Marbella is situated at the coastal Sierra Blanca foothills base, about 60 kilometres (km) southwest of Malaga. Attractiveness stems mainly from pleasant weather, with an annual average of more than 300 sunny days.
Marbella is 28 km long and goes along the sea. It's one of the most expensive places to stay in the world. But 100 years ago, the place that is now a popular resort was just a tiny fishing village at the foot of a mountain by the sea.
Due to its popularity among Hollywood's A-listers, Marbella is Southern Spain's most famous resort and is often compared to the French Riviera hotspot of St. Tropez. If you stroll along the embankment, you'll run into some of the world's most recognizable faces, including A-list actors from Hollywood. In addition, Marbella is a popular destination for the European "beau monde," and its residents tend to be relatively sedentary.
There is no such number of expensive cars and snow-white yachts anywhere in the world. It is in Marbella that the famous Golden Mile is located, where the most costly villas are built. The snow-white residence "Mar-Mar" is also located here. In 2005, it belonged to the King of Saudi Arabia, Fahd ibn Abdulaziz, one of the Islamic world's wealthiest and most influential people. Then grandiose possessions were passed to the family of the former monarch. The palace's main building resembles the White House in Washington, and the area of controls occupies 20 hectares. Here, in addition to the court, there are several buildings, among which there is even a mosque. This luxurious ensemble stretches for 8 km. along the coast from the city of Marbella to the port of Puerto Banus.
The Romans, called initially the city Saliba, built Marbella in 206 BC. Arab rule over Marbella spanned about eight centuries, covering the bulk of the city's history (from 711 to 1485). The city was walled off during the time of the Muslims. The Arabs fortified the city with a fortress and moat still there today, with access only from the coast, Ronda, and Malaga. It has now become a significant monument in the area's past. Extreme devastation was inflicted on the castle, yet it was left untouched, giving the site a strange flavour.
King Fernando conquered Marbella on June 11th, 1485. During the 16th century, the city underwent significant changes. By the end of the 18th century, only 820 buildings remained in the city, and many were dilapidated or in disrepair. In the 19th century, Marbella expanded beyond the historic old town towards the now-existing Arroyo de la Repreza park.
The 1940s of the 19th century mark the beginning of Marbella's modern growth. This was principally made possible by Marquis Ricardo Soriano and Prince Alfonso de Oenloe, who, in the late 1940s, purchased, restored, and rebuilt several opulent houses in Marbella, helping to establish the coast as a getaway for the aristocratic and corporate elite. Politicians, wealthy businesspeople, renowned actors, and Arab sheikhs later made the city their home.
We can say that Marbella ranks first in the ranking of the most prestigious resorts not only on the Costa del Sol but throughout Spain. This is because the resort became very popular in the late 50s. XX century. Marbella is especially famous among foreigners: Germans, British and French, as well as Russians.
The city's population triples during peak season, with many new arrivals being well-to-do people who have purchased second houses in the area just for the summer.
Marbella attracts celebrities from all over the world and, together with Puerto Banus, is the fashion capital of the Costa del Sol. Port of Puerto Banus is a famous project named after its founder, José Banus, a prominent Spanish businessman who later often organized his luxurious receptions here, where many famous guests from all over the world gathered. The idea of José Banus was to attract buyers of expensive real estate in this way. Many people were very impressed with the beauties of Marbella and the local climate and subsequently purchased luxurious villas, mansions, and apartments here.
Marbella is created for discerning tourists. Everything you could wish for is here: grand luxury hotels, three large marinas, excellent beaches with luxurious services, countless bars, clubs, a wide variety of restaurants, and so on.
For the promenades in Marbella, a 7 km long marble seaside promenade is laid out. And in the centre of the resort, in the shady square of Avenida de Mar, original sculptures by Salvador Dali are installed. In the Old Town, there are many narrow medieval streets connecting small open spaces - Plaza, of which it is worth visiting the most famous - Orange Street, with a beautiful fountain of the 17th century. One of the most beautiful streets in Marbella is Elbarrio and La Alameda. There are as many as 24 golf courses in Marbella, and 12 have been awarded the title of "Best Golf Course in Europe". Prestigious competitions often take place here. There are 15 professional tennis schools in Marbella. Equestrian sports are highly developed: polo and horse racing. Nearby is one of the main ski resorts in Spain - Sierra Nevada.
Sights of Marbella
Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz Church
This church in Marbella's old town was erected in the 16th century. The church's main edifice was expanded in the eighteenth century to include a tower, which is the most distinctive feature of the structure owing to its roof covered with ceramic designs.
Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz
Calle de Convento 32, 29120
The revitalization of the old Marbella neighbourhood honours the area's history. You can also visit the nearby Iglesia de la Incarnation, another local church.
Other attractions: Bonsai Museum (Museo del Bonsai, Avenida Doctor Maiz Vinals, s/n 29601);
Engraving Museum (Museo del Grabado Espanol Contemporaneo, Calle Hospital de Bazan, 20601),
Museum of Flowers (Museo Cortijo Miraflores, Calle Jose Luis Morales Marin, 29601),
Avenida de Mar alley with authentic sculptures by Salvador Dali, a crocodile park, several exhibition galleries, a water park, the famous shopping centres El Corte Ingles, and La Canada.