The Mysterious Magic of Marbella

Marbella has a long held reputation as one of the more garish jewels of the Costa del Sol – a place of lavish wealth, golden beaches and turbo charged nightlife. But look beyond the obvious and there’s much more to this iconic city in Southern Spain than first meets the eye.

Think Marbella’s all about swanky beach clubs and celebrity spotting? Think again. This Costa del Sol hotspot has a treasure trove of unexpected delights just waiting to be discovered by the savvy traveller. Let’s start with the Old Town – a far cry from the glossy marina scene. Wander off Orange Square and you’ll find yourself in a labyrinth of streets and alleys – some narrow enough that you can touch the walls on both sides. Here, you’ll stumble upon gems like Vintage Déjà Vu, a boutique where fashion lovers can score anything from 1980’s Brioni to statement furniture pieces.

©Vintage Déjà Vu

On the foodie side of things, sure, Marbella has its share of high-end eateries, but the real culinary magic happens in spots like El Bigote. This tiny tavern, packed with locals, serves up seafood that is quintessentially Mediterranean in a timeless setting. For a quirky dining experience, check out Sidreria Manolo – with its bizarro cider-dispensing dolls and a turbot that’s nothing short of sublime. For dessert, there’s only one choice: churros from Ramón or San Ginés – crispy, sugar-dusted clouds of perfection since 1941.

©EL BIGOTE Andalucia
©Automobile Museum Malaga

Art buffs are in for a treat too. Marbella’s a great base for day trips to Málaga’s world-class museums. Or, for something truly special, time your visit to catch a sunset at the mountain home of the local olive oil guru, Sandro Gamazo Hohenlohe.

©Picasso Museum Malaga

Despite its glamorous reputation, Marbella in fact invites you to slow down and soak it all in. Whether you’re playing backgammon in a hidden courtyard or cruising in a beat up old rental from a local, you’ll find yourself embracing the Andalusian pace of life. In a place where even hi-fi shops moonlight as nightclubs, you quickly learn that in Marbella, the unexpected is just part of the charm.

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