20 Things To Do In Marbella

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Marbella is a Spanish coastal city on the Costa del Sol that is popular for its vibrant nightlife, where bars and clubs open all night long throughout the year. But there are many more things to do in Marbella besides clubbing. Thanks to its year-round warm weather, beaches and stunning location, it’s the perfect destination for a city break, beach vacation, or family holiday. Marbella gets around 320 days of sunshine a year, making it ideal for a winter break. The city is also shielded from the harsher climates in other parts of Andalusia by the Sierra Blanca mountain range, which protect the city from searing summer temperatures and icy chills in winter.

As the city is on the coast, there is a sea breeze to maintain pleasant temperatures year round. Marbella’s beaches are popular, particularly during the summer when they can become crowded. Head a little further along the coast to find quieter stretches of sand away from the city if you are seeking a more restful beach day.

There are plenty of cultural things to do in Marbella, such as visiting its art galleries and historical sites. Marbella is an excellent Spanish destination for lovers of golf. The city has the most courses on the Costa del Sol. For beginners, there are driving ranges to try the sport out, and for those more familiar with the sport, a range of varied and challenging courses. Other popular sports in Marbella take place on the water. Book a kayaking tour, take to the sea on a jet ski or relax as you head out on a sunset yacht cruise.

The city itself is filled with many attractive and interesting neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood has its own unique feel. Spend some time getting to know the area on foot. While in Marbella, be sure to sample plenty of fresh seafood, which arrives freshly caught at the port, and of course, a range of tasty tapas dishes. There are plenty of things to do in Marbella, and here are some of the best.

Marbella, Spain

Top Tours

20 Things To Do In Marbella

1- Wander Around Plaza de los Naranjos

Plaza de los Naranjos, or Orange Square, is a beautiful place to begin your Marbella vacation.

The square is filled with colourful and fragrant orange trees as its name suggests.

The buildings lining the square are painted white and often have colourful baskets of flowers decorating the otherwise plain walls.

Plaza de los Naranjos is in the centre of the Old Town and is the perfect destination to enjoy a glass of Sangria and watch the world go by.

There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes to grab a bite. You may also like to join the Original Marbella Tapas Adventure.

Plaza de los Naranjos is at 29601, Marbella.

2- Relax In Parque de la Alameda

Parque de la Alameda is a small and peaceful park in Marbella’s historic centre, with a large fountain, lit up at night.

The park was first opened in the 18th century but has been sadly reduced in size over the years due to demand and space.

What remains of the park today offers a perfect jungle escape in the heart of the city.

The park is filled with large trees offering welcoming shade, plenty of plants, and colourful flowers.

Species growing in the park include ferns, banana trees and palm trees. There are many elaborately tilled benches to sit and relax on.

Parque de la Alameda is at Av. Ramón y Cajal, s/n, 29602, Marbella.

3- Visit Puerto Banús

things to do in marbella spain the port and mountain
Visiting Puerto Banus (Banus port) is one of the things to do in Marbella (Spain).

A short drive from Marbella is the luxury port resort of Puerto Banús. José Banús designed the port and residential area in 1960, officially opening in the 1970s.

This luxurious area of Spain is a popular destination for the rich and famous, with plenty of trendy bars, fancy restaurants and designer shops.

Spend some time by the marina to see some luxury yachts and catch a glimpse of someone famous before exploring the shops.

4- Admire The Artworks Along Avenida del Mar

public statue in front of a building
Admiring public art is one of the things to do in Marbella. Here’s the Valencia Ripolles Statue in Paseo de la Alameda.

Strolling along Avenida del Mar is a great thing to do in Marbella for art lovers.

The street runs from Parque de la Alameda to Venus Beach and is lined with attractive palm trees and has plenty of benches available.

Its artworks are Avenida del Mar’s biggest allure.

There are 10 bronze sculptures by Salvador Dalí displayed throughout the avenue depicting various characters, including a cosmic elephant, Mercury and Don Quixote sitting.

The placement of the statues has led to Avenida del Mar becoming a free open-air museum.

Avenida del Mar is at 29602, Marbella.

5- Visit Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación

church bell between buildings
Exploring the old town is one of the top things to do in Marbella.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación dates back to the early 16th century. The church features both Gothic and Baroque architecture and design.

Head inside the church to see its impressive altar, designed in the late 18th century and carved from Canadian pine.

The altar is finished with golden detailing and a large fresco.

The church was uniquely designed to be a fortress.

Its windows are narrow and high up, giving archers perfect vantage points to aim from, and its walls are extremely thick to protect it against attack.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación is at Pl. de la Iglesia, 29601, Marbella.

6- Explore Castillo de Marbella

Castillo de Marbella is a 9th-century castle in the Old Town of Marbella and was in continuous use until the late 15th century, when it slowly fell into ruin.

