Why we love Marbella
Quite rightly, Marbella is considered to be the jewel of the Costa del Sol’s crown and has the perfect strapline -”a way of life”. You may be familiar with the romance of Marbella’s humble beginnings as a small fishing village until the 1950s when Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe opened the iconic Marbella Club Hotel and populated the town with Hollywood glitterati like Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Today, although the type of star has changed – you are more likely to spot Tony Blair, David Beckham or Julio Iglesias – the town still oozes glamour and rivals the south of France as an upmarket holiday destination. Year after year it attracts millions of visitors and new residents each keen to experience the magic of Marbella.
What’s it like?
Even though Marbella is a cosmopolitan melting pot that comfortably accommodates a myriad of different nationalities, the town’s customs are typically Andaluz, creating a wonderful relaxed yet colourful way of life. The slower pace of life can be strange until you adopt the ‘mañana’ attitude and the majority of independent shops close for a siesta between 2pm and 5pm and are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sundays. However, El Corte Ingles department store is open all day and on Sundays throughout the summer holiday season.
On the other hand, there’s a palpable passion and no one parties like the Spanish. Marbella’s main events are; Santa Semana (Easter week) which sees local men (penetants) carrying large floats through the town centre depicting the passion of Christ, – fiesta de San Bernebe a weeklong celebration of the town’s patron saint St. Barnaby and of course the 3 Kings night when children line street to see the kings go by and to catch sweets before going home to open their presents.
Alexis’ Marbella property review
Marbella has one of the most popular post codes in Spain. The municipality, which spans Cabopino in the east and Guadalina to the west, is constantly in high demand and there is limited prime property available. It’s the perfect lifestyle location and ideal for investments, rentals, holiday homes and for expats looking to start a new life in a truly international community. What’s more, there’s no chance of losing touch, as you will suddenly become very popular amongst family and friends left behind in colder climes.
Eating and drinking
Marbella is synonymous with sun, sea, sand and of course a glamorous nightlife. There is something for every taste and pocket, literally every type of cuisine is catered for, ranging from cheap and cheerful chiringitos, traditional bodegas, cafes and restaurants, through to Michelin star restaurants such as Dani Garcia’s latest venture at the Puente Romano.
Nightlife can be anything you desire; a few drinks in a local bar, fashionable beach clubs or hedonistic nightclubs such as Olivia Volare, where if you have to ask the price of a drink – you can’t afford it. One of the simplest and most enjoyable pleasures is taking a stroll along Marbella wonderful paseo during the day, watching the sun go down or watching the lights twinkle on the Mediterranean after dark.
If you are looking for shopping opportunities, Marbella has all the bases covered. If you like your shops under one roof, head to La Cañada shopping centre located above Marbella’s town centre, or El Corte Ingles department store in Puerto Banús where you can buy everything from armoires to Armani.
Alternatively, one of the many attractions of Marbella’s old town are the impossibly quaint winding pedestrian roads lined with a surprising variety of independent shops, selling everything from fresh cakes and bread, leather goods, fashion, provisions and of course the souvenirs. Opposite the main church Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación there is even a tiny shop dedicated only to religious icons where you can buy a million and one different types of Mary’s, crucifixes, rosary beads and incense. Of course for everyday groceries, you have a choice of supermarkets including the Spanish chain Mercadona… the only supermarket to have its own theme tune!
Sports and outdoor activities
Sandwiched between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Marbella’s position, the weather and varied terrain makes it one of the best year round destinations for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Alongside the obvious water sports opportunities, such as kayaking, paddle surfing, windsurfing, swimming and sailing, intrepid explorers can traverse canyons, go climbing, abseiling, mountain hiking and some superb cycling tracks. There is also a number of well-appointed health and fitness clubs offering a wide range of classes, treatments and facilities.
Tennis is a popular pastime in Marbella and there are a number of tennis schools, including the Manuel Santana tennis club and the Puente Romano tennis club which also hosts celebrity tennis tournaments and doubles as a concert venue.
Golf courses in the municipality of Marbella
Golf is a major attraction on the Costa del Sol. Marbella boasts 20 golf courses, most designed and endorsed by celebrity professionals. Needless to say, golf developments are extremely popular as they combine all of the amenities of Marbella with the added bonus of superb views and easy access to the green and the club house.
- Aloha Golf Club: 18-hole course in Nueva Andalucia
- Cabopino Golf Club: 18-hole course to the east of Marbella at Cabopino marina
- Green Life Golf: 9-hole course with great scenery in Elviria
- Guadalmina & Guadalmina north: 2 separate courses with a total of 36 holes
- La Dama de Noche: 9-hole floodlit course for day or night play
- La Quinta: 27 hole course in Nueva Andalucia
- Las Brisas Golf Club: 18-hole course in Nueva Andalucia
- La Zagaleta golf course: Exclusive 18-hole course in Benahavis
- Los Almendros Golf Club: 9-hole course in Benahavis
- Los Arqueros Golf Club: 18-hole championship course in Nueva Andalucia
- Los Naranjos: An extremely popular 18-hole course in Nueva Andalucia
- Magna Marbella Golf: 18-hole course in Benahavis
- Marbella Club Golf Resort: Exclusive 18-hole course in Benahavis
- Monte Paraiso Golf: 9-hole course at the heart of Marbella
- Rio Real Golf Club: Fairly demanding course located east of central Marbella
- Santa Clara Golf Club:18-hole course in Marbella
- Santa Maria Golf: 18-hole course in Marbella
- La Bajadilla beach: 700 metres long located beside the fishing harbour
- El Cable beach: 1500 metres of sand in a long strip by the fishing harbour
- La Fontanilla beach: 850 metres of dark sand located close to the Puerto Deportivo
- El Faro beach: Located close to restaurants and the Puerto Deportivo (the busiest beach in high season)
- La Venus beach: 500 metres of fine sand running alongside the town centre.
Evidence of the first settlers dating back to the Palaeolithic Era has been found in Las Chapas (East Marbella), the Roman village of Rio Verde and bathhouses at Guadalmina. However, it is the Moors who left the most obvious traces of their occupation like the remains of the Marbella castle walls surrounding part of the Old Town which were once part of a 10th century fortress.
The Old Town is arguably the prettiest area of Marbella, with white washed streets and plazas lined with historic buildings and colourful flowers. Notable buildings include, the afore mentioned Church of Incarnation dating back to 1505 and later modernised in 17012 to provide the current elaborate façade.
Facts & Figures
Here is some useful information about Marbella to help you make up your mind as to whether this is the place that you would like to relocate or to invest in property.
Children are well catered for in Marbella with a wide choice of nursery, junior and secondary level schools; private, international and state schools, offering English, Spanish and American syllabuses.
Private international schools in Marbella
Aloha College – Nueva Andalucía
Calpe – San Pedro de Alcantara
Laude – San Pedro de Alcantara
Swan international school – Marbella
The English international college – Marbella