10 things to do in Marbella that won’t cost you a small fortune

THE Costa del Sol is also known for its luxury tourism, but there’s also lots to do that won’t break the bank. Here’s 10 budget friendly days out in and around Marbella. 

Marbella was recently voted Europe’s top tourist destination by over a million travellers, but what are the best things to do besides soaking up the sun on the beach? 

  1. Wander the old town 
The white washed streets of Marbella old town are perfect for exploring. Photo: Vishnu Patel on Unsplash

Marbella’s casco antiguo, or old town, is full of enchanting corners to be explored, including the Plaza de Los Naranjos, or orange tree square. The town is famous for its streets adorned with draping flowers and cute balconies. The best streets to explore are Calle Carmen, Calle Ortiz de Molinillo and Calle Ancha. There are also lots of pretty churches including the Capilla San Juan de Dios, la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion and the ermita de Santiago. 

READ MORE: Why this ‘underrated’ city on Spain’s Canary Islands is a must visit for 2024 – according to The Telegraph

  1. Step back in time 

The old town is full of history. Tucked away amongst the white washed houses is an Arabic castle, dating back to the 12th century. Declared an asset of national interest in 1949, the walls can still be admired. There’s also a great photo spot nearby, a picturesque corner adorned with dozens of blue flower pots on Calle Ortiz de Molinillo. 

Although they look abandoned, the Romanc Baths of Marbella are full of history. Photo: Diputacion de Malaga

If you venture out of the centre, you will also find a number of Roman ruins, including the baths in Guadalmina, the Basilica de Vega del Mar and the Villa Romana de Rio Verde. 

  1. Visit Marbella’s wetlands

El Lago de las Tortugas (the Lake of Turtles) is a serene escape from the bustling old town. It is home to many species of migratory birds as well as its namesake turtles. Surrounded by forest and mountains, the lake’s reflection has been described as ‘one of the prettiest sights in Marbella’. 

READ MORE: ‘This is absurd!’ Outrage in Sevilla over plans to close off a major tourist attraction and begin charging an entrance fee

  1. La Cañada arcade

Great for families and couples, this is the perfect rainy day activity, with games for just a couple of euros, bowling and more. Afterwards, take a stroll around the shops, watch a film or grab a bite to eat in the huge shopping centre. 

  1. Chase sunsets at the sand dunes
The wooden walkway leads out onto the dunes and beach. Photo: TripAdvisor

Although Gran Canaria and Cadiz may be better known for their sand dunes, Marbella is actually home to some of the best preserved areas in the country. The Dunas de Artola, just outside Cabopino, offer stunning views from their wooden walkway, especially at sunset. 

  1. Paddle boarding

One of our favourite summer activities, Marbella is a great place to try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). You can hire a paddleboard by the hour, day or even week from just €20. Alternatively, you can reserve a guided tour from around €50 or take lessons. Paddle boarding is a relaxing activity and a great way to enjoy one of the Costa del Sol’s famous sunsets.  

READ MORE: Where you should visit in Spain and beyond in 2024 – according to your star sign

  1. Get on your bike

Towns along the Costa del Sol are linked by a long coastal walkway which is perfect for a summer cycle. From Marbella, a short ride will take you to the luxurious hub of Puerto Banus or if you fancy venturing further, check out San Pedro de Alcantara. You can hire bikes from local shops or via apps like Dott. 

  1. Become part of the culture club 
This impressive collection of contemporary art is free to visit. Photo: Museo Ralli

Nearby in Puerto Banus, one of Andalucia’s typical white houses houses the exclusive Museo Ralli. There are just five of these museums in the world and Marbella’s is home to a wide collection of Latin American and European art from the likes of Dali, Victor Quiroga and Wilfredo Lam. 

  1. Discover nature
The view from La Concha, one of the areas most iconic hikes Photo: Diputacion de Malaga

The mountains, or sierra, around Marbella are great to explore for a fun and free day out. The Sierra Blanca is full of hiking trails lined by pine trees and you can discover hidden gems like the Camoján waterfall along the way. 

  1. Get arty

You can create your very own keepsake at one of the many ceramic studios near Marbella. If you want to learn how to shape your own mugs, bowls and vases, visit Totem Ceramics Pottery School with classes starting at just €33. Alternatively, little ones will love Studio Ceramica in Estepona, which offers pottery painting for all ages.

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