'A Way of Life' is Marbella's motto and this luxurious resort town seems to have just about everything, and definitely a favourite location for the rich and famous, as well as more ordinary folk who are willing to pay just a little bit extra for southern Spain's top resort.
But Marbella also has a down to earth side as well, an air of individuality which can be best appreciated by wondering along the back streets in the old part of town. One of the prettiest places is the 'Orange Square' which is just off the main street in the older district of town, which is also home to the 16th century town hall and tourist office.
In 'La Plaza de los Naranjos' (Orange Square), you will see stately buildings, small shops, art galleries, bars and bistros and this area is a hub of activity day and night. Depending on the time of year, the colours here can be vibrant, with the trees and exotic tropical plants set against a backdrop of dazzling white buildings and a deep blue sky.
Explore the honeycomb of narrow streets where homes and shops intermingle to create the atmosphere of a small village, rather than a cosmopolitan town. There are numerous superb restaurants to choose from, ranging from those specialising in the predictably pricey exclusive cordon bleu to the gritty individuality of a back street Spanish bar where the Serrano ham is gently cured by tobacco smoke and the tapas are interesting and tasty.
Along the coast is the La Alameda park, where you can book your personal horse and carriage to travel in style or, if you prefer some exorcise, stroll on towards the sea along the Avenida del Mar. This is possibly one of the most delightful promenades on the costa, lined by classy restaurants and bars and free of concrete tall hotel blocks often encountered in other resorts.
Marbella's coastline stretches along some 26 kilometres of sunny beaches bathed by the warm Mediterranean and where you can enjoy traditional fish and seafood favourites like sardines on a spit, fried fish and the most famous Spanish dish of all, paella. There are two large parks in Marbella which provide some welcome shade to spend some time relaxing. The amphitheatre in Constitution Park is frequently used for concerts and plays in the summer.
Marbella has casinos, clubs and just about every sporting activity under the sun. Few places can match Marbella for world class tennis, sailing and golf. There are also three pleasure craft harbours here.
Just 'down the road' is the coastal town of Puerto Banus, just west of the town, and almost a superb of Marbella. This is the place to be amazed at the luxury yachts in the marina, and watch the world go by, or window shop at one of many of the world renowned fashion houses and boutiques. Puerto Banus, like Marbella, is the place to be if you have surplus money. Everything oozes opulence from every corner.
The port has considerably grown over the years and now includes a casino, commercial shopping centre, including a El Corte Ingles department store, a marine observatory and a multi cinema. The nightlife is buzzing here with alfresco bars, piano clubs and discos which are open dusk until dawn. This is the place to be entertained, whether you are spending money or just watching others spend it.