Experience a stylish honeymoon or romantic getaway in Marbella on Spain’s legendary Costa del Sol, where it’s entirely normal to rub shoulders with princes, sheikhs, socialites and celebrities.
One of Spain’s most stylish resorts, Marbella has long been a favourite of wealthy European aristocrats, the nouveau riche and Arab royalty who maintain summer homes here.
Marbella is best admired along the so-called Golden Mile, a bejewelled stretch of glamorous nightclubs, restaurants and hotels that stretch to nearby ritzy Puerto Banús.
With its choice of clean European ‘Blue Flag’ awarded beaches, numerous water sports, exclusive beachfront hotels, championship golf courses, haute couture fashion boutiques and über-chic nightclubs, Marbella offers all the ingredients you need for the perfect honeymoon in Spain.
In Marbella’s picturesque Casco Antiguo (Old Town), stroll narrow whitewashed alleyways bedecked with flower-filled balconies, admire centuries-old fountains and scramble over the remains of ancient fortifications.
Be sure to stop and sip an espresso at a sidewalk café in the shade of orange trees and 16th century buildings in the picturesque Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square).
Book a horse and carriage tour of pretty Alameda Park or wander along the Avenida del Mar promenade, overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea and edged by classy restaurants, bars and fashion boutiques.
Grab a Mediterranean tan on a choice of 24 named beaches, including centrally located La Fontanilla and La Fuerte beaches, or join the beautiful people at exclusive Nikki Beach, a favourite of the locals.
Savour delicious fresh seafood and sangria at your choice of many chiringuito bars that lie scattered along the seafront and on the beaches. Try fritura malagueño (fried fish, anchovies and squid)
Away from the beach, spot celebrities relaxing on luxurious motor yachts from a quayside café or restaurant in nearby Puerto Banús or admire etchings by Picasso and Miró at the Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo (Museum of Spanish Contemporary Engravings).
See a superb collection of tiny trees at the Museo de Bonsai, see African wildlife at Selwo Aventura (near Estepona) or enjoy various outdoor adventures, such as canyoning, rock climbing, paint balling and canoeing at Natura Aventura.
Marbella is also renowned for its championship golf courses such as the premier Los Monteros, as well as for its classy tennis and yacht clubs.
Browse hundreds of designer boutiques, have fun in a tapas bar or enjoy fine dining at a choice of restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, including Spanish, Italian, French, Moroccan, Greek and Lebanese.
Grab a drink at popular local bar Lolita in the Old Town, then party on with some late-night dancing at Sintillate, Nikki Club or Tibu nightclubs – just a few of Marbella’s top nightspots.
Marbella offers 27km of coastline with a choice of 24 ‘Blue Flag’ beaches that are certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an independent non-profit organisation.
Stretching from Guadalmina in the west to Calahonda in the east Marbella's beaches are a mix of man-made and natural sand of volcanic origin, usually sun-bleached off-white, light golden brown or grey-tinged.
The beaches are all free, well maintained and clean, with a wide range of water sport facilities as well as amenities such as lifeguards, beach bars, restaurants and ramps for people with disabilities.
While the beaches around the centre of town can get crowded in summer, it is possible to meander along the uninterrupted shore for 10km east of Marbella and find your own more secluded spot to sunbathe and swim.
Chiringuitos (beach bars) and restaurants are dotted every 500m or so along the shoreline.
The best beaches in and around Marbella, include the following…
Look out for celebrities on this 2.5km-long grey-sand beach that is frequented by guests of the exclusive Marbella Club Hotel, and also known as the Marbella Club Pier Beach.
The beach shelves into clean, calm water and is flanked by a palm-fringed promenade with a choice of upscale hotels, restaurants and beach clubs.
Enjoy a host of water sports including windsurfing, kayaking and jet skiing. Facilities include lifeguards, parasols, sun loungers, showers, toilets and regular police patrols.
Stroll along the palm-fringed beachfront promenade or enjoy a range of creature comforts at the exclusive Marbella Club Hotel.
Unwind on this 1km-long cream-sand beach that sits between palm trees and calm, deep water that is perfect for swimming. Also known as Playa del Venus, this is Marbella's most central beach, sitting just a short stroll away from the Old Town (above photo).
The 30m-wide beach is located between Marbella’s twin harbours with pretty views across to the marina.
Facilities include lifeguards, sun beds, parasols and regular police patrols, as well as bars and restaurants in the nearby marine building and along the beachfront Avenida Duque de Ahumada.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this 30m-wide, 800m-long, brown-sand beach conveniently located close to the town centre.
The beach is dotted with palm trees and provides parasols and sun loungers for hire as well as a good selection of bars, restaurants and shops on the beachfront promenade.
