Where to Stay in Marbella, Spain First Time: Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Marbella, Spain for first timers are the neighborhoods around Old Town, Downtown Marbella, Puerto Banus, Playa Nagueles, San Pedro De Alcantara, Funny Beach, Vibora Beach, and Cabopino Beach. These are popular and safe areas for tourist that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities. In this blog, I will help you to decide where to stay in Marbella for first-time tourists, nightlife, party, family, beaches.

Set on the Costa Del Sol, on the Mediterranean Sea, a short drive by car from Málaga, Marbella is the best-known resort in Southern Spain for beaches, nightclubs, and luxury venues. If you want to find the best place in Marbella for nightlife, look into the party areas of Downtown, Puerto Banus, San Pedro, and Golden Mile.

The Old Town and Downtown Marbella are the best areas to stay in Marbella for first time travelers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to the top tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops. You can easily explore plenty of things by foot without the car.

Those after a luxury vacation will definitely want to look at Puerto Banus, one of the most exclusive resorts on the Costa Del Sol. Many of its attractions even leak into Playa Nagueles, which is a better choice for those on a tighter budget or traveling with children who still want to treat themselves.

 💖 Best Area for first time visitors:Old Town 
💎 Best luxury hotel:Vincci Selección Estrella del Mar
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel Fuerte Marbella
💰 Best budget hotel:B&B Boutique Tribeca

🎬 To get an overall idea of where to stay in Marbella, check out this short video:

Best Areas to Stay in Marbella, Spain for tourists

1. Old Town, where to stay in Marbella for first time tourists

Old Town, where to stay in Marbella for first time

Old Town is the best place to stay in Marbella for first-timers because it is the most convenient location to see attractions and it offers a wide choice of accommodation options for all budget travelers. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of action, within walking distance to the major sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

The charming of Old Town Marbella (or Casco Antiguo) is packed with Andalucian characters. It is one of the most popular parts of the city, as it is filled with character and historical attractions, all joined together with narrow cobblestone streets, and whitewashed houses with flower-filled balconies.

Old Town was originally settled as an ancient city in the 16th-century, the walls of which can still be seen today.

The Old Town has two historical quarters, Barrio Alto and Barrio Nuevo, which both still retain their original Moorish structure dating back to the Arab rule.

The heart of Old Town is centered around a beautiful square known as the Plaza De Los Naranjos (Orange Square), where you’ll find the bust of King Juan Carlos the First at the center and some of the most historic buildings in the Costa Del Sol.

You have the Town Hall, which was constructed in the Renaissance style by Catholic monks in 1568. Then you have the mayor’s house, which merges Gothic, Mudejar, and Renaissance styles on its exterior walls and roof while being decorated with fresco murals throughout its interior.

You even have the Chapel Of Santiago. Believed to be older than the square itself, it is the oldest religious building in all of Old Town, thought to have been built in the 15th century. Adjoining the chapel is a small 16th-century fountain.

From here, the narrow streets then lead away from Orange Square, taking you past other fabulous locations.

Among the most prominent is the 17th century Baroque Church Of Santa Maria De La Encarnación, located on Plaza De La Iglesia on the Calle Carmen. This St Mary’s Church was rebuilt in the Spanish Civil War. It faces part of the 10th-century city wall and overlooks a plaza with orange trees.

There are also the Renaissance buildings like the Hospital Real De La Misericordia and the Hospital Bazán. Bazan’s Hospital was built in the 16th century and now houses the Museum Of Contemporary Spanish Engravings.

You will even find the remains of Arab castle walls (Arab fortress of Murallas del Castillo), giving a clear example of just how long and storied the history of Old Town truly is. Not all of the attractions in Old Town are located around the square though. 

One of its most visited is the Ermita Del Santo Cristo De La Vera Cruz, located to the north. A 15th-century church, its stunning façade is a traditional Andalusian stone and lime stucco blend, while its bell tower is covered in beautiful, glazed ceramic.

If you head to the Arroyo de las Represas Park, you will find Museo Bonsai Marbella with a collection of beautiful miniature trees and forests.

Other interesting places to visit are the 16th-century chapel of San Juan de Dios, Holy Christ Square, small green Victory Square, and the 17th century Virgin Gornacin of Suffering on Remedios Street.

