The central location of Marbella is located 50 km from Malaga International Airport and the population of Marbella is 140 000.
Marbella municipality covers a large area, and there is 26 km of coastline stretching from Marbella’s border with Mijas Costa at Cabopino to Guadalmina at its border with Estepona. Here you find several well known resorts and places:
- Hacienda Las Chapas
- El Rosario
- Los Monteros
- Altos de los Monteros
- Rio Real
- Marbella city
- Golden Mile
- Puerto Banus
- Nueva Andalucia
- San Pedro
Some of these places we will describe closer further down.
Marbella is known as a glamorous resort town and is a favourite location with the rich and famous, boosted by foreign residents who are seduced by the lifestyle. But there's plenty for ordinary people to see and enjoy too in the southern Spain's answer to St Tropez. Marbella has a layer hidden beneath its flashy surface that appeals to those wanting to live in nearby neighbourhoods where they have easy access to the buzz of a cosmopolitan town full of life, but still with an interesting history. This Costa del Sol town’s motto is ‘A Way of Life’ and that is certainly what it offers.
The old town with its narrow cobbled streets and flower-filled plazas is packed with delightful shops and art galleries selling pretty clothes and accessories, and handmade wares. One of the prettiest spots is the famous orange tree-filled Plaza de los Naranjos, which is located just off the main street and is home to the 16th-century town hall and tourist office. You also find huge shopping malls like La Cañada in Marbella. For more contemporary fashions, Puerto Banus has all the top international designer stores.
Marbella's history stretches back to Roman times - you can see beautifully preserved mosaics and buildings in the town.
In terms of eating out, Marbella's gastronomic scene is very good, with everything from vegetarian and vegan cafes, to beachfront chiringuitos, and Michelin-starred restaurants including Spanish cooking star Dani Garcia's - a feast for people that appreciate good food.
And of course the beaches are fantastic. Most visitors come to Marbella to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, which has been drawing expatriate communities since the 1950s when Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe fell in love with the place and built a beachfront house, drawing all the starriest Hollywood celebs.
If your visit inspires you to consider living in Marbella, have a look at the neighbourhoods or districts that make this such a charming place to live or perhaps visit on an excursion and decide afterwards.
The whole area of Marbella municipality boasts some of the most luxurious beach clubs where you can
relax, sip on cocktails and enjoy the sunshine. Nikki Beach and Beach House in Elviria or Ocean Club in Puerto Banus are good examples.
Marbella has a long promenade which connects the city Puerto Banus and San Pedro. It is 12 km long (but is lengthened every year), and you can walk, run or ride a bike along the route and explore this impressive stretch of the Marbella coastline.
During high season you can catch a ferry from Marbella Marina to Puerto Banus. This exclusive area is where some of Marbella’s most luxurious villas and estates are situated, including the Palace of King Fahd, as well as some of the famous Marbella hotels, including the Melia Don Pepe, the Hotel Marbella Club and the Puente Romano Hotel.
There are a variety of annual festivals held at different locations around Marbella between June and October, including the Marbella International Film Festival.
For families looking to relocate to Marbella, there are a number of local and international schools in this area including: Aloha College, Swans School and EIC College.
Cabopino is a small and quiet Marina with its own truly Mediterranean style which is the first place you come to in Marbella municipality when you come from the east.
It is often overlooked by the tourists mainly because it is not visible from the road, but like all the coastal Marinas it has some very good restaurants and bars, as well as a lovely beach and golf courses.
Albert's on the Port is the best known restaurant, especially for its steaks. Harbour Lights is a friendly family restaurant also worth visiting.
Just inland Cabopino Golf Course is very scenic with views to the mountains and the sea.
There are popular beaches to the either side of the port where some good beach bars are located. To the west of Cabopino is the clothing optional beach of Playa Artola or Playa de la Dunas-Carib. This is the only section of beach in Marbella that is backed by extensive natural dunes and the only section of coast that is not urbanised.
You will find Marbesa between Cabopino and Elviria, between the main road A7 and the sea. It is a quiet area with mostly high class villas situated on rather big plots. There is a nice beach and you will find the chiringuito Simbad here.
Elviria is a community located about 15 minutes east of Marbella's city centre, between Hacienda Las Chapas and El Rosario. It is well equipped with services, amenities and entertainment facilities.
Close to the A7 there is a quite big centre with many shops and good restaurants as well as doctors, dentists, lawyers etc. Down by the beach you will find some of the most famous beach clubs, amongst them Nikki Beach and The Beach House.
