If you think of a beach town in Spain that is pleasant, beautiful and very safe, then Marbella will always be the first choice in the minds of tourists. And the fact is that this Costa del Sol town located in the south of Andalusia has become the major reference for beach tourism in the whole country.
This is thanks to the beauty of the 27 km of beaches full of white sands that make it an ideal destination for those seeking to enjoy the favorable weather conditions that define this Andalusian region throughout the year.
So in this publication I take care of grouping several of the best activities that can be done in Marbella throughout the year. This so that you have a more complete and balanced idea about the kind of activities you could enjoy if you get to go on a trip to this tourist destination in the near future.
1. A tour of the historic center of Marbella
Marbella is quite an interesting destination due to the fact that it is a city that was founded during the Islamic occupation of the peninsula, but since its withdrawal it has become a community closely linked to the Hispanic world. All this is reflected in the architecture of its historic center and the truth is that this is a place that deserves to be visited and enjoyed during your stay in the city. It has real treasures such as the Plaza de Los Naranjos or the famous Calle Ancha.
From this section of the city I can highlight several sites such as the Plaza de los Olivos, the municipal market of Marbella, the Castillo de Marbella which is actually the ruins of an ancient Islamic building that later became a Catholic fort, or also the remains that delimit the entire area, known as the urban wall of Marbella. Keep in mind that this is an area that is characterized by cobblestone streets and Andalusian architectural patterns with its wooden balconies and its picturesque walls of a practically pristine white.
The church of Nuestra Señora de Encarnación is also a very interesting place to visit due to the fact that it is a Catholic church that was once a mosque. The chapel of San Juan de Dios is another of the city's picturesque religious buildings. The surroundings of Marbella's historic center are also worth visiting, as the Alameda Park with its tropical vegetation and the well-known Avenida del Mar with its open-air museum of several sculptures by Salvador Dalí are iconic places of the city. Both are less than 200 m from the historic center.
I highlight the fact that the whole area can be toured on your own if you wish, but it is also advisable that you bet on the best tours of Marbella. This knowing that you can tour the area in a more entertaining and interesting way with the accompaniment of a guide specialized in its history who will tell you about the importance of each of the places and corners that you will see along your walk.
2. Take a bike tour along the seafront promenade
Along the Costa del Sol, between the urbanization of Puerto Banus and the marina of Marbella extends one of the most important avenues of the entire region. This is the promenade and is basically a pedestrian boulevard that runs along a section of approximately 7 km. That means that it passes through most of the beaches of the region and allows visitors to enjoy a complete perspective of what the neighborhoods closest to the beautiful sand that characterizes these Andalusian communities look like.
There are plenty of ways to tour this public space and many people opt for a simple walk where you would have the possibility of stopping to enjoy some of the stores, bars and restaurants that are along the promenade and that suit all budgets and all types of interests. However, a bike ride is also an excellent way to appreciate the beauty of Marbella's promenade, as it reduces the time it takes to get from one end to the other and then return to the starting point.
By cycling or even walking through this area you can enjoy important landmarks for the Marbella community such as the city's lighthouse, the marina itself and the famous Puente Romano hotel. You can even appreciate the views on a clear day over the Strait of Gibraltar and the coast of Africa in a much more distant plane.
Keep in mind that walking the promenade is something that can take about three hours depending on whether or not you decide to stop at one of the commercial establishments along the route. That is why a bike ride is the best alternative when you have a relatively short trip such as those three-day visits to Marbella in which every minute counts to enjoy the city to the fullest.
3. Enjoy the beaches with a bit of paddle surfing
The beaches of Marbella are undoubtedly one of the great tourist attractions of the city. Few places in the world have such a long stretch of white sandy coastline surrounded by so much luxury urbanism as in this place. In turn, the characteristics of the waves are another of the great hallmarks of the experience of visiting the beaches of Marbella. For most of the year it is an area of Andalusia in which there is practically no amount of waves and this makes it an ideal place for paddle surfing.
If you do not know what that is, you just have to understand that it consists of standing on an elongated surfboard to paddle as if you were in a kayak while standing. For this reason it is extremely necessary that it is done on a body of water without too much movement just as it happens in the coasts of Marbella.
