Marbella - Where to stay for first time travelers

Where to Stay in Marbella for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

The first association of Spain is tapas, flamenco and exciting architecture, and the first cities that come to mind are Barcelona and Madrid. And although these are the most popular tourist destinations, I’m challenging you to change your perspective and search for where to stay in Marbella. It is a town 60 kilometres from Malaga, known for its excellent luxury resorts, extraordinary beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

It is situated in the Costa del Sol region, on the slopes of the Sierra Blanca Mountain. Marbella is a place to relax and explore rich Spanish and Andalusian history and traditional cuisine. This coastal city is a real jewel of Spain and Costa del Sol.

Question: Where to stay in Marbella for a first-time visit?

On average, 800,000 tourists pass here every year, and one of the many things that attracts them is the mild temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. Marbella is divided into 2 parts, namely the more traditional Old Town, decorated with white-washed houses with red tile roofs, and Nueva Andalucia, a part with luxury hotels, posh restaurants and the semi-circular coastline spot Golden Mile with the most famous beaches here.

Wherever you look for accommodation, you will find something that will suit you and keep you occupied during your stay. Marbella will not disappoint you.

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. This guide includes the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the Marbella.

Read more: Take a look at our guide to 7 days in Spain.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated May 2024.)

But, first things first:

Here is the question: Where to stay in Marbella for a first-time visit?

The answer is simple: Marbella Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

One of the better options for stationing is the Old Town, a quiet neighbourhood with lots of colourful flowers and the most famous tourist attractions within easy reach. Here, you can also find Iglesia De La Encarnación, an 18th-century church built in the Renaissance and Baroque style, which used to be a mosque.

You can also visit the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Engraving, which has impressive works by Picasso and Dali. Start from this place if you want to explore history and tradition with a unique charm. If you’re looking for more visit-worthy places to stay in Marbella, here are a few recommendations:

  • Orange Square (Plaza de los Naranjos)
  • Marbella Castle (Castillo de Marbella)
  • Church of Saint Mary (Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación)
  • Alameda Park

Why do we recommend these areas?

Plaza de los Naranjos is perhaps the most famous point in the city, a place to gather and start many activities and friendships. It’s filled with orange trees and beautiful cosy cafes all around. There is also a church from the 15th century and a town hall whose walls are decorated with many flowers.

Wander through the walls that once protected this city as you’re searching for where to stay in Marbella. Castillo de Marbella dates back to the 9th century and is one of the best-preserved spots of Moorish architecture. It is open to the public and has a museum on site.

Close to other attractions is this impressive church from the 16th century, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación.

Alameda Park is a real oasis located in the city centre. It offers a quiet retreat and is open from 9 am to 10 pm. An ideal place to escape the heat and crowds for a moment.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:Casco Antiguo
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:Vacation Marbella I
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:HC6 Boutique Marbella
💎 Best Luxury HotelModerno y Luminoso Apartamento
🤩 Best Design Hotel:La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury
😎 Best for Groups:Marbella Urb
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Hostal El Gallo
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:Apartment Banus
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome
👌 Safest Area: Golden Mile

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Marbella

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

Marbella is a resort town you will enjoy spending time in. It offers excellent and spacious beaches where you can learn wind skiing and jet surfing. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Marbella and explore its surroundings, go to Rio Verde.

To add fun to your holiday, find Funny Beach Marbella, a go-karting and pools amusement park close to Playa del Calle. For an enhanced adventure experience with your loved ones, buy a ticket for Aventura Amazonia, which has an obstacle course with high ropes.

Golden Mile

If you are coming with a family, visit Marbella from April to October and avoid July and August. The Golde Mile neighbourhood is for you if you enjoy good food and relaxing beaches while still being close to all the attractions. Moreover, it’s also an exceptionally safe place for children. Grab a spot on La Bajadilla Beach even before 10 am. This is Marbella’s glamourous marina, where you can eat great paella as a family or enjoy the buzzing beaches.