While Old Town is certainly the best location for fans of history and architecture, that isn’t all it has to offer. Numerous stylish Spanish restaurants serve traditional cuisine, while tapas bars and cafes give you plenty of places to kick back and enjoy the scenery.

The Old Town is well-connected to the rest of the city with public buses and taxis. Within a short distance from the Old Town is the extremely popular Paseo Maritime promenade, which is lined with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

There are plenty of hostels, hotels, and rental apartments that suit all budget travelers in Old Town. Meanwhile, those looking to stay in a boutique hotel will find some of the best options on the Costa Del Sol in Old Town.

Stay In Old Town If you are interested in the history and architecture of Marbella; you travel on a budget; you are couples, first-time travelers.

Best places to stay in Marbella in Old Town:

luxury ($$$): Vincci Selección Estrella del Mar This 5-star hotel is 15 minutes drive from the Old Town, it offers spacious and bright rooms with contemporary architecture with Arab-Mediterranean décor. Within easy walking distance from Elviria Beach, close to the Greenlife Marbella Golf Club, Cabopino Golf, Cabopino Marina, Marina La Bajadilla, and La Canada Shopping Centre.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Fuerte Marbella This 4-star beachfront hotel is located in the heart of Marbella, it has a children’s club, on-site restaurants, air-conditioned rooms with free wifi. the lively Puerto Banús with many bars and clubs is just 7km away. You can also easily reach beaches nearby such as golden sand La Bajadilla Beach, El Faro Beach, La Fontanilla Beach, Venus Beach, and Cable Beach.

budget ($): B&B Boutique Tribeca This bed and breakfast is next to the castle walls of the Old Town Marbella, offers a twin bedroom or double bedroom with a private bathroom. It’s just 100m from a selection of shops, bars, and restaurants.


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2. Downtown, modern area, good shopping and nightlife

Downtown Marbella (the financial district) consists of all of central Marbella that is close to the waterfront and around Avenida Ricardo Soriano. As you may expect from a city center, this is the part of Marbella that is brimming with attractions and amenities.

You have a plethora of shops ranging from big name brands to small independent stores that will keep the shopaholics busy throughout their stay. Meanwhile, a fabulous selection of restaurants and cafes serves all manner of cuisine, giving you plenty of places to relax when you are done.

Speaking of which, Downtown also offers the full range of Marbella hotels, ranging from cheap hotels and mid-range hotels, all the way up to five-star hotels. This ensures people of all tastes and budgets will be sure to find somewhere to suit them when they stay in Marbella.

Downtown also offers a taste of what the Costa Del Sol is famous for, that being a fun-filled, vibrant beach area. The nearest beaches are Playa Fontanilla and Playa De La Bajadilla, while Playa Del Cable is just a short distance further away.

Both features a long stretch of sand filled with sunbeds and calm waters, perfect for swimming and playing in.

They are separated by a wonderful marina, where you can rent a boat, take a cruise, or simply sit back and enjoy a drink or some fresh seafood while watching the boats bob up and down.

A little further away still, you also have Venus Beach. This beach features water sports and is backed by a promenade featuring several restaurants and shops, making it more suited to those who are a little more energetic.

You also have options like Alameda Park. A beautiful green space in the heart of the city, it features a historic fountain, a botanical garden, and stone benches and paths, allowing you to stroll around for hours enjoying the weather and the scenery.

A collection of cocktail bars, nightclubs, and beach bars helps to create a lively nightlife atmosphere, ensuring there are things to keep you occupied night or day in Downtown.

If drinking isn’t your thing, perhaps you could catch a show at the Teatro Ciudad De Marbella. A beautiful theatre house, it is the perfect place to catch musical and dramatic performances to really get a feel for the local artistic style.

Avenida del Mar is a beautiful pedestrian avenue with palm trees that stretches from Alameda Park to Playa de la Venus. Plenty of shops, restaurants, and home to the bronze sculptures which is created by Salvador Dalí.

Stay In Downtown If you want to stay in Marbella City Center with vibrant nightlife; you want beaches and the attractions of Old Town both within walking distance; you want modern area;

Best places to stay in Marbella in Downtown:

luxury ($$$): Amàre Beach Hotel Marbella – Adults Only Located on the beachfront, in the centre of Marbella’s old town, this hotel has spacious rooms, Mare Nostrum Restaurant, Belvue Rooftop Bar, Restaurant Messina, awarded with a Michelin star. Enjoy its attractions Amàre Club with Amàre Beach, Amàre Pool, and Amàre Lounge.

mid-range($$): Marbella Inn This hotel has east access to the AP-7 Motorway, and golf courses. Each studio and apartment has air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a TV, rental safe and a private balcony or terrace.

budget ($): Hostal Tak Located close to both old town of Marbella, and Mediterranean Sea, this hotel has guest rooms with an en suite bathroom, air conditioning and heating, a TV and an iron.


