Places to visit in and around Marbella

During our road trip around Southern Spain in 2013, we based ourselves in Marbella. From here, we took day trips to Malaga, Ronda, Seville, Granada and Gibraltar. During the days we weren’t road tripping or lounging on the beach – we spent some time exploring places in and around Marbella.

Here are a few places i would recommend visiting if going to Marbella:

Marbella Old Town

Marbella itself has two parts – the new part which is where we stayed as its close to the beach and is full of restaurants and shops. Then there is the old town (“casco antinguo”).  This was so lovely to walk around and wonder, especially in the evening with the old buildings and small streets dotted with orange trees. 

The main square is the lovely Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) and it was just so charming. It had a cluster of outdoor traditional restaurants and orange trees. We sat here for coffee and dessert so that we could just relax and people-watch. It was a genuine delight. 

There were beautiful white-washed churches behind every other corner which we peeked inside of

Puerto Banus

Puerto Banus is very lively and where you can find the harbour. You can come here to the “Golden Mile” to do your shopping with brands such as Gucci, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana. It’s like a playground for the ultra rich and famous. My father and brother loved looking at the expensive boats and cars here. There were an abundance of street performances here also. 

Exploring the villages near Marbella

As we rented a car for two weeks, we took a few day trips out to various white villages. Mijas and Ojen were the two villages that I fell in love with!  


Driving here was a STRUGGLE and involved the whole family getting out the car to push it up the hill. Mijas is tucked in high, on the side of a mountain with the most stunning views over the Costa del Sol. Mijas dates all the way back to the Bronze Age where it was inhabited by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Moors and by the Christians. You can notice the different architectural styles whilst walking on the streets of the village. 

We parked on the outskirts of the village and walked into town by heading upwards and by following the crowds. We found ourselves in the Plaza Virgen de la Pena – the main square in town.   

Mijas is famous for it burro taxis – touristy carriages pulled by donkeys. My baby sister really wanted to go on one – so we did and the donkey took us for a little sight seeing tour around the village. 


More traditional than Mijas and about 20 drive from Marbella is the most beautiful whitewashing Andalucian mountain village called Ojen. It somehow escaped the expat invasion that other villagers have endured, which just added to its traditional Spanish atmosphere. It had some lovely drinking fountains, bars and restaurants among the whitewashed streets. There is nothing to do here but we loved just walking around the picturesque streets and seeing old nanas sitting outside their house talking to their neighbours (and giving us the evils?). I had a feeling they didn’t like many tourists coming over to their village.

We drank coffee in the main plaza and enjoyed the atmosphere. 

Our Accommodation 

We stayed in ‘Jardines de Santa Maria Golf’ which was perfect for us going as a family. It was a luxurious development with swimming pools and surrounded by golf courses! It was also a convenient 5 minutes walk to the beach. 

ps. – apologies for the picture quality – it was a while ago and i was too young for a professional camera! 😦

Do you have any questions about travelling to Marbella that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂


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