If you’ve been dying to visit the Andalusian region of Costa del Sol in southern Spain, then the resort city of Marbella is the place for you. Located in the province of Malaga, Marbella is a prime hotspot for the perfect beach getaway. With 16 miles (27km) of golden sandy shores lined along the Mediterranean Sea, this small city packs a punch with its nearly year-round sunny days.
Decorated with the backdrop of the Sierra Blanca mountains, this city is known for its easy-going beach lifestyle, vibrant nightlife, glorious local cuisine, and prominent luxury resorts. Not only is Marbella one of the best places to stay in Spain for a beach holiday, but it caters to all walks of life.
If you’re looking for where to stay in Marbella, we’ve got you covered. You’ll learn about the top areas and hotels Marbella has to offer, with options for all budgets. To find the perfect location for your vacation, keep reading.
Tip: If you plan on spending one week in Spain, be sure to check out our 7-day Spain Itinerary to make the most out of your time there.
Where to Stay, Marbella at a Glance
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks of the best areas to stay in Marbella and who they’d suit best.
- Old Town (Casco Antiguo) – best for first-time visitors
- Downtown Marbella – best for shopping
- Puerto Banus – best for luxury travelers
- The Golden Mile – best for nightlife
- Elviria – best for beaches
- San Pedro de Alcantara – best for budget visitors
Places to Stay in Marbella: Best Areas
Our list of the six best places to stay in Marbella has something for just about everyone. So, without further ado, let’s dive into these areas and all they have to offer.
Old Town (Casco Antiguo): Where to Stay for First-time Visitors
Marbella’s Old Town is the ideal location. With its picturesque appearance, it offers a distinct appeal for first-timers looking to get a little of everything out of their trip. If you’re a fan of old Andalusian architecture, you’ll love the winding cobblestone streets and white-washed buildings in Casco Antiguo.
The area has plenty of cultural and historical attractions, making it ideal for those who want to discover remnants of old Marbella. See Orange Square’s 16th-century Town Hall and Chapel of Santiago for some insight into what makes the Old Town such a visual treat. You can’t miss it with its orange umbrellas, white buildings, and orange trees lining the walkways.
Though not directly on the beach, Old Town Marbella offers a unique charm with its local markets, tapas bars, and a wide array of accommodation options for any traveler. You’ll find that the Old Town offers perfect centrality for those looking for a hub to explore from.
When you’re not busy enjoying the views of the orange-lined squares, the flower pots brimming with color, or the Renaissance-era architecture, take time to walk around the Casco Antiguo neighborhood. Take in sights such as the Church of Santa María de la Encarnación or the Barrio Alto, the area’s oldest settlement, which dates as early as before the Roman era.
You’ll also see a number of ruins, such as the old Arab-Medina style city walls or the 10th-century castle, built thanks to Moorish conquest. Further through the historic quarter, you’ll find the gorgeous Represa Park near the Marbella Castle Wall (Castillo de Marbella). On a stroll, you can enjoy the ample open space or visit the Museo Bonsai Marbella, which features a lush collection of bonsai trees and miniature forests. The entrance fee is four Euros (five dollars).
Best Hotels in the Old Town
- Hotel Claude Marbella – Best for luxury travelers
- The Town House – Best for adults only
- Hostel El Gallo – Best for budget travelers
Downtown: Where to Stay for Shopping
Head to Downtown Marbella if you want to be closer to the coast but still near Old Town’s best attractions. Since the Old Town is just a walk away, you can still smell the orange trees as you make your way there.
“Downtown” isn’t really a place in itself. Instead, it’s part of Marbella’s city center. It’s considered the financial district of central Marbella and, as you can imagine, is full of shops to be explored!
Walk through the Paseo Maritimo, Marbella’s seaside promenade, to enjoy views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stop for the freshest seafood at any one of the beachside restaurants and cool off with a traditional gazpacho or stop at a bar for a fragrant glass of sangria. Here, you’ll be close to Venus Beach, where you can rent sunbeds, swim in the calm waters, and catch a tan.
The beauty of Downtown Marbella’s proximity to the beach is the opportunity to enjoy water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking after your long shopping trips.
