Best Day Trips from Marbella

Marbella is a beautiful tourist destination that deserves to be visited and enjoyed in its entirety. At the same time, the surroundings of this coastal city are also quite attractive. Therefore, excursions from Marbella are also a recommendable plan if you have enough time to enjoy this type of activities.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

11 min read

Best Day Trips from Marbella

Sunset in Marbella | Chino Rocha

The best things to see or do in Marbella have everything to do with the touristy nature of this place. It has established itself as one of the most visited corners of the Spanish coastline. It has also become a synonym of luxury and exclusivity for many millionaires who have found in some of its locations an ideal summer destination.

On the other hand, there are hundreds of excursions that take you from Marbella to other nearby communities so that during your visit to the region you can enjoy all the attractions that this corner of the Andalusian coast has to offer. So in this publication I have taken it upon myself to find for you some of the best short breaks of hours or even half a day so that during your short or long stay in Marbella you can marvel at the beauty of the province of Malaga.

1. A trip to Istán by Buggy

La Concepción reservoir in Istán| ©Antonio
La Concepción reservoir in Istán| ©Antonio

Istán is a modest community in the mountains surrounding the Costa del Sol, which is that section of Andalusia that has given Marbella its worldwide fame. From this coastal town, where you would be staying, you can drive for about an hour. However, there is a much more enjoyable way to explore this mountainous part of the Andalusian landscape and that is on a 4-wheeled off-road motorbike, popularly known as a buggy.

This is a tour for true adrenaline junkies, as it is a mostly paved ascent. However, eventually you will take dirt trails that allow you to appreciate the beauty of this place and let you get as close as possible to the best viewpoints that are located around the Embalse de la Concepción.

Keep in mind that this excursion is guided by a specialist in the terrain and the history of the region, which means that at no time do you run the risk of getting lost. The tour fee also includes safety equipment such as a scarf to protect you from dust and goggles for the same purpose.

Hydration is also provided and it should not be forgotten that this is an activity designed for groups of people who are willing to share the vehicle. There will be a driver, but also a co-driver. So the price of the experience is split between the two of you.

Interesting details

  • Price: the usual price for an excursion from Marbella to Istan on 4 wheel motorbikes is around 160 euros. So if you wish to travel alone in your buggy you will pay that full rate, but if you have a co-driver then you will pay 80 euros per person.
  • Duration: this tour usually lasts about two hours, but may be extended to 2.5 hours.
  • Means of transport: a buggy is a completely safe and even comfortable vehicle that will allow you to get to Istan and experience a more entertaining driving experience.
  • Advantages of this option: this experience usually leaves in two shifts during the day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is very convenient for those who want to make the most of their day and already have other activities scheduled for the rest of the day.
  • Disadvantages of this option: this activity is not available for wheelchair users, nor is it recommended for children, travellers with back problems or pregnant women.

Enjoy a buggy excursion to the village of Istan by road

2. Private day trip to Ronda

Bullring of Ronda| ©Keith Roper
Bullring of Ronda| ©Keith Roper

Ronda is another corner of Andalusia that is worth a visit when in Marbella and a private day trip to explore its historic streets and beautiful scenery is probably one of the best ways to enjoy this experience. This is a small town that sits on top of a mountain and there is a whole section of it that is divided in two by a gorge known as El Tajo.

These private tours are designed for relatively large family groups looking to experience this beautiful community with a guide who specialises in the history of the region. The guide would provide personalised accompaniment for each and every stage of the touristic exploration. This makes all the difference in terms of understanding the importance of the site you are visiting and being able to answer all your questions and concerns at the exact moment they arise.

Keep in mind that these types of excursions usually include a direct pick-up from the hotels or residences of their participants, as long as it is a site located within Marbella. There is usually a minimum age for participation of 10 years and due to the characteristics of the vehicles it is not usually an itinerary available for a person in a wheelchair.