The castle was once part of a larger city defence system, which included thick walls and numerous gates.

Due to its condition, it’s not open to the public, but it’s well worth viewing from the outside.

The exterior of the castle is planted with palm trees and colourful plants, and there are information signs showing what it and the rest of the citadel would have looked like during its prime.

Castillo de Marbella is at Calle Escuela, 29601, Marbella.

7- Admire The Collection At Museo Ralli

Visiting Museo Ralli is another thing to do in Marbella for art lovers.

This contemporary art museum houses some of the most important art pieces from Latin America and Europe.

The museum’s permanent collection features a range of surrealist paintings, including works from Dalí, Man Ray and Joan Miró.

There is also a permanent collection displaying a range of artworks and sculptures from Latin America that depict contemporary life and its indigenous populations.

Explore the museum with a free guide map of the best route around the exhibitions, or wander freely and be inspired by the works of art on display.

The museum is free to enter.

Museo Ralli is at Urb. Coral Beach, Rio Verde, N-340, Marbella.

8- Visit Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo

Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo is another excellent museum in Marbella to visit.

Don José Luis Morales Marín founded the museum in 1992 to house a range of important prints from across Spain.

The museum is inside the Bazán Hospital, a renaissance-style building dating from the mid-1500s.

In 2004 the building and its collection were listed as a Site of Cultural Interest.

The gallery currently has 4000 works of art on display.

The prints include a range of lithographs and etchings, with some pieces dating back to the 15th century.

Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo is at C. Hospital Bazán, s/n, 29601, Marbella.

9- Play Golf

green golf course with palm trees
One of the top things to do in Marbella is to play golf. Here’s a course in Nueva Andalucia near Marbella in the famous Golf Valley.

Marbella is the ideal Spanish city for a golfing holiday, as the area has more than 70 golf clubs and resorts that vary in difficulty and prestige.

Head to La Quinta Golf and Country Club for a golf experience surrounded by beautiful gardens.

This golf course has held tournaments such as the European Senior Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

The club rotates its loops to create new and exciting courses each time.

Aloha Golf Club is a prestigious golf club in Marbella and while it is predominately for members only, green fee-paying players are also welcome.

This golf club is frequented by the rich and famous and by some of the best names in golf.

  • La Quinta Golf and County Club is at Av. Tomás Pascual, 22, 29678, Benahavís.
  • Aloha Golf Club is at Urb. Aloha Golf, s/n, 29660, Marbella.

10- Explore the Old Town

alfresco restaurants and cafes in a narrow street in the old town
Wandering the streets of the old town is one of the best things to do in Marbella to get your bearings.

Spend some time getting to know the city by exploring the old town.

Much of the town dates back to renaissance times, with spectacular whitewashed buildings and balconies adorned with overflowing baskets of colourful flowers.

The streets here are narrow and perfect for exploring, with tapas restaurants, bars and ice cream shops, and stores to purchase souvenirs.

While in the Old Town, visit the town hall, instantly recognisable thanks to the vibrant blue flowerpots with red flowers covering its walls.

Plaza de Iglesia is also worth exploring when in this area. The square has a large fountain and is next to Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.

The Old Town is a neighbourhood in Marbella with Plaza de los Naranjos at its heart. You can wander on your own or hire a guide to take you around the Old Town on a private tour

11- Take A Sightseeing Walking Tour 

Lavender bicycle outside a shop in Marbella
One of the fun things to do in Marbella is to go shopping.

A walking tour is one of the best ways to see a city and tours are led by knowledgeable local guides who will immerse you in Marbella’s culture, history and legends.

Most tours begin in Alameda Park before exploring the outdoor Dalí exhibit, visiting the port, and wandering along the promenade and seeing the ruins of the castle and visiting the city walls. 

Check out this tour: Secrets of Marbella Tour – Group Tour

12- Go Dolphin Watching 

One of the best things to do in Marbella is to head to a beach.

Hop aboard a catamaran and discover the wonders of marine life in the sea along Marbella’s coastline.

Catamaran tours allow you to see the city from a new angle, relax, and enjoy the coastal and sea views.

Book a luxury catamaran tour for the best comfort during your trip.

Cruises range from two to three hours, and snacks and drinks are provided.

During your cruise, the catamaran will anchor, allowing you to snorkel, swim or even kayak in the waters.

As you sail, keep your eyes peeled for pods of dolphins swimming in the waters.

If you love the water, you may also like this sailing experience.

13- Relax at Playa del Faro Beach

beach chairs and thatched umbrellas facing the sea
Relaxing on a beautiful beach is one of the top things to do in Marbella.

When visiting a beach city, make time to explore its sandy stretches.

There are numerous beaches in Marbella that are well worth exploring and relaxing on.

