A popular tourist destination on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is known for its beach life, nightlife and one of the sunniest regions in Europe.
This cosmopolitan resort town combines vibrant bars, historic sites and local culture to delight even the most seasoned tourist.
However, if you want to get away from the Marbella strip, the area around Andalusia also has many tourist attractions and great options.
From shopping havens and outdoor adventures to quiet villages and historic sites, there are many great day trip options within easy travel distance from Marbella.
Here are 15 of the best trips you can take from Marbella.
This British territory is connected to Andalusia and can be easily reached from Marbella on a day trip.
There are many interesting sites to visit in the area, including Ponta Europa.
Here, you can overlook the Strait of Gibraltar, look out over the Atlas Mountains in Africa, and interact with the Barbary Macaque, the only wild monkey in Europe.
You can also explore the underground tunnels of San Miguel Cave, a system that runs beneath the Rock of Gibraltar.
Low taxes also make Gibraltar a popular shopping destination, with most shops located on Main Street.
Available Tours: Full-Day Gibraltar Sightseeing Tour
2. Mijas Pueblo
Mijas Pueblo is a typical example of an Andalusian village in the Sierra de Mijas mountains.
Here, you can see whitewashed buildings, stroll through old Moorish streets, and even take in views of the Andalusian and African coastlines from the top of the hill.
There are small shops selling handicrafts and boutique style items.
If golfing is your thing, you’ll also find seven courses in the area, and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy rock climbing opportunities.
If you are keen to learn more about Spanish culture, there is also a large bullring and interesting museums in the town centre.
Suggested Tour: Mijas Pueblo Private Tour from Marbella or Malaga
3. Puerto Banus
Puerto Banus, southwest of Marbella, is where the rich and famous spend their time in the area, and the town exudes luxury and wealth.
You can find all kinds of luxury cars on the streets, including Ferraris, Bugattis and Aston Martins.
If you’re interested in luxury shopping, there are plenty of upscale malls in town for you to peruse.
However, bargain hunters can also shop along the Puerto Banus Street Market every Saturday morning.
While you can choose to visit Puerto Banus overland, a fun catamaran tour between the town and Marbella is well worth considering.
Malaga, the largest city in the Costa del Sol region, combines tourist infrastructure with a local atmosphere.
Famous as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, you can visit the artist’s museum in the city center.
There are tons of interesting museums and art galleries scattered around the city, making it a cultural delight.
There’s also a beautiful beach, albeit a bit busy, that stretches across the waterfront with stunning views of the Andalusian mountains.
Fish is a local speciality, and seafood lovers will be in paradise trying restaurants along the coast.
5. Selania Deronda
Serrania De Ronda, known locally as Ronda, is a gorgeous traditional Andalusian town in the southern part of the region.
Major sights include the Almocabal Gate, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Town Hall Square.
Ronda’s bullring is one of the oldest in the country and is worth a visit to learn about the history of the sport in southern Spain.
There are wineries in the area, most notably Bodegas La Sangre, which provide a good understanding of the local wine culture, often with tours and tastings.
6. Tangier, Morocco
Africa is much closer than you might think.
Take a quick ferry ride from the nearby port of Tarifa to the Moroccan city of Tangier and spend the day immersing yourself in the very different cultures of North Africa.
You can wander around the souks to try and bargain for a variety of consumer goods such as food, leather goods and jewellery.
The Medina is a good example of ancient Arabic architecture, and the Kasbah is the city’s ancient fortress area.
Tangier is the best place in Morocco to see snake charmers, as most of the country’s traditions originate in this region.
7. Nerja and Frigiliana
Nerja and Frigiliana are two neighbouring towns that are a little off the usual tourist route and thus provide a better experience of local life in southern Spain.
Nerja is known for its underground caves, which can be easily explored as part of a tour.
Frigiliana has a huge Moorish castle in the town, which was one of the last refuges for the Moors before they left the Iberian Peninsula.
Both towns have some lovely boutique independent shops showcasing local crafts such as pottery and clothing.
There are also plenty of cheap fruit markets in these two towns.
The most famous site in Granada, and the most visited monument in Spain, is the Alhambra.
This provides a detailed introduction to Spanish history including Roman, Moorish and colonial times, and it is recommended that you book your tickets at least one day in advance.
Despite the crowds visiting the Alhambra, the rest of Granada is much quieter in terms of tourism and a great place to explore more authentic Spanish culture.
Alcaiceria is a great shopping area, and there are many historic attractions in the city center waiting to be explored.
9. Sierra Blanca
The Sierra Blanca Mountains are named after the pure limestone cliffs that dominate the region.
The mountains are a hiker’s paradise with many trails.
If cycling is more your thing, there are also some great bike trails.
The area is also quite aptly dotted with whitewashed towns that offer insight into local Andalusian culture and provide a scenic backdrop for boutique shopping and tasting local food.
The real star of the local village is Munda, where you can taste some of the best wines in Spain as well as a variety of Andalusian delicacies.
Andalusia’s capital is a great day trip destination from Marbella.
It is known for its grand architecture, historical monuments and vibrant atmosphere.
The Seville Cathedral is the center of the city and is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, connected to a minaret built during the Moorish period.
In addition to historical attractions, Seville hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar before planning your trip.
The city is ideal for seeing flamenco dance performances, visiting open-air markets and lively bars.
Known as the heart of Andalusia, Córdoba is steeped in the tradition and history of the region.
The city’s Jewish Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which itself can take a full day to explore.
You can visit a large synagogue in the Jewish quarter, as well as a sizable cathedral and the ruins of the former Great Mosque, all within walking distance.
If you want to avoid the usual tourist crowds, Córdoba is the perfect option for Seville, offering much of the same charm without the hustle and bustle.
Guadalmina is a grand canyon just a 20-minute drive from Marbella city centre.
Here you