Puerto Banús

Puerto Banus is a great neighbourhood to book a luxury stay resort and simply indulge in enjoyment. Very central location close to the restaurants and shops. If you’re looking for where to stay in Marbella without having to rent a car, this is the place.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Vacation Marbella I Central Puerto Banus Apt, Golden Mile

Vacation Marbella I  has an outdoor pool that your children will surely like. It can accommodate four people, with 2 bedrooms overlooking the beautiful garden. You have family rooms available; contact the host if you need help with the airport shuttle.

Book Vacation Marbella I here

Relax and unwind at VACATION MARBELLA I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina, Sea View, Beachfront

Have a great time at VACATION MARBELLA I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina, Sea View, Beachfront

Vacation Marbella I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina, Puerto Banús

Vacation Marbella I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina of 140 square metres with 3 bedrooms intended for 6 people. There is also a garden and a swimming pool. You and your children can rent bicycles if you have a sporty spirit and explore the surrounding area.

Book Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina here

Private room at VACATION MARBELLA I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina

Have a pleasant stay at VACATION MARBELLA I Banus Waterfront Penthouse Marina

 1.2 Couples

Looking for where to stay in Marbella? This place hides the most romantic promenade in Spain, which is confirmed by many couples who have visited it. What’s more, it is a year-round destination, so you have no excuse not to see it.

If you want a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, buy the necessary groceries and go for a picnic by the Turtle Lake picnic. If you have more time and are fit, walking about 13.5 kilometres will lead you to the most beautiful natural viewpoint, Pico de l Cocha, which offers a 360-degree view of Marbella.

Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

Stroll Avenida Del Mar is a walkway that connects the old town and Marbella Marina. It has a beautiful romantic vibe and breathtaking artistic structures by the artist Dali. Finally, you can lie on the Plaza De Venus and enjoy the sunset. Remember Plaza de Mar, a slightly more dynamic and lively beach. If you want a cocktail in the evening, reserve a table on the Bellevue Rooftop and enjoy the view of the whole city.

Puerto Banús

If you’re wondering which is the most romantic place to stay in Marbella, I guarantee you the best sunsets are in Puerto Banus. Here, you can feel the luxurious taste of Andalusia in every sense. If you have time, take a tremendous 3-hour boat tour.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

HC6 Boutique Marbella – Adults Only, Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

Can you think of a better honeymoon accommodation than one that is adult-only and has a perfect central yet quiet location? HC6 Boutique Marbella has an excellent rating for couples’ stay and beautiful and stylish rooms for two.

Book HC6 Boutique Marbella here

Make yourself at home at HC6 Boutique Marbella

Enjoy your time at HC6 Boutique Marbella

Occidental Puerto Banús, Puerto Banús

Occidental Puerto Banús has a garden, with 2 swimming pools and private parking, and a golf course in the business area. Fabulous breakfast is included in the offer every morning, and after dinner, you can have a drink at the on-site bar. For couples, I recommend you choose the Junior Suite.

Book Occidental Puerto Banús here

Experience comfort at Occidental Puerto Banús

Have a wonderful stay at Occidental Puerto Banús

1.3 Luxury traveler

If you are hesitating between Marbella and Malaga, I will tell you that Marbella is a true luxury holiday dream. With a beautiful fine dining spot like El Lago Restaurant, you won’t want to get up from here. And if you didn’t know, Marbella hides the best golf courses.

Some resorts even have high-class golf courses. One round costs about 50-100 euros, and if you want to book an appointment, consider Los Naranjos Golf Club. The best Michelin-starred restaurants are Skina, a restaurant in the old town and Messina, known for colourful seafood dishes.

Wondering where to stay in Marbella to experience its full luxury? Here are my top recommendations!

Puerto Banús

This part is often compared to the French Riviera because of the promenades, luxury yachts, and parked sports cars. Something you should not miss is to board the boat tours that depart from this port. See below for luxury resorts to choose from, and don’t forget to check out the most luxurious blue flag beaches: Playa de la Fontanilla and Playa San Pedro de Alantra.

Golden Mile

This neighbourhood is famous for the Arabian Temple, the most modern mosque dating from 1981. The district has luxury resorts with tropical gardens, restaurants and high-end shops. Visit the Roman Villa and see how luxuriously the ancient Romans lived.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Moderno y Luminoso Apartamento, Puerto Banús

The entire apartment of 96 square metres is at your disposal, with a kitchen, outdoor pool, and 2 bedrooms for 4 guests. All rooms are luxuriously furnished, and there is also an outdoor pool in the garden.