For those who love art and scenic gardens, the ‘historic extension” sits right between the Old Town and Downtown, which we found to be a treat. The historic extension is a botanical garden on Paseo de la Alameda, which offers picturesque views of fountains, palm trees, and, most interestingly, a collection of ten sculptures by Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
This area is definitely for you if you’re looking for the best of both worlds. Not only are you close to all the creature comforts of the financial district, but you also have easy access to the sights of the Old Town and the golden coastline at your fingertips. There is also no shortage of accommodation from budget to luxury and everything in between.
Best Hotels in
- Hotel Lima – Best for luxury
- Amáre Beach Hotel Marbella – Best for adults only
- Dreams of Marbella – Best for mid-range travelers
Puerto Banús: Where to Stay for Luxury Travelers
When it comes to finding the best luxury hotels in Marbella, look no further than the glitz and glamor of Puerto Banús. The area is known worldwide for its extravagant marina and opulent lifestyle and is thus the go-to hotspot for celebs or people who can afford to splurge. Widely accepted as the home of mega-yachts, the Puerto Banús marina is ideal for boat trips, yacht charters, and a scenic stroll around the harbor.
The shopping, eateries, clubs, and real estate are just as extravagant as Puerto Banús’ marina. Shop at local and international high-end boutiques, including El Corte Inglés (an upscale department store), Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Dior. Afterward, feel free to roam around the area and visit upscale restaurants and bars that serve top-quality Mediterranean dishes and gourmet dining with a view.
If you want to stay on the waterfront, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny. There is a distinct air of exclusivity in Puerto Banús, from the luxury cars lining the streets to the high-profile people and celebrities who frequent this always-sunny side of Malaga. However, if you do get in, spend time at one of the many beach clubs known for their comfortable sunbeds, quality service, and frequent events, from live music to parties.
This area also hosts international events like the Marbella International Film Festival, contributing to its luxury reputation. That also means Puerto Banús is generally more expensive than the other areas in the city, but it’s known for having some of the best places to stay in Marbella, even with the high price tag.
If you cannot afford the highly-priced accommodation in this area, it’s only a short distance from the Old Town and the Golden Mile, which still makes it accessible for a visit.
Best Hotels in Puerto Banús
- Sweet Inn – Royal Banús – Best for families
- Hard Rock Hotel – Best for adults only
- Occidental Puerto Banús – Best for mid-range travelers
The Golden Mile: Where to Stay for Nightlife
The Golden Mile has it all for the perfect mixture of nightlife, beaches, hotels, and fine dining. Located between Marbella Center and Puerto Banús, this four-mile (six-kilometer) stretch of coastline is undeniably popular with locals and visitors.
Not only is it one of the most sought-after residential areas on the Costa del Sol, but some of the most luxurious five-star hotels happen to be situated on the stunning golden coast. Aside from the ideal location and the highly-regarded beach real estate, The Golden Mile offers a more refined experience regarding nightlife and entertainment.
Establishments here are considered chic with an aura of decadence, with the cocktail bars and lounges often hosting live music and events until early morning. Pay a visit to Nobu Marbella, Boho Club, or Nikki Beach, some of the best hotels Marbella has to offer, to see what we mean.
Once you’re partied out, be sure to try out any of the area’s abundant wellness and spa facilities, such as Six Senses Spa Hotel Marbella and PureSkin Marbella. Settle into ultimate relaxation when you head to one of the best beachfront locations on The Golden Mile, Playa Nagueles, which boasts soft sand and shallow, calm, turquoise waters. When there, head to Trocadero Playa, a Mediterranean restaurant and chic beach bar that offers sumptuous seafood while you’re at it.
While people head to the area for the nightlife, there’s definitely a place for families looking for a relaxing beach getaway. A bounty of hotels, apartments, and villas is available on The Golden Mile, so you won’t have trouble finding somewhere that suits you perfectly. Keep an eye out for the cheaper shops and restaurants mixed in with all the refined establishments for better deals when there as well.
Best Hotels in The Golden Mile
- Puente Romano Beach Resort – Best for luxury travelers
- Nobu Hotel Marbella – Best for couples
- Boho Club – Best for mid-range travelers
Elviria: Where to Stay for the Beaches
The residential beachside area of Elviria is home to some of the best beaches in Marbella. With a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, this area is best suited for those who want to kick back in the natural beauty of Marbella’s eastern corner.
Enjoy the lush and distinct surroundings of Elviria with its pine forests, vast stretches of coastline, and quiet expanses of golf courses at every turn. Golf enthusiasts will love the area, with notable clubs such as the Santa Maria Golf & Country Club and Greenlife Golf being some of the area’s most popular and well-maintained facilities.
When you’re not busy golfing, head down to Nikki Beach, the famous beach club known for its live music and glamorous ambiance. Then, some of the area’s historic sights, like Santa María de Elviria Church, offer cultural richness to the otherwise serene environment.
Other activities include relaxing at casual cafes like Music Cafe Marbella, relaxing on Cabopino Beach, or renting a boat at Puerto de Cabopino. Anyone can stay there with the vast array of accommodations and relatively low price point; you’re bound to find Elvira to be an idyllic escape.
Best Hotels in Elviria
- Marriot’s Marbella Beach Resort – Best for resort lovers
- Ona Alanda Club Marbella – Best for mid-range travelers
- Hotel Apartamentos Greenlife Golf – Best for budget travelers
San Pedro de Alcantara: Where to Stay for Budget Visitors
Finally, we have San Pedro de Alcantara, a charming town perfect for travelers on a budget. This area is west of Marbella and blends traditional Spanish charm with modern amenities. This area’s key features are its town center and local markets, which offer a delightful historical feel to its otherwise easygoing atmosphere.
Like Marbella’s Old Town, San Pedro shares similarities with its narrow streets, small squares lined with cafes and restaurants, and its Andalusian architecture. You’ll love exploring the area on foot with landmarks like the Church of San Pedro with its distinct bell tower and Bulevar de San Pedro Alcantara. This modern boulevard runs through town with gardens, playgrounds, shops, and eateries.
Another highlight of San Pedro is all the less-crowded and beautiful beaches around the area. You’ll find the quieter coastline a treat for those looking to avoid the busyness of popular places like The Golden Mile. Aside from the historic center and the markets (which sell fresh produce, clothing, crafts, and more), there are also several golf courses in the area, like La Zagaleta and Finca Cortesin Golf Club.
If you’re interested in this serene town, you’ll have no problem finding many budget-friendly accommodations, from hotels to hostels to apartments and golf resorts.
Best Hotels in San Pedro de Alcantara
- NH San Pedro – Best for budget travelers
- Barcélo Marbella – Best for families
- Paloma Blanca Boutique Hotel – Best for beach lovers
FAQs About Staying in Marbella
Now that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the best place to stay in Marbella, you probably have some unanswered questions. Not to worry, we have a list of frequently asked questions about Marbella that may help with planning your trip.
How Many Days Is Enough in Marbella?
You can see a fair bit of Marbella in a three to four-day getaway. However, most people who venture to this city prefer to lazily meander through the sights while enjoying the ever-sunny weather over a week. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your preferences, but for us, a week is the sweet spot for Marbella visits.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Marbella?
Again, preference is key. If you prefer quieter and cheaper holidays, aim for September to October, right after the peak season. Not only are the hottest months over (June-August), but prices are decreasing, visitors are more scarce, and prices are better.
Can you Speak English in Marbella?
While the official language of Marbella is Spanish, many locals speak English. You shouldn’t have much trouble getting around as even certain signage is translated into English. Not only is English widely spoken everywhere, but tons of English-speaking expats, tourists, and retirees are there, making the city more accustomed to the language.
What is the Currency of Marbella?
Marbella uses the Euro just like the rest of Spain. It’s a good idea to keep cash on you when visiting this city as there are often markets, cafes, and vendors who will accept banknotes. However, there is no shortage of ATMs, and most places accept cards. But we recommend you be cautious of your bank charges for transactions abroad, as these can add up during your holiday.
Is Marbella Worth Going To?
Yes! Undoubtedly, Marbella is worth going to. If you love the laid-back beach lifestyle paired with historic charm and absolute luxury, Marbella is the place for you.
Final Thoughts on The Best Places to Stay, Marbella
There you have it, our list of six of the best areas to stay and the best hotels in Marbella, Spain. Finding accommodation in Marbella isn’t tricky if you know where to look. From the soft sandy shoreline of The Golden Mile to the opulence of Puerto Banús, there’s a unique energy to each place you visit in this city.
One thing is certain: if you’re not admiring the crystal clear waters of the endless stretch of Marbella’s coastline, you’re probably lavishing yourself with delicious local delicacies, from tapas to the most divine sangria. You can’t miss a trip to Marbella, where the sun shines about 325 days out of a year, and every day feels like a lazy beach day.
Read Next: Are you still wandering through the province? If so, check out these luxury hotels in Malaga when planning your next trip.