To fans of soccer, Spain is home to some of the greatest soccer teams in the world – FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. To the art lovers, it is home to one of the greatest art collections found in Madrid’s Prado museum. Culinary enthusiasts will point out that Spanish cuisine is among the best in the world, while economists will rightly see the country’s exporting prowess in vegetables, fruits and wine.
What makes Spain a must-visit travel destination is its cultural diversity, something that makes it a staple in the travel world. Brian Weal, a resident of the United Arab Emirates that splits his time between the UAE, London and Spain, knows all too well the natural appeal of the latter. Mr. Weal is well-travelled, and when it comes to enjoying Spain, one of his favourite locations is Marbella, off the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Considered by popular travel website Lonely Planet as a “tourist showroom,” Marbella is one of Costa del Sol’s crown jewels, punctuated by a mile of shiny restaurants, hotels and clubs that stretch all the way to the Puerto Banús, one of the most extravagant marinas on the coast. However, long before Marbella was a destination for flashy and expensive visitors, it was home to the Romans, Moors and Phoenicians, and one of the joys of travelling to this old town is to uncover its roots.
During one of his visits to Marbella, Mr. Weal has stayed at Purobeach Marbella, which is located on the shores of the Mediterranean and boasts of a relaxed atmosphere. It’s an exclusive beach club that has more than one hundred sunbeds by the beach and pool, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the sea view.
Places to Go
Even if you’re not staying at the Purobeach Marbella, a visit to the beach is a must for any visitor. The Costa del Sol has kilometres of sandy beaches, and along these beaches are beach bars where one can sample Mediterranean cuisine and drinks. The waters along the beach and sea are safe for swimmers and divers looking to explore the waters.
Alongside the beach is a paved promenade called the Paseo Marítimo, which provides visitors with an opportunity to see the views of the coast and take in the ambience, especially during the sunsets. The promenade joins up with a wooden boardwalk that provides for a long walk as far as San Pedro.
No visit to Marbella is complete without a visit to the historic Old Town, which is a location that many tourists don’t get to see. It’s found opposite La Alameda park, close to the centre of the town. The Old Town feels almost completely separate from the rest of Marbella with its ancient architecture and maze of cobbled streets that have art galleries, eateries and shops. Orange Square is located at the centre and features a typical Andalucian square full of tropical plants and oranges where visitors can sit and enjoy the view. The Old Town has numerous good restaurants and bars for any visitor wishing to enjoy the local cuisine and the nightlife.
Shopping and Fun
If you’re looking to shop while in Marbella, head over to Puerto Banus where brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli and Versace are located. There’s also a shopping complex with coffee shops and art galleries there, not to mention a host of other designer labels for shoes, clothes and accessories.
For those who are interested in more affordable brands, the La Cañada shopping complex is located a short distance north of Marbella and is accessible via taxi or bus. If the kids are part of the party, consider spending a day at Funny Beach, which is full of amusement features, or the Aventura Amazonia (a 10-minute drive east) where adults and children can enjoy a high ropes course.