Book Moderno y Luminoso Apartamento here

Enjoy your stay at Moderno y luminoso apartamento en Las Gaviotas

Have fun at Moderno y luminoso apartamento en Las Gaviotas

Puerto Banus, Golden Mile

Puerto Banus luxurious apartment has a beachfront location. It’s a fabulous apartment with a city view, which can comfortably and luxuriously accommodate 6 guests, in 2 bedrooms with 2 separate baths. Wondering if this is the right answer to where to stay in Marbella, Spain? Note that the apartment has a private beach area and a private entrance.

Book Puerto Banus here

Relax and unwind at Puerto Banus luxurious apartment

Have a great time at Puerto Banus luxurious apartment

1.4 Design-lovers

Welcome to the city that offers many stylish souvenirs and designer pieces. Head to Mercado Mercadillo to satisfy your shopping urge or visit La Canada Shopping Centre. Moreover, go to the Ralli Museum for free, where interesting artworks by the renowned Salvador Dali and Marc Chagall are displayed.

If you want to take a photogenic picture, go to Calle Nueva and take a picture with the famous Marbella letters.

Marbella Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

Still wondering where to stay in Marbella? On the map, find Calle Carmen and the wall of Marbella Town Hall decorated with many gorgeous flowers. Find more picture-perfect spots around Renaissance fountains and Ermita de Santa Chapel.

Puerto Banús

The best places to stay in Marbella await you in Puerto Banús. And if you are also a fan of designer interiors, don’t wait to book a place in one of the resorts.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury, Relais & Châteaux, Marbella Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

Great location with even better room service and a stylish bar. La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury also has 3 restaurants decorated with pictures and design moments. I recommend the Suite with a balcony for lovers of aesthetics.

Book La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury here

Private room at La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury

Have a pleasant stay at La Fonda Heritage Hotel Luxury

Luxurious Frontline Penthouse in Puerto Banus, Puerto Banús

The luxurious frontline penthouse is 130 square meters and has an excellent sea view. It has a private beach area and a beautiful yard. Inside are 2 bedrooms and a living room comfortable for 7 people, along with a small functional kitchen.

Book Luxurious Frontline Penthouse here

Make yourself at home at luxurious frontline penthouse

Enjoy your time at luxurious frontline penthouse

1.5 Groups

Marbella is an excellent location for a group visit. Although it is quiet, some parts offer entertainment for all ages and interests. If you’re looking for where to stay in Marbella as a group, you can book a joint walking tour of 2-3 hours for 20 euros per person. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can also organize a day trip to Ojen, a picturesque village along the Las Nieves Mountain and only 7km from Marbella.

Puerto Banús

The coast offers various entertainment options, from bars and beaches to nightclubs and private boat tours. Almost all accommodations offer relaxation through pool facilities and wellness properties.

Golden Mile

This is the region with the most expensive real estate and sophisticated settings. I recommend Marbella Club Hotel Beach Club, Puente Romano Beach Resort or Ocean Club. Take your company and explore all these places.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Marbella Urb, Marina Banús IV Puerto Banus, Puerto Banús

Marbella Urb has 1 bedroom and a bed in the living room, so it is suitable for 4 guests. There is also a garden and a pool on the terrace. Some of the most famous attractions are also located nearby.

Book Marbella Urb here

Have a wonderful stay at Marbella Urb.Marina Banús IV

Experience comfort at Marbella Urb.Marina Banús IV

Sanders Sol 2 in the Heart of Puerto Banús Nightlife, Golden Mile

Wondering which are the best places to stay in Marbella? This is a modern, clean apartment with 2 bedrooms and a living room with a contemporary seating area. The WIFI connection is excellent, and the check-in instructions are straightforward. Sanders Sol 2 – Modern Two-Bedroom Apartment can accommodate 11 guests, so it’s great for those travelling in a large group.