3. Puerto Banus, best area to stay in Marbella for luxury holiday

 Puerto Banus, Nightlife area to stay in Marbella

Located 4 miles west of Marbella, it’s about an hour nice walk along the promendade but easier to get taxis and buses. Puerto Banus was established in 1970 by local property developer José Banús, specifically with luxury travelers in mind. It was envisioned to be the Beverly Hills of the Costa Del Sol.

Puerto Banus area offers great nightlife scene with plenty of bars and nigh clubs. If you come to Marbella for party, Puerto Banus is a great area to book your accommodations.

It is centered around a stunning marina, where yachts and vessels worth millions of dollars are regularly docked just offshore. This draws international celebrities and the rich and famous to relax and party to their heart’s content.

Around the marina, a fabulous collection of restaurants serves gourmet cuisine, with world-class chefs preparing dishes that cater to the most refined and picky pallets. The bars are just as stylish too, offering an air of sophistication, where you can enjoy a drink while looking out over the water.

To the east of the marina, you have the main beach of Puerto Banus, Paradise Beach. One of the most luxurious beaches in the Costa Del Sol, it features numerous beach bars, clubs, and restaurants. 

You have high-end, luxury accommodation, where those who will only stay in the best luxury hotel money can buy will find something to meet even their lofty standards. Designer stores sell products ranging from clothes and jewelry to cars and electronics, so your only limitation is your budget.

A stretch of Puerto Banus known as the Golden Mile contains perhaps the most elite collection of shops, bars, and restaurants in the Costa Del Sol. At the heart of Antonio Banderas Square, you will even find the largest El Corte Inglés department store in Spain on the golden mile.

Slightly further inland, you also have the best golf courses in Marbella. This makes Puerto Banus the clear choice for anyone wanting to stay at a golf resort, where they can play a few rounds on the links before sipping drinks in the clubhouse.

Or perhaps you would rather just play some golf without actually staying at the resort? Well, why not stay at a nearby spa hotel? That way your significant other can pamper themselves and you won’t feel guilty if your game overruns.

Art fans will also be thrilled to discover a number of statues by famous artists in the area. The “Rhinoceros Dressed In Lace” by Salvador Dali and “La Victoria” by Zurab Tsereteli both have a rich history, and their mere presence demonstrates the caliber of the area.

Stay In Puerto Banus If you want to stay in all-inclusive resort, upscale dining and shopping; you want vibrant nightlife; you enjoy luxury beaches and marinas;

Best places to stay in Marbella in Puerto Banus:

luxury ($$$): GRAN HOTEL GUADALPIN BANUS, Marbella This 5-star hotel features an outdoor pool, a wellness center with a sauna and steam room, a gym, a beach club, a poolside sunbathing terrace, and free WiFi. It has air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen TV, a safe, a private balcony, some with sea views, and private bathrooms with a hairdryer and toiletries.

mid-range ($$): H10 Andalucía Plaza – Adults only This 4-star hotel has a Córdoba buffet restaurant, Á la carte restaurant, an on-site bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and free wifi. It features stylish, with modern rooms with a flat-screen satellite TV, a minibar, seasonal air-conditioned and heating.

budget ($): Cortijo La Saleta This hotel offers modern apartments and studios with a white déco, free WiFi, a sofa, a flat-screen TV, and r kitchens with a fridge and hob.


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4. Playa Nagueles, where to stay in Marbella for nightlife

Playa Nagueles, best place to stay in Marbella for nightlife

Playa Nagueles is located just to the east of Puerto Banus, still along the golden mile. It is considered by many to be the best beachfront location in Marbella, due to its fabulous collection of services, facilities, and amenities, as well as incredibly high levels of cleanliness.

Beautiful, soft, fine, golden sand stretches along the waterfront which, combined with being slightly quieter than other nearby options, makes it a great choice for those lazy days spent topping up your tan.

Meanwhile, the beach meets crystal clear turquoise waters, which are both shallow and calm. This makes it an ideal choice for families with small children or anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer. 

