Don’t let its new nickname put you off, here are five examples of why Marbella, perched between wild Andalucían countryside and the Med, is a beautiful and cultural city, and October and November are still good times to visit with an average of 9 hours of daylight and temperature highs of 18°C to 22°C.
Known in the 70’s and 80’s as a party place for the rich and famous, it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, possibly due to the fact that cast members of TOWIE are seen frequently holidaying in “Marbs”, but we think this beautiful city has much more to it than just luxury yachts, designer handbags and beach clubs…
Go walking – and we are not talking to hard-core ramblers here!
The natural park Sierra de las Nieves is located in the hills and mountains behind Marbella, and everyone can enjoy walking them.
Apart from a few villages, this isolated area is largely uninhabited, and it is for this reason it has a rich variety of indigenous trees (pine, fir, ash, chestnut, wild olive and oak trees, as well as juniper) and animals (including mountain goat, snakes and wild boar). There are routes for every level of fitness and should you feel nervous about venturing out alone, there are many guided tours available.
What better way to take a break from sunbathing, than by enjoying stunning views of blue skies, craggy mountains and white-washed villages? – Take a picnic of cold meats, olives and fresh pan (bread), plus a flask of ice cold sangria! Bliss!
Dine out in Orange Square – A hidden gem away from the modern city
Surrounded by the ruins of an old Arab wall, the old town is a picture perfect example of Spanish white-washed buildings, narrow cobble streets and old churches, and in the centre is Orange Square which dates back to 1485. The square gets its name from the many orange trees planted around the central fountain – postcards are available!
The square is well-known for its array of incredible Spanish restaurants, serving up everything from great steaks (beef or wild boar), fresh seafood and Paella, to tapas and Jamón ibérico to die for! Spend an evening surrounded by Spanish families being traditionally social, live music, and a romantic ambiance provided by twinkling fairy lights and the scent of Bougainvillea.
Take a day trip to Tarifa and try kite-surfing – or just enjoy the white sandy beaches
Tarifa is about one hour and 30 minutes’ drive to the west from Marbella, and we highly recommend visiting, as it has stunning long white sandy beaches that are very different form the golden sand of Marbella and its surrounding area.
What makes Tarifa’s beaches a little different… just across the Straits of Gibraltar, this southernmost tip of Europe is where the Mediterranean sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, so here the wind is slightly stronger and the waves slightly higher. One of the best spots for surfing and kite-surfing in Europe, the cool refreshing water meets miles of sand dunes and it is paradise.
While you’re in Tarifa you must try kite-surfing; whether you’ve done it before or are a complete novice, it is great fun for everyone! Hundreds of little surf schools dot the beach, and it is not expensive to have a taster session.
And, even if you’re not brave enough – it really is a wonderful site to behold, hundreds of brightly coloured kites, silently glide up and down the beach.
Go dolphin watching in Gibraltar – then enjoy some duty free shopping afterwards
There are numerous pods of dolphins and porpoises in the Mediterranean, which can be seen off the coast of Marbella, but just 75 minutes drive from Marbella is Gibraltar, and here your chances of you seeing them increase dramatically!
Many operators offer dolphin watching tours, and also whale watching too. Whale Watch Tarifa gives guests the opportunity to go out into the straits of Gibraltar and see dolphins, porpoises, fin whales, pilot whales and even sometimes killer whales during the summer.
Once you’ve finished your tour it is worth popping into town, as shopping here is duty free. Best buys include cosmetics and perfume, jewellery, tobacco, spirits and electronics. For souvenirs and traditional Spanish gifts, head to Casemates Square, where you’ll find local artisans including the Gibraltar Crystal Factory, where you can watch the glass blowers creating master pieces.
Take a private wine tasting tour in Marbella Old Town – make like the locals; eat, drink and be merry!
What better way to enjoy life in Marbella, than to sample the local delicacies? A private wine tasting tour in Marbella is the ultimate way to discover the old town while tasting some of the best wines, olive oils and foods that Spain has to offer.
A personal chauffeur will pick you up from your hotel in a luxury car and drive you to the old town of Marbella. Looked after by a local English speaking guide, you will start a walk through the historic center and get to know about the history of a city, which dates back to the 7th century B.C!
So, what will you do first?