Many go to Marbella to party, I visited for a relaxing weekend in the warm climate, to eat delicious food and to explore the culture of Southern Spain. Andalucía is a colourful and characterful region, known for the picturesque white-washed towns, fruitful orange trees, rich tapas cuisine, bullfights and flamenco gypsy tradition. The exotic climate and sandy beaches make it an appealing destination all year round, even in the middle of low season I found Marbella to be the perfect November escape from dreary rainy London. This list of my favourite things is proof that Marbella and Malaga have so much more to offer than just parties and poolside lazing.
Puente Romano Beach Resort – this luxurious hotel has it all, with food offerings and sport facilities which are second to none. Puente Romano, which translates to Roman bridge, is hugely popular with both tourists and locals who all come to soak up the atmosphere in the Plaza Village square. Located on the beach, this resort has beautiful sea views from many of the special suites.
Taberna La Nina de El Pisto – spend a few hours wandering around the lovely old town of Marbella before settling here for dinner. Tucked away on a small side street this special little venue is usually full of locals and serves delicious authentic and typical Spanish tapas and wine, all at very reasonable prices.
Plaza de los Naranjos (The Orange Square) – taste the sweetest orange juice in the world whilst admiring the surrounding citrus trees. This sun-drenched square in Marbella Old Town dates back to 1485 and is a charming place to sit and relax.
Olive oil tasting at D.Oliva – Nestled in the heart of Marbella Old Town this wonderful shop offers hundreds of varieties of Spanish olive oil, including their own award-winning bottles. Taste a range of delicious oils before buying a souvenir to take home. We particularly loved the lightly-infused orange blossom olive oil by D’Oliva which was created in collaboration with the town and also used as an institutional present.
Museo Picasso Malaga – This stylish museum is housed in the Buenavista Palace and marks the importance of Malaga as Picasso’s birthplace. Here 285 works donated by members of Picasso’s family are exhibited in themes. Admission is free on Sundays between 6 and 8pm, which was luckily exactly when we turned up!
Ronda – it may be a slightly treacherous drive up the mountain roads but the prehistoric remains at the top make the journey completely worth the hassle. Witness the awe-inspiring ancient three bridges that span the Tajo canyon, visit the Plaze de toros de Ronda (the oldest bullring in Spain) and pick up some manchego and chorizo in one of the little Spanish shops.