Welcome to the Costa del Sol Luxury Guide where we share all the luxury hotspots on the vibrant Costa del Sol.
Marbella is the luxury capital of the Costa del Sol. The capital of the international jet set. After Málaga, Marbella, with about 77,000 inhabitants, is the second largest city on the coast of the sun. The coveted holiday paradise is a privileged location for those who are rich, famous or important. But other holidaymakers will certainly find a good place to sleep here as well. The picturesque town centre is perhaps the most beautiful and the most characteristic along the entire coast.
Marbella is located on the south coast of Spain, about a half an hour drive west of Málaga. Marbella is the holiday location of the jet-set, princes, millionaires or people from the show business. The city center can be described as stylish, with beautiful boulevards, parks, and gardens, a historic center and with the most famous marina Puerto Banús, on the Mediterranean Sea, where you will find the most beautiful yachts.
The old town of Marbella is a nice place to visit, during the day and especially at night. When night falls, places like Patio de Los Naranjos are filled with terraces and later in the evening, the majority of the city can be found in one of the many bars in the area.
A trip through the narrow alleys (car-free) with balconies full of flower boxes will take you into the Andalusian atmosphere and make you long for a cup of coffee at one of the tables on the Plaza de Naranjos, just in front of the town hall. The square full of restaurants, cafes and shops are bordered by shady orange trees and subtropical plants.
The old town has an Arabic city wall and compact white buildings. You will find a beautiful promenade and a marina and fishing port. There are many shopping opportunities. On the many beautiful beaches are several ‘oases’ created with tropical vegetation. Lovers of nightlife are sure to find what they are looking for in this place with its numerous bars and restaurants. You will also find a number of museums (Bonsai museum, archaeological museum, engraving museum).
In the hottest time of the year, everyone here should definitely dine at a table on the sidewalk. The beautifully lit square with its rustling fountains forms an impressive backdrop. A modern city like Marbella also has a sports harbor along the beach promenade. Here is one bar next to the next pub or pizzeria and it is the youth that sets the tone. The noise level is therefore correspondingly high.
Petrodollars determine what happens here. In Marbella, a striking number of Arab banks and brokers offer their services to financially strong clients from the Middle East. The ordinary tourist with the narrower fair will also find what they are looking for here. There are plenty of cheap bars to enjoy the atmosphere around the harbor. You can also take the children for a walk in this area because they will certainly enjoy themselves.
Euphoric Spaniards claim that Marbella is the ‘capital of tourism’. Marbella, which translates as ‘beautiful sea’, can only partially live up to these expectations for the time being. Yet Marbella remains the diamond among the pearls (Estepona, Benahavis, Cancelada) of the Costa del Sol. A colorful mix of jet set and ‘normal’ tourists provides a varied picture on the beaches, in the restaurants and discos. Here the champagne flows and there ‘Jan Modaal’ drinks his beer, looking astonished at the tiring life of the richer fellow man.
Seven kilometres westwards, in the direction of Estepona, but still in the urban area of Marbella, lies the famous and prestigious marina Puerto Banús, one of the most beautiful artificial marinas in the Mediterranean Sea. In Puerto Banús the super yacht ‘Nabila’ of the former millionaire Adnan Kashoggi was anchored as well.
Along the quay wall and in the second part behind it, there are numerous gastronomic businesses with all kinds of kitchens, bars, discotheques, jewellers, boutiques and other boutiques. On this pier, even the non-sailor can enjoy himself, as long as he has enough money with him. Puerto Banús is an expensive place: a meal in one of the luxurious restaurants is very expensive.
The beautiful marina Puerto Banús, with its chic yachts, trendy restaurants, and bars, acts as a magnet to visitors on the Costa del Sol. A stay on the Costa del Sol is incomplete without a visit to Puerto Banús, one of the most famous local attractions. Puerto Banús, named after its creator José Banús, dates from 1968 and was then one of the first marina projects in Spain. The result looks very attractive and is definitely worth a visit.
Against a backdrop of mountains lies a row of bright white apartment buildings around the marina, where numerous ships of all shapes and sizes, from megayachts to small fishing boats, are moored. A landmark in Banús is the Arabic-style complex of luxury apartments on the right as you enter the port. With its exuberant white marble façade and glistening battlements, it seems to have come from a film about Arab nights.
Around the marina are also several cafes, bars, restaurants, boutiques, and gift shops. Although these restaurants are the place to be seen, you often get better value for money in the smaller restaurants in the streets afterwards. In high season, the quayside is teeming with people who come here to watch or to be watched. In Banús you have a good chance to spot celebrities.
At night, the place is buzzing with activity as the chic restaurants, trendy piano bars, discos and nightclubs fill up with beautiful people. The tastefully executed Bebabola project is a nice, more relaxed place to enjoy a drink and the sunset. Marbella, formerly a small white fishing village, is now one of the most cosmopolitan places on the Costa del Sol.
If you are looking for culture and entertainment in Marbella, you will find galleries, cinemas, pubs and discos, an extensive nightlife, golf courses, and Puerto Banus, the luxury marina where you can spend hours.
There are many things to do in Marbella, such as a walk from the old town and the many shopping malls for those who want to spend time shopping. Nice places to visit: The old town, the Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz Church, Ermita del Calvario, the Bonsai Museum, Museo Ralli, Villa Romana de Río Verde, Termas Romanas de Guadalmina, Basílica paleocristiana de Vega del Mar, Yacimiento fenicio de Río Real, Pecho Redondo Caves, Nagüeles Caves, Bajadilla beach, Fuerte beach, Fontanilla beach.
Marbella is protected by the mountains of the Sierra Blanca, where the microclimate gives an annual average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and sunny weather for almost the whole year.
