10 things to do in Marbella in one day. Spain
Make the most of all your time with our Marbella guide if you have just one day to spend in this beautiful city on the sunny Costa del Sol.
MARBELLA GUIDE – MARBELLA IN 1 DAY
If you only have one day to see all the sights in Marbella, then follow our recommendations for a list of the most popular places to see and things to do. Considering that Marbella is a small town with little traffic, having a car will allow you to see all the sights of Marbella in just one day. Or, why not rent a bike? Although there are a huge number of amusement parks for children on the coast, we do not recommend you visit them if you only have one day to visit Marbella, as one amusement park can take your family all day and you will miss the opportunity to explore the cultural richness of Marbella.
Our day begins in Puerto Banús, the marina and main attraction of Marbella, where hundreds of yachts of the rich and famous are moored, attracting the gazes of passing gawkers and all who gaze with admiration at the glitz and glamour of luxury living. Puerto Banús is not only a haven for luxury yachts, but it is also a fashion center where you will find super-cool boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Versace and Dior, and the most famous shopping center on the Costa del Sol, El Corte Ingles.
Puerto Banús is the place to be seen and the place to be seen, if you haven’t been to Puerto Banús, you can’t say you’ve been to Marbella. Try to get to Puerto Banús by 10am and you will have a chance to sit in the cafeteria with a great view and have a cup of aromatic coffee while watching passersby walk past you. If you have small children with you, then be sure to take some old bread or biscuits with you to feed the fish in the harbor. This is a great way to distract your kids if you need to “buy from them” some time for yourself.
If you manage to visit Puerto Banús on Saturday, then it is worth visiting the local street market near the bullring on the north side of Puerto Banús.
OLD TOWN – CASCO ANTIGUO
Another place we think you should visit in Marbella is the old town of Marbella, also called Casco Antiguo. The best place to park is in the underground parking area in the Parque Alameda between Marbella Old Town and Paseo Maritimo.
When you exit the parking lot you will find yourself in front of the famous Alameda Park with a beautiful fountain and exotic plants and trees. It is a small park so you can quickly explore it as you head towards the pedestrian area of the Old Town of Marbella. There you will find a charming cobblestone road and a huge number of boutiques.
If you are in the Old City on a Saturday, most of the boutiques will be closed (except during the summer), but it will still be a nice place to walk and you will find many cafeterias, most of which will be open. Later, you should head to Plaza de los Naranjos, where you will find a beautiful open square with lots of orange trees. If you haven’t had time to eat yet, it is the perfect place to have lunch or at least a refreshing drink under the blossoming orange trees.
While in Orange Square, look out for the Ayuntamiento, the historical fountain, the bust of King Juan Carlos and the Santiago Chapel. Then our guide to Marbella suggests you stroll along the beautiful narrow streets and get lost looking at the courtyards filled with geraniums, potted plants and other natural decorations. One way or another, you’re likely to wind up at the main church, the Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion, with its cozy cobblestone courtyard. Take a brief glimpse into this simple but enchanting church, built in the 16th century.
You are now next to the ancient Arabian castle wall, which is mostly ruined and you can’t see it from afar. Look around and you are sure to find it.
PASEO MARITIMO – THE MAIN PEDESTRIAN ARTERY
Next, our guide to Marbella recommends that you return to the parking lot where you parked your car and head towards the beach. Cross the main street one more time in the same way as the Alameda Park. You should now see the beach from here and from here you should use the crosswalk called Avenida del Mar, along which you will see the iconic statues created by Salvador Dali. Once you reach the beach you enter the main pedestrian thoroughfare of Marbella called el Paseo Maritimo. When you face the beach, turn right and you will pass a large number of stores, kiosks and restaurants where you can again relax or eat ice cream with your children. If weather conditions permit, then it is an ideal time to kick off your shoes and head for the water of the Mediterranean Sea and spend some time on the beach.
In the summer, this pedestrian artery and these beaches will be quite crowded, but it will only give you a sense of the atmosphere in Marbella. If you are planning to dine here in the summer, we recommend that you either get here early or make a reservation in advance.
After your kids have had a chance to take a dip in the sea, they will most likely enjoy a short ride on the El Trenecito tourist train or explore the city with a horse-drawn carriage ride. Afterwards, you’ll likely want to visit a cozy restaurant for dinner or return to the place where you’re staying.
This is where we end our day tour of Marbella. If you’re lucky enough to stay in Marbella for a longer period of time, check out our 3-day Marbella guide or recommendations for a week-long stay in Marbella.
PLACES WE RECOMMEND TO EAT IN PUERTO BANÚS:
PLACES WE RECOMMEND TO EAT IN THE OLD TOWN:
Cassanis – Calle Ancha 8 (phone: 952 900 450) Altamirano – Plaza Altamirano 4 (phone: 952 824 932) is where Michelle Obama had lunch in the summer of 2010.
PLACES WE RECOMMEND TO EAT AT PASEO MARITIMO:
Da Bruno´s – Edificio Skol (phone: 952 90 33 18) La Red – Playa de la Fontanilla 6 (phone: 952 821 450)
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