Marbella is an enormous commercial town that has a small town charm. The mix of the old town in contrast to the new gives an atmospheric blend of traditions and cosmopolitan life.
Marbella has a very sharp and high profile image that was established due to large investments in the area and the development of expansive landscaped areas, an extremely impressive promenade, three marinas, casino, clubs and world class sporting facilities.
These are clearly all chic, cosmopolitan and lively destinations. Yet to get to the heart of traditional Marbella the “Plaza de los Naranjos” (Orange Square) is the centre of numerous streets weaving in an area overflowing with vibrant colours from exotic plants and trees set off against white buildings. Here the local bars, romantic bistros, art galleries and shops are the centre of Marbella social activities both day and night.
Puerto Banus is the place to be and be seen in the Costa del Sol. It is here that multimillionaires moor their mega yachts, park their Ferraris and spend their days shopping in the Jewellery boutiques and designer fashion houses.
Puerto Banus is atmospheric by day and buzzing by night. A must in Puerto Banus is to peruse the world famous fashion houses that line the huge marina, to relax by the enormous private yachts in one of the chic cafes and soak up the ambiance of this extremely luxurious environment.
Puerto Banus has several exciting attractions including a multi-cinema complex, huge shopping centres, casino and harbour cruises. As the sunsets over Puerto Banus the Alfresco bars, piano clubs, restaurants and nightclubs come alive making this a fantastic night time experience.
Puerto Banus is centred by the marina, lined with streets of designer boutiques and cafes and expands to beautiful white sandy beaches that are home to several trendy bars and is backed by imposing mountains. It is for this reason that it attracted the rich and famous and remains a Millionaires' playground.
Sabinillas is the heart of the Western Costa del Sol for all native Spaniards and the many settlers who fell in love with its charm and traditions.
Sabinillas still remains largely undiscovered by most tourists. However once visited its charm is embracing and you are hooked by its small town atmosphere with promenade cafes, local tapas bars and friendly Chiringuitos which are the Spanish beach bars serving freshly caught fish and local delicacies.
Less than 25 years ago Sabinillas was simply a fishing village and as its main industry 90% of Sabinillas workforce worked on the local boats that can still be seen dotted across the shoreline.
Sabinillas popularity has boomed due to vast development in local areas and this has lead to an increase in tourism and heavy investment has turned this once small fishing village into a fantastic tourist destination.
Today Sabinillas has developed into a charming beachside town and one of the few that has not succumbed to mass tourism and over development. The contrasts can be seen and most appreciated in early morning when the fishermen are pushing out there wooden boats ready to get the catch of the day. Families are out walking along the promenade watching the sun rise and the recently established bars, patisserie and cafes are opening ready to receive locals and tourists meeting for a relaxing day on the expansive beach front promenades.
The busiest day by far in Sabinillas is Sunday when thousands come to visit the Sunday craft market. This is one of the most popular markets along the coast and definitely one not to be missed.
Manilva is a quaint village and is seated in a magnificent location. With a backdrop of the Sierra Bermeja Mountains, Manilva is nestled among vineyards and enjoys views across vast expanses of agricultural land to the coast and Mediterranean Sea.
Manilva is divided into 3 distinct zones of Manilva village, San Luis de Sabinillas and Puerto de la Duquesa. Manilva's history date back to Roman times and the village is blessed with a 17th Century Church of Santa Ana and the 18th Century Duquesa castle. Manilva, although now becoming more involved in tourism, is still very much a Spanish community whose economy is primarily based on fishing and agriculture.
Surrounded by vineyards, Manilva boasts several wines that are unique to the area which form the main crop of its agricultural trade and add to the beauty of the area.
Although Manilva maintains a sleepy mañana attitude synonymous with Spain there are numerous recreational activities that can be enjoyed in this spectacular location.
The Roman sulphur baths are remarkably well preserved and provide several health benefits to its users. The Sierra Bermeja Mountains and surrounding countryside are the perfect setting for walking, mountain biking, cycling and motor cross (where permitted). The area has several modern facilities and attractions including leisure clubs and Golf courses and the miles of undeveloped coastline are the perfect setting for fishing, swimming and water sports. Manilvas tree lined Main Street is kept in immaculate condition. Each side street appears to be the pride of its residents who tend to them. This village is a jewel of the Spanish traditional way of life yet only minutes from the bustle of the coast and its modern marinas and Golf courses.
Puerto de la Duquesa is undoubtedly a great destination. By day the marina side cafes and bars are filled with tourists and locals enjoying the sunshine, the best in local cuisine and a cool drink or coffee.
