Marbella Travel Guide (Andalusia, Spain): 29 X hotspots, trendy restaurants and shopping1 January 2017
From chique beach clubs to authentic tapas bars in Marbella
November is not the best time to go to Marbella, of course. But when I paid a visit to Andalusia to enjoy the wintersun I couldn’t resist to go there for a first encounter! I made this travelguide especially for Sunweb Secrets. From Hotel Rural Almazara, where I stayed in Nerja, is it an 1.5 hour drive to Marbella.
Marbella is a typically Spanish seaside resort. The old centre consists of badly maintained ordinary highrise buildings that you see everywhere along the coast. Whether you’re in Knokke, Zandvoort or Marbella, you probably know what I mean. In the old centre of Marbella you’ll find several cosy tapas bars and small streets where you can sit down for lunch or dinner and enjoy the finest small bites to share. From the old centre of Marbella it’s approximately a 15 minute drive to Puerto Banus, the marina with expensive brands and exclusive shops, beach clubs and lots of restaurants. In between you’ll find one appartment complex after another and honestly, it looks like it’s a pretty good stay there during warmer weather, especially the bit around Rachel’s Eco Love and Celicioso Bakery.
During my tour of Andalusia I’ve been to Marbella for just one long day and hopped from one bar to another, to get a good impression of the old centre and Puerto Banus.
Puerto Banus in Marbella
Are you looking for glitter and glamour in Marbella? Puerto Banus is the place to be! Parading along the boulevard and drinking cocktails at one of the beachside restaurants. This is the place where ‘new money’ and ‘old money’ come together and the marina is filled with the most expensive yachts. A bit of St. Tropez in Spain!
THE OLD TOWN OF Marbella
When you’ve only been to Puerto Banus first, you probably won’t expect Marbella to also have a nice old centre. From the beach you can see it above the mainroad that divides the old town in two. One part lies in the direction of the beach and the other is at the foothills of the mountains. On the side of the boulevard Avenue Miguel Cano is especially nice with its several tapas restaurants. In the narrow streets on the other side you’ll find lots of restaurants and cosy squares. Very nice to stroll around for an evening and have dinner.
12 x best restaurants in Marbella
Celicioso bakery: Pastries in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and even glutenfree! Sounds good, right? On the small terrace on the side you can have a perfect breakfast before heading to the beach.
Restaurante Los Bandidos: Feel like something different than a tapasbar? Then you’ll probably love the tables set with white linen at Restaurante Los Bandios, situated on the corner of the Marbella boulevard. Only authentic Spanish dishes on the menu!
Rachel’s Eco Love: Imagine… A cute small pool surrounded by turquoise bistro chairs just as cute. This hotspot consists of a nice organic deli and a concept store with trendy items you’ll definitely want to have in your suitcase during a beach vacation. This one is a not-to-miss!
Casa Blanco: Nice tapas bar close to the boulevard of the old centre of Marbella. Lively blue tiles on the walls and affordable tapas. The mini hamburgers are very good!
Natural Juice Bar: When you’ve completely had enough of tapas and are craving for something healthy, you’ve come to the right place at this juice bar in Puerto Banus. Here they have lots of juices with fruits but also with vegetables! A not to miss spot for a healthy fix.
Gastrobar 3C Marbella: With a lovely light interior and a terrace with white chairs and tables, a joyful white and bright yellow facade, this restaurants certainly mustn’t be skipped. And you can have delicious food here
La Moraga Bistró: This trendy bistro is situated in a street behind the Puerto Banus marina. The restaurant is nicely and sleekly furnished and on the menu you’ll find modern tapas with an international twist.
Ambrosia Mercado Gourmet: Just outside the centre of Puerto Banus there’s this nice mercado where you can eat something different at every stand. In the summer there’s often live music!
La Sale Banûs: When you see this trendy restaurant, with the mountains on the background you might think you’re in Cape Town with the Table Mountain (with a little bit of travelimagination of course!). In this restaurant the best spot is on the terrace and the menu is full of international dishes. In here it’s see and be seen!
Casanis Marbella: This French restaurant is in the old centre of Marbella. With a small terrace and green overgrown facades it has a very intimate feel to it. Inside it’s also warm and cosy with the painted walls and candle light. On the menu there’s French dishes, but with an international twist.
Bodegas La Venencia: Fancy some authentic tapas? Bodegas La Venencia is the way to go! Make sure to try the ‘paw’ of the beast that’s on the bar fresh from the spit. Not trendy, but definitely a nice atmosphere!
La Taberna del Pintxo: Never disappoints, the small sandwiches with a wooden pick (pintxos), topped with several cold and warm bites. In a traditional pintxo bar you can infer the price by the color of the wooden pick. You then collect the pintxos you’ve chosen and at the end of the evening you square it up. A lot of fun and everyone can choose what they want from the showcases!
