Home EXPAT LIFEMAMAS AROUND THE WORLD Marbella guide: things to see and do suggested by a local

Marbella guide: things to see and do suggested by a local

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With this post we inaugurate a new column on the blog dedicated to the local guides! If you are looking for the insider tips to visit a place, then you should ask to a local! Today we’ll discover top things to see and do in Marbella suggested by a local.

The most popular town in Andalusia, is where Sara, an Italian expat, lives with her family. I know Sara since I started my adventure online, so quite a long time now.


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But first, some gifts for you:

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Sara, tell us a bit about yourself…

two parents and two children walking by the sea

Sara, expat mum living in Marbella, where she lives with her family

Hi, my name is Sara, just turned into 40es. I am from the province of Alessandria, in Piedmont, an Italian region. I studied Architecture in Milan where I wanted to move once finished  the university, but destiny had different plans for me and I moved to another city after the degree.


In Genoa, a city with which I still love / hate relationship but which nevertheless remained in my heart, I stayed a year, but in Liguria I lived for 8 years, I bought a house, I got married and there my two children Ludovica and Giovanni of 6 and 3 years, were born.

Then, thanks to my husband’s work, always traveling between Italy and Europe, we decided to move back to Piedmont, close to my family, to be more peaceful and to have help of grandparents.

Perfect, isn’t it? However, a few months yes, we decided to move abroad, something that my hubby and I have always had in mind. So when my husband received the job offer, with some comprehensible doubts and some discussions.

And in April 2017 with two children under the age of 4 we ended up in Marbella.



Getting to Marbella is simple, as the low-cost airlines (Easyjet, Volotea, Vuelig and Ryanair) fly to the city. We personally always travel with Easyjet and buying tickets a few months before, we have never paid more than € 35.00 per person to go to Italy. Very cheap.

My advice once you land is to rent a car because Andalusia is a wonderful region and from Marbella you can get to many charming places like Granada, Seville and Gibraltar, just to name a few, in just over an hour and a half by car.

Alternatively, there are transfers from the airport that cost around € 70 / 80.00 depending on the area where you are staying, but the route is also served by bus lines.



Can you guess?

Marbella is beautiful all year round, the mild Mediterranean climate means that summer starts early (around May) and ends late (around October) and rain is quite rare.

I would recommend coming to Marbella in the months of May, June and September if you also want to do mainly beach and sea life, while April and October are the best to travel around Andalusia. The months of July and August are the quite crowded for the tourism and the temperature can be very warm, so I don’t suggest it. The coldest months are usually January and February, but for example, last January we had lunch on the beach several times and I assure you it was divinely. Also in winter time, the flights are very cheap, so why not take advantage of it?!

Marbella is a city that is not too big and that can be visited on foot. For those arriving by car there are many 24-hour parking lots with higher or lower prices depending on the area



Marbella and its surroundings are quite big, considering that it occupies 27 km of coastline. You will find every kind of accommodation. From the typical Andalusian flat in the adjoining helmet, to the super luxury villa in the hills, to the 5-star hotel. It depends on how much you want to spend but there is something for all tastes and all budgets because the offer of villas and apartments is really immense being the growing real estate market in these areas.



In Marbella you can really do everything. There are those who come to play golf (there are more than 40 courses), there are those who come to party and have fun, and those who spend relaxing days at the sea and there are those who pass through it only to continue the tour of the Andalusia. This is a mini guide with things to see if you want to learn more about this city.



multi-storey white house with a pink plant in front

Casco antiguo in Marbella

Marbella’s casco antiguo is its oldest historic center and is located within the ancient Moorish walls. It is really well preserved and is as we see it from the 16th century. Go to discover the narrow streets and try to get lost in them, you will discover typically Andalusian corners, alleys with blinding white walls tinged with bright pink bougainvillea flowers, colorful vases hanging on the walls and terraces full of flowers that smell of flowers streets.

The fulcrum of the casco antiguo is Plaza de los narancos, which as the name says is the square with the orange trees; walking here during spring time with the scent of orange blossoms is really exciting. On this square overlooks the Town Hall and two other historic buildings, the Casa del Corregidor and the Ermita de Santiago. As you walk, you will encounter the walls of the Moorish castle and several churches and chapels, whose interiors will amaze you with the quantity of gold and sacred icons.



people in a park with a pavement
Alameda Park
a fountain in a park
Alameda Park

This is my favorite park.