In the town of Ronda you will visit places such as the famous Plaza de Toros, which is more than 250 years old, or the well-known Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge built in medieval times over the gorge known as El Tajo. The cathedral, the Plaza España, the streets of the historic centre and free time for lunch at the establishment of your choice are other features of such an excursion.

Details of interest

  • Price: these types of excursions have changing prices, but the usual price per person is 150 euros, but you should know that everything related to prices is adjusted according to the number of participants. Children between 10 and 17 years of age usually get a 50% discount.
  • Duration: the approximate duration of this type of excursion from Marbella to Ronda is about 7 hours. However, depending on the number of people and the time taken at each of the stops, it can be extended to 8 hours or reduced to 6 hours.
  • Means of transport: depending on the number of participants, a minibus is the most common alternative. Although in minimum groups a 7-seater car may be chosen.
  • Advantages of this option: a private excursion is a more intimate and exclusive way of getting to know a tourist destination. At the same time, it can be the most convincing option for those who are really interested in getting to know all the most secret details associated with the monuments and buildings visited on the itinerary.
  • Disadvantages of this option: this type of excursion usually only starts in the morning and this can be a serious logistical impediment for those who have the first half of their days in Marbella taken up by work or other older tourist commitments.

3. Guided tour of the historic centre of Estepona

Flower square in Estepona| ©Ayuntamiento de Estepona
Flower square in Estepona| ©Ayuntamiento de Estepona

Estepona is a tourist destination that has always been directly and closely linked to Marbella, as both places are located at the two ends of the Costa del Sol. In turn, a guided tour of its historic centre can be an excellent idea for those who have been looking for entertaining excursions in the surroundings of this town.

Basically, it is a planned tour of the centre and the most important sites of this community. So you will visit places such as the marina, the promenade, the Plaza de las Flores, the cobbled alleys, the Castle of San Luis and the famous Route of the Artistic Murals.

Keep in mind that this itinerary is usually set up to be done on an electric scooter or electric bicycles. It is therefore essential that you know how to drive this type of vehicle. It should also be noted that this is an activity that has its meeting point in Estepona and therefore it is almost always up to the participants to find a way to get to this town from Marbella.

However, this is not a problem, as there are several transport alternatives such as taking a taxi to get there in less than 50 minutes or taking a bus from the bus station in Marbella. The second option is more interesting from a cost-saving perspective, although you should be aware that a taxi in low season should not charge you more than 30 euros each way.

Interesting details

  • Price: the price of the sightseeing tour is usually around 45 euros per person and if you add the cost of a taxi of 40 euros between 4 passengers then the total price of the excursion is usually around 65 euros, but do calculate the return journey to Marbella.
  • Duration: the approximate duration of this type of excursion is usually about 3 hours for the sightseeing tour plus the 2 hours it would take for any means of transport to go back and forth from Marbella to Estepona.
  • Means of transport: the tour usually takes place on electric bicycles with ecological recharging and the means of transport to get to Estepona depends on your choice.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a convenient option for those who have rented a car to explore in depth the surroundings of Marbella or also for those who have companions to help defray the cost of the taxi between several people.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not knowing how to drive a bicycle or an electric scooter is a significant limitation that would not allow you to enjoy this type of excursion.

Get your guided tour of Estepona's Old Town

4. Caminito del Rey day trip departing from Costa del Sol

Caminito del Rey| ©alfcermed
Caminito del Rey| ©alfcermed

One hour from Marbella, in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, is located the famous Caminito del Rey. It is a hiking route that includes suspension bridges and hanging stretches along a gorge created in a short canyon of the Guadalhorce River. The site also features glass viewing platforms and the trail actually extends well beyond the cliffs, into the mountainous terrain that characterises the area.

The excursions that take you there are one of the best sporting plans involving any kind of physical exertion in Marbella. They all offer a round trip accompanied by a guide who specialises in the terrain and the history of the area.