Book Sanders Sol 2 here

Enjoy your stay at Sanders Sol 2 - Modern Two-Bedroom Apartment

Have fun at Sanders Sol 2 - Modern Two-Bedroom Apartment

1.6 Solo-travelers

This city has a rich festival program, so if you come in June, don’t miss the Saint Barnabe celebration; in July, come to glorify the Virgin del Carmen. On the first of November is the El Toston festival. Marbella is ideal for solo travellers because it has a low crime rate, so don’t hesitate to make this your next destination.

Marbella Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

Your solo trip will only be complete if you visit the old town. This is the more traditional part of the city and is tempting for those who want to learn more about history. If you are a foodie, take on a food tour of the local market here. And for a good atmosphere, sit down at Mia Cafe- Tapas & Bar.

Puerto Banús

Still haven’t found where to stay in Marbella? The alluring, glorious location has a vibrant social scene, so you will never be bored. Whatever you choose, whether it’s a walk along the waterfront promenade or lunch at the local restaurants, you won’t be disappointed. Hostels are primarily located in the interior of the place.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Hostal El Gallo, Marbella Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

This single room with a private bath option is an excellent value for the money. You also have free WIFI, a restaurant in Hostal El Gallo, and all the necessary amenities such as clean sheets, slippers, a hairdryer, an iron, etc. It is excellent for a 1-night stay.

Book Hostal El Gallo here

Relax and unwind at Hostal El Gallo

Have a great time at Hostal El Gallo

Ona Marbella Inn

Ona Marbella Inn is our gateway to seaside bliss! Just a short stroll, 550 meters from the beach, this vibrant retreat promises endless fun under the sun.

Take your pick from cozy rooms, versatile studios, or spacious apartments, all equipped with cool AC, free Wi-Fi, and your own sunny balcony or terrace. Plus, whip up a snack or two in the kitchenette if you’re feeling peckish!

Up on the rooftop, dive into the pool with a view, perfect for a splash or a soak while soaking in those breathtaking mountain and sea vistas. And when hunger strikes, swing by the bar for some tasty treats and refreshing drinks until 11 PM.

Got questions or need tips for exploring Marbella? No problemo! The friendly staff at the 24-hour reception are here to help, from insider info to booking those must-see tours.

Ready to explore? Marbella’s charming Old Town is just 300 meters away, or hop in the car and hit the nearby golf courses in under 10 minutes. Adventure awaits at Ona Marbella Inn!

Book Ona Marbella Inn here

Pool side on Ona Marbella Inn

Relax in Ona Marbella Inn private bedroom

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

Marbella is often compared to Ibiza when talking about nightlife. It’s a real shame not to take the time to explore the nightlife or pay for a tapas tour for 150 euros, which lasts 3 hours and passes several different locations and even more tapas bars. This is the perfect idea for you to spend the afternoon in Marbella. If you are not tired, go to the Flamenco show or the Andalusian horse performance. If you hesitate between Marbella and Malaga for nightlife, I would recommend going with Marbella.

Puerto Banús

Puerto Banús is a lovely area where you can experience the essence of the city’s nightlife. I recommend the following beaches for both daytime and evening parties: Playa del Real de Zaragoza, Nikki Beach, Ocean Beach, and Aqwa Mist A of clubs: Pangea Marbella (VIP club), Tibu Banus (R&B venue)

Gоlden Mile

While you’re here, enjoy the vast Olivia Valere complex or the energetic News Cafe Marbella. Suppose you want an afternoon in a sophisticated atmosphere. In that case, it’s time for La Suite Club or the stylish Funky Buddha.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

Apartment Banus, Puerto Banús

Apartment Banus has 2 bedrooms; you have garage parking and a mini market in the complex. It is located 600 meters from Puerto BAnus Beach.

Book Apartment Banus here

Private room at Apartment Puerto Banus

Have a pleasant stay at Apartment Puerto Banus

Vacation Marbella I Terrazas de Banus, Golden Mile

Vacation Marbella I Terrazas de Banus is a lovely apartment in the middle of Puerto Banus, with a luxurious and comfortable ambience. It offers everything you need: pool, garden, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, city view and private parking.

Book Vacation Marbella I Terrazas de Banus here

Make yourself at home at VACATION MARBELLA I Terrazas de Banus

Enjoy your time at VACATION MARBELLA I Terrazas de Banus

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

Looking for where to stay in Marbella as a budget traveller? As mentioned, Marbs is a bike-friendly environment, so you can rent a bike for 10-15 euros for the whole day. If you are coming from Málaga, taking a bus is the cheapest.

