17 Best Things To Do in Marbella in May: Expert Tips [2024]

17 Best Things To Do in Marbella in May: Expert Tips [2024]

Are you planning your trip to Marbella in May?

In that case, you have landed on the right article!

I live right next to Marbella, and in this article, you will find a collection of the best things to do in Marbella in May, based on my personal experience and insights.

In addition to ideas on what to do, you will also find practical travel tips that will save you a lot of time and money, and answers to all the questions you could possibly have.

Let’s dive in!

Flowers blooming on the streets of Marbella old town, Costa del Sol, Southern Spain
Pretty streets of Marbella old town.

PS: This article contains affiliate links. If you use them I make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Best Things To Do in Marbella in May

How to Get to Marbella (Costa del Sol)

The closest airport to Marbella is Malaga Costa del Sol Airport (AGP), which is about 40 minutes drive.

You can take a taxi directly from the airport, but I recommend booking an airport transfer in advance as it will save you a lot of waiting time, and hassle dealing with drivers who often don’t speak English.

Get a fast price estimate at Get Transfer – I use them regularly for longer trips and they offer the best value for money and hassle-free service.

There is also a direct bus available between Malaga Airport and Marbella – check my article here.

Book Airport Transfers

Avoid the hassle and book your transfer in advance.

17 Best Things To Do in Marbella in May

Here is a map with all the places of interest in Marbella:

1. Plan Outdoor Activities in Marbella

La Concha mountain and the red bridge in Puerto Banus, Marbella - Spain
La Concha mountain towering over Marbella.

May is one of the best months to enjoy outdoor activities in Costa del Sol.

The weather is nice and warm but not very hot, and there is almost zero chance of rain, so venturing out to nature is one of the best active ways to explore the city.

Best Outdoor Activities in Marbella

So what should you explore and where to go?

The closest option for Marbella is the La Concha mountain. I would say it’s a moderately challenging hike; the paths lead next to sharp drops, so if you’re scared of heights, you might want to consider if this is a good option for you.

My mum, who has been hiking her whole life, said that the path was a bit challenging, so keep that in mind.

If you want something less extreme, but with stunning views, then you can book a day trip to Caminito del Rey. This famous wooden path stretches alongside the El Chorro Gorge, just north of Malaga, and is the most popular natural attraction on Costa del Sol.

Day Trip to Caminito del Rey

Pick up & Drop off in Marbella included.

I’ve done the hike myself, and even though I don’t like heights, it was more than a pleasant experience. It’s not much of a hike, there isn’t any uphill climb, so you don’t need to prepare for extreme physical effort.

Another option, if you like something at a slower pace, is booking a bike tour through in Marbella or an electric bike tour that will take you to the nearby mountains. (book your spot here)

2. Spend Time at Sea

Luxury boats and yachts in Puerto Banus marina.
Luxury boats and yachts in Puerto Banus marina.

As I mentioned May is one of the best months, weather-wise, so you can take advantage of that by booking boat trips and cruises.

There are lots of options available, departing either from Marbella Marina (close to the city center) or from Puerto Banus Marina.

Best Boat Trips in Marbella

The most popular option for a boat trip is the sunset cruise from Puerto Banus, which includes a free drink with your cruise. You can book your cruise here (it includes free cancellation up to 24 hours before trip).

If you prefer a daytime cruise, then you can book this one with dolphin watching or just a private yacht charter if your budget stretches that far.

Sunset Cruise with Drinks

Free bottle of cava/wine and unlimited beer on this cruise.

3. Enjoy a Glass of Cava at Plaza de Los Naranjos

Orange trees and restaurants at Plaza de los Naranjos, Marbella, Costa del Sol in Southern Spain.
Orange trees at Plaza de los Naranjos.

Plaza de los Naranjos, or Orange Square, is the charming and lively heart of Marbella’s old town, an absolute gem that deserves a spot on your itinerary.

In May, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the sweet fragrance of orange blossoms wafting through the square. It’s the perfect backdrop for sipping a cool drink at one of the nearby eateries while taking in the stunning scenery.

The square is a feast for the eyes, with its bright floral displays and traditional Andalusian buildings, characterized by their white walls and intricate iron balcony railings.

If you’re a keen photographer, you can easily spend a couple of hours documenting the square and nearby streets.

Bonus Tip:

The restaurants on the square are overpriced and offer bad-quality food. They are ok for a quick drink but not for a meal.

4. Eat Your Way Around Marbella

The outside terrace of Casa Blanca restaurant in Marbella, Southern Spain.
Taverna Casa Blanca, my favourite local tapas bar.

I don’t know about you, but I love discovering new places through the culinary experiences they offer! In Marbella, you’re in for a treat!

Dive deep into the tapas culture of Southern Spain by exploring some of my favourite tapas places and best restaurants in Marbella.

You can also book a tapas tasting tour, where you can learn more about the history of the region, food production and local produce.

Book Tapas Tasting Tour

Includes food & walking tour of the old town.

What to Eat in Marbella

Marbella has a range of restaurant and dining options for every budget, from modest chiringuitos to trendy healthy eateries and also upscale fine dining places.

Here are some things you shouldn’t miss while eating out in Marbella:

Tapas: Tapas are small, savory dishes that are perfect for sharing and trying a variety of local flavors. From classics like patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) to innovative creations, tapas are a must-try in Marbella.

Gazpacho or Salmorejo: To beat the heat, indulge in a bowl of gazpacho or salmorejo. These cold soups, made from ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and bread, are refreshing, flavorful, and perfect for a hot day.

Malaga-style Fried Fish: A local delicacy, this assortment of small fish, including anchovies, sardines, and squid, is lightly battered and fried to perfection. It’s a simple yet delicious way to savor the local catch.

5. Take a Walk in Marbella’s Old Town

Pink flowers blooming on the streets of Marbella old town, Costa del Sol, Southern Spain
Blooming corners of Marbella old town.

The pretty “Casco Antiguo,” also known as Marbella’s old town, is celebrated for its quaint, meandering lanes adorned with authentic Andalusian architecture and time-honored landmarks.

In May, the old town streets aren’t as packed as they are during the summer, offering you the ideal opportunity to explore in peace, and soak up the atmosphere.

One of the prettiest streets is Calle Ancha, but you can just aim for Orange Square (Plaza de los Naranjos) and start exploring the nearby streets and squares.

Check out this guide on best things to do in Marbella old town.

If you prefer a guided tour, you can book one here with a local expert!

Bonus Tip:

Visit the old town early in the morning to capture the best photos without people in them.

6. Watch the Sunset

Sunset on a beach in Puerto Banus, Marbella.
Sunset on a beach in Puerto Banus, Marbella.

How about watching the sunset on board of a luxury catamaran? With a drink in hand?

If it sounds like your idea of a perfect evening (and you’re not alone!), you have a few options for this activity.

The first one is a sunset cruise from Puerto Banus, which includes a free drink and free cancellation – book your spot here.

The other option is a new catamaran cruise, departing from Puerto Banus Marina – very affordable and also with free cancellation. Only runs 3 times per week, so book your spot here so you don’t miss out!

Book Catamaran Cruise

Includes free cancellation up to 24 hours before trip.

7. Explore the Art at Avenida del Mar

Open air museum at Avenida del Mar with Salvador Dali scultpures, Marbella, Costa del Sol.
Open air museum at Avenida del Mar.

Linking the historic heart of the town to the seaside, Avenida del Mar serves as a picturesque walkway for pedestrians, boasting a convenient parking area right below it.

In the middle of this pedestrian zone, you will find an extraordinary display of Salvador Dalí’s sculptures, an open art gallery in the heart of the city.

Just a stone’s throw from this spot, you’ll stumble upon my favorite park – a green retreat nestled within the urban jungle – Alameda Park.

8. Book a Day Trip to Ronda

Gardens with a view of the gorge in Ronda, Spain.
Stunning views from gardens in Ronda, Spain.

Don’t miss your chance to explore beyond Marbella – best of all you don’t even need to rent a car!

Ronda is the famous hilltop village stretching around the El Tajo gorge, with the famous Puente Nuevo bridge connecting the town. It has one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, and stunning landscapes that will leave you speechless – even Ernest Hemingway was a fan.

You can book a day trip to Ronda with a local tour company, and see all the highlights in just a single day, without driving.

If you prefer public transport, there are also bus connections to Ronda; check out this transport guide.

Book a Day Trip to Ronda

Sells out fast, book your spot now and you can pay later.

9. Get a Taste of Luxury in Puerto Banus

Puerto Banus, Marbella - Spain
The high street of Puerto Banus with luxury boutiques.

Marbella is a tale of two cities – on one hand, there’s the charming old town that seems frozen in time, embodying the quintessence of Andalusian tradition. On the other side, you’ve got the modern, buzz-worthy Puerto Banus.

This upscale district is famous for its lavish marina, home to some of the most impressive mega yachts on the Costa del Sol, alongside high-end boutique stores and luxury car brands. Stepping into Puerto Banus feels like crossing into an entirely different universe.

Feel free to wander around the marina, grab a drink at a local bar, or dive into this article where I’ve laid out more cool activities to do in Puerto Banus.

10. Spend a Day at the Beach

Local beach with a chiringuito restaurant in Marbella.
Local beach with a chiringuito restaurant in Marbella.

I know it’s not the height of the summer, but trust me, May is warm enough to spend the whole day at the beach!

The local sunbed rentals are already open; even hotel pools will be available, so you have plenty of opportunities to bask in the spring sunshine.

Marbella has a very long coastline, nearly 27 km long, so there is plenty of space if you want to find a spot without crowds. Keep in mind that the sea water is still not that warm, around 18C (64F), but it will be warm enough for sunbathing.

If you settle somewhere close to the Paseo Maritimo, the coastal promenade, you are only a stroll away from a restaurant, cafe or a shop.

11. Take a Day Trip To Malaga

Calle Larios in Malaga
Calle Larios in Malaga

It would be a shame to spend your whole trip to Costa del Sol in Marbella, and miss out on everything that Malaga has to offer!

The capital of Costa del Sol is home to the famous Picasso Museum, the Gibralfaro Fortress overlooking the city, the Alcazaba, and lots of other monuments and museums.

If you want to plan an easy day out of the city, you can get to Malaga with a direct bus from Marbella, and plan a day to remember!

Check out this article for the best things to do in Malaga.

12. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engravings

The Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engravings, located in the historic Bazán Hospital building, is dedicated to modern Spanish graphic art, showcasing an impressive array of works from renowned artists like Picasso, Miró, and Dalí.

The exhibits primarily focus on engravings, so if you’re in a mood for a bit of culture – and perhaps avoiding bad weather outside – this museum is a great option.

Opening Hours: Monday 09.00 to 14.00 hrs, Tuesday to Friday: 09:00 – 19:00 hrs, Saturday: 09:00 – 14:00 hrs, Closed Sunday and Public Holidays

Entrance Fees: General: €3, Students: €1.50, Retired persons: Admission free.

13. Plan a Day Trip to Gibraltar

The monkeys in the nature reserve in Gibraltar.
The monkeys in the nature reserve in Gibraltar.

I’ve been to Gibraltar a couple of times, and if you’re hanging out in Marbella, you definitely shouldn’t pass up the chance to visit.

It’s a slice of Britain right in Spain and makes for a fantastic day out from Marbella since it’s just a hop away. Plus, you can check out all its cool spots in a single day.

Book Gibraltar Day Trip

Pick up and drop off in Marbella, with free cancellation.

There’s a local tour operator I went with for my day trip – you can book the same one here. Make sure to pick the day trip option that includes a tour of the nature reserve when you’re checking out.

The nature reserve is the highlight for me. You get to see the monkeys wandering around, explore the breathtaking St. Michaels Cave, and soak in some incredible views. Honestly, it’s the top reason to make the trip to Gibraltar.

Like the other tours I’ve talked about, this one lets you get a full refund if you cancel at least 24 hours before your trip starts. It’s super handy, especially if the weather decides not to play nice.

14. Roman Villa

If you’re strolling alongside the Paseo Maritimo, you might want to make a short stop at the Roman Villa of Rio Verde.

Discovered in the 1960s, the Villa Romana de Rio Verde is an excellent example of ancient Roman architecture, originating from the 1st to 2nd century AD. The well-preserved mosaic floors are some the finest in Spain.

Opening hours: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Entrance Fee: free

15. Visit Morocco on a Day Trip from Marbella

Old houses in the Medina of Tetouan, Morocco
Inside the medina of Tetouan, Morocco.

Fancy something out of the ordinary?

How about visiting Morocco on a day trip from Marbella?

I’ve done this trip recently myself and loved it! The tour includes a pick up from Marbella, ferry crossing to Ceuta, and from there you will visit the old city of Tetouan with its Medina and Royal Palace.

A day to remember! Book your spot below, they are only available once a week and sell out fast.

See Morroco on a Day Trip

Book your spot fast, only available once a week.

