From Blue Flag beaches to glitzy marinas, Marbella has plenty to keep you busy over three days. Lounge on the sands; explore the orange-scented Old Town; discover star Andalucia attractions such as Granada’s Alhambra; and enjoy high-octane bars and nightclubs. Here’s how to plan the perfect 3-day break.
Day 1: Classic Marbella
Today, get acquainted with Marbella’s key sights and Andalucia’s countryside. Take a walking tour of landmarks such as the 9th-century castle, Alameda Park, and the Old Town, where cobbled plazas are framed by orange trees, whitewashed churches, and balconied townhouses.
Many visitors opt for tours that focus not just on Marbella but nearby Puerto Banus. Take a private excursion to discover Puerto’s upscale marina while also checking out Marbella’s traditional quarters and Golden Mile—a coastal strip of lavish villas and estates.
Later, chill out on Marbella’s Blue Flag beaches and perhaps set off into the nearby hills, home to the White Villages (Pueblos Blancos) on an electric mountain bike tour. With power-assisted pedals to help conquer the steep trails, you’ll explore with ease before cruising back down to town to refuel with tapas and drinks.
Day 2: UNESCO-listed Sights
Moorish rulers once held sway over southern Spain, and some of their most beautiful palaces are easily accessible from Marbella. For the best experience of Moorish masterworks, opt for a private day trip to Cordoba to see its Jewish Quarter and Mezquita Cathedral-Mosque. This UNESCO World Heritage Site centers on a a prayer hall filled with red-and-white arches built on columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite—its an extraordinary sight.
Closer to Marbella is Granada—home to The Alhambra, another of Andalucia’s UNESCO-protected highlights. Largely built by the Moorish Nasrid dynasty in the 13th-century, the palace comprises richly-decorated halls and gardens on a hilltop above the city. Private day trips from Marbella promise full appreciation of the site with the benefit of a personal guide and round-trip transport.
Day 3: Coast, Countryside, and Clubs
Now you’ve ticked off Marbella and Andalucia’s big-hitters, use your last day for a final out of-town trip. Spend the best part of the day in Ronda, a medieval town that straddles a gorge in the Serrania de Ronda mountains. Explore the Old and New Towns, and soak up views from Puente Nuevo bridge. Malaga is another popular day trip destination; visit on a tour to discover its Roman theater, Alcazaba Citadel, and Renaissance-style Cathedral without having to worry about car hire.
Dedicate your final evening to Marbella’s nightlife. Book a professional makeup class accompanied by Cava to create the perfect party look, and make for the bars of the Old Town before hitting the fast-paced clubs at the Marina (Puerto Deportivo) and Puerto Banus.