Plaza de Los Naranjos, situated in the heart of the Marbella old town, is the liveliest place in town and one that you can’t miss on your visit.
It perfectly captures the spirit of the old town, even though at times it can feel very touristy and busy. As you would expect for such a hotspot, it’s home to overpriced restaurants and in the summer months, it’s predictably overcrowded.
Despite the above, it still has the feel of an old village square where elders gather to discuss the latest gossip and locals meet for Sunday feats of churros.
The Orange square is home to Marbella’s Town Hall and a great starting point for exploring the old town in Marbella.
The first time I have visited Plaza de Los Naranjos was just after the 3-month long lockdown in Spain has been lifted. I was among the first tourists arriving, and Marbella was refreshingly empty and peaceful, as you can see from the first few photos below.
On the second visit, it was quite a different story. It was the middle of the summer, the city was so crowded that you had trouble navigating the narrow streets of the old town without bumping into people, let alone finding a spot to sit and enjoy the atmosphere at the square.
On the last trip to Marbella this November, it again feels much more peaceful and enjoyable – definitely one of the best times to visit.
If you’re staying in Marbella at the height of the season, the best time to see the old town and Orange Square is early in the morning.
The light is beautiful, the streets are empty and the first few cafes are just opening up, so you get a chance to snag the best spot for a breakfast with a view.
The Orange Square is only about 10-minute walk to the coastline, located at the heart of the old town, around Plaza de Los Naranjos road.
Navigating the streets of Marbella old town is quite a bit of a challenge, I would therefore recommend parking the car somewhere outside of the old town and walking there.
The closest option is at Parking PARKIA – Plaza de la Victoria Casco Antiguo, and if you don’t mind a bit longer walk (around 15 minutes), the Indigo – Avda del Mar. is very popular parking for locals.
The Orange Square dates back to 1485.
Following the Christian takeover of the city from the Moors, it was decided that the area will be cleared out to create the centre of the city.
The central part of the square is dominated by a fountain, and an array of orange trees were planted all around, from where the square takes its name.
Not much else is known about the history of the square. Today it is considered the centre of city life and home to its more important building – the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento de Marbella).
The old town is full of historic old buildings, so locating a hotel nearby is not easy, but a few options exist.
If you’re looking to stay as central as it gets, you will have more luck looking at Airbnb and renting out an apartment.
Few hotel options are available just North of Orange Square, along the Calle Peral and Calle Ancha.
The accommodation options include:
Plaza de Los Naranjos is perfect for people watching and enjoying a refreshing drink in the summer.
It does not have any attractions in that sense but is a great base for starting your exploration of the old town.
The square branches out to a few narrow streets with some of the most beautiful alleyways, I have marked my favourites here.
If you would like to have lunch in the old town, I would personally suggest avoiding Orange Square.
First of all, it does get very crowded, so enjoying a peaceful meal can be a bit of a challenge, not even talking about the speed of service. The restaurants here are fairly overpriced and you’re essentially paying for the location, not for the food quality or service.
It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a drink, light snack or some churros, but I would not venture out here for any culinary experiences, even though the Tripadvisor reviews might indicate otherwise.
There is a small chapel at the edge of the square, next to Churreria Ramon. If you’re in luck it might be open and you can get a glimpse inside. There is an information board next to it which will tell you more about it.
From the side of the chapel, you will see its wall beautifully decorated with red flower pots – a great backdrop for some photos.
The fountain is also right next to the chapel.
As I said earlier, I would not recommend eating out in the restaurants on the square, but they are perfectly fine to enjoy a refreshing drink in the summer.
The restaurants have seats available in the middle of the square, or under the shade of the orange trees (beware of the falling oranges!).
If you fancy a snack while exploring the old town, you have to try churros dipped in hot chocolate!
Something of a staple of Spanish cuisine, locals normally have it at weekends, sometimes in place of breakfast. The best place for those is Churreria Ramon, but the quality doesn’t vary among the other restaurants a lot, so you can have them anywhere.
The square branches out into a labyrinth of small alleyways, but it’s almost impossible to get lost.
Start exploring from Calle Chin Chillas and head right towards the Church Square (Plaza de Iglesia).
This concludes the tour of the Plaza de los Naranjos in Marbella, I hope you found it usefl and I have popped some other recommended articles about Marbella below.