16. See the Famous Alhambra in Granada

Inside coutyard of Alhambra Palace in Granada, Southern Spain
The Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Another monument that you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting Southern Spain is the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

This Moorish palace complex is a UNESCO world heritage site, together with the old town of Granada called Albaicin, and a must-see when visiting Andalucia.

You can drive to Granada yourself, but you need to get tickets to Alhambra well in advance, they sell out quite fast.

Alternatively, for an easy and affordable day trip, you can book a local tour with a pick up from Marbella below. It includes a guided tour of Alhambra and also some free time in Granada to explore.

Day Trip to Alhambra Palace

Book now and pay later option, with free cancellation.

17. Visit the White Villages

Mijas Pueblo Gardens overlooking the coastline, near Fuengirola, Costa del Sol
Views from the park in Mijas Pueblo.

Andalucia is known for its ‘pueblos blancos’, or white village scattered around the hills and valleys.

If you’re staying in Marbella, the closest options for you will be Ronda (you can book a tour here) or visiting the pretty village of Mijas Pueblo, which is just up in the hills overlooking Fuengirola.

Mijas is much smaller than Ronda and also easier accessible, only about an hour’s drive from Marbella.

Known for its stunning views of the coastline and pretty white-washed streets, it even has one of the smallest bullrings in Spain!

Best Things To Do in Marbella in May

Travel Tips: Visiting Marbella in May 2024

Do You Need to Rent a Car in Marbella?

Toll gates on a highway in Marbella, Costa del Sol.
The toll gates on the highway in Marbella.

No, you don’t. If you only want to stay in the city, you will be fine without a car.

There are local buses, but also taxis and Uber operates in Marbella, so to get around the city you will manage by walking and using taxis.

To see more of Southern Spain, I highly recommend getting a car, as you won’t get too far using public transport in Marbella. There are only limited bus connections, and there is no train network in Marbella.

To get the best details, check out Discover Cars – its an award winning price comparison platform, where you just add details for your trip and they will source quotes from local car rental companies.


What are the Best Places to Stay in Marbella in May?

The entrance to the Fonda Hotel in Marbella old town, in Southern Spain.
Fonda Hotel in Marbella old town.

In short, you can choose to stay either in the old town or by the coastline.

The old town has more boutique hotels and quirky properties, while the hotels on the coastline offer big pools, spa services and sea views.

Here are three great options for the old town hotels:

  • La Fonda Hotel – a gorgeous luxurious option in the heart of old town, away from crowds and busy streets.
  • Hotel Claude Marbella – further up the road from La Fonda you will find this small local gem, boutique hotel that looks almost like an art gallery!
  • Linda Boutique Hotel – an affordable boutique hotel in the heart of the old town, with a rooftop terrace!

If you prefer to stick to the coastline and dream about waking up on Christmas morning to stunning seaviews, then these hotels offer everything you could wish for:

  • El Fuerte Marbella – stunning hotel with an elevated swimming pool, perfect for those who want to be able to walk everywhere. It’s only 10 mins walk away from the old town, and you’re right next to the beach.
  • Puente Romano Hotel – luxurious hideaway favoured by celebrities, right on the Golden mile of Marbella.
  • Marbella Club Hotel – another luxurious option if you want the ultimate getaway, just a stone throw away from Puente Romano.

What Should Pack For Marbella in May?

While the weather may still be very pleasant in May, early mornings and late afternoons are still pretty cold, so certainly do not leave your jacket behind.

Pack a mix of light layers with longer sleeves, but also some dresses and light cardigans. Good quality comfortable shoes for walking are a must, and so is sun protection.

For a full guide on what to wear in Marbella, check this guide for May.

Best Things To Do in Marbella in May

Final Thoughts

Phew, we’ve covered a lot right? I hope this article gave you a lot of ideas on what to explore in and around Marbella, and got you excited about planning your trip!

If you have any questions that were not answered here, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to help!

LOVE it? PIN it for Later

Not ready to plan your trip just yet? Save this article to your Pinterest account so you can get to it later!

While on Pinterest, don’t forget to check my visual inspiration for the best things to do in Marbella, best restaurants in Marbella and of course best photography locations in Marbella.

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Pinterest image showing the streets of Marbella old town, with a headline that reads: Marbella things to do in May, Costa del Sol, Marbella Travel Guide
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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

Make yourself at home and find the best places to explore in Andalusia and beyond.

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