Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain

Marbella Paseo Maritimo, on the Costa del Sol, Spain

Marbella Paseo Maritimo, on the Costa del Sol

Marbella beaches (visited in April, i.e. not high season)

Marbella la fontanilla beach, Costa del Sol, Spain

La Fontanilla beach.

An hour’s drive to the west of Malaga, Marbella is often referred to as the Miami/Monaco of Spain, where the rich, famous and beautiful people hang out. Pah!
There may be some uber-expensive enclaves in the area, such as Puerto Banus, but central Marbella is inhabited mostly by depressed honeymoon couples, desperate housewives dragging kids along the promenade in search of cheap pizza (no problem there) and desperate husbands in search of a supercar sighting. Sorry guys, you’ll have to make do with tired Seats since King Fahd of Saudi Arabia died and stopped spending 5 million euros a day there.

Among its 24 beaches, out of town is best, such as relaxed Cabopino Beach, between Marbella (12 km away) and Fuengirola, offering expansive beige sand, dunes and shallow, clear waters, excellent for children and popular with nudists. It has a well-established beach bar with a lively atmosphere. Nearby Las Chapas and Calahonda are also natural, soft sandy beaches.
The centrally located, grey-beige sands of Playa de la Venus, del Faro and de la Bajadilla are the most convenient and busiest stretches of sand while the best beaches are well out of the town centre, where Ferarris go for a whine, Nikki Beach in Elviria east Marbella, or Puerto Banus to the west.

Cabopino beach and the Artola dunes, outside Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain

Cabopino beach and the Artola dunes, outside Marbella in the direction of Fuengirola. Photo by Olaf Tausch.

Getting to Marbella

The nearest airport is Malaga, 50km away. Although there is a good bus service between Malaga and Marbella, having your own car is the best option as Spanish public transport on the Costa del Sol is generally poor, though urban parking is a nightmare of absent signs, vehicle overdose and no room for the wicked.

Paseo de la Alameda park, Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain

A pleasant little park off Avenida del Mar, Paseo de la Alameda, in the centre of town.

Dali replicas in Avenida del Mar, Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain

Signs of affluence (past glories? ), Dali replicas in Avenida del Mar, just off the promenade.

Paseo Maritimo, off Playa de la Venus beach, Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain

Paseo Maritimo, adjacent to Playa de la Venus.

Promenade, beach, Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain.