Marbella, on the Mediterranean Sea, located in the South of Spain, in Andalucia, has much more to offer than just luxurious seaside resorts.
In this blog you will find some fun and interesting facts about the small cosmopolitan city of Marbella and which happens to be home of one of the best hospitality schools in the World: Les Roches Marbella!
Originally a mining town & fishing village
Marbella’s fame as the jewel of the Costa del Sol did not begin until the 1950s. Prior to this, the town was known for its iron ore production. At one point, Marbella’s smelting furnaces, with ore mined from the nearby mountains, produced 75% of Spain’s iron. The vestiges of this past can be found in old architecture throughout the city, however, the most notable landmark is the blue loading dock that rises out of the sea off the shore of Marbella’s Cable Beach. After following a long track from the northern-facing mountains directly to the sea, it was here that boats would arrive to load mined minerals into their hulls.
The local community grew thanks in part to this important industry and as a result, the local fishing industry grew along with it. Today, seafood is an important part of the local cuisine and you can still visit the fishing harbor in the downtown area of Marbella where fishing boats are moored, nets are mended, and fishermen unload their daily catch to be delivered to the local markets and restaurants.
6 Michelin Star restaurants in Marbella
Let’s all agree here about one of the best parts of traveling – it’s to discover the amazing local gastronomy! Marbella will not let you down when it comes to amazing food. The city is home to three internationally renowned restaurants from the 3 Michelin Star local chef, Dani Garcia. His trendsetting culinary creations are accompanied by several more Michelin Star restaurants, like Skina, El Lago, and Messina. The annual culinary “Oscars” events, A4 Manos, is held in Marbella and hosted by Dani Garcia. The week-long event brings together the best chefs in the world for exclusive cuisine d’excellence.
27 kilometers of coastline including 6 beaches with the Blue Flag
The Blue Flag certification is the gold standard of clean beaches. Issued by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the blue flag certifies that beaches meet stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility standards. Spain as a whole has held the first position worldwide since the blue flags began flying in 1987. In 2020, six of Marbella’s beaches, spanning 27 kilometers of coastline, have been awarded the distinction. Take a long walk along the city’s kilometers-long promenade and you will see right away why Marbella’s beaches are so treasured.
Home to 17 golf courses
Out of the 47 18-hole golf courses in Malaga Province, 17 of them are located in Marbella alone. Marbella is a golfer’s dream and, during the mild winter months, they flock here to enjoy the luxury of the city’s climate and its perfect golfing conditions. Nearby, you can also find the world-famous Valderrama Golf & Country Club, home to top international golf tournaments each year.
Marbella is an international city
The Swiss hotel management school, Les Roches Marbella, is the perfect example of the city’s unique multicultural coexistence. The student body alone includes almost 90 nationalities and when you combine this with Marbella’s international luxury tourism industry, you find people from all across the globe enjoying the beauty and world-class amenities the city has to offer. You will, for sure, make a lot of international friends here!
Incredible nature all around Marbella
Nature lovers, don’t get too scared by Marbella’s luxury and modernity! If you want to get away from it all, then Marbella is still the perfect destination as it is also home to some great natural wonders, such as the natural sand dunes of “Las Dunas de Artola”, and the mountain park, Sierra de Las Nieves, declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. Surrounded by mountains and sea, Marbella’s natural environment is well preserved. The area is home to many different species of protected flora and wildlife that span beautfiul mountain ranges, vallys, and gorges. The city’s natural beauty is available for all who wish to trek the hundreds of kilometers of trails located along the coast and mountains to the north. However, it may get hot up there, so don’t forget your bottle of water!
A free open air museum of Salvador Dali
Even if you are not a big fan of surrealism, you cannot miss Salvador Dali’s uniquely bizarre sculptures. Ten of his posthumously-produced bronze works are located in the picturesque Avenida del Mar park, between the historic old town and the seafront. Despite the controversy that surrounded the origins of the works, they have become a must-see landmark and a rare opportunity to enjoy a beachfront, open-air museum. The park also hosts many free art and cultural events throughout the year for residents and tourists alike to enjoy.
The oldest villa in Marbella is 2000 years old
La Villa Romana was built long before the city became home to the rich and famous. Dating back to the 2nd Century B.C., the ruins stand out for their quality and originality of mosaics designs. Since 1960 when they were first discovered, the ruins have been slowly excavated to include an interior patio (atrium) and several rooms located around it. It is a rectangular-plan arcaded enclosure, with corridors covered on three sides, in which the roof was supported by twelve columns. Today, only the bases of the columns remain preserved. While you can visit the Villa Romana, this one is not for rent!
- Article by alumna Alexandra Jourdan-Astruc. For more travel tales, why not check out Alexandra’s blog Virevolte.