Surrounding the beach, you have a selection of the things that Puerto Banus is famous for, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given you are still on the golden mile.

Some of the best hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops in Marbella provide a range of options for shopping and dining. They allow you to enjoy all of the finer things in life, without having to deal with the huge crowds you would find just up the road.

You could even stay in an adults-only hotel, of which there are many in the area. That way, you could turn your stay in Marbella into a romantic getaway, regardless of the number of families and children in the area.

On the other hand, the distance from Puerto Banus does make Playa Nagueles significantly more affordable. A number of mid-range hotels, as well as cheaper shops and restaurants, open the area up to a much wider audience. 

This means everyone can enjoy the luxury amenities the area is known for, without having to break the bank. Perhaps the most popular reason people come to Playa Nagueles isn’t for the beach at all though. This is because the area is known as one of the main nightlife hubs of Marbella.

People coming from all around will arrive in Playa Nagueles to party in the bars, nightclubs, and beach clubs. With a huge range of options, you will always be able to find somewhere that suits your taste and allows you to party to the early hours of the morning.

This makes Playa Nagueles the perfect location to combine relaxing days and wild nights all in the same trip.

Stay In Playa Nagueles If you are looking for mid-range hotels; you want access to the luxury side of the city without paying a fortune; you want quiet days and wild nights.

Best places to stay in Playa Nagueles:


5. San Pedro De Alcantara, best area for water sports

San Pedro De Alcantara, best area for water sports

Located between Marbella and Estepona, San Pedro De Alcantara is located 3 kilometres to the west of Puerto Banus. Much like Playa Nagueles on its other side, many of the attractions that draw people to Puerto Banus have made their way here as well.

San Pedro De Alcantara is border with the Sierra Blanca to the east, Sierra del Real and Sierra de las Nievas to the north, and Monte Mayor and Sierra Bermeja to the west.

Highly regarded golf courses, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas make this yet another place where you can enjoy a luxurious vacation. All the while, being even further from the main bulk of the area, you can enjoy these attractions for less than you would otherwise expect.

There are also beautiful beaches offering water sports like surfing and windsurfing and smaller crowds than other comparative options. This makes it the perfect choice for thrill-seekers looking to spend some time on the waves, as well as families looking to have a relaxing day, playing in the sand and water with their little ones.

However, that isn’t the main selling point of San Pedro De Alcantara. Instead, it is the rich history and beautiful scenery of the area that draws people in.

Roman Ruins featuring a watchtower and baths that have been faithfully restored are a sight to behold. Meanwhile, your location allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of the Sierra de Ronda mountains.

San Pedro De Alcantara is also an area that is primarily residential throughout the majority of it. With businesses aimed at locals more than tourists, you will find a number of locations that offer a significantly more authentic experience of the area.

Beautiful parks offer wide open green spaces, duck ponds, and playgrounds for kids to play and adults to relax in. Meanwhile, open-air seafood restaurants offer some of the finest local cuisines in the area.

Stay In San Pedro De Alcantara If you love watersports; you are interested in the Roman history of the area; you want a more authentic experience; you want luxury amenities and accommodation but don’t want to pay a fortune; you want relaxing parks and beaches.

Best places in San Pedro De Alcantara: NH San Pedro


6. Funny Beach, where to stay in Marbella for families

Funny Beach, where to stay in Marbella for families

Located just to the east of Downtown Marbella, Funny Beach takes its name from a family fun park that used to be located in the area.

While the fun park has since been replaced by a number of beach clubs, Funny Beach is still a destination designed for families to let loose and have fun.

Water sports like bumper boats, inflatables, jet skis, parasailing, paddle boats, and tubing provide plenty of ways to get out on the waves and make the most of the water.

Meanwhile, a pair of Go-Kart tracks to the rear of the beach cater to the thrill-seekers who prefer to get their kicks on land.

While designed with families in mind, Funny Beach is perfect for people looking to have fun, no matter their age, so is ideal for “big kids” too. 

The further east you go along the beach, the quieter it starts to get. This makes it equally well suited to those families who are traveling with younger, smaller children.

They can spend time playing in the sand or learning to swim, without worrying about getting in the way in a busier area.

Funny Beach doesn’t just have to be an area all about fast past action and fun. Locations such as the beach clubs provide plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax. That means you can enjoy Funny Beach just as much even if your idea of a perfect trip is sitting in the sun with a book and a drink.