Love them or hate them Puerto de la Duquesa also has its fair share of Irish bars and English pubs as expected Football and Rugby dominate and you are sure to receive a warm greeting and excellent food and drink. Don’t forget to take time to browse the shops, enjoy the local restaurants and stroll around the marina and sea wall to admire the yachts and stunning coastal views.
At night is when you can enjoy a different atmosphere in Puerto de la Duquesa, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out. The marina has over 20 different dining options ranging from tapas bars to English carvery and from Mexican to Indian.
Entertainment options are also in abundance. The marina is home to numerous bars which host live entertainment, Karaoke and guest DJ’s so there is no shortage of places to party the night away. To enjoy a quiet drink or a romantic evening the marina is also the place to be. When the sun sets, the marina light up and enjoys a new romantic charm.
Several bars and restaurants have marina views and Puerto Duquesa has wine bars and lounges that cater for all ages and tastes and are sure to provide that perfect romantic setting.
Sotogrande is perhaps the most beautiful coastal location along the Costa del Sol. This secured luxurious area is the home of royalty, celebrities and wealthy businessmen and once visited its beauty and diversity explains why.
The multicoloured developments that surround the great marina are home to shops, services, restaurants and cafes and provide the perfect location to people watch or simply relax and enjoy this magical destination.
Particular areas of natural beauty include miles of undeveloped beaches enclosed by sand dunes and green fields and vast expanses of marshlands that border Guadiaro River and can be enjoyed by all as they stroll along its wooden walkways. The central attraction of Sotogrande is of course the marina. Tapas bars, café bars and restaurants are the focal points of the marina.
When enjoying outdoor dining or a late night drink in one of the bars your eyes will be drawn across the marina filled with multi million dollar yachts, over the Gibraltar Straights where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic to the beautiful backdrop of Morocco and the Atlas mountain range.
Visiting Sotogrande is not simply about a desirable location of stunning beauty.
Sotogrande is home to several world famous sporting facilities. Numerous Championship golf courses hold major PGA events such as the Ryder Cup and European tour events. Prestigious courses include La Reserve, Almenara, Sotogrande and the world famous Valderama.
A tradition in Sotogrande is to attend one of the several Polo events at Santa Maria Polo club or experience a yachting regatta. These events are sure to be a fantastic day out and are well attended by local and international dignitaries. Sotogrande diversity and exclusivity deems this to be a mini paradise. Mansions, villas and apartments with their private moorings set a colourful and luxurious backdrop and exude an enviable way of life.
Ronda seems to be one of these unique places where every time you go there you will discover something new. The city is enchanting and breathtaking. Every time you visit you will be astounded that a place of such beauty and historic importance is only a short drive from the modern attractions of the Coastline.
To really appreciate Ronda it is better if you know its general history, Ronda is one of the oldest cities in Spain dating back to the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age, 8000 – 5500 BCE) however the most important human settlements were in the Middle Age.
It is in the 18th Century, and the arrival of the Modern Age, that Ronda has developed into the city that we can appreciate today as the construction of the New Bridge and the Bullring were completed.
The New Bridge, perhaps the most famous and most impressive landmark in Ronda, began its construction in 1735 by King Philip V, however works ceased only 8 months later due to the arch collapsing and 50 people were killed. Construction started again in 1751 and finished in 1793, 42 years later. The Bridge as we see it today stands 98 metres tall and is built from stone masonry taken from the depth of Tajo´s gorge and connects the modern and old parts of the city. Ronda’s bullring due to its history, architecture, character and beauty is recognized as one of the oldest in Spain.
The bullring opened with its 1st bullfight in 1785 after 6 years construction and fights are still regularly held there. The bullring is one of the most impressive buildings in Ronda and together with its museum they are worth a visit.
It is difficult to know where to begin when recommending what to do during a visit to Ronda. The history of the city, blended with designer boutiques, modern bars and cafes have developed Ronda into a very cosmopolitan place.
There really is something for everyone. You can chose to spend the day wandering around the city and have lunch at one of the many cafes overlooking the gorge. The cultural centre of Ronda, where the gorge and bullring are located, is filled with cafes, shops and buildings of great historical interest.
You could quite easily spend the day wondering around and soaking up the ambience of the city. A good choice is to spend time in the city gardens, by following this trail you will gain the best vantage points of the gorge and surrounding country side. The terraced gardens wind down to the Arch of Philip V and the city walls before returning to the New Bridge.
After that there is nothing better than relaxing in the sunshine enjoying the stunning views and rolling countryside. For those romantic at heart, a ´must´ is spending an evening dining on a terrace restaurant overlooking the valley and the gorge. A recommendation is that you dine at early as you can watch the sun set over the rolling countryside. The sight is spectacular and it is enhanced even more when the bridge is lit up after dark. This experience really is incredible.
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