One of Europe's most exclusive summer holiday destinations, Marbella has remained a favourite of celebrities and royalty alike ever since the ‘50s, when Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe opened a luxury hotel in the area.
A scenic 40-minute drive west of Malaga along Costa del Sol takes you to Marbella, Spain’s ritziest and most cosmopolitan seaside resort. Here, luxury designer stores line the streets, glistening yachts crowd the harbours, and the rich and famous holidaying in the luxury villas of Marbella dance the night away in fashionable clubs.
With the Sierra Blanca mountains looming in the background and the gleaming blue waters of the Mediterranean lapping at its shores, Marbella is not short of natural charms either. Thanks to its superb setting between mountains and sea, the resort enjoys an exceptional year-round micro-climate with pleasant summers, mild winters and an average of 320 days of bright sunshine a year.
Boasting fine golden sands and beautiful azure waters, Marbella’s beaches are reputed to be among the best on Costa del Sol, with 7 of them awarded Blue Flag status for cleanliness and amenities.
Approximately 6 km south-west of Marbella, in the area called Nueva Andalucía, Puerto Banus is Spain’s glitziest marina. With its striking Mediterranean architecture and enclave of upmarket shops, bars and restaurants, it’s not hard to see why the smart set has fallen for its charms.
In the heart of Marbella, the Arab-flavoured Old Town known as Casco Antiguo, feels a world away from the glitz of Puerto Banus and the bustling shores of Costa del Sol. To get a real taste of Andalucia, take a walk around its narrow whitewashed alleyways adorned with flowers and distinctive shops and then stop for a coffee and a spontaneous flamenco show at one of the terrazas in the charming Plaza de los Naranjos.
“Eating out is an important cultural experience in Spain and gourmet diners will be spoilt for choice in the gastronomic capital of Andalucia, where international cuisines mingle with Spanish flavours and restaurants cater to the most refined palates.”
Nestled along the Golden Mile, an exclusive stretch of coastline between Marbella and Puerto Banus, Villa Tiberio offers some of the area’s finest Italian cuisine in a palatial setting. The restaurant is a brainchild of esteemed Spanish restaurateur Sandro Morelli, and its spectacular gardens are an attraction in their own right.
www.villatiberio.com / +34 952 77 17 99
A small Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Marbella Old Town, Skina makes the most of the local riches, serving an adventurous menu of Spanish and international culinary creations. There’s also an interesting wine list packed with local, small production items.
www.restauranteskina.com / +34 952 76 52 77
Dani García Restaurant
Guests are offered a multi-sensory gastronomic experience at Dani García Restaurant, where Andalucia’s only two-Michelin-starred chef uses state-of-the-art culinary techniques to transform local ingredients into whimsical gourmet creations. The design-forward restaurant is located at Puente Romano Hotel on the Golden Mile.
www.grupodanigarcia.com / +34 952 764 252
Chefs Toshio Tsutsui and Álvaro Arbeloa give washoku (authentic Japanese cuisine) a Mediterranean twist at Ta-kumi, Costa del Sol’s best Japanese restaurant. Specialities range from the ever popular sashimi, nigiri or tempura to lesser-known options such as ramen, shabu shabu and sukiyaki.
www.restaurantetakumi.com / +34 952 770 839
“With a dazzling showcase of stylish dance lounges, traditional tapas bars, sexy pool party spots and epic dance clubs, Marbella’s drinking scene is second to none.”
Cavalli Club Puerto Banus
If you want to see and be seen at some of the most fashionable parties in the area head to Cavalli Club Puerto Banus, where Hollywood celebrities and local socialites come to hear big-name DJs spin their tunes. Designed by the Italian couturier himself, the eccentric club includes a fine dining Italian restaurant and a VIP penthouse terrace.
www.puertobanus.cavalliclub.com / +34 689 744 528
Located near Estepona, Purobeach Marbella is highly recommended if you like to hang out by the sea, sunbathe in style, and indulge in fresh summer salads and smoothies as meditation tunes play in the background. This luxurious beach club is an all-day venue, with DJ parties carrying on into the early hours of the morning.
www.purobeach.com/purobeach/purobeach-marbella / +34 952 800 015
Kick off the night in Puerto Banus, with a saffron-infused Gin & Tonic at Freudenhaus Marbella, a new stylish cocktail bar with an eclectic selection of concoctions. Aside from its ingenious beverages, this ultra-chic venue impresses with its decadent, contemporary design.
www.freudenhausmarbella.com / +34 633 35 99 34
Situated at the far end of Puerto Banus marina, Pangea is the ideal destination for luxury late-night partying under the stars. A favourite among the beautiful and wealthy, the exclusive club has a wonderful roof terrace with panoramic views of the star-studded harbor.
www.pangea-club.com / +34 680 291 967
“Ranging from party hotspots to long stretches of blue flagged sand, there are beaches of all shapes and sizes along Marbella’s sunny coastline.”
Playa de Nueva Andalucía
Playa de Neuve is a well-equipped urban beach right alongside the glamorous marina of Puerto Banus, with fine sand, hip beach bars and a nice water park.
From luxury yacht rentals to swank restaurants, there is nothing you can’t find on Playa Nagüeles, Marbella’s most exclusive stretch of sand. This lovely beach is characterized by clear waters and coarse golden sands typical to the Mediterranean, and its privileged location on the Golden Mile means that you will always be in good company.