Are you planning to explore Marbella Old Town?
I have prepared this short guide after my numerous trips here, to show you the best spots and save you lots of time while exploring what it has to offer.
Casco Antiguo as it’s known in Spain, the Old Town is a true gem in Marbella and provides such a contrast with the flashy beach clubs and holiday resorts.
It maintains the charm of an old village but at the same time, it’s a popular tourist hot spot so you will always find it crowded in the season.
It’s home to charming restaurants, quirky boutiques, ice cream and churro shops and Orange Square. Its cobbled narrow streets will lead you through a wonderland of charming corners, beautifully decorated crumbling old walls and gorgeous sights everywhere you go.
Are you ready to join me for a stroll?
Marbella Old Town stretches North of Avenida Ramon y Cajal, just opposite Parque de la Alameda, up to Calle Salvador Rueda.
If you use Alameda Park as your guide and continue north you can’t miss it.
The heart of the old town is Plaza de los Naranjos, a square with the town hall framed by orange trees.
It’s hard to get lost in here as all the small alleyways lead to one square or another, or you will end up on the main road path.
There are a few points of interest in the old town, and the map below shows just some of the historic buildings you will find there.
Marbella Old town is by no means big, so you will only need an afternoon or one day to explore it all at a leisurely pace.
There’s just enough to see for one afternoon, and this guide certainly won’t be an exhausting list of all the different historic buildings, but will only focus on the interesting parts.
Here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss.
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. So much so that it’s almost hard to navigate through the narrow roads.
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.
As tempting as it may be, I would recommend not staying here for food and only enjoying a drink if you must.
The restaurants are not particularly good and are fairly overpriced. In the summer it gets really busy, and the square resembles an overcrowded market, so it’s not a great place to relax (at least not my idea of a relaxing place).
The town hall on Plaza de los Naranjos dates back to 1568.
The wall of the Town Hall is beautifully decorated with blue pots and red flowers, and it’s a popular spot to stop and take a few pictures. To the right next to the town hall is a small tourist information office, at the corner of the same building.
The square next to the Church Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación is one of my favourite spots.
It’s lined with orange trees with a large fountain in the middle, and it’s usually much more peaceful than Plaza de los Naranjos.
If you’re walking past during mass, it’s lovely to sit down on the bench outside and listen to the mass while watching the locals go about their everyday life.
The church itself is gorgeous inside, and it was converted from a former mosque.
Right opposite the church you will also see the remains of the old medieval city walls, and if you continue to walk alongside the walls, it will eventually lead you to Muralla del Castillo, ruins of the old fortification built during the Moorish period.
Calle Ancha is one of the main roads of the old town, lined with restaurants and boutique shops.
It happens to be also one of the prettiest ones, with gorgeous flowers and plants decorating the walls and house entrances. A few of the hotel options in Marbella old town are also mostly located on this main road.
Calle Ancha starts at Plaza Puente Ronda and continues all the way up (it changes its name as you continue walking up North).
Further up the road, you will also find a tiny church and a lovely square called Plaza Santo Cristo with a fountain and restaurant, a perfect spot to stop and enjoy a cold drink in the summer (location on the map below).
Another one of my favourite spots, and a very picturesque one, at the start of Calle Ancha.
There are a few restaurants on this small square, and it also serves as a crossroad connecting the small streets leading down to Plaza de los Naranjos.
It’s hard to believe it, but even Marbella has its own castle – or at least something that used to resemble it back in the days.
What’s left of the Moorish fortification are some crumbling walls and remains of the defence structures, at the edge of Marbella old town.
There isn’t much to explore here, but if you’re taking a stroll you might as well walk past and check them out.
I’m not a huge fan of shopping, so I admit this is certainly not my expertise, but Marbella Old Town has lots of small boutique shops offering some very unique finds.
The shops and boutiques are scattered in the small alleyways, so it’s hard to pinpoint their exact location. As you explore the old town you see a lot of this en route.
One thing that I did notice is that there are far fewer street sellers in the old town compared to the coast area, so you will be left in peace if you come to enjoy a drink or meal here.
Marbella Old Town has plenty of restaurants to choose from, but the quality and prices vary a lot.
Some of the worst options are around Plaza de los Naranjos, and the rest of them are fairly small, so they tend to fill up very quickly around lunch or dinner time.
From my experience, I can only recommend The Farm Restaurant in the old town.
It’s a very unique place with a seasonal menu and typical Andalusian cuisine, but all organic and locally sourced, which is something you don’t see too often in Marbella.
It is set in a home built in 1502, one of the oldest ones in town and thankfully a lot of its original features are still very much alive.
On Saturday nights in summer, they have life flamenco performances and tend to get very busy, so booking is essential.
I will expand my restaurant recommendations here once I find more cool & quality places in the old town.
I hope this short guide will give you a good taste of Marbella old town, and I will keep adding my finds and recommendations as I keep exploring the area.
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