Shops, Monuments & History

Marbella Old Town

Marbella is famous for a glamourous lifestyle of deluxe resorts, beach clubs and boutiques, big yachts, exotic cars and glitzy nightlife. Yet there is another Marbella, a more authentic, quaint place with a long history.

It was known to the Phoenician seafarers by 600 BC, settled by the Romans in 206 BC, and later ruled for centuries by Islamic Moors as part of the Caliphate of Cordoba. The Arabs called it ‘Marbal-la’ and laid out the streets and built city walls.

In 1485 it was one of the last towns the Moors relinquished when it passed without bloodshed into the hands of the Catholic Monarchs – Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II – whose marriage marked the unification of Spain.

Today, Old Town Marbella preserves much of the rich heritage of its history. Renaissance-era whitewashed buildings, flower-draped balconies, colorful churches and lively squares are enclosed by the narrow streets of the old Arab medina. The medieval Plaza de los Naranjos attracts visitors with its orange trees and striking orange parasols. There are wonderful examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture such as the 15th-century City Hall building and Ermita de Santiago church.

But the Old Town is more than historic buildings. It is a vibrant place where people live and work alongside the visitors who come to explore its streets, shop the boutiques and enjoy regional cuisine at lively tapas bars, or just sit outside a café and watch the world pass by in this wonderful part of Marbella.

What to do




coffee shops