Visiting Marbella soon? Then you will be looking for things to do in Marbella and surrounding areas! For sure you have come across many websites where advertisers pay a hefty sum to show you their wares, but isn’t it better to go some place that are truly recommended by the locals?
My name is Elio, and I recommend the following 20 things to do in and around Marbella… because I have done them all and know, from experience, these are the best things to do and they don’t cost a fortune either! You might need some sort of transport for most of these… but that’s the beauty right? Go places where no GPS would ever send you!
So let’s get straight to it… my list of the top 20 things to do in Marbella in 2020:
- You will have to drive a little bit into the mountains to be able to enjoy this unique experience. (great idea if you’re on your way to/from Ronda!) . This gem of a place is hidden in the Sierra Nevada Valley. No phone signal, no power, a fantastic finca restored with much love and passion keeping the original legacy of this factory from 1725. If you love wine then this is a must for a stay in this bodega – B&B where you can drink all you can and sleep, the best part, you wake up with no headache!
- If you love artisanal beer, good ambience away from the crowded beaches or in colder season enjoy the beauty of nature but in a protected ambience then this is the place. La Catarina the first and only local brewery of Marbella and has recently moved to Agrojardin (the Garden center) , inside their green house next to Estepona. So it is a great place to visit on a weekend doing your garden shopping! Here you can taste all their amazing beers and for the best bit, join them for their jam sessions every Friday night.
- La Virginia is one of the pearls of Marbella, it started as a hippie – bohemian neighbourhood and became one of the most exclusive places to live right next to Marbella old town. It has a little church and two great restaurants that deserve a visit.
- Mayan Monkey, La fabrica de chocolate de Mijas! A funny place and very yummy to make your own chocolate and learn so much about this magic natural medicine! And it is in Mijas, which is in it’s own a great place to visit – just don’t do the Donkey rides…. use your own feet and buy a carrot for the poor Donkey!
- Of course – I would not leave out the fantastic Restaurant The Farm in the Marbella Old Town! Not only is their food to die for, it is reasonably priced, organic and uses only local suppliers. They also have one of the most popular flamenco shows on the coast – and the show is FREE for anyone dining in the restaurant! The building stems from 1502 and has a secret garden with the original well still in place. Worth a visit when you are in the old town of Marbella!
- The best beaches in Marbella are the less touristic, in my humble opinion, with real sound and natural sand, and they can be found at La playa del Cable, at the East of the fishing harbour. Long and clean beaches, starting there were the water is usually clean and one or our favourite chiriguito’s (beach restaurants) with great italian food is “La dolce vita”
- Cabopino, this natural reserve is also on our favorite beaches list, especially because is backed by a forest of pine trees unlike the rest of the cost where there are only buildings. These beaches offer a gay friendly nudist beach area too!
- If you are bored of the beach, you can explore the hills of Estepona or Mijas in a Buggy, its fun and exciting and you can still work on your tan! This buggy company is the only company that has 550CC buggys and they have 2 hour tours and 3 hour tours.
- Ronda must deserve a visit when you are on the coast, also home for many wineries, one of them is the impressive Pies Descalzos made in a monk monastery!
Fiesta de la Luna Mora in Guaro
- If you are lucky to be in the area, (Guaro – close to Monda) don’t miss this jaw-dropping event where thousands of candles are placed all over the town in the first week of September. Workshops, street food, concerts and events take place in a very relax setting
Atlantic Coast & Tarifa
- If you are in to wind sports then you probably know you have to go to Tarifa and west coast over the Atlantic. This is the coast of Cadiz but to us it feels like it is in our backyard, the most beautiful beaches as well as some cute little towns that deserve a visit, like, Tarifa, Zahara de los atunes and Bejer de la frontera, to name a few.
- If you are lucky to be around early spring, you are in for a treat because this is the Tuna season, where you can try tuna in 1000 different ways along the coast and of course in the home of Almadraba, Zahara de los atunes.
Eat more Tuna!
- If you still don’t have enough of all that Tuna and you think Tuna is life… , then you have to go to Restaurante El Campero in Barbate. (not much to see in town, just the restaurant) Book in advance!
El Caminito del Rey
- Are you in to a light trekking with astonishing views? Then you can’t miss El caminito del rey. And if you forgot to book your entrance tickets like we ALWASY do…. We tell you a secret not many people know. If you are between the first arrivers at opening time, you can get in without booking! Yes, that’s right! By law they must admit non bookers and of course you have to be there early to be one of them. we advice at 8am, the quantity of people that they allow in varies but some days is up to 50 people so there is a good chance. (but if you don’t like living on the edge like us… click here to book your tickets…) The experience is an easy walk (even pregnant women are allowed) we mention this as by the pictures it could look like an extreme adventure but is not, while the views are!!
- Located inland in the town of Antequera, you can find El Torcal de Antequera. It is a place where you can hike different routes with many historic sites to be seen along the way. There are remains of Roman origin and a vast array of flora and fauna to be seen. If you like hiking, then this is a must do on your wish list! It’s a little like that Grand Canyon, but then on a smaller scale… and with less Americans 🙂
- There’s a vast selection of beach clubs and bars in and around Marbella, many of them being used solely for tourist purposes so to find a good mellow and cozy beach club full of soul, you need to do your research! My favorite “chiriguito” is Sonora Beach – actually, this one is great to visit after or before you visit La Catarina Brewery in the Garden Center, as it is right around the corner from there! Sonora beach is a lovely cozy and soulful place with mellow music, comfy sunloungers and amazing food! The only thing we don’t like is that there’s a lot of stones in the water so it is a little uncomfortable to swim, but that does not stop us from going!
- Vejer de la frontera, one of the cutes town, and probably the nicest off the cost in the Cadiz province, is home for a soon to be well known Jazz festival, The town is beautiful with amazing views of the ocean, and lots of small streets to walk around, nice craft shops, and home of the largest old radio collections I have ever seen!
- El Palomar, it has the most amazing dunes you can find in …. Spain? probably, you can actually do sandboarding here and enjoy the beach itself and see the kites from a distance going up and down along the beach to Tarifa.
Visit the Coin Market
- One of the largest “bootfair” markets on the Costa del Sol is found in the village of Coin. Every Sunday from 10Am to 2PM you can shop till you drop finding the best bargains on the coast. It is a lovely day out, and on your way back, go through Monda and visit Monda Castle! An old castle completely restored and refurbished into a lovely boutique hotel. Can’t make it on Sunday?……
…..Visit the Fuengirola Market on Saturday!
- This Market is also very popular and even bigger than the one in Coin! Many of the people on this market sell their wares both in Coin and Fuengirola, so if you go to any of these, you will find what you came for!
And there it is! my 20 favorite places to visit in and around Marbella! So if you’re stuck for things to do in Marbella during your next holiday, feel free to use my list as a guide, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
Lastly… still looking for a place to stay during your holidays? Then of course I recommend the Farm Lodge! I have lovingly refurbished these apartments to the highest standard all using recycled materials and keeping the building that stems from 1502 in it’s original glory!