You won’t be able to resist Marbella’s Old Town

Posted by Katy Peck on 1 March 2019
Related property: Benavista
You won’t be able to resist Marbella’s Old Town

Benavista is part of the Holiday Property Bond portfolio offering exclusive access to over 1,400 properties to its 42,000 investors across more than 30 locations. You can find out more about Benavista here, but first some important information about the Holiday Property Bond. It is designed to provide holidays for life but it is an investment product so subject to charges, your capital is at risk and you may not be able to cash in during the first two years. For further details please read "How HPB Works"

If you’re treating yourself to a stay at our Bena Vista property, you couldn’t be blamed for just enjoying the pool, your comfortable accommodation and the year-round sunshine! But if you want to get out and about during your visit, there’s plenty to explore just a stone’s throw from the site.

Marbella & the Old Town

The town of Marbella is less than 20 minutes away down the A-7. All too often, the town is thought of as something of a concrete jungle, full of expensive shops, apartments and tourists. However, hidden amongst the hustle and bustle is a historic gem which often passes people by – Marbella’s Old Town.

The Old Town can be found in the centre of the town, just up from the Acenida Ricardo Soriano, which is the main street running through Marbella. It’s a unique part of the town, partially surrounded by the ruins of an old Arab wall and with such a distinct feel that it’s almost a separate village, brimming with ancient architecture, boutiques, art galleries, bars and restaurants.

Bursting with whitewashed buildings and narrow, twisting streets, the Old Town looks like it's been plucked straight from a postcard. It consists of two historical quarters; Barrio Alto and Barrio Nuevo, and mostly still retains its original layout, dating all the way back to the 16th Century. Today the cobbled streets ramble through the bright white buildings, revealing window boxes of bright flowers and unique little details – every corner hides something new and beautiful.

Old Town’s Best Sights

At the centre of the Old Town is Plaza de los Naranjos, which translates to Orange Square. This beautiful and traditionally Andaluxian square is full of lively terraces, orange trees and tropical plants. Spring could be said to be the best time to visit, when the blossom is in bloom, but it’s a delightful spot at any time of year. Visit in the winter and you’ll see plenty of oranges growing on the trees, although we wouldn’t recommend eating them – they’re used to make marmalade and are very bitter!

Castilian Renaissance architecture surrounds the square, which is the true heart of the Old Town and contains the City Hall and Tourist Office, where you can pick up brochures and maps of the city. In the centre of the plaza, you will find a statue of King Juan Carlos. During the day you can sit quietly in one of the square’s many cafes with a coffee or glass of wine, watching the world come and go. In the evenings, the plaza comes alive with open-air restaurants and lively performances from flamenco dancers and local bands.

The square also contains the oldest church in town - Ermita de Santiago. Built in the 15th Century, following the capture of Marbella by the Crown of Castile, it was the first Christian church in Marbella. It’s remarkably well-preserved and built in a true Mediterranean style, with a single rectangular nave covered with Islamic tiles and with a wooden carving of Christ. At Christmas, this small chapel is transformed into a nativity scene, with a remarkable level of detail.

Just a short walk away, you’ll come across the Marbella Castle Walls (Murallas del Castillo). These were once part of an impressive 10th Century Moorish citadel, although today very little remains. As it’s not open to the public, you’ll have to make do with viewing this fortification from the outside. However, you can still witness the rich history and the see how the Moors recycled materials from other Roman constructions in order to build the walls. The wall reaches all the way down to Portada Street before it disappears.

Other notable attractions in Marbella Old Town include the Church of Santa María de la Encarnación, and the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engravings. The museum is housed in the former Hospital Bazán – an Andalusian Historical Monument that was once the home of the Mayor, Don Alonso de Bazán, who then donated it as a hospital for the poor. Although not massively extensive, the museum houses a good number of works and is worth the ticket price of €3.

Grabbing a bite

When it comes to enjoying something to eat, Casanis Bistrot is one of the city’s most popular restaurants. It’s also one of the few dining spots in town that stay open during the winter months, offering traditional French cuisine with a modern twist. Casanis can get busy, so you can try your luck on the day or make a reservation online.

The restaurant’s charming décor includes wooden beam ceilings, terracotta flooring and unique paintings. There’s also a courtyard, where you can enjoy an al-fresco meal surrounded by lush greenery. When weather allows, a couple of tables are placed on the pavement outside, so you can watch the town come alive around you as you eat.

Next to the castle walls, you can find Marbella Patio, another popular restaurant and the only one so close to the ancient ruins. With its beautiful décor and wonderful service, it’s a great place for a pitstop. If you can, make sure to request a table in the beautiful courtyard or on the cobbled street, both of which make for a stunning setting. Although the restaurant serves a variety of dishes, their tapas and fresh fish are not to be missed. It does get busy, especially in the evenings, but you can book in advance or reserve a table online here.

Pick up a souvenir

If you find yourself in the mood from a bit of shopping while you’re in the Old Town, you certainly won’t struggle. While Marbella itself is full of shopping centres and designer stores, the Old Town is brimming with unusual craft stores, unique gift shops and quirky art galleries. If you’re prepared to go exploring, it’s possible to find some beautiful handcrafted pieces from the independent boutiques nestled down the winding streets and alleyways. Don’t forget that the smaller stores in particular will close for siesta at around 2pm and most are not open on Sunday.

After hours

If you’re feeling up to it, we’d definitely recommend visiting the Old Town in the evenings, after sunset. This is when it really comes into its own, filling up with the smell of jasmine and orange blossom and the sound of live music. The majority of the activity takes place around Orange Square, where the restaurants spill out onto the streets and you can often find people enjoying a drink or a late bite on a balmy evening. Many of the bars stay open late, so you can enjoy everything this charming part of town has to offer until the early hours.

Being within such easy reach of our Bena Vista property, Marbella’s Old Town is certainly worth a visit, whether it’s for a day of exploring or an evening out with friends. We hope this has given you a few ideas for things to look out for, although if you simply wander through the winding streets, you’re sure to stumble across all kinds of surprises. From picturesque cobbled streets to stunning ancient architecture, it’s a real slice of traditional charm in the middle of this bustling town.

To learn more about how you can enjoy a sunshine-filled stay at Bena Vista, as well as discover our 31 other properties throughout the UK and Europe, simply request some more information.

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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