I wish I could say I escaped for the summer to Marbella, but the truth is this was my very first trip outside of my new home town in Spain.
To celebrate the lifting of the covid restrictions in early June, I promptly booked our bus tickets from Fuengirola to Marbella, for an extended weekend break to at least get a glimpse of what normal life used to look like.
The 30 mins bus journey was an experience in itself, driving on the highway with stunning sea views and admiring the gorgeous apartment blocks and luxury villas on the way.
Most hotels at this point were still not open (this is post two months full-on lockdown) so we found an Airbnb close to the coastline and within walking distance everywhere.
As we walked out, we hit the promenade with very strange statues which I soon found out were made by a local fella called Salvador Dali, just casually hanging out in the middle of the promenade.
Rest of our crew was more impressed by the water features while I was taking in the gorgeous trees and flowers blooming all around.
The park by the main road is a like a little green oasis in the middle of the city, complete with giant fountain that lights up at night and – of course – benches covered in Spanish tiles with local motives.
We headed straight to the old town and without any research on restaurants, stopped by at the first one that was actually open.
Locals tend to eat quite late and that applies both for lunch and dinner, so quite often we end up struggling to find a place that’s already open for lunch when we’re hungry.
I would happily go starving for another hour because the old town was like a little candy box – you never know what you get when you turn the corner – new gems to discover everywhere you look.
Without too much orientation we landed at the Plaza de Naranjas, the main square in old town with town hall and old church (and also some questionably overpriced restaurants).
As you would expect at midday, everything was closed which my husband was very happy about as that meant we could continue exploring further in the 30C+ midday heat.
As they say all roads lead to Rome, same goes for old town in Marbella.
Pretty much all the main routes will lead you back to one main square or another, making it quite easy to find your way around.
The old town is filled with cute little boutiques with the prettiest dresses and accessories, little hidden alleyways, contrasting with a few old crumbling buildings and a bit of history breathing at you from every corner.
As you can tell the streets were pretty empty and we were one of the first groups of visitors arriving in Marbella that weekend.
There was noticeable emptiness especially in the old town, while the coastline was more alive and vibrant.
Not something I will complain about, but certainly a strange way to explore the city in – what it should be – the height of the tourist season.
The restaurant below was also found by a complete chance, just wondering off following one of the pretty streets.
They have just opened it up as we arrived, so we toasted to the gorgeous view with a fresh brew of coffee and a round of chasing cars on the table.
We watch the locals go about their normal life as we counted ourselves lucky to experience a taste of freedom after being locked up for two months in an apartment.
As we were staying in Marbella for three days, we had plenty of time to explore, so took a whole afternoon to see Puerto Banus and the Golden Mile.
I had no idea what to expect, apart from a lot of posh boutiques, expensive cars and overpriced properties. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was and not as flashy as I imagined it.
Obviously, we went window shopping for our future mega yacht.
The coastline here is so pretty and there are plenty of places along the way to stop for a break, so well worth taking a taxi to the far end and walking your way back to the city.
On our last day, we took the most out of the old town by one last walk to make sure we didn’t miss the best bits.
We ended up having food mostly around the coastline, but found one little gem in the old town that I need to tell you about!
The authentic setting, delicious food and atmosphere were amazing! They even do live flamenco shows here on Saturday nights! I have more photos ready for the next blog post, can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Until then, I hope you enjoyed this short photo tour of Marbella, a first taste of what’s to come.
I will run through my notes this week to do more practical travel guides for Marbella and my new local finds.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Most Popular Experiences in Marbella
- Gibraltar Day Trip with Pick up from Marbella – see the Gibraltar monkeys in the nature reserve and enjoy free time for duty free shopping!
- Day Trip from Marbella to Morrocco – experience the African continent with an easy and affordable day trip directly from Marbella!
- Marbella: Tour of the Old Town with Tapas & Wine – a treat for all your senses, experience the culinary side of Marbella with a local guide.
- Marbella: Catamaran Tour with Dolphin Watching – see Marbella’s coastline on board of a modern catamaran, and if you’re lucky you will have dolphins for company!
- Day Trip from Marbella to Granada with Tour of Alhambra Palace – marvel at the beauty of ancient Alhambra, and enjoy free time to discover Granada.
- Full Day Trip to Cordoba with Mosque Entrance Tickets – enjoy a trip to the heart of Andalusia and admire one of the most famous churches in Spain, the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba.
- Day trip from Marbella to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas – one of the most beautiful towns of Andalusia is within your reach with this short and affordable day trip from Marbella.
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Explore More in Marbella
Popular Day Trips From Marbella
Local Transport Guides For Marbella
Southern Spain Travel Planning Guide
Is it safe to drive in Spain?
YES! The roads in Southern Spain are generally in very good condition, with modern highways connecting the biggest cities. To rent a car, I highly recommend Discover Cars, which will get you the best deals on your car rental for your trip.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO DRIVE?
WHERE SHOULD I BOOK MY ACCOMMODATION?
BOOKING.COM — I have been using booking.com for all my trips in Spain and abroad, and have never had any negative experiences. Their reviews are very accurate and you get the best deals even on apartments, not just hotels.
ARE THERE LUGGAGE STORE OPTIONS IN THE CITIES?
YES — If you would like to leave your luggage behind to explore the city on your last day, before heading to the airport, you can use Radical Storage service, which lets you book luggage storage options in almost all the destinations in Southern Spain.
DO I NEED TO BUY A LOCAL SIM CARD FOR THIS TRIP?
YES – You can, of course, use your own card if you have roaming data available. If you want to avoid surprising extra charges from your operator, you can use a service like Airalo, where you can buy digital packs for e-sim cards, avoiding the hassle of sourcing local physical sim cards and extra roaming charges anywhere you go.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – if you decide to book using one of the links, I will earn a small commission that helps me run this site. This is at no extra cost to you.