Marbella is known as a glamorous resort town and is a favourite location with the rich and famous, boosted by foreign residents who are seduced by the lifestyle. Spain’s answer to St Tropez is a very special place with an appeal that is hard to define. Marbella is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, between Málaga and the Strait of Gibraltar, in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca. The Costa del Sol is blessed with a massive average of 320 days of sun per year. The Costa del Sol’s bastion of bling is, like most towns along this stretch of coast, a two-sided coin. Standing centre stage in the tourist showroom is the 'Golden Mile', a conspicuously extravagant collection of star-studded clubs, shiny restaurants and expensive hotels stretching as far as Puerto Banús, the flashiest marina on the coast, where black-tinted supercars slide along a quay populated by luxury yachts. But Marbella has other, less ostentatious attractions. Its natural setting is magnificent, sheltered by the beautiful Sierra Blanca mountains, while its surprisingly attractive old town is replete with narrow lanes and well-tended flower boxes.
Throughout the 19th century Marbella remained a small agricultural town, until the 1940's when Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe landed in Marbella. The Prince was so enchanted with the city that he decided to buy land for commercial purposes, building hotels and apartment complexes. In 1954 he opened up the Marbella Club Hotel, which still stands today on the Golden Mile. Having aristocratic roots and kinship to the royal courts of Europe, Price Hohenlohe quickly convinced Europe's ruling elite to vacation in this new hot spot in casual yet discreet luxury. The 70's saw the arrival of Prince Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the former King and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. King Fahd's love affair with Marbella meant good times for the locals as he paraded around the city spending excess amounts of money. King Fahd´s death in 2005 came with great mourning to the city. Even the local mayor declared an official three day mourning, and the town hall passed a decree declaring King Fahd an "Adopted Son of the Municipality". The 1990's welcomed the mayor Jesus Gil, who continued to develop the city in new directions improving its infrastructure, sports arenas, cultural centers, parks, golf courses and more. In the late twentieth century, people around the world began to notice Marbella. As a result, investment in the area is strong today and tourism is encouraged.
Despite being a relatively small coastal city, Marbella offers very much to discover and experience. The reason it is so popular with worldwide visitors is that anyone can find a piece of Marbella within them. For example, it can confidently be called the dream destination for gastronomists and food enthusiasts. Marbella boasts a very diverse variety of authentic, high-end cuisine. From traditional, beachfront Spanish chiringuitos, to luxurious world-known restaurants such as Nobu and Dani Garcia, Marbella's scene will delight the most picky connoisseur. Another factor which attracts people is the nightlife Marbella has to offer. It hosts an array of internationally famous clubs and bars, such as Olivia Valere, Nikki Beach, La Sala, Pangea and many others. These places are known to be regularly filled with celebrities. Michelle Obama, Paris Hilton, Tyga and Kylie Jenner are amongst the stars that share a passion for Costa del Sol's quaint gem. Puerto Banus, being one of the most sought after shopping destinations in Spain, has an average of 5 million visitors every month. Its marina is filled with boutiques, parks around 1,000 yachts at a time and will charm anyone who comes by. Marbella's Old Town has a history dating back to the 15th century. Just like most of Spain, Marbella has been ruled by the Moors for a period of time. Arabic architecture can still be noticed up to this day. Outside of Marbella, there is even more to explore. Rent a car, and you can find yourself in a very big variety of places, all less than an hour ride away, including breathtaking Gibraltar, picturesque Ronda and mesmerizing Granada.