Marbella is a beautiful resort town on the Mediterranean, sun-kissed and blessed with gorgeous natural surroundings. All of this is true, but it is actually so much more – above all, Marbella is a way of life.
People speak of the best climate in Europe, Mediterranean beaches, outstanding panoramas across the sea to Gibraltar and North Africa – the point at which two continents meet – a laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty a plenty. This is a backdrop to life in Marbella, a town surrounded by sea and mountain scenery, where yachts lay in the marina and palm trees line elegant boulevards. For some the appeal is all about glamour, a lively social scene, shopping, fine dining and nightlife in a cosmopolitan hotspot frequented by the famous and fashionable. They love the beach clubs and luxurious spas, while others come here for the excellent choice of golf courses, the stylish ambience of tennis clubs, kite surfing and yachting on offer.
The real beauty of Marbella is that it is all these things and more. Depending on your preference, you can indulge yourself in the social scene, sport, nature and culture – or all of the above. Most visitors are drawn to the beaches, but for many a resident there is equal enchantment to the be found in the beautiful hill country just inland, where hiking, mountain biking or simply long walks with the dog define another lifestyle made possible by a generous climate and wonderful natural setting. For those who wish to make the most of life, such different activities often reflect the turn of the seasons, for while summer is all about the hedonistic beach setting, the soft winter weather makes long walks and trips into the hinterland a pleasure too.
It’s a cliché, but one that is truly apt here, for should you prefer culture and the gentle pursuits of café society and gastronomy, then once again you are in the right spot. Spain is recognised as one of the culinary centres of the world, and in Marbella there is a wide choice of cuisines on offer, as well as experiences ranging from Michelin star restaurants to traditional eateries and the lively tapas scene for which the country is so famous. The setting can vary from a chic beachside restaurant to a quaint bistro in the town’s charming historic quarter – an area that many regard as one of Marbella’s greatest gems.
The old town’s maze of pedestrian-only streets and alleyways opens up onto little squares where it’s a joy to meet up with friends and watch the world go by or shop for something stylish and different. The latter being an alternative to the designer boutiques to be found in Puerto Banús, or indeed the grand shopping district of the provincial capital, Málaga. Just an hour east of Marbella, this historic city just keeps getting more beautiful, complete with grand monuments, great shopping and dining, and a growing number of cultural highlights and top-class museums that have made it a favourite cruise ship destination. The Picasso, Carmen Thyssen and Pompidou museums round off a cultural offer that also includes gems such as Ronda, Seville, Córdoba and Granada.
A way of life made for enjoyment, this is also a good place to bring up children, with an active outdoor lifestyle adding to first-class international schools and the opportunity to ski at the Sierra Nevada in winter and surf in Tarifa during the summer. The choice of properties and residential areas also reflects this personal lifestyle preference, with spots such as Puerto Banús offering close proximity to nightlife while the Golden Mile, Guadalmina Baja and Los Monteros provide a more private and tranquil seaside setting.
Also set upon the coastline, the New Golden Mile offers luxurious apartments in a beachside location where the emphasis is on panoramic sea views and the ability to step out of the door and go for wonderful walks along the coastline. Close to schools, sports clubs and other amenities yet also spacious and tranquil, Nueva Andalucía is particularly popular among families and also golfers, for whom the Golf Valley at its heart is a strong attraction. You needn’t even be a golfer to enjoy views across lush fairways. Such properties are popular throughout the region, while those who prize privacy, space and the country club environment choose exclusive hill clubs such as La Zagaleta, El Madroñal, La Quinta and also the luxurious gated community of Sierra Blanca.