There are hundreds of beaches where you can enjoy this activity without any inconvenience, but I can highlight particularly Pinillo Beach, Los Monteros Beach and the famous Playa Real de Zaragoza, all suitable for paddle surfing in the late afternoon. You also have the central beaches that are close to the promenade such as Playa del Faro or Playa de la Bajadilla.
In these last two options you will also have the opportunity to enjoy other maritime activities such as renting a jet ski to travel at maximum speed throughout the area or also enjoy a good meal in some of the restaurants that offer the service to visitors of these resorts. Keep in mind that no matter how you decide to do it, visiting the beaches of the area will always be one of the best things to do in Marbella throughout the year.
4. Do not hesitate to take a boat ride along the coast
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the Costa del Sol in a more luxurious, safe and quiet way then you can go for boat trips departing from the marina of Marbella or any of the nearby marinas such as Puerto Banus or the famous Estepona marina.
This type of boat tours ranging from sailboats to catamarans and yachts are one of the best things to see or do in Marbella. Knowing that they offer you a direct perspective of the beauty of the region. With it you can also entertain yourself enjoying a swim in the open sea or following the routes where the dolphins of this part of the Mediterranean pass by.
Keep in mind that boat trips are offered in all modalities for all types of tourists with all types of budgets and schedules. There are some that take you all the way to Gibraltar or even offer you a full day trip to the African coast, while there are others that only want to tour the surroundings in Marbella for about two or three hours. I can advise you to go for those that focus on giving you a sunset tour, as it is quite a beautiful experience all year round.
Marbella boat tours can be an activity for the whole family or there are also some itineraries that are focused for groups of two people. There are some that include the accompaniment of alcoholic beverages such as sparkling wines along with dinners with locally produced ingredients typical of Andalusian gastronomy. So the choice of the type of tour is something that depends on your pocket and your interests, but keep in mind that it is one of the best activities to do in the city according to all specialists in tourism in Marbella.
5. Have a good night out
Marbella is a destination that is also known internationally for the quality of its nightlife and for the luxurious approach that is maintained in some of its areas to everything that has to do with parties, bars and nightclubs. Taking this into consideration, it is essential that you take advantage of your visit to the city to enjoy a good party in the best style of the Costa del Sol. There are different places along this area to organize a memorable night and without a doubt the Avenida del Mar is the best option if you do not want to leave the central section of Marbella.
This is due to the fact that at both ends of this famous boulevard there are restaurants or bars where you can have a drink like La Notte. Then you can go to some of the famous nightclubs that are also in this area such as Key Boite or Funky Buddha.
On the other hand, if you do not have any inconvenience with leaving the surroundings of the historical center of Marbella, then you can go for another type of restaurants or bars or nightclubs like Nikki Beach. Which is a mythical beach bar located a couple of kilometers west of the center of Marbella that usually extends its evenings until the wee hours of the morning. This so that visitors can entertain themselves to the fullest is a beach party experience during the most touristy times of the year.
If I keep talking about places to enjoy and make plans in Marbella at night then you can not fail to name Puerto Banus and specifically Ribera Street. This is a very famous section of Marbella that has several bars and restaurants oriented towards luxury tourism, being located directly opposite the marina of this exclusive community.
6. Visit the luxury and exclusivity of Puerto Banus
In fact, Puerto Banús is a tourist destination within the Marbella area that you have to visit while in town no matter how little time you have to visit the most famous beach town in all of southern Spain. Keep in mind that this is an urbanization that was created to attract the wealthiest and millionaire tourists from all over Europe. Indeed, nowadays it is a destination that represents the luxury and exclusivity that many people associate with Marbella.
Ribera Street, which during the nights is the epicenter of the party in this urbanization, has several luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton Hermes and therefore is an important destination for shopping in the city. The Duque beach, the Ocean club of Marbella, the beach of Nueva Andalucia and the Avenida de Lola Flores next to Avenida de Jose Banus are just some of the places you should visit when you are in this beautiful area of the Costa del Sol.
