If your idea of an amazing holiday experience includes wildlife and water parks, you will have a good time in Marbella, but if you truly, truly, want to experience the authenticity of this city, and want her to fill your heart, then you must allow her to embrace you with her beguiling Bougainvillea-clad laneways and azure seas.
Marbella’s beauty is not to be found following a guide, flag flailing above the throng of sticker-clad tour groups who alight their cruise ships for a few fleeting hours before whisking off to one more exotic destination, merely glancing at the city’s beauty.
It is in the Old Town – the afternoons lazing on pristine beaches, the warm nights dancing with strangers who become friends, talking ‘til dawn – which is where the passionate souls of Marbella are to be found.
The Art of the Long Lunch
Marbella’s secret is the placid ease at which the Marbellis live their lives. They know how to take pleasure in a sunlit afternoon, languishing over a lunch of gazpacho, fried fish and cava, which lasts until long shadows form on stone archways, and the sun gives way to starlit skies above Mediterranean seas.
Long lunches begin with an array of fresh tapas before you take a seat at a crisp white linen-clothed table, and casually peruse the menu. Then enjoy a glass of crisp white wine perhaps, followed by lively conversation, as you take in the coastline that stretches before you.
A Return to Tradition
Dare to explore a little further than the opulent marinas and coastline of Marbella, and you will venture into Old Town, and the historical Plaza de Los Naranjos and the Church of St Mary.
The Plaza, or Orange Square, is where café owners greet you with an invitation to enjoy their fine fair, and local shop owners, who inherited their family’s businesses, still ply their trade. And whether you are religious or not, the Church of St Mary, with its façade of red stone, quietly sitting at peace among the many ruins accessible in this part of town, will put you at ease.
A Stay Within the Heart of Marbella
A stay in Marbella’s hotels can be likened to lifestyles of the rich and famous – well George Clooney does keep a villa here – and although ritzy hotels are the norm, what enticed me was the quaint Andalusian-styled villas that hark back to the days when the likes of Grace Kelly holidayed here. Do as the locals do: rise late in the morning, enjoy espresso and baked goods on your balcony, and take in the splendor of all that lies before you.
Terraced gardens and quaint balconies beckon you to explore Marbella’s cobbled lane ways, flanked by the traditional white houses featured on many a picture postcard. Look around as you pass people on the streets as they go about their daily lives; slow down, and walk at their leisurely pace.
Marbella is a celebration of spirit, a slow dance under moonlight, and a touch that caresses your soul.
This article is written as part of the #hipmunklove project. All opinions are my own and I would never recommend anything I didn’t believe in or use myself.