While micro-climates and sunshine are certainly welcome and add to Marbella’s allure, despite what some sections of the international press would have you believe, Marbella proper is not the hedonistic party town that attracts celebrities to poolside champagne-spraying parties or Premiership footballers to nightclub openings. That’s Puerto Banús, around 10 kilometres down the road.
Marbella itself is far removed from the glitz and glamour of Puerto Banús, offering visitors and residents a very different experience to the famous nightlife and designer boutiques of its coastal neighbour. No, Marbella is a sophisticated city that moves at its own relaxed pace, popular with families and the elderly alike and completely unique when compared with other coastal towns such as Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmádena. Upmarket but affordable, slightly aloof but effortlessly friendly, Marbella relishes its reputation as an exclusive retreat for the jet-set while at the same time being the perfect destination for the average holidaymaker. And if you are looking for a slightly wilder time, well, Puerto Banús is just a 10-minute drive away.
Property-wise, Marbella has it all. The upper-tier Marbella properties are normally found on the outskirts of the centre – on the famous Golden Mile or in areas such as Río Real, Los Monteros and Elviria on the other side of town – but there are plenty of upmarket apartments, penthouses, townhouses and villas to be found in Marbella centre too. Because Marbella is a catchment area incorporating a number of exclusive urbanisations and developments, the best way to find that perfect property is to talk with VIVA Elite Homes who can advise you as to where and what type of property would suit you best.
Once ensconced, there is plenty to do. Marbella’s Old Town is often cited as perhaps its most popular attraction, and with good reason. Leaving aside the famous Orange Square with its proliferation of outdoor restaurants, there are a myriad of narrow, cobblestone streets to explore, concealing all manner of traditional and charming shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. And there’s no better way to end a day wandering unhurriedly through the Old Town than by adjourning to an outdoor terrace and ordering a good meal and a fine wine, particularly on those balmy summer nights Marbella is famous for.
Step out of the Old Town and you are on bustling Avenida Ricardo Soriano with its popular high-street boutiques, stretching from the cooling shade of Alameda Park to the landmark copper tower that unofficially marks the end of Marbella centre. The leafy, quiet streets that branch off from the main thoroughfare wind their way down to Marbella’s impressive palm tree-lined Paseo Marítimo – or boardwalk – the main destination for holidaymakers and beach-goers. Stretching from the fishing port of La Bajadilla (the site for a proposed multi-million euro marina) all the way to Puerto Banús, a walk along the Paseo (or jog, or run, or skate, or cycle) is the perfect way to enjoy and soak up the laid-back Marbella atmosphere, stopping every now and again for a coffee or an ice-cream.
Situated on the Paseo, Marbella’s quaint little harbour – the Puerto Deportivo – has been transformed in recent years from a dingy and slightly dodgy late-night hangout, to an all-day, family-friendly slice of Puerto Banús-style luxury, with trendy bars, cafés and restaurants overlooking the mini-marina and beach. A major overhaul of the port has seen a beautiful marble plaza erected on its roof and the area has become one of the best spots in town to enjoy a tasty cocktail while watching the sunset or shop for handmade crafts at the regular Sunday market. And this is all just in the centre of Marbella. On the outskirts there are countless more attractions and activities to suit all tastes.
Deserving of its reputation as one of the hottest destinations on the planet, Marbella offers an incredibly luxurious lifestyle for sun-seekers from far and wide. Just remember that Marbella isn’t the ‘Marbs’ it is often described as. There is a whole lot more to it than simply partying and glamour.