El Mirador del Muelle de Honor is another place worth visiting and the Centro Comercial Costa Marbella can be an entertaining place for you if you are looking to do some shopping of luxury products at a price a little more favorable than what you get in the boutiques. I highlight the fact that Puerto Banús is such an important place for the region that it really is a place you should not miss even if we are talking about a one day trip in Marbella in which you will only stay one night in some accommodation on the Costa del Sol.
7. Take a gastronomic tour of the region
Marbella is a destination that also has a lot to offer when it comes to good gastronomy and a culinary identity that is interesting enough to keep all tourists entertained. That is why going for a guided or on your own gastronomic tour is one of the best things you can do in the city all year round.
This especially applies among the things to do in the winter in Marbella, since it is a time in which the most famous restaurants in the city or also the most unknown will be a little emptier than during the summer. This is due to the high tourist influx that defines that season.
Something you can not miss when you are in Marbella is an Andalusian paella that differs a little from the typical Valencian paella by the incorporation of seafood as the main ingredients. My recommendation is that you bet on all the establishments that are in the historic center, as they are the ones that are away from the exorbitant prices of the most famous establishments in the city. At the same time they are the ones that offer the most interesting gastronomic proposals when it comes to Andalusian food.
El Patio de Mariscal on Virgen de los Dolores street is a very recommendable one next to El Cortijo restaurant located on Remedios street. Spanish tapas is something you should also try if you are looking to explore Marbella's gastronomic identity. In the event that you decide to do so I can highlight with special enthusiasm that you try all the things that include olives grown in the region of Andalusia as well as all the sandwiches with Iberian ham from these types of bars and taverns.
8. Go for an excursion to the outskirts of the city
The surroundings of Marbella are so touristic and beautiful that without a doubt having an excursion to them is something to do when visiting the city for enough time so that it doesn't alter your travel logistics.
Ronda, which is a city located on the top of a mountain in the Sierra Blanca is one of the most important destinations for these excursions. It is a very old community with places such as a bullring that is more than 250 years old or a famous stone bridge that crosses the abyss of a gorge known locally as El Tajo.
El Caminito del Rey with its hiking trail that also crosses a mountainous terrain that has its own gorges and suspension bridges is another of the most important destinations of the excursions departing from Marbella for a single day. The town of Estepona located about 30 km from Marbella is also another common destination among the day trips from Marbella that aim to allow participants to explore all the tourist facets of the Costa del Sol.
9. Tour the urban parks of the area with your children
During a trip to the Costa del Sol it is also important to know what are the best things to do in Marbella with kids and interestingly this is a city with a lot of urban parks. These are presented as the perfect entertainment for a family that is looking for their children to run free for a few hours of the day and then focus on touring the tourist attractions of the city.
I can highlight with special emphasis the Constitution Park for the fact that it is the largest in the city and the factor that is quite close to the beaches that could also entertain the whole family for the rest of the day. To this space is added the well known Parque de la Represa which year after year is named as the best public space of all the Costa del Sol.
This second site is characterized by a duck pond and a bonsai museum. As well as several trails for your children to run and play. There is even a rhythmic gymnastics center within the park where local people participate in sports entertainment activities.
10. Take the opportunity to shop at some of Marbella's famous flea markets
Marbella, like so many Spanish Mediterranean destinations, is characterized by several street markets that are open during the weekends or every day during the tourist season. This is so that local artisans can sell their products to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to these communities to enjoy its beaches and architectural beauty.
This means that throughout the city and in the surrounding areas there are craft markets. However, one of the most famous is the one in Nueva Andalucía and it is held every Saturday of the year from eight in the morning until approximately three in the afternoon. The handicrafts market in Puerto Banús is also a good alternative although a little more expensive and a little more luxurious and is located right in the Plaza Antonio Banderas.
On the golden mile there is also another flea market that is very successful during the hottest months of the year and is therefore one of the best things to do in Marbella during the summer. It is known locally as the patio flea market or the golden mile flea market. If these options are not enough for you then you should know that there is an ecological flea market that is held every month during the third Saturday in the community of La Campana, about 10 km away in the historic center of Marbella.