Generally, Marbella is known as Glamour-Bella due to its luxury resorts and golf courses. However, there is still something to suit everyone’s budget. Use either a bicycle or a bus to get to the centre, and for walking around the centre, you can reserve free walking tours in advance, and there are even free guided tours.

San Pedro de Alcántara

Located 8 miles from the centre, this place is close to the beach and ideal for water sports. This place is worthy of history and appealing to both travellers and locals.

Nueva Andalucía

The new part of town is a residential area, which means that here, you can find cheap Airbnb. Moreover, you’ll also have access to a variety of affordable street food like churros and fried fish.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome, San Pedro de Alcántara

Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome is 70 square meters, perfect for accommodating 4 people with two bedrooms available. There is a pool you can use, and the WIFI connection is excellent. Nearby, you have free parking and a beachfront location. The nearest airport is 63 kilometres away in Malaga.

Book Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome here

Experience comfort at Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome

Have a wonderful stay at Apartment Lorcrisur by Interhome

Vacation Marbella I, Nueva Andalucía

Apartment for 8 people, with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths and a kitchen equipped with everything you need for a one-week stay. Vacation Marbella I Top 1 Puerto Banus Sea Front Rental has a private entrance and comes at a price of around 90 euros per person per night.

Book Vacation Marbella I here

Enjoy your stay at VACATION MARBELLA I Top 1 Puerto Banus Sea Front Rental

Have fun at VACATION MARBELLA I Top 1 Puerto Banus Sea Front Rental

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in Marbella

Whichever neighbourhood you choose, you can’t go wrong. If you are curious about history and tradition, stay in the Old Town. If you want luxury and exclusive resorts, Puerto Banus is waiting for you. Golden Mile has a family-friendly atmosphere and well-equipped resorts. For beaches, I recommend Puerto Banus and San Pedro areas. Night birds may fly over to Puerto Banus.

Once again, here are the neighbourhoods to consider:

  • Old Town (Casco Antiguo)
  • Puerto Banús
  • Golden Mile
  • Nueva Andalucía

FAQs

What is the best neighborhood to stay in Marbella?

The best neighborhood to stay in Marbella depends on your preferences and interests. For a charming and historic experience, consider staying in the Old Town (Casco Antiguo), while those seeking luxury and glamour might prefer Puerto Banús. Families might find the Golden Mile appealing, and budget travelers may opt for areas like San Pedro de Alcántara or Nueva Andalucía.

Where should you not stay in Marbella?

Marbella is generally a safe and welcoming destination, but like any city, there are areas that might not suit everyone's preferences. While there isn't necessarily a specific area to avoid, travelers should research accommodations thoroughly to ensure they align with their expectations and needs. It's also advisable to avoid areas that are significantly far from the city center if you prefer easy access to attractions and amenities.

What should I avoid in Marbella?

While Marbella is a fantastic destination, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a pleasant experience. Avoiding tourist traps in heavily crowded areas can help you find more authentic experiences and better value for money. Additionally, be cautious of petty theft, especially in crowded tourist areas, and keep your belongings secure. It's also advisable to avoid swimming in areas with strong currents or where swimming is prohibited for safety reasons.

Where should I stay in Marbella for the first time?

For a first-time visit to Marbella, the Old Town (Casco Antiguo) is an excellent choice. It offers a charming atmosphere with historic sites, picturesque streets, and easy access to attractions like Plaza de los Naranjos and Marbella Castle. Staying in the Old Town allows visitors to immerse themselves in Marbella's rich history and culture while enjoying proximity to cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Map + All Sights

Summary where to stay in Marbella

Be wise and plan your stay in Marbella in advance, book all the tickets for museums or amusement parks, and chill on the beach the rest of the time. This was my Where to Stay in Marbella guide, in which you will learn everything you need to know in order to have an amazing stay there. You have suggestions for restaurants, local attractions, budget-friendly spots, and delicious food.

Make the most of Marbella, and if you liked this guide, check out the rest of my blogs. I am waiting for you with impressions and pictures!

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

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