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Marbella top things to see and do in Old Town

Explore Marbella and see many gems

This article on visiting Marbella presents the best of what to see in the historic centre:

  • A few words about the history of Marbella old town
  • What to see in Marbella old town?
  • The Marbella Fair, San Bernabé fiesta
  • What to do in Marbella
  • Find accommodation
  • Where is Marbella historic center ?
  • Some useful links (rent a car, other ideas for visits)
  • Great Experiences to discover in the surroundings
  • Other photos taken during the visit in Marbella

A few words about the history of Marbella old town

Marbella old town is a delight to wander through, with its narrow white streets. The layout of the streets is a reminder of its Moorish past. Marbella is located in the province of Malaga.



The old town of Marbella dates from the 15th century. Along this walk you can admire balconies and walls covered with flowers (geraniums and bougainvilleas).



You can enjoy small tapas bars and good restaurants. There are also several shops selling local crafts.



If you are in the western part of the Costa del Sol and would like to visit Marbella and Mijas Costa, you can use the following link to book a tour from Malaga, Torremolinos, or Benalmadena.


The origin of the old town of Marbella

Marbella was founded by the Romans and was an important place during the Al-Andalus period, as evidenced by the remains of the Alcazar and the wall of the old medina.

After the Reconquest, Marbella was a mining village in the 17th century, with the exploitation of lead and copper mines. It then became a small fishing village, before becoming a seaside resort in the 1950s.

At the bottom of the page you will find other photos of the old town of Marbella.

What to see in Marbella old town?

  • The Grabado Museum (museum of contemporary Spanish engraving)
  • The old Bazan hospital
  • Plaza de los Naranjos
  • The tourist office
  • Town Hall
  • Casa del Corregidor
  • The Hermitage of Santiago
  • The Moorish Castle, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries
  • The walls of the Medina
  • Chapels and “niches” (capillas y hornacinas)
  • The Plaza de Santo Christo
  • Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
  • La Alameda Park
  • Avenida del Mar to admire Salvador Dali’s sculptures

The Grabado Museum (museum of contemporary Spanish engraving)

Works by Picasso, Miro and Dali can be admired in this museum.

If you are visiting Malaga, don’t miss the Picasso Museum in Malaga. Here you can admire many of the master’s works of art (paintings, sculptures, ….).

This museum was inaugurated in 1992, in a Renaissance style building. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Marbella, which is the old Bazan Hospital dating from the 16th century.

The tower (below) is one of the symbols of the city.


Los Naranjos Square a must-see in Marbella


This square is a beautiful place and dates back to 1504. It is the ideal place to have a drink and take the time to appreciate its beauty, especially 3 buildings:


The tourist office and the Marbella’s town hall.

This building was built in the 16th century in Renaissance style. Curiously, part of Marbella’s town hall was built on the site of the town’s former prison.

A sundial can be seen on its façade…


…and two stones commemorating the capture of the city by the Catholic kings.


The Casa del Corregidor

It is a mansion dating from the 16th century. Its façade is in different styles: Mudejar, Renaissance and Gothic.


The Hermitage of Saint James (Ermita de Santiago)

It is located in the Plaza de los Naranjos and is the first Christian church in the city. The hermitage of Santiago dates from the 15th century. It housed a small mosque until the reconquest of the city by the Catholic kings.

This small church, which became a parish, is currently the seat of the brotherhood of the Most Holy Christ of Love, the Most Holy Virgin Mary of Charity and Saint John the Evangelist.

Moorish Castle which dates from the 11th and 12th centuries


(El Castillo or alcazar ) the castle is the most important heritage of the Muslim civilisation in the city.



Medina walls

The remains of the Medina wall can be seen in San Barnabe Square and Trinidad Street, which date back to the Umayyad period in the 10th century. This is an interesting detail that attests to an earlier Roman settlement. The wall was built in part from buildings constructed by the Romans (see below).



The chapels (capillas y hornacinas)

This socio-religious phenomenon dates from the 15th century, with the arrival of the Christian religion. To bless and protect the city, the inhabitants took up the custom of decorating facades and balconies with a Saint or a Virgin. There are several of these in the old town, the best known of which is shown below:


The Plaza de Santo Christo a wonder to see in Marbella

This square has an incredible charm with its church and a few colourful houses.



The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación

It is one of the main monuments of the town.

This church was built on the site of a former mosque. It is of imposing size with a highly decorated facade and a rococo door. It also mixes baroque and renaissance style.

Although this church dates from the 16th century, its bell tower is even older as it is the former minaret of the mosque!



Close to the old town of Marbella

Go to the Alameda Park, just next door, towards the sea

The Alameda Park is a cool spot around a beautiful fountain, under century-old trees. It is the ideal place to take a break.

Cross the Avenida del Mar to admire the sculptures of Salvador Dali

On the Avenida del Mar you can enjoy 10 sculptures by Dali. Below you will find 3 of them.

Bronce de S. Dali "Elefante comisco"
Bronce de S. Dali “Elefante comisco”

Bronce de S. Dali "Gala asomada a la ventana"
Bronce de S. Dali “Gala asomada a la ventana”

The Avenida del Mar, just after the Alameda park, allows you to reach the beaches and the sea in 5 minutes from the old town.

Bronce de S. Dali "Mercurio"
Bronce de S. Dali “Mercurio”

At the bottom of the Avenida del mar, we arrive at the sea where, sheltered by a row of trees, we can continue our walk along the beaches of Marbella.

The Marbella Fair, San Bernabé fiesta

Every year at the beginning of June, Marbella organises its fair :

What to do in Marbella ?

Below you will find a number of ideas for activities and visits, classified by theme. You can book them online today.

The +: the activities can all be cancelled up to 24 hours before the scheduled date

Guided tour to the historic centre of Marbella and the white village of Mijas Pueblo from Nerja or Torrox

If you are on holiday in the towns of Nerja, Torrox or Torre del Mar, you can find an excellent guide, Cipriano. He offers a semi-private day trip to the wonderful old town of Marbella and Mijas pueblo.

In the following link you will find all the information and the possibility to book online: Day trip to Marbella’s Old Town and Mijas pueblo.

Find a hotel, apartment in the historic centre of Marbella

Location of Marbella Old Town

What to see around Marbella ?

If you liked the “old town” of Marbella, then I invite you to discover the wonderful village of Mijas pueblo. A little white village wonder.


If you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to go to Ronda and the town of Antequera. These towns and their surroundings are a must-see.

Ronda and its cilffs

Some useful links (car hire, ideas for visits)

Easy and economical bookings

If you are in Andalucia as part of a tour with several major cities to visit, here are some links that may be of interest:


Seville, the capital of Andalucia, is a city full of treasures to discover and monuments to visit.

Door of Forgiveness – Seville Cathedral

Here you will find everything you can see in Seville in 3 days. And for those who will stay longer you will also find information on secret Seville and the Santa Cruz and Triana districts.


cadix cadiz cathedrale catedral cathedral cattedrale

Visit Cadiz, a city with an incredible past and great beauty, on the Costa del la Luz.


When you reach the Costa del Sol you will find in this link all must-sees in Malaga :

Street art next to the Picasso Museum Malaga


Discover what to see in Granada, and visit the Albaicin and Sacromonte districts:



And of course, visit Cordoba, the caliphate city, and the Juderia district


Discover other beautiful places in Andalusia in the Andalusia blog pages.

Here is the link to receive our newsletter from the blog

Great Experiences to discover in the surroundings

Other photos taken during the visit in Marbella Old Town:


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