Having travelled in many Spanish cities I have never been to the south of the country. When I chose to book my vacation in Marbella I knew little, if not to say nothing about this place. As I had little time to book the holiday my research started from booking.com website to find a place to stay and ended with google images to have an idea about beaches in Marbella. Hence, my exploration of this beautiful paradise was based on wondering around the city center, talking to the natives and the people who moved there recently.
My walk in the downtown of Marbella started from Plaza de los Naranjos – a small square full of restaurants and small shops. Around the square you can sneak into numerous narrow white streets with flowers covering the walls and creating colorful labyrinths where you can stroll all day.
I spent hours walking in these streets as I came across several shops selling artisan Spanish clothes, as well as Indian and Arabic garments and accessories.
In the Plaza de los Naranjos I was sceptical about choosing the restaurant as usually the more touristy places have a lower quality of food combined with high prices, however, I really liked one restaurant called Los Naranjos. They have really tasty paella and amazing gazpacho! Another bonus – free wifi to share your food experience.
And if you walk around the corner of the square you can enjoy your dessert – fresh fruit juice and traditional Spanish sweet – churros. Mind that churros in Andalucia are not similar to those you might try in other parts of Spain. Here churros are arranged into spiral and served with a cup of hot chocolate. My advice – order a small portion because it is so huge that it`s enough for two.
If you take left from the Plaza de los Naranjos and go up the Calla Ancha at night time you can have a drink in one of the small bars and meet local people. Its a very lively place and gives you a flavour of the night life in Marbella. And if you are not into dancing or drinking, you go even further up untill you reach the Plaza Santo Cristo where you can just sit and have a chat all night long.
In Marbella you can find numerous beaches which are all open to public. On the coastline you can find private zones where you can pay from 8 to 15 eur and rent towels and a beach chair. They usually have bars and a great selection of cocktails.
I really liked the beaches in Puerto Deportivo and the ones situated in the Coral Beach area. My favourite one was the Sea Soul beach which is part of the Hotel IBEROSTAR Marbella Coral Beach.
As an art lover I could not miss an art exhibition in Marbella. Museo Ralli is situated right in the center of Marbella. It is a privately held museum founded and financially supported by Harry Recanati and Martine Recanati. This art loving couple has founded five museums (Ralli in Marbella is one of them) and has never accepted any donations or sponsorship. The museum is full of Latin American and European art works. Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall were amoung the permanent exhibition, while the temporary collection included works of Beryl Cook, a British artist depicting satirical to my point of view scenes from every day life of brits. The museum is free and does not have any guided tours or audio guides because the founders of the museum didn`t want to influence the perception of art by the visitors. The aim of making Museo Ralli open to public for free is to make art accessible and allow everyone see world`s most influential works.
Mario Aguirre Roa
Nude Dialogue and The Gossips
Jorge Alvaro The Toast
Beryl Cook Girls in a Taxi
As most of Spanish cities, Marbella is a great place to try sea food. There are two places I really liked. One – Traga Tapas (in Puerto Deportivo) which has loads of cheap tapas. Make sure you try the fried sardines, patatas bravas and clams!
Another restaurant with more sophisticated but still affordable food is called Los Sardinales (a friend of mine who lives in Marbella took me there for lunch and said that many locals visit this place). It is situated right on the beach and is great both for lunch and dinner (Playa los Alicates, Marbella).
Well, there is a lot to see and to do in Marbella, but I have dedicated a few evenings to just wlaking along the beach and enjoying the beauty of the nature and the buidings. Marbella is an amazing place both for young people and for families. It has a bit of everything – night clubs, restaurants, schools, sports centers (those living in Marbella do a lot of sports), museums, basically anything one might need. La Concha mountain creates a unique microclimate in Marbella which keeps it quiet warm in winter and not too hot in summer. Because most of the houses are painted white it helps to keep them cool inside. Marbella is a real paradise and I will come back to explore it more and share my experience.