Marbella in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

If you are planning to visit Marbella and you only have 3 days, don't worry, the city has something for everyone!

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

8 min read

Marbella in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Marbella | Simon Hermans

Born as a small fishing village and later converted into one of the most important centres of leisure, luxury and good living in Spain, Marbella has made a name for itself among the holiday destinations of many Spaniards, Europeans and tourists from all over the world. With charming little streets full of flowers, dreamy beaches and incredible gastronomy, you will find endless options to have a great time.

If you are wondering what to see and do in Marbella on a long weekend, here I have selected for you some of the things and places you can't miss, arranged, of course, in a daily itinerary, so that you can make the most of these three days in the capital of the Costa del Sol. Are you ready? Here we go!

Day 1: Visit the old town, the Alameda Park, the Plaza de los Naranjos and the Alcazaba

Marbella Old Town| ©Lynn Vdbr
Marbella Old Town| ©Lynn Vdbr

The best thing to do when touring a city you don't know is to start at its most iconic sites. Although Marbella is a destination of beach, enjoyment and luxury par excellence, it also has a quieter side, with a superb cultural wealth that is well worth getting to know. It is a city that, over the years, has received the heritage of multiple cultures, which have left their indelible mark on its architecture, its customs and its people.

Experience the old town of Marbella

Take a stroll through the old town, one of the most charming corners of Marbella. You will see all the beauty of its little streets, its white houses and its thousands of flowerpots with geraniums. In its layout we can recognise the traces of an Arab past which, together with its Andalusian architecture, gives the whole a unique personality.

This is a walk that will undoubtedly make you fall in love with Marbella. Here you can stop to take hundreds of photographs and perhaps buy some handicrafts to take home. Although any time of the year lends itself to a stroll through the old town, in warmer temperatures you will enjoy it much more, in fact, a stroll through the old town is undoubtedly one of the top 10 things to do in Marbella in summer.

If you prefer, you can take this beautiful tour of the old town of Marbella on a bike. There are many guided tours that take you around the most remarkable corners of the city while you cycle with your guide, in small groups. A great way to get to know the city while getting some exercise. The bike can get into places that other vehicles can't, so you can really get to know the city in depth.

Book your bike tour in Marbella

Have a drink at the Plaza de los Naranjos

Located in the centre of the old town, this square is one of the most important in the city. It has a small Renaissance-style fountain and a large number of terraces, where you can have tapas or a drink in the shade of its leafy trees. You will see that the Plaza de los Naranjos is the epicentre of social life in the city of Marbella, a pleasant place to hang out.

Around it, you will also be able to appreciate three buildings of great historical value: the Casa del Corregidor, the Casa Consistorial and the Ermita de Santiago. These three buildings are in a perfect state of conservation and are part of the city's most stately past.

Visit the Alameda Park

Located about ten minutes walk from the Plaza de los Naranjos, at one end of the old town, is the Alameda Park, one of the most characteristic and beautiful spots in the city.

Built in 1792, it is an authentic green lung for Marbella. It has a beautiful fountain, which is surrounded by benches decorated with tiles, a botanical garden and a large number of paths, which invite you to take a leisurely stroll through them. As it is located in the centre of the city, it has become a popular place of recreation and relaxation for its residents.

Walk around the Alcazaba and the old city walls of Marbella

After enjoying the old town, you can take a tour of the Alcazaba. This is the remains of an ancient castle and walls that protected the city at the time of the Moorish occupation. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, they are currently in very good condition and can be visited in their entirety.

A perfect place to visit with the family, as it is one of the top 10 things to do with children in Marbella. The little ones will be able to let their imagination run wild and think about the battles that have taken place right there, a few centuries ago.

Day 2: Playa de la Venus, Avenida del Mar, Paseo Marítimo and a taste of the local gastronomy

Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall
Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall

Start your second day in the capital of the Costa del Sol with breakfast by the sea, at the blù café bar. Then I invite you to enjoy one of Marbella's greatest attractions: the sea.

Leisure day at the Venus Beach

Located very close to the Alameda Park, the Venus Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Marbella. Here you can have a great time, alone, with friends or with your family, as it has activities for adults and children, water sports, restaurants and bars. In the summer season it is usually very busy and you can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea in all its splendour. With an average of over 300 days of sunshine a year, Marbella is an ideal place to enjoy beach life. Golden sand, warm clear water and a lively atmosphere, you'll see why so many celebrities have chosen to holiday in this beautiful coastal town.

