Spain Guide

 

Marbella Tourist Attractions Things to Do

Whether you love the beach, history, nature, sports or simply enjoying exquisite food, Marbella has much to offer you.

The resort is most famous for its beaches, its glitzy "Golden Mile" and the millionaire's yacht marina at Puerto Banus. But there's much more to Marbella than its Rolls Royce image might lead you to believe.

For example the town prides itself on the beauty of its many parks and gardens, all carefully thought out and lovingly tended.

Even the smallest open spaces have been carefully planted with beautiful flowers. For a family day out visit the Nagueles Park, a nature reserve at the foot of the Sierra Blanca mountain range. This is a beautiful area with picnic tables and plenty of shade to protect you from the fierceness of the midsummer sun.

The Parque de la Constitucion in the town centre is a large and tranquil park, formerly the gardens of a private residence, where you'll find a 600 seat amphitheatre used for concerts, plays and various cultural events during the tourist season.

Also in the centre of Marbella you'll find the Alameda Plaza a popular local meeting point with gardens full of beautiful tropical flowers and shrubs. Here you can book a horse and carriage to tour the sights of the town in grand style. The King Fahad Gardens overlook the "Golden Mile" beneath the palatial home of the Saudi Arabian ruler.

A major credit to Marbella's innovative mayor Jesus Gil is the two kilometre long Arrollo de la Ripresa recreation area. The mayor masterminded this ambitious project to turn a disused dry riverbed into a marvellous park with artificial lakes, sports areas, children's playgrounds and the famous Bonsai Museum where you can see one of Europe's most important collection of the tiny, exquisite trees.

In Parque de las Medranas at San Pedro de Alcantera you can practise water ski ing without needing a speed boat. Cable ski on the large lake here while enjoying some magnificent Andalucian scenery.

For those interested in the town's history a good starting point is the lovely Orange Square in the centre. This is a typical Andalucian style square with strong Moorish influences, flanked by orange trees and stately buildings. Here you'll find a 15th century renaissance fountain, the grand 16th century town hall with its carved ceilings and curious murals and the old Governor's House dating back to 1552.

Perhaps the most important building is the Baroque style Church of St Mary dating back to 1618. Here you can see one of the most impressive church organs in the whole of Spain with its 5,000 pewter, copper and wooden pipes, four keyboards and 36 note pedal.

In the church square there is also a tower which was part of the old wall that used to surround this Moorish stronghold before the Christians ousted the Arab invaders and the king of Spain decreed that all the old circular walls should be pulled down.

Marbella's Museum of Spanish Contemporary Engravings, formerly used as the mayor's residential palace and later as a hospital for the poor, now houses a collection of works by famous painters including Picasso and Miro.

To the west of the town you can see the remains of an old Roman villa at Rio Verde, noted for its well preserved mosaics, and the ruins of some Roman bath houses. And there's the beautiful Marbella mosque overlooking the Golden Mile. This Arab temple was the first to be constructed since the Christians reconquered this area from the Moors in the 15th century.

For 21st century entertainment, visit the jet setters' haunt of Puerto Banus to the east of Marbella, where you'll see the most incredible collection of multi million pound yachts and motor cruisers.

People watch from one of the many quayside cafes or window shop at one of the world renowned fashion houses and boutiques. There's a marine observatory here, commercial shopping centre and multi cinema. Puerto Banus is also home to the huge Saturday flea market where you can haggle for almost anything clothes, furniture, artwork, food and a multitude of curiosities.

Puerto Banus is also home to the Cortylandia amusement park which offers a fun family day out with safaris, train trips, wild river canoe rides through a recreation of the Canadian Rockies and a visit to an Indian settlement.

As far as sporting activities, well there are few places which can match Marbella for world class tennis, sailing and golf. Golfers indulge their passion for 365 days a year here on more than 20 golf courses which attract international stars for major championships.

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