Facilities include lifeguards, showers, toilets, regular police patrols and several beachfront bars. The nearby 5-star Gran Melia Don Pepe offers a range of creature comforts.
This pleasant 1.5km-long, light golden-sand beach is linked by a raised boardwalk to Playa de la Fontanilla, stretching between Marbella and nearby Puerto Banús.
Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers, toilets, showers, lifeguards and regular police patrols. Water sport facilities include kayaks and jet skis.
The beach is fringed with palm and pine trees.
Unwind on this crescent of brown sand that faces a small cove protected by an artificial breakwater.
The beach is conveniently located between the 5-star Hotel Don Carlos and Hotel Puento Romano.
Facilities include hammocks and sun umbrellas (supplied courtesy of the hotels), lifeguards and regular security guard patrols. Creature comforts are just a short stroll away.
Dig your toes into the soft cream coloured sand of this wide 1.3km-long beach that sits to the east of Marbella and is popular with locals.
Facilities include parasols, deckchairs, a snack bar and water sports such as jet skiing, banana boating, canoeing and wind surfing.
Adjacent to the beach is a fun park with restaurants and many activities for both children and adults, including go-karts, children's motorbikes, trampolines, miniature golf, pinball machines, video games, darts and a mechanical bull. Admission is free, but you pay separately for each attraction.
Unwind beneath gently swaying palm trees, among the rich and famous, on the best beach in Marbella.
This superb location provides a luxurious environment for sunbathing and swimming, as well as for enjoying a range of water sports such as kayaking, catamaran sailing, windsurfing and jet skiing.
For a fee (unless you are a hotel guest), the exclusive Beach Club provides creature comforts such as waiter service, towels and a swimming pool. An á la carte restaurant, bars, a chill-out lounge and spa are just a sort stroll away.
After sunset, the beach becomes a party scene until the early hours of the morning.
Nikki Beach is located in front of the manicured gardens of the luxury Don Carlos Beach Leisure Resort & Spa, which is located in Elviria, around 11km east of Marbella.
Marbella offers an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all honeymoon budgets, including the exclusive and legendary Marbella Club and the 5-star Gran Melia Don Pepe…
Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella
Location: Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe, Marbella
Prices: from AUD709 per room
Description: Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella. One of our top picks in Marbella. This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Located between Marbella and Puerto Banús, Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella is situated in front of the beach and offers tennis courts, several swimming pools, and a wellness centre. Puente Romano offers a 2-star Michelin restaurant by Spanish chef Dani Garcia, seafront bar, pool bar and beach restaurant. There are Italian and Japanese restaurants, a Spanish Brasserie, organic restaurant, Nikkei and Thai restaurants and a gluten free deli. There is also a chill-out area and disco. All air-conditioned rooms have a private terrace with views of the sea or the gardens, satellite TV, iPod docking station, and free WiFi. One green fee per person per stay is included, for use at Marbella Club Golf Resort. There are free hammocks on the beach and around the pool. The tennis club has a sauna, Turkish bath, and offers free fitness activities. Activities such as yoga and pilates are also available, as well as a kids club. Located at the beach club and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the spa has a large variety of treatments in its 9 treatment rooms with views of the sea, a hammam, wet area, steam bath, and sauna. There is a 24-hour reception and a car hire service. Free parking is available.
Marbella Club Hotel · Golf Resort & Spa
Location: Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe, Marbella
Prices: from AUD668 per room
Description: This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. This luxurious beachfront hotel, located between Marbella and Puerto Banús, has 2 luxurious pools and 5 restaurants. Surrounded by lush gardens with direct beach access, it provides complimentary green fees at Marbella Club Golf Resort. Featuring bedrooms with a private terrace and sea or garden views, the Marbella Club Hotel was originally the private residence of Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, the founder of the hotel. The property has 5 restaurants, serving international and traditional Spanish cuisine. Puerto Banús features a wide range of designer shops, bars, and restaurants. The hotel provides a shuttle service to Marbella Club Golf Resort, where guests can golf for free. The 18-hole golf course was designed by Dave Thomas and offers views of the Mediterranean Sea and Africa. The property also features a Thalasso Spa with sea views, offering a range of treatments, including a sauna and a water bed. This spacious complex also includes a Kids' Club for children. It has a dance studio, music room, an enchanted forest, as well as many other recreational and educational facilities.