Because this is a coastal urbanisation, many homes are within walking distance of the beach, both below and on the upper side of the A7. Also conveniently located are the Santa María and Santa Clara
golf courses with their respective clubs; two more courses - Marbella Golf Club and Golf Rio Real - are only a short drive away. The El Casco Tennis club is another attraction at Elviria, offering quality
Aventura Amazonia is also situated in Elvira, quite close to the center of Elviria. Aventura Amazonia is a big adventure and climbing park with challenges for all ages from kids to grownups, and they have some impressive zip lines and tall climbing obstacles.
Also on site is the English International School serving primary and secondary students.
The area's five star luxury Don Carlos Hotel is a local landmark.
El Rosario is a small residential urbanisation located between Elviria and Los Monteros, just outside of Marbella. Part of El Rosario is beach side and part is above the A7. The area is very laid-back, with a mix of luxury villas and apartment complexes, all within walking distance of the lovely beach.
El Rosario is an excellent destination for both couples and families. It is quiet, yet close to all the amenities and leisure facilities of Marbella city which is a 10 minutes drive away, and Elviria which is a bigger resort is 5 minutes away. El Rosario is not a town, but there are bars, restaurants and a supermarket in the local vicinity.
The inhabitants of El Rosario is a real mix, but there are many Scandinavians and Germans. It is a very well looked after urbanisation with private security and many beautiful houses. On almost every corner you will find dispensers for dog bags so everybody can pick up after their dogs. With regards to the properties in the area there are villas and apartment buildings on the beach side and townhouses and villas on the mountainside. Very few of the villas are let out for the summer, and because there is a lack of hotels in the area, and this creates a lovely neighbourly atmosphere.
El Rosario has a wonderful stretch of golden sand, many think this is one of the best beaches along the Costa del Sol.
There are lots of bars and beach restaurants, one popular beach restaurant is South Beach. Others restaurants worth mentioning is Don Quijote and Bono´s Beach.
El Rosario is home to two particularly lovely beach chiringuito’s (restaurants). Hippo’s is ideal for families with children, with a more laid-back menu, serving hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, etc. Los Canos, however, is at the other end of the scale, an upmarket beach restaurant, serving delicious fresh seafood dishes, paella and roasted meats.
LOS MONTEROS & ALTOS DE LOS MONTEROS
Los Monteros is a beachside and mountainside neighborhood occupying a vast area of developments about 15 minutes driving west from the centre of Marbella west of the Rio Real.
The famous Spanish banker, Ignacio Coca, in the name of the Los Monteros Group constructed the Los Monteros Hotel in 1962, Rio Real Golf course in 1965, and the medical spa Hotel Incosol (currently closed), in 1973. In the 1970 the beachside estate comprising of villa plots was constructed as La Reserva de los Monteros urbanizacion. Since then a number of other estates and complexes have been constructed at Los Monteros including Urb. Bahia Real, Urb. LA Brisas, Golf Rio Real Village.
One of the most prestigious hotels on the cost - Los Monteros Marbella Hotel and Spa ( 5* GL) is located conveniently near the urbanization entrance and within is the renowned Los Flamingos restaurant. The hotel also runs the ‘La Cabana' beach club a short walk (or golf buggy ride) down through the leafy urbanizacion at the sea front.
The beach is also called Playa los Monteros and there are a number of beach bars and restaurants.
The neighbourhood has added cache thanks to Malaga born actor Antonio Banderas having a seafront residence here.
Altos de Los Monteros is high up in the mountain side above Los Monteros. The most magnificent view on the whole of Costa del Sol is up on Altos de Los Monteros. Here there are some magnificent modern villas and high class apartment buildings.
Hospital Costa del Sol is also located at Los Monteros on the mountain side of the coastal highway.
Santa Clara golf course and luxury urbanization is also located just east of the hospital. Marbella Golf and Country club is a short distance.
Los Monteros is about 10 minutes from the English International College, which serves children at both primary and secondary levels.
Rio Real is a beautiful location very close to Marbella town. Here you will find the famous restaurant Trocadero Arena. It is situated directly on the beach and the decor is very special, it will remind you of the film «My Africa».
Puerto Banus is located in the Nueva Andalucia suburb of Marbella, 6km to the west of the town centre, just before you reach the small town of San Pedro de Alcantara.
