Nestled on the south coast of Spain between Gibraltar and Malaga, Marbella represents the very best of the Costa del Sol, or ‘Sun Coast’. Its warm climate and excellent infrastructure have long attracted visitors from the UK to Saudi Arabia. Today Marbella is noted for the presence of celebrities, aristocrats, and the ultra-wealthy, who are drawn to Marbella’s luxury hotels, yacht-filled marina, and proliferation of golf courses.
However, Marbella has much more to offer than rubbing shoulders with the elite, and is much more than exclusive nightclubs and manicured putting greens. When you visit Marbella, you are in the middle of one of the most spectacular natural areas in the world. Our guide to Marbella’s great outdoors gives you the scoop on how best to enjoy this one-of-a-kind location.
A Unique Climate
Marbella’s location allows it to enjoy a fantastic microclimate. Protected by the mountains of Cordillera Penibética on its northern side and bordered by the temperature Mediterranean in the south, Marbella has an average temperature of 18°C and is sunny for more than 300 days out of the year.
Marbella’s mix of seaside and mountain terrain means a fantastic variety of plants, flowers, and trees. Among the sand dunes of Marbella’s many beaches, you’ll find unusual plants like sea holly and sand lilies, along with tall grasses and juniper. If you’re exploring the mountains that surround the town on its northern side, you’re more likely to encounter chestnut and cherry trees in addition to many species of maritime pines.
For a more curated collection of flora, try Marbella’s famous bonsai museum, which houses one of the best tree collections in Europe. Another good bet is the Parque de la Constitución, which is located very near the town centre and contains a carefully tended array of tropical shrubbery including hibiscus and jasmine.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some native wildlife, you’ve come to the right place. Because of its location between Europe and Africa, birdwatchers have a prime position from which to observe migration patterns. Birdwatchers in Marbella can hope to see several species of eagles, hawks, falcons, and vultures, along with woodland birds like crossbills, jays, and hoopoes.
Getting Out and About
If you’re interested in exploring Marbella’s natural wonders with an expert leader, there are several companies that offer group excursions. Options include dolphin-watching in a boat off the coast, eco-tours through the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park and biosphere reserve, and sailing excursions.
How to Get to Marbella
Several airlines offer flights from London airports to Malaga airport, Marbella’s closest flight hub. Flight time is just under three hours, with some excellent round-trip deals from budget airlines like Ryanair.
Once you’ve touched down in Malaga, Marbella is only a 45-minute drive away. Start your holiday relaxation a little earlier by booking a Malaga airport transfer to meet you at arrivals. Easy to book and unbeatable on convenience, a quick airport transfer can get you to the beach that much sooner!
Alternatively, consider renting a car at Malaga airport and making the drive yourself. The 60-km. journey will take you southwest along the coast on the AP-7, with stunning views of the Mediterranean from the roadside.
Where to Stay
Hotel Finlandia – Only a stone’s throw from Marbella’s Old Town and Parque de la Constitución, Hotel Finlandia can’t be bet when it comes to convenient location. Its airy rooms are decorated with sea-blue accents and black-and-white tile floors, giving this hotel a crisp and modern feel. An accent choice for those on a tighter budget, the Hotel Finlandia is an excellent jumping-off point for this amazing town.
Boutique Hotel Claude Marbella – This 7-bedroom boutique hotel is situated in a restored 17th century building in Marbella’s Old Town. All of the rooms at the Boutique Hotel Claude Marbella are decorated with a different theme, though terracotta floors and sandstone bathrooms are standard through the hotel. Enjoy a meal in the beautiful black and white dining room, or relax on the balcony overlooking the tiled roofs of the Old Town.
Marbella Club Hotel – Built in 1954 as a private residence for the Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the Marbella Club Hotel is now a luxury resort of royal proportions. The beachfront resort is made up of 16 separate Andalusian-style villas nestled in 10 acres of tropical gardens. Classic, chic, and the very definition of luxury the Marbella Club Hotel is the ultimate choice for those looking to pamper themselves.