Meeting Dalí on the Avenida del Mar

With only 3 days, my advice is to spend one morning on the beach and then continue visiting the city, otherwise you will have a lot left to see. Walk along the Avenida del Mar. Located just a 5-minute walk from Playa de la Venus, this is a relatively short pedestrian avenue where, in addition to being a very pleasant walk, you can enjoy 9 amazing sculptures by the great Salvador Dalí.

As in the Parque de la Constitución, the works of art by the Spanish artist, a central figure of the surrealist movement, are located along this beautiful urban promenade. It is worth walking among the fountains and palm trees that decorate the place to come face to face with, for example, the bronze image of Perseus holding the head of Medusa.

Take a tapas tour of Marbella

If you are a lover of good food, one of the favourite options for travellers visiting Marbella is to go on a tapas tour of the best bars in the coastal city. An incredible experience that will allow you to spend some time tasting some of the most typical flavours of the local cuisine, while you will learn part of its history from your specialised guide.

Gastronomy is always a way of getting in touch with what is most typical of each town or region. Savouring the local flavours will bring you closer to the people and their customs. In Marbella, fish and seafood are always present, so you can't miss the rice and paella specialities. That's why a tapas tour through the old town is an excellent idea.

Book your tapas tour in Marbella

Enjoy the local atmosphere in the Paseo Marítimo

Continue to enjoy a place with style, Marbella's Paseo Marítimo. Along its 7 kilometres, you'll find tapas bars and restaurants, shops, atmosphere and the best views of the coast. A place you can't miss if you're passing through Marbella.

And if it's time for dinner and you're one of those who enjoy a good glass of wine and a delicious seafood dish, be sure to book your place on a boat trip along the coast of Marbella, with wine and seafood tasting. Plus, you'll be able to watch the sunset over the sea. One of the best ways to end this second day.

A boat trip around Marbella will leave you fascinated by the beauty of its coastline, which, as the sun goes down, begins to light up. An unforgettable postcard, to enjoy alone, as a couple, with friends or as a family.

Day 3: Puerto Banús and flamenco evening

Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall
Puerto Banús| ©Viktor Ritsvall

The good things also come to an end, so make the most of your third and last day in Marbella. For today, I suggest you visit Puerto Banús. Also located in the district of Nueva Andalucia, since its inauguration in the 70's, this place has become an unparalleled tourist destination that you can't miss on this 3 day trip.

Visit Puerto Banús

From the centre of Marbella take the bus line 1, which runs along the coast, and in less than 15 minutes you will have reached Puerto Banús. The bus ticket costs around 4 or 5 euros per passenger. On the way you can enjoy the privileged view of the Mediterranean.

This is one of the best day trips you can make from Marbella, here you will find a huge amount of activities to spend a magical day. Puerto Banús has the possibility of doing various water sports, you can see yachts and luxury boats.

This place has been for more than 50 years one of the most chosen destinations for personalities from the world of cinema and music, European and Persian Gulf royal families, among others. Puerto Banús is an ideal place to browse luxury boutiques, dine in one of its exclusive restaurants or enjoy its tireless nightlife.

Enjoy the best international cuisine on the seafront

When you're here you can't miss the delicious seafood casseroles, paellas and fish dishes, which are absolutely delicious. Although, I must tell you that, in the port area, there are options for all tastes. Puerto Banús is a place that receives visitors from all over the world, so here you can find Asian, Greek or Italian restaurants , pizzas or even gourmet burgers and fries. Find a restaurant with a sea view for a unique experience.

Finish the night with a flamenco show in the old town

After a day of pure sun, beach and luxury, I suggest you take bus number 1 back to the centre of Marbella, so you can get ready for a night of pure gypsy dancing and singing. To end this last day in Marbella, what better than to witness an authentic Andalusian flamenco show. There are many places with shows of an excellent level. This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Marbella.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, flamenco is much more than a style of music, it is a way of feeling. You will be able to experience the emotion of one of the most intimately Spanish artistic expressions. Recommended for the whole family.

The show does not include dinner, so I recommend that you head to the Paseo Marítimo, and bid farewell to Marbella with some Mediterranean food at Alabardero Beach Club. A place where absolutely everything is delicious, and every dish is prepared with the utmost delicacy. Take my advice, you won't regret it.

Book your authentic flamenco show in Marbella

That's all for this time, I hope you found the article useful, and that you enjoy this wonderful coastal city. Marbella in 3 days may not seem like much, but if you adjust your itinerary a bit you will see that you get the most out of the city. See you next time!