Visitors to Marbella won’t be short of all kinds of exclusive shopping malls, designer boutiques, arts and crafts, gift shops and luxurious interior design shops. A large majority of these shops can be found around the city centre, where you will also find many cafes and restaurants.
The best shopping streets in Marbella are the Avenida Ricardo Soriano and the Avenida Ramon y Cajal, an important shopping area where you will find the best shops, with well-known brands and well-known fashion boutiques. For more traditional shops and local shops, head to the old town of Marbella, where you’ll find a good selection of galleries, craft shops, and gift ideas.
Exclusive commercial centres in and around Marbella include the Centro Commercial Benabola in Puerto Banús, with designer shops and fashion shops, the elegant center commercial Marina Banús in Avenida Ramón Areces, and El Corte Ingles with a number of floors of items ranging from fashion and perfumes, to furniture and household items and a popular supermarket. Every Saturday morning a street market is held in Nueva Andalucia.
Marbella’s glistening nightlife is undoubtedly excellent and very different from the rest of the also very busy seaside resorts along the Costa del Sol. Start the evening with a leisurely stroll along the promenade, with plenty of chic cafes, bars, and international restaurants or the charming Old Town of Marbella with its many tapas bars in whitewashed alleys and squares.
Puerto Banus is relatively quiet during the winter months but is brimming with nightlife during the high season. Other hotspots along the promenade and in Puerto Banús include Buddha Beach, Charleys, Desvan, Dreamers Night Club, Glam, News Cafe, Olivia Valere, Polo House, Portside Bar, Seven, Studio 10 Tibu, Vanity Marbella, lola Lounge, Oh Marbella and the Mansion Club.
Fine Dining is well-represented in Marbella, but it’s very expensive. But not everything in the vicinity of Marbella are restaurants and luxury hotels. In the luxurious beach bars in Marbella, you can eat on an informal basis with a view of the sea. Some beach bars are among the luxury hotels and even have an indoor swimming pool. Also in these more informal restaurants, you can meet famous and beautiful people who want to participate in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Marbella is the touristic heart of the Costa del Sol and you can reach the city by flying to Málaga Airport 40 minutes away by car, bus, taxi, rental car or transfer. Gibraltar airport is also an option for tourist from the United Kingdom. From London, you could catch a daily flight (Easyjet, British Airways etc.)
In the far south of Spain, on the Costa del Sol, you will find lively Estepona with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Close to Marbella with excellent excursions to Ronda, Seville, Gibraltar, Morocco, Malaga, Granada and Casares, too many to mention. Estepona, a Spanish seaside resort with approximately 60,328 inhabitants, is a cozy town on the Costa del Sol, just outside the bustle of Torremolinos, Fuengirola, and Marbella. There is a tourist office in the center of Estepona and a new tourist office at the entrance of the harbor.
The location of the city, embedded between the sea and mountains, offers the visitor numerous opportunities for various activities. Estepona is a 45-minute drive from Málaga airport via the new motorway along the four-lane coastal road. Estepona has a total of 17 beaches including the beach “La Rada”. It is located directly opposite the picturesque center of Estepona, is three kilometers long and is the most visited. Along this beach is the beautiful promenade with not too massive apartments and many playgrounds for the children. Behind the boulevard, Estepona is still an authentic South Spanish town with picturesque streets, restaurants, terraces, bars and a lively shopping center. It is a quiet Spanish seaside resort with a friendly population.
The authentic fishing port, not to mention the lively marina, offer a lot of entertainment. Specific fish restaurants, packed with the Spanish population on Sundays (so the food is fine).
The fishing port is freely accessible and offers a glimpse of traditional fishing in Estepona. There is a lot to do in Estepona. The beach is, of course, an attraction, but it is also very nice to rent a boat, to ride a horse in the first class horse center in Estepona or to visit the water park. Famous are of course the many golf courses on the Costa del Sol. Estepona is surrounded by more than 40 golf courses on the Costa del Golf. At 15 minutes drive west of Estepona are the golf courses of Sotogrande, San Roque, Valderama and east, to name a few, Montemayor, Los Flamingos and Los Naranjos. Not to mention the Estepona golf course.
The authentic fishing port, not to mention the lively marina of Estepona, offers a lot of entertainment. Specific fish restaurants, packed with the Spanish population on Sundays (so the food is fine). The fishing port is freely accessible and offers a glimpse of traditional fishing in Estepona, especially the fish auction at the end of the afternoon.
The port of Estepona is located on the western part of the Costa Del Sol, by the sea. The marina is a very pleasant place to stroll among the boats and offers a wide variety of cafes and restaurants where you can eat in the open air on the terrace. There is also a playground for the children, a supermarket, newspaper and magazine shop, bakery and an ATM. On Sunday morning there is a popular tourist market. In the adjacent fishing port, you can walk to the end of the pier and see the lighthouse, see how the fishing is loaded from the boats or how the fishermen repair their nets and in the early morning hours, you can attend the fish auction. The port is connected to the centre of the village, at a walking distance of 1 km, via the promenade by the sea and via the Avenida del Carmen: a wide street with wide pedestrian paths, cycle paths and many plants and flowers that turn a walk here into a pleasant holiday activity. The village itself is a typical Andalusian style with narrow streets and squares in the shade; it has a day market, all kinds of shops and many good bars with terraces. If you are staying in the marina, travelling by car is very easy because the Avenida del Carmen is connected to the ring road around Estepona and with all the main roads to Marbella (20 minutes away), the golf courses, Málaga (the airport is 45 minutes away), Ronda, Gibraltar, Granada, Seville and so on.