7 x the best Beach Clubs in Marbella
Along the long coastline around Marbella you’ll find different beach clubs that offer a nice relaxation in summertime. So in this Marbella Travel Guide a shortlist of beachclubs not to miss out on! Most beach clubs are closed in winter, so make sure to check the opening dates on the websites if you’re traveling in the spring or fall.
- Nikki Beach: A golden oldie for a Sunday that’s – doesn’t matter where in the world you are – bound to end in a legendary way with lots of drinks in the pool. Even when it wasn’t planned at all. Go there during brunch and book your sunbed at the poolside!
- Ocean Club Marbella: This beach club is situated at the end of the Puerto Banus boulevard and has a large pool with sunloungers. When you’re not fond of sand between your toes this is the place for you, because it’s just off the beach. Very relaxing atmosphere at the end of the day until the sun sets.
- Beach Club Estrella del Mar: A luxury beach club that belongs to the Vincci hotel. This is more a place to relax rather than for pool parties. So if you’re not looking for the latter I can recommend this club.
- La Cabane: At beach club La Cabane you both relax on the beach and by the pool. This beach club belong to Los Monteros hotel. Just like with most beach clubs, it’s furnished with sleek white furniture, canopy beds and great cocktails are served!
- Sylt: This beach club close to Nikki Beach is one of the newest around Marbella. Trendily designed, but a relaxed atmosphere. With gastro snacks (great naming!) and cocktails
- La Sala By The Sea: Chill-out music all day long and an alternative to lie down by the beach or the pool. Relaxed atmosphere during the day, and when the evening falls you can linger for dinner. On the menu you’ll find Asian dishes.
- The Beach House: You won’t come here to party, but you will come here to relax and to enjoy the great food. Lunch and dinner, with a seaview of course!
Finally some stand alone tips for nice beach clubs and beach front restaurants where you can have a great lunch, according to the readers of Your Little Black Book: Trocadero, Bono Beach, Macao, South Beach, Les Cubes and Perla Blanca.
3 x YOU’LL WANT TO SHOP HERE IN MARBELLA
In this Marbella Travel Guide I’ll share some shopping tips, whenever you don’t want to hang out on the beach for a change ;-). On Avenue Ricardo Soriano you’ll find the Spanish franchises Mango, Zara and Zara Home. If you forgot to pack something for your trip to Marbella, you can definitely find it here!
If you’re into designer vintage as much as me, you’ve come to the right place in the old town of Marbella. A shopping advice I couldn’t see coming! But did you know that there are several shops in the old town of Marbella that offer second-hand designer products? Think of shop windows full of Chanel coats, Chanel bags and beauties from other brands. Want more of this? Stop by Déjà Vu Vintage or Chic Vintage.
In Puerto Banus you’ll find one chique designer store after another. The Elite Store is the place to be if you’re looking for a collection of designers brands like you’ve never seen. Make sure to bring your creditcard if you’re going shopping in Puerto Banus, for the most affordable store you’ll find is Zadig & Voltaire. Other designer brands that have a store in Marbella: Versacce, Hermès, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
Marbella Travel Guide tips
Are you planning on going to Marbella? From the airport of Málaga it’s approximately a 45 minute drive to the old centre of Marbella. A car is a must have in order to attempt fun things during your vacation. From Marbella you’ll drive to the beautiful white town Miljas in about half an hour and a day of sightseeing in Málaga is definitely recommended. Granada is a little further off, over two hours so you certainly need an entire day if you want to visit the famous Alhambra.
During my trip through Andalusia I stayed in the authentic Hotel Rural Almazara in the town of Nerja. This hotel is one of the Sunweb Secrets hotels in Andalusia, which stands for small hotels with a local charm.
For the summertips in this Marbella Travel Guide I made a selection of tips from readers of Your Little Black Book and my fellow blogger Lotte from Culi-amsterdam.nl. Thanks for sharing!
Do you have any tips for Marbella or Andalusia? Let me know and maybe you’ll see your own tips in an update of the guide.
Have you also seen my other blogs about Málaga and Andalusië?
- Granada Travel Guide with the best tapasbars
- Málaga Travel Guide with 40 hotspots and tips
- Nerja Travel Guide with 17 restaurant- and do tips
- Hotspot BrunchIT in Málaga
- Checking-in: Hotel Rural Almazara
PS: When you’re in Andalusia during the winter you may want to skip Marbella and give preference to places like Nerja, Málaga or Granada. Lots of restaurants are closed during the winter or are being prepared to get ready for a new season the next year.
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