About the City
Nestled in the shadow of four mountains, Marbella basks in the sun both summer and winter. The same mountains offer protection from the harsh westerly wind known as the Poniente.
Marbella has not always been the throbbing metropolis it now is. In 1950 it was a small village with 10,000 residents. Its rise to fame and fortune has all happened since then. Today its resident population is about 150,000 with a summer peak of 500,000.
The old part of the city, enclosed by the Moorish walls, is a pleasant meander between whitewashed cottages. Most visitors do not get that far since the social hub of the city, Plaza de los Naranjos, Orange Square, with its 16th-century buildings, is just outside the walls. You never know who you will see at one of the umbrella-shaded tables provided by numerous restaurants that line the square. For a culinary experience, try Paco Jimenez – Culinary Art.
Surrounding Plaza de los Naranjos are narrow alleys, with restaurants, bodegas and boutique shops all tucked away, waiting to be discovered.
Art and Festivals
Scattered around the city are other art experiences. Marbella has no fewer than nine art galleries or museums including a Ralli Museum. The annual Marbella Arts Festival, initiated in 2009, is becoming an international event.
It takes place around the 21st June and lasts three days and one evening to coincide with the summer solstice.
Another festival that attracts international celebrities is the Marbella International Film Festival. Talented amateurs submit their films for viewing too, as the promoters put it, ‘display their talents to the commercial world.’ The festival is between the 2nd and 6th October 2019.
Marbella is divided into two by the main road that passes through the town from west to east, parallel to the Paseo. On the seaward side is a delightful botanical garden and park that offers shade on the hottest of days.
Move through the park towards the sea and you enter a plaza, the Avenida del Mar. In the square are ten eccentric sculptures by Salvador Dali and, at the bottom of the plaza, a real treat, a Champagne and Oyster Bar. There is something sinful about sitting in the sun with a view of Marbella’s beautiful beach, with an ice bucket, bottle of Moet and a dozen oysters but who cares, naughty but nice.
Finally, a trip to Marbella would not be complete without a visit to Puente Romano. A dozen restaurants within this beachside resort complex compete to provide gastronomic experiences from all over the world.