Although it may at first appear as a developed old Spanish fishing village with an impressive mountain backdrop, Puerto Banus was in fact designed and built in 1970 by local property developer José Banús as a luxury marina and shopping complex.
Puerto Banús is known as Costa del Sol's playground for the rich and wealthy that come here for the beaches, the beach clubs and the buzzing nightlife. The shops and restaurants reflect this expensive lifestyle, with plenty of designer names on offer around the marina. If you enjoy people-watching and are there during the summer months you'll never be short of popstars or reality TV stars to spot. If sports cars and big boats are more your thing there are plenty of Ferraris and luxury yachts to admire.
Nueva Andalucia is a well thought out and attractive area just west of Marbella where, as its name suggests, the villas and apartments are based on traditional Andalusian architecture and design.
Nueva Andalucía is the largest neighbourhood in Marbella, extending over several square kilometres. It has an official census population of about 15,000 but considerably more residents in the summer. It was created by Madrid developer José Banús Mas, who came to Marbella in 1962 and acquired the land. Construction of Puerto Banús began in 1965, it was inaugurated in 1968, and the main infrastructure of Nueva Andalucía was installed shortly afterward. The area continued to grow until 1989 - and again in the 2000s.
The key attractions today are the large residential estate, reasonable access to the highway and Marbella and, for many, a short taxi ride home from the Puerto Banús nightlife. Being a large residential area it has plenty of small commercial centres and restaurants for those who don't want to venture out on a rainy or sunny day. Others find it too large and soulless; visitors can become frustrated or lost in the maze of tree-lined residential avenues which are confusingly either code-numbered (e.g. Calle 19B) or named in the normal way. This is not to mention the overlay of 'supermanzana' urban layouts. It is, however, reputed that some residents appreciate the anonymity of the place.
San Pedro de Alcántara is in an ideal situation, just 10 kilometres west from all the glitz and glamour of Marbella, yet just a few minutes drive away from the natural beauty of the Sierra de Ronda mountain range and 20 km from the town of Estepona. An ancient farming community, once famous for sugarcane, today San Pedro is a refreshingly unspoilt pueblo with an appeal all of its own. Be sure to head for the Plaza de la Iglesia with its gracious parish church and surrounding narrow streets which are packed with intriguing small shops, sidewalk cafes and bars. Thursday is street market day with all the associated hustle and bustle; a veritable bargain shopper's paradise. At the lower end of Calle Marques del Duero sitting on top of the main coast road (in a 3km underpass) is the Boulevard park.
A pleasant walk is from the centre of town to the beachfront down Avenida del Marques del Duero, a particularly attractive wide avenue flanked by palm trees, cross the boulevard, and Nueva Alcantara to the wide promenade which is ideal for continuing your stroll (or skateboarding!). It features several excellent chiringuitos (beachside restaurants) specialising in fish dishes. Visit Bora Bora at the west end, if only for a drink at the bar. It was one of the first established (c1994) modern luxury tropical theme beach clubs on the coast, with a superb restaurant and all the usual facilities.
San Pedro also has the last summer fair ( feria ) in Andalucia being in the second week in October.
Guadalmina is a beachside community that straddles the A7/N340 coast road, dividing it into Guadalmina Alta and Guadalmina Baja. Its west boundary runs along the Guadalmina River which is also the Marbella / Estepona boundary. Guadalmina is a mature urbanisation mostly developed in the 1980's. Conveniently located, about 10 minutes from Marbella's Puerto Banus, even closer to the neighbourhood of San Pedro de Alcántara and a 15 minute drive from the town of Estepona.
The urbanisation has two 18 hole golf courses and is close to three more quality courses: Monte Mayor, Atalaya Golf and El Paraiso. It is also only about five minutes' drive from the health clubs at the El Paraiso urbanisation's shopping centre and the Hotel Atalaya.
San Jose private school is within Guadalmina Baja and three international schools are nearby: Calpe College, Aloha College and Swans Primary School.
Guadalmina Shopping Centre (Edificio Barclays and Guadalmina Two, Three and Four) on the mountain or Alta provides all amenities and services and includes a large supermarket, several banks, numerous restaurants and cafés, furniture stores and many other retail outlets. There is also a row of shops by the Golf Club House.
The main access is from the junction on the A7 to the west of the San Pedro Underpass. There are also higher access points in Guadalmina Alto to Valle del Sol and San Pedro.
The local beach is Playa Guadalmina and nearby are the Roman Baths. Guadalmina has three hotels, including Hotel Guadalmina Spa & Golf Resort.