Stay In Funny Beach If you are traveling as a family or with children; you are a fan of water sports or other high-octane activities; you want to relax at a beach club.


7. Vibora Beach, where to stay in Marbella away from crowd

Vibora Beach, where to stay in Marbella away from crowd

Located around 10 kilometers to the east of Downtown Marbella, Playa De La Vibora is an area known for its collection of beautiful beaches. This makes it the ideal choice for anyone who plans to spend the majority of their vacation relaxing on the sand.

Vibora Beach itself receives far fewer visitors, allowing you to make the most of the peace and quiet. That said, it does boast some water sports companies, so there’s no need to let yourself be bored if you are looking to spice up your trip.

A short way to the east you will also come to Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach centers around a beach club and is one of the biggest party areas outside of Puerto Banus. Lively bars, cafes, and restaurants provide places to eat, drink, and party, all while enjoying the views.

However, away from the waterfront, the majority of Playa De La Vibora is actually quite quiet and residential. Shops and restaurants cater to locals and allow you to get a more authentic experience of life in Marbella.

A selection of quaint cafes and bars offers the perfect opportunity to relax and soak up the culture of the area, without worrying about being disturbed by mobs of tourists. 

This makes it a destination where everyone can enjoy a little luxury, without being concerned about the crowds or prices that usually accompany it.

Stay In Vibora Beach (Playa De La Vibora) If you want a good choice of bars, restaurants, and beaches; you want luxuries but don’t want to spend a fortune; you are a fan of luxury beach clubs or water sports; you want to get a feel for the authentic culture of the area; you want to stay in a quieter, more residential area.

Best places to stay in Marbella in Vibora Beach:

luxury ($$$): Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort this 5-star hotel is set 3km from Santa Maria and Santa Clara Golf Courses. Each apartment has a kitchen, and separate living and dining areas. Enjoy meal and drinks at its El Med Terrace restaurant, Beachside Grill, and supermarket.

mid-range ($$): Jardines Las Golondrinas This family-run complex is located within 15 munite drive by car from Central Marbella and Puerto Banús. It offers a sun terrace, free private car parking, gardens.

budget ($): The Residence by the Beach House Marbella this Bed and breakfast has a restaurant, a bar and a garden. It’s close to the Real de Zaragoza Beach, Nikki Beach and Playa Las Chapas. It offers paid shuttle service to Malaga airport.

8. Cabopino Beach, quiet area and popular among families

Cabopino Beach, a quiet area and popular among families

Cabopino Beach is located to the far east of Marbella, around 4 kilometers east of Vibora Beach, and is considered to be one of the most diverse areas in the region in terms of beaches and natural attractions.

Cabopino Beach itself is one of the quieter beaches in Marbella. Located far from the city center and protected by beautiful natural sand dunes, visitors and locals alike come here to spend days relaxing on the sand and in the water. This makes it particularly well suited to families or those with children. 

There is a beautiful marina for anyone who wants to hire a boat or take a tour out onto the water. Meanwhile, a collection of restaurants and shops provides plenty of options for relaxation and dining.

There is even the fabulous Cabopino Golf Course just a short way away. This gives you the opportunity to play a round or two during your trip, adding to the appeal and diversity of the area.

Slightly to the west of Cabopino Beach, you will even find Playa De Artola. As the primary nudist beach in Marbella, it is popular for those looking to avoid tan lines during their trip, although admittedly won’t suit everyone.

Stay In Cabopino Beach If you want to visit a nudist beach; you want to play some golf; you are traveling with children; you want to rent a boat or take a tour on the water.


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Visiting Marbella, Spain lets you enjoy a vacation filled with lovely weather, beautiful beaches, and some of the best hotels and accommodation options on the Costa Del Sol. There’s even plenty of attractions like golf courses, tennis courts, and shopping malls to keep more active visitors happy.

Overall, Old Town is the best area to stay in Marbella due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to the tourist attractions, as well as many shopping, dining, and nightlife venues.

This article should have given you all the information you need to decide where to stay in Marbella, Spain to make the most of the beach life. There are plenty of hotels, hostels, guesthouses ,and apartments to book accommodations. All that’s left is to look through the list of Marbella hotels and get everything booked, so you can get ready to visit Marbella yourself, as soon as possible.

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