Keep in mind that this is a shared plan with a significantly large group of people, around 50. The tour includes any taxes or fees you may have to pay to enter the Desfiladeros de los Gaitanes area. The tour also includes a visit to picturesque villages in the area such as Ardales. This is an ideal place to have lunch or a snack before starting the Caminito del Rey route, which is about 3 km long.

Please note that the minimum age for participation is 8 years old and that it is advisable to bring food and hydration for the route. The guides are usually bilingual and please note that there are no hotel pick-ups, but there is always an easily accessible and central meeting point in the Marbella area. This will allow you to get to the bus on time at the time of departure and is usually the same place you will arrive at on your return to the city.

Details of interest

  • Price: the tour usually costs around 68 euros per adult while children between 8 and 11 years of age can pay the reduced rate of 50 euros.
  • Duration: From the time of departure from Marbella to the eventual return trip is approximately 8 hours. However, the walk along the hiking route only takes about 3 hours on average.
  • Means of transport: usually large buses, as it is an excursion designed for groups of around 50 people each way.
  • Advantages of this option: it is a good activity if you like to get close to the natural environment that surrounds you and to marvel in an intimate way with the mountainous landscape that can always be seen in the background of Marbella.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the fact that it is not recommended for seniors or children under 8 years of age can be a real problem for the logistics of many families.

Book a full tour of the Caminito del Rey from the Costa del Sol

How to book a tour from Marbella?

Girl looking for the best deal| ©Andrew Neel
Girl looking for the best deal| ©Andrew Neel

There are different ways to book an excursion from Marbella and all of them are valid depending on your interests and preferences. However, an online booking will always be a convenient alternative due to the fact that there are great benefits such as free cancellation of the purchase or the possibility to see the price fluctuations depending on the selected date.

A tourist agency in one of Marbella's neighbourhoods can also be an option if you feel more comfortable talking directly to a travel agent. The problem with this alternative is that there is no guarantee that you are paying for the cheapest service available if you don't intend to tour all the establishments in town.

Keep in mind that with an online booking you have the option of paying with your credit card or any other digital payment platform. Which can be beneficial if this is the type of payment you normally use for tourist services for a trip you are planning well in advance.

It is worth noting the fact that other events related to exploring the Costa del Sol such as the best boat tours in Marbella are activities that are normally booked and paid for through online platforms.

Enjoy the best boat tours around Marbella

Tips for an excursion from Marbella

Family on the beach in Marbella| ©Silviya Nenova
Family on the beach in Marbella| ©Silviya Nenova

There are several tips I can give you when thinking about a Marbella excursion, but the best of all will always be to choose an alternative that suits your tastes and interests. Marbella is a destination that has a lot of situations to offer to all tourists, from extremely luxurious activities to events and plans that have everything to do with nature without involving a significant expense to enjoy it.

On the other hand, another tip I can give you is that if you are travelling with children you should evaluate if it is really an activity for the whole family. The reality is that there are hundreds of activities to do in Marbella with children and not necessarily a long excursion is the most appropriate situation for them depending on their ages and behaviour.

The weather conditions of the date you are choosing is also very influential when deciding the type of activity or excursion you book. For example, a sea walk might be one of the best things to do in Marbella in the summer because of the water conditions while a hiking tour might be one of the best things to do in Marbella in the winter because of the ambient temperature.

Why is it advisable to go on an excursion from Marbella?

Marbella's promenade| ©Konrad Hädener
Marbella's promenade| ©Konrad Hädener

On the other hand, there is the fact that an excursion in Marbella is always an appropriate plan if you have enough time to enjoy yourself in the surroundings of the city when you have seen the most important attractions of the city centre. The Costa del Sol and the surrounding mountains are one of the most beautiful places in Spain and specifically one of the great tourist attractions of Andalusia.

So one thing I can recommend is that you always start your trip by enjoying the best tours of Marbella and with the time you have left over you can start enjoying the best excursions to the surroundings of the city. This way you are making sure you get the most out of the destination you have chosen, but you are also making the most of your time to get to know everything that is connected in some way to this special place.