If you want to warm up this winter, head to the sunny Costa Del Sol, for endless beaches and blissful temperatures. We’ve already told you why Marbella is one of the best winter sun destinations, and with plenty of hostels in Marbella, a holiday there doesn’t have to break the bank. But what do you do when you’re get bored of the beach?
Well, despite its glitzy image there are quite a lot of cheap things to do in Marbella. And we don’t mean lusting after luxury yachts, golfing or celeb-spotting!
Here are some ideas for cool and cheap things to do in Marbella:
1. Wander Around the Old Town: Marbella’s Spanish Old Quarter, the Casco Antiguo, is a romantic tangle of cobbled streets, with hidden boutiques, traditional tapas bars and architectural gems at every turn. Spend a leisurely morning getting lost in the Old Town and see a different side of the city. Top sights include the 9th century walls of the Arab Medina, the 15th century Santiago Chapel and the 16th century Bazan Palace. At the heart lies Orange Square, a picturesque scene of sleepy cafes and balconies overflowing with flowers.
2. Go to Market: For a bit of bargain hunting, there are heaps of street markets in the city and the surrounding area. Marbella has its own street market every Monday from 9am to 2pm at the ‘Recinto Ferial’, Las Albarizas. Stock up on local food, flowers, clothes and shoes.
3. Puerto Banus: This luxury marina and shopping complex was built for the super-rich, but there’s no reason why you can’t mingle with the jet-set! The main focus here is the marina full of gaudy yachts, but behind the harbour you’ll find stylish boutiques, and bars and clubs for a lively evening out. Check out the Rhino statue designed by Salvador Dali once you get sick of looking at the glitterati.
4.Tread the Boards: There are loads of theatres in the Marbella area, but if you don’t speak Spanish, things may get lost in translation! Luckily the Salon Varietes Theatre has regular productions in English from October to May, from musicals to plays. Head to the Calle Emancipacion, Fuengirola for a bit of drama.
5. Get Arty: Ok, Marbella can hardly compete with Barcelona or Madrid for culture, but there’s a surprising number of cool art galleries worth checking out. La Casa Grande gallery has an impressive collection of Byzantine art, as well as a range of paintings, crafts and sculptures. The Galería Municipal de Exposiciones shows a selection of Spanish, international, established and up-and-coming artists, and the Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo is where you’ll find the work of Spanish masters like Picasso and Miró.
6. Go to a Theme Park: Families and big kids will love the two theme parks within easy reach of Marbella. The popular ‘Funny Beach’ is a giant play park right in the heart of town, with not a tacky theme ride in sight. Younger children can play on the trampolines, mini-motorbikes, and bumper boats right in the center of town, and adults can go nuts with water-skiing, jet-skiing and banana boats. You can even hire a motorboat for a guided tour along the coast. The slightly tamer ‘Prado World’ has a water park, shooting gallery, mini-golf course, and remote control cars to play with. There’s on site bar if it all gets too much for the parents.
7. Feel the Flamenco: Andalucia is the home of Flamenco, but you don’t have to travel to Seville to see an authentic performance of the Spanish dance. Get your feet stamping and clack those maracas with a live show at Flamenco Ana Maria (Plaza Santo Cristo, Casco Antiguo, 29600.) and Donde Maria – Sala Flamenca (Vicente Blasco Ibañez, 29600.)
8. Walk on the Wild Side: The child-friendly fun continues with the Crocodile Park, just 30 minutes from Marbella. The park has a pretty fearsome selection of the snap-happy creatures – some of those beauties weigh in at around 450 kilos! Stick around for feeding time at your peril! If you like your a little wildlife tamer, then Benalmádena Port’s Sea Life Center is only 30 minutes by car – the creepy under-sea creatures at the ‘Danger in the Reefs’ exhibition stay firmly behind glass. You can also check out rays, eels and sharks up close in the cool underwater passage.
9. Splash Around: On the main road to Fuengirola, Mijas Park is a great waterpark with all the usual thrill rides. Fitness fanatics can try out the free aqua aerobics classes, but the ‘wild river’, wave pool and ‘body ski’ sound far more appealing!
10. Pretty Park: Parque Arroyo de la Represa is a pretty and peaceful park of woodland and green open spaces, with two huge football pitches if you fancy something energetic. It’s also home to the Museo del Bonsai – yep, that’s a museum dedicated to those miniature Japanese trees!
For a few more tips about things to do in Marbella and the surrounding area, why not check out some local blogs for some inspiration? We like Costa Blog for their posts on cool activities on the Costa Del Sol.
Feeling Inspired? Check out our guide on where to stay in Marbella. If you’ve been to Marbella, share your tips with us below!