Gran Meliá Don Pepe
Location: José Meliá, Marbella
Prices: from AUD465 per room
Description: Gran Meliá Don Pepe is located on the seafront next to Marbella's Don Pepe Beach, 15 minutes' walk from Marbella Old Town. It offers 3 outdoor pools and a spa, and each luxurious room has a large plasma-screen TV. Rooms at the 5-star Don Pepe have views of the sea, hotel gardens, or mountains. They offer interactive satellite TV, an electronic safe and a minibar. All rooms have free Wi-Fi. Guests of the hotel receive free access to the heated indoor pool and gym. The hotel also has 2 tennis courts and 2 paddle courts. The spa includes a Turkish bath, hot tub and sauna, and offers various massages and treatments. The hotel also has a grill restaurant specialising in steak, and Mediterranean and barbecue specialties. Its Tahini Restaurant serves Japanese cuisine and offers ocean views. There is also a poolside bar, as well as a gourmet corner which includes an oyster and caviar bar and an area serving Belgian chocolate and macaroons. There is also a private beach club serving snacks, cocktails and smoothies. Situated on the popular Costa del Sol, Gran Meliá Don Pepe is just a 5-minute walk from Paco Cantos Park. Marbella’s historic old town is less than 2 km away.
Don Carlos Leisure Resort & Spa
Location: Carretera Cádiz, Km 192, Marbella
Prices: from AUD426 per room
Description: This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Surrounded by gardens, this luxury resort opens onto Marbella’s Elviria Beach, where it has a private beach club with VIP amenities. The resort offers several swimming pools, a wellness center and tennis facilities. Offering free WiFi, each elegant, air-conditioned room at hotel Don Carlos Marbella has a flat-screen TV, with a selection of films. The spacious bathrooms include Molton Brown toiletries. Don Carlos Leisure Resort & Spa has several bars and restaurants, including the Ombú Thai restaurant (open seasonally), set in the resort's tropical gardens. The Terrasse Cocktail bar offers live music and panoramic sea views. The resort's luxury spa, available for a surcharge, features a Turkish bath and hydromassage bath, as well as a range of exclusive treatments. There are also 7 clay tennis courts on site. The main swimming pool is heated and offers free hammocks. There is a kid's club and a children's playground. In the summer, guests can enjoy several parties at the famous Nikki Beach Club, located within the Don Carlos Leisure Resort & Spa. Central Marbella is 11 km away.
Boutique Hotel Claude Marbella
Location: Marbella Old Town, Marbella
Prices: from AUD385 per room
Description: This property is a 8-minute walk from the beach. Boutique Hotel Claude Marbella is a restored 17th-century building 151 m from Marbella’s Plaza de los Naranjos. The elegant rooms have an iPod dock, 32-inch flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Rooms at this luxury boutique hotel all include terracotta floors, sandstone baths and fine fabrics. All have a different theme, exclusive furniture and a bathroom with Molton Brown toiletries, a bathrobe and slippers. Guests also have free access to the O2 Wellness Centre, with a gym, spa and swimming pools, including the classes that the center offers. The Claude Boutique Hotel’s restaurant offers breakfast, tapas and Mediterranean snacks. Dinner can be reserved in advance. Meals are served in the beautiful black and white dining room, and there is also 24-hour room service. A car rental, ticket service and tour desk is available at the 24-hour front desk at Claude Hotel Marbella. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the beach, only 151 m from the Bonsai Museum.
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The best time for a Marbella honeymoon is during May, June, September and October when the days are long and sunny but lacking the crowds and torrid heat of July and August, when midday temperatures regularly soar beyond 30°C (86°F).
May to June and September to October midday temperatures average 23°C (73°F) to 28°C (82°F). Winter on the Costa del Sol offers bright sunny days with little or no rain, however the water is chilly for swimming.
The Costa del Sol receives more than 320 days of sunshine a year, with an average temperature of 22°C (71°F).
For more climate info: Marbella Weather Guide…
Marbella sits around 55km (34mi) west of Málaga and 71km (44mi) from Gibraltar, and is easily reached with excellent rail, road and air links from major Spainish cities as well as European centres, including London, Paris and Rome.
The most convenient route to Marbella is by air to Málaga Airport (AGP), officially known as Málaga-Costa del Sol airport and sometimes called Pablo Picasso Airport. The airport is located 8km (5mi) southwest of Málaga and 5km (3mi) north of Torremolinos.
The airport operates three terminals and offers flight connections to over 60 countries worldwide, with daily direct flights to and from 20 cities in Spain and more than 100 cities in Europe, including London, Paris and Rome.
Direct flights also operate to Africa, the Middle East and to North America in the summer season.
There's a frequent bus and train service between Marbella and Málaga, taking around 1 hour and 25 minutes.
In addition, Málaga has a frequent daily train and bus service from Madrid (via Córdoba), Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Grenada (bus only).
Latest update: Marbella honeymoon: 3 December, 2019
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