Marbella is home to 20 beaches, varying from private beach clubs to local favourites.

Lifeguards are on duty when the beaches swell with tourists throughout the summer.

Playa del Faro beach is one of the city’s best and most popular beaches.

It’s small, approximately 200m (656.17ft) in length, but it is close to the city. The sand is dark and golden, and the water is shallow and inviting.

Playa del Faro is at P. Marítimo, num 2, 29600, Marbella. Check out this jet ski experience for an adrenalin rush.

14- Explore Vega del Mar Basilica

Vega del Mar Basilica is the ruins of an early Christian church and necropolis.

The church was built during the 4th century as a religious hub.

Following its destruction in a devastating earthquake, the site lay to ruin until another church was built in the 6th century in the same location.

The ruins of this 6th-century church can be explored today and archeological findings dating from both periods of the church are on display in the National Archeology Museum in Madrid.

Vega del Mar Basilica is at Urb. Linda Vista Playa, C/ Eucaliptos, San Pedro Alcántara, Marbella.

15- Sample Marbella’s Best Dishes 

couchers and tables on the beach
Relaxing in a restaurant and drinking by the beach is one of the fun things to do in Marbella. Planning a hen’s party?

One of the best ways to sample the range of culinary delights is to book a food tour, where you will sample a range of local dishes and learn more about the area’s culinary heritage.

By sampling a wide variety of dishes, you may try something you would normally not have considered and find a new favourite.

On your food tour, you will explore parts of Marbella’s old town before sitting down to sample some local foods in various restaurants.

Dishes typically include Salmorejo, the Andalusian gazpacho, locally caught fried fish, croquets and plenty of paired wines to accompany each bite.

Join the Taste of Marbella Food & Market Tour for a delicious experience.

16- Pico de la Concha

La Concha mountain seen from the Banus port
La Concha Mountain viewed from Banus.

If you fancy something more nature-themed and challenging during your trip to Marbella and want to see the city from above, ascend La Concha, the mountain that overlooks the city.

La Concha is part of the Sierra Blanca range.

As you hike to the summit, the views across Marbella and out towards the sea change and only get more impressive.

The hike takes approximately eight hours to complete and covers 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) of varying terrain with some trickier elements.

The main hiking season runs from September to May when the temperatures are cooler.

Pico de la Concha is at 29611 Istán, Málaga. You may also like to try the E-Mountain Bike Explorer Tour for an adventure.

17- Villa Romano de Río Verde

Villa Romano de Río Verde is a Roman ruin a short walk from Puerto Banús that was once part of the ancient city of Cilniana.

Laying underneath a protective canopy are the ruins of the home and many immaculately preserved intricate mosaics.

One mosaic depicts Medusa ornately outlined with patterns.

Displaying images of Medusa was thought to prevent anyone unwanted from entering the house.

The images are predominately formed from black and white tiles and, with the exception of Medusa, depict mundane yet beautiful things, such as tables laden with food.

The intricacy and well-preserved nature of the mosaics have allowed the villa to be dated to around 100AD.

Villa Romano de Río Verde is at C. Carlos Posac Mon, 1D, 29600, Marbella.

18- Explore The Waters On A Kayak Tour

On a kayak tour, take to the waters and explore the city’s shoreline and its marinas and ports.

Meet with a professional and knowledgeable instructor and tour guide who will give you the basics on how to use a kayak if you are a beginner or will refresh your knowledge if you have kayaked before.

While on the water, you will have impressive views of the Sierra Blanca Mountains towering over the city.

Your guide will share facts about the city and its ports as you explore the waters.

Kayak Tour departs from Virgen del Carmen, Real Club Marítimo de Marbella, Puerto Deportivo 29602, Marbella.

19- See A Concert In Parque de la Constitución

A short walk from Marbella’s beaches is Parque de la Constitición, a pleasant green park designed during the 1950s and incorporates a range of trees and plants from the local area.

The main walkways of the park are lined with towering pine trees.

There is a cafe serving food and drinks and a playground for children.

Inside the park is a Roman-style amphitheatre.

This setting is used for plays, concerts and other performances throughout the summer.

If you visit the park in the evening, head to the observatory, a small space perfect for stargazing.

Parque de la Constitución is at Av. Arias Maldonado, 14, 29602, Marbella.

20- Visit Turtle Lake

Visiting Turtle Lake is a great way to escape the busy areas of the city and relax in nature.

The lake is a reservoir with a large dam at one end.

You can go swimming, have a picnic and rest for the day.

There are also walking paths around the lake and across its dam.

Many local and migratory birds can be seen here and if you are lucky, you may even see the turtles the lake is named after.

Turtle Lake is at Urbanisation N Andalucia L, 28, 29660, Marbella. 

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.