the Plaza de las Flores, the cobblestone alleys, the Castillo de San Luis and the famous Route of the Artistic Murals.

Keep in mind that this itinerary is usually configured to be carried out on an electric scooter or also on electric bicycles. Therefore, it would be essential that you know how to drive this type of vehicle. Also note the fact that it is an activity that has its meeting point in Estepona and therefore it is almost always up to the participants to find a way to get to this town from Marbella.

However, that is no inconvenience, as there are several transportation alternatives such as going by cab to get there in less than 50 minutes or also take a bus from the bus station in Marbella. The second option is more interesting from a thrifty perspective, although you have to know that a cab in low season should not charge you more than 30 euros each way.

Details of interest

  • Price: the price of the tour is usually about 45 euros per person and if you add what it would cost a cab of 40 euros between 4 passengers then the total price of the tour is usually about 65 euros, but calculate the return trip to Marbella.
  • Duration: the approximate duration of this type of excursion is usually about 3 hours in the sightseeing tour plus the 2 hours it would take any means of transport to go back and forth from Marbella to Estepona.
  • Means of transport: the ride usually takes place on electric bicycles with ecological recharge and the means of transport to get to Estepona depends on your choice.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a convenient option for those who have rented a car to explore in depth the surroundings of Marbella or also for those who have companions to help defray the cost of the cab between several people.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not knowing how to drive a bicycle or an electric scooter is a significant limitation that would not allow you to enjoy this type of excursions.

Get your guided tour of Estepona Historical Center

4. Caminito del Rey day tour departing from Costa del Sol

Caminito del Rey| ©alfcermed
Caminito del Rey| ©alfcermed

One hour from Marbella, in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, is located the famous Caminito del Rey. It is a hiking route that includes suspension bridges and hanging stretches along a gorge that is created in a short canyon of the Guadalhorce River. The site also features glass viewpoints and the trail to be hiked actually extends well beyond the cliffs, into the mountainous terrain that characterizes the area.

The excursions that take you there are one of the best sports plans involving any kind of physical exertion in Marbella. They all offer you a round trip with the accompaniment of a guide specialized in the terrain and the history of the place.

Keep in mind that this is a shared plan with a significantly large group of people, around 50. The excursion includes any tax or fee you would have to pay to enter the Desfiladeros de los Gaitanes area. The tour also includes a visit to picturesque villages in the area such as Ardales. This is an ideal place to have lunch or a snack before starting the Caminito del Rey route, which is about 3 km long.

Keep in mind that the minimum age for participation is 8 years old and that it is advisable to bring food and hydration for the route. The guides are usually bilingual and please note that there are no hotel pick-ups, but there is always a meeting point well accessible and centrally located in the Marbella area. This will allow you to arrive on time to the bus at the time of departure and it is usually the same place you will arrive at when you return to the city.

Details of interest

  • Price: the excursion usually costs about 68 euros per adult while children between 8 and 11 years of age can pay the reduced rate of 50 euros.
  • Duration: from the time of departure from Marbella to the eventual return usually takes about 8 hours. However, the walk along the hiking route only takes about 3 hours on average.
  • Means of transport: usually large buses, as it is an excursion designed for groups of around 50 people per trip.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a good activity if you like to get close to the natural environment that surrounds you and to marvel in an intimate way with the mountainous landscape that can always be seen in the background of Marbella.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the fact that it is not a recommended activity for seniors or children under 8 years old can be a real problem for the logistics of many families.

Book a complete tour of the Caminito del Rey from the Costa del Sol

How to book a tour from Marbella?

Girl looking for the best deal| ©Andrew Neel
Girl looking for the best deal| ©Andrew Neel

There are different ways to book an excursion from Marbella and all of them are valid depending on your interests and preferences. However, an online booking will always be a convenient alternative due to the fact that there are great benefits such as free cancellation of the purchase or possibility to see the price fluctuations depending on the selected date.

A tourist agency in one of Marbella's neighborhoods can also be an option if you feel more comfortable talking directly with a travel agent. The problem with this alternative is that there is no guarantee that you are paying for the cheapest service available if you do not intend to tour all the existing establishments in the city.

Keep in mind that with an online reservation you have the option to pay with your credit card or any other digital payment platform. Which can be beneficial if this is the type of payment you normally use for tourist services for a trip you are planning well in advance.

It is worth noting the fact that other events related to exploring the Costa del Sol such as the best boat tours in Marbella are activities that are normally booked and paid for through online platforms.

Enjoy the best boat tours around Marbella

Tips for an excursion from Marbella

Family on the beach in Marbella| ©Silviya Nenova
Family on the beach in Marbella| ©Silviya Nenova

There are several tips I can give you when thinking about a Marbella excursion, but the best of all will always be to choose an alternative that suits your tastes and interests. And is that Marbella is a destination that has a lot of situations to offer to all tourists, from extremely luxurious activities to events and plans that have everything to do with nature without involving a too significant expense to enjoy it.

On the other hand, another tip I can give you is that if you travel with children evaluate if it really is an activity for the whole family. The reality is that there are hundreds of activities to do in Marbella with children and not necessarily a long excursion is the most appropriate situation for them depending on their ages and the behavior that characterizes them.

The weather conditions of the date you are choosing is also very influential when deciding the type of activity or excursion you book. For example, a sea walk could be one of the best things to do in Marbella in summer because of the water conditions while a hiking tour could be one of the best things to do in Marbella in winter because of the ambient temperature.

Why is it advisable to go on an excursion from Marbella?

Marbella's promenade| ©Konrad Hädener
Marbella's promenade| ©Konrad Hädener

On the other hand, there is the fact that an excursion in Marbella is always an appropriate plan if you have enough time to enjoy yourself in the surroundings of the city when you have known the most important attractions of the city center. And is that the Costa del Sol in the mountains that surround it are one of the most beautiful places in Spain and specifically are one of the great tourist attractions of Andalusia.

So something I can recommend is that you always start your trip enjoying the best tours of Marbella and with the time you have left you start to enjoy the best excursions to the surroundings of the city. Since this way you are making sure to enjoy the most of the tourist destination you have chosen, but you are also knowing how to take advantage of your time to know everything that has been connected in some way with this special place.