Although it is now small (in the past it was about 20,000 square meters but unfortunately it was reduced to make room for new buildings) it is a real jewel within the city. You meet it walking from the old helmet towards the sea and I assure you that it is indeed a quiet corner within the bustle of the city. With its palms, banana trees and other lush plants, all the sounds seem muffled and you can really find some peace and even so much cool shade that I assure you in the hot season is like manna from heaven. Sitting on one of the benches decorated with typical Andalusian azulejos and listening to the chirping of birds and the noise of the fountain that is in the middle of the park is really a great feeling. If you are with children you cannot miss a ride on the carousel with the little horses, around Marbella you will find playgrounds almost everywhere.



Go along Alameda Park and you’ll find Avenida del Mar. This pedestrian street with marble flooring surrounded on both sides by fountains leads directly to the waterfront. Its peculiarity is that in the center are a series of sculptures by Salvador Dalì, a kind of open-air museum. If you like art, visit the Contemporary Spanish Grabado Museum which houses the works of Picasso, Mirò and Dalì. The ticket price is really convenient (3 euros) and I advise you to visit.



view of some white houses in front of the beach and some white boats

View from the sea of a city with white houses


If you love walking, but even if you don’t like it, I suggest you to take a walk that from the Avenida del Mar to Puerto Banus, along what is called the Golden Mile. In these 5 km you can admire the beaches of Marbella on one side, while on the other you will open your eyes admiring the luxurious villas, the trendy bars and the 5-star hotels overlooking the Mediterranean. Easy to guess that the name, Golden Mile derives from the real estate wealth of this area.

Once you have reached Puerto Banus, you will walk around its own marina in perfect Andalusian style, admiring the windows of the most fashionable shops and wait to see some Ferrari or Lamborghini and some VIPs pass while you take a selfie with a yacht behind you.

If the weather is ok, I suggest you take a boat or catamaran trip starting from Puerto Banus or from the Marbella port, you will admire the city from the sea, you will see the Moroccan coast in front of you and you could easily meet dolphins that will have fun chasing the wake of the boat.



Among the things to see and do in Marbella there are its beaches. 27 km of coastline, some beaches are sandy, others undoubtedly more uncomfortable, with pebbles but all with crystal clear water. In the city beaches (Fontanilla, Faro and Cable) you will always find very clean water, as well as cold water. Yes, the sea water is not very warm but it is impossible to deny yourself a dive. Most of the beaches are free however almost all of them are equipped with showers and bathrooms with changing tables, and the larger ones are often equipped with a playground. You will find chiringuitos with restaurant and sunbeds and umbrellas service at prices that range between 10 and 15 euros (umbrella and 2 sunbeds). The less crowded beaches are those to the west of the city where you will meet the playa de Artola and Cabopino, pristine with their sand dunes.

I recommend you stop at the beach until sunset and if you are near some chiringuito, taste the sangria and order tapas. Do not miss the pil-pil prawns, the pulpo alla gallega, potato tortillas, and espeto (special fish skewers cooked on the grill).

For those who love worldliness, Marbella also has excellent beach clubs where you can have fun by the pool with music and why not, sipping champagne.



As I mentioned, Marbella is in the middle of Andalusia, so if you rent a car I recommend taking a trip outside to visit the surroundings.

See how the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet in Tarifa, the southernmost municipality in Europe with its white sand beaches and dunes, visit the Rock of Gibraltar, being careful not to let the monkeys steal your food, or go in Seville which is one of the cities that I liked the most.



Marbella is a city where you can everything you want, it is a destination for international tourism and many from northern Europe choose it as a second home. Spanish and English are spoken fluently, the presence of many international and bilingual schools, the attention to children that is denoted by the number of public parks and how they are maintained, by the multitude of recreational-sports activities to affordable prices and a sunny climate all over the year made us think that this would be a great place to grow our children and at the moment we didn’t regret it.

Thank you Sara for all these wonderful tips, I have never been to Marbella, but I hope to visit you soon and make a tour around Seville that you have named.

You can follow Sara on her blog Family in trasferta, as well on Instagram.


You can read also: 10 top things to do in Malaga with kids




From time to time you will find a link to product or service within this blog. I may be compensated for any purchases you make without any added costs on your end. I only support products and services I feel to be of value to my readers. Thank you!



With love!



Marbella local guide: things to see and do suggested by a local
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Marbella local guide: things to see and do suggested by a local
Everything you need to know to visit Marbella as a local.
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Mum What Else - Family Travel Blog
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