From Barcelona we had a flight booked to Malaga. Something very cheap, around £30pp. To get to Marbella you need to catch a bus, that leaves straight from the airport and the trip takes about an hour. It costs €6 or €8pp, I don’t remember exactly.
We got to Marbella around midnight and had no idea how to find the hotel, as the navigator kept showing us the wrong address. There were no people on the streets and no taxis to catch. Probably the situation is different during the summer, when the town is full of tourists, but in March the street were deserted at that hour. Finally we stumbled on the police station, and managed to explain that we needed a taxi. One of the officers ordered it for us on the phone. Thanks God for that, as our hotel was at the opposite side of the town, and we later discovered it took 40 min by foot to get there.
We booked NH Marbella by recommendation, and for the price we payed, couldn’t have asked for more. It was €49 in March but they normaly charge over €100, once the high season hits. The price also included the best buffet breakfast I had ever seen. The rooms are very modern and uniform throughout the hotel and remind me of Hilton in style.
Marbella was a bit of a dissapointment for me, as I heard, that it was a super posh destination and wanted to see it for myself. It was my fault, I suppose, as no one goes there in March. But season aside, I think you will not get a full Marbella experience, unless you drive a Ferrari, get invited to all private yacht parties and VIP clubs, and visit someone at their villa. What a conventional tourist gets is unsightly streets,with dusty pavements and huge distances between places. Obviously, you can still sunbathe, swim, have lazy lunches and dinners, buy souvenirs at various shops at the town centre, have excursions to nearby beautiful places. Still plenty to do.
I just fell in love with the old part of Marbella town centre. Such a charming place, with lovely restaurants and white traditional houses. I could seat there for hours, watching the day pass by.
The bus connection is very good in that part of the world, we didn’t need to rent a car, as we managed to get the bus to every place we needed. First of all we decided to go to Puerto Banus, the most famous sports port of the Mediterranean. In the summer it is packed with yachts and boats. The annual yacht parking space there costs $250.000.
It is a very fashionable place, often frequented by Saudi Arabian prince, Hollywood stars and Russian oligarchs.
You can have a drink or a dinner in one of the numerous plush venues, overlooking the sea. We opted straight for dinner in a stylish Belgian restaurant. What a lovely delicious dinner it was!
There was an a la cart option as well as a set menu at 26€ for 3 courses. At The end of the meal we were brought a jug of apple liqueur on the house to finish off our meal. Yummy!
Marbella is situated in a naturally beautiful mountenous area. There are some interesting tours you can organise. One of them is Ronda village, a place very high up in the mountains. The trip by bus took around an hour and was an experience in itself. First of all we gained altitude so fast that my ears got blocked on a few occasions. Also the roads were so serpentine and turnings so sharp that some might have struggled to keep their food down. At some point we were passing really foggy areas where I couldn’t see anything out of the windows, and only later I realised, that we were entering the clouds!!!!!
When we reached Ronda, it was raining and was very very windy, but still I was very impressed with the scenery in front of me. Possibly, it was the most unique place I have ever seen. Old building, sometimes even ancient and broken down, breathtaking nature, plenty of museums, and, after you wear yourself out by wondering around – loads of little traditional restaurants to have dinner at.
Ronda is situated in a very mountainous area about 750 m above the sea level. The Guadalevín River runs through the city, dividing it into two and carving out the steep, 100 plus meters deep El Tajo canyon upon which the city perches.
Still it is a very touristy place, with the information centre and and ever present buses full of Chinese(or Japanese?) tourists with gigantic cameras in their hands.
After walking for hours and hours we decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants on this street.
What at I like about Spain, is they they have such a thing as Menu del Dia, a set menu to choose from, if you don’t have money to have an expensive a la cart meal twice a day. In the end we were surprised again, when the owner of the restaurant brought a bottle of some herbal digestif and two glasses, so that we could help ourselves to the drink. What a hospitable nation these spaniards are! A lovely ending to the lovely day.
Late in the evening, when we were already back on the bus, I almost had a heart attack, thinking of how the driver could possibly see anything on this dangerous steep road in the total darkness, and hoping he didn’t have a customary glass of wine for dinner.
Luckily we did get to the hotel safe and sound, and I got to my research on Gibraltar, because thats where I was planning to set foot the next morning.