Marbella is not just for wealthy jet setters or reality TV celebs, this Costa del Sol town’s motto is ‘A Way of Life’ and that is certainly what it offers. Although this way of life is often frenetic, it can also be leisurely and peaceful. Synonymous with luxury, Marbella has a layer hidden beneath its flashy veneer that appeals to those wanting to live in nearby neighbourhoods where they have easy access to the buzz of a cosmopolitan town that is complemented by the historic and interesting old quarter that is an evocative reminder of the Andalusian village it once was.
Breathe in the citrus fragrance in the hub of the old town, La Plaza de los Naranjos, also known as Orange Square, a charming area that is the perfect place to sit in the shade of the established trees and sip a refreshing drink al fresco. The narrow white streets leading from the plaza are full of small, independent shops, galleries and craft shops as well as a selection of bars and bistros.
The town’s image has benefited from a large investment in redevelopment over the past decade. The area boasts some of the most luxurious beach clubs where you can relax, sip on cocktails and enjoy the sunshine. Marbella is home to a long promenade which connects the city to the fishing port, on to Puerto Banus and then San Pedro. At ten kilometres long, you can walk, run or ride a bike along the route and explore this impressive stretch of the Marbella coastline.
Marbella’s charm is set against the beautiful majestic backdrop of La Concha (the shell), a massive block of limestone that forms part of the Sierra Blanca mountain group. Not only is this one of the city’s most recognised landmarks it is also one of the reasons that Marbella benefits from a natural micro-climate.
Due south of Marbella’s Old Town, on the other side of the main road, you’ll find a small park full of huge tropical plants, known as La Alameda, popular amongst locals and tourists alike as a tranquil place to take a break. The park features a magnificent large central fountain, decorated in traditional Andalusian tiles. Continue through La Alameda towards the beach to Avenida del Mar, a wide pedestrian avenue, to admire an impressive collection of large sculptures by surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
During high season you can catch a ferry from Marbella Marina to Puerto Banus. The journey takes half an hour and offers a unique view of the Marbella Golden Mile coastline, a four mile (6.4 km) stretch running from the western edge of Marbella city to Puerto Banús. This exclusive area is where some of Marbella’s most luxurious villas and estates are situated, including the Palace of King Fahd, as well as some of the famous Marbella hotels, among them the Melia Don Pepe, the Hotel Marbella Club and the Puente Romano Hotel.
If shopping is your pastime then there are plenty of shops to choose from along the main Ricardo Soriano road. Alternatively, as previously mentioned, El Casco Antiguo, the Old Town is full of small unique gift shops. Sitting directly behind Marbella is La Cañada Shopping Centre, a vast out-of-town complex with plenty of free parking.
In June, the Fair and Fiesta of San Bernabe is celebrated to honour the patron saint of Marbella. The town also plays host to a variety of annual festivals held at different locations around the city between June and October, including the Marbella International Film Festival that showcases actors, directors and films from all over the world to the commercial market. The city has also become a renowned venue for live music concerts by international stars, one of which, The Starlite Festival, has become a major event featuring world class acts. This month long music and cultural festival held in July and August takes place in the Auditorio Marbella, a massive auditorium tucked away in the mountain in the La Cantera, Nagüeles area against a backdrop of 60 metre-high rock walls.
For families looking to relocate to Marbella, there are a number of local and international schools within the area including: Aloha College, Swans School and EIC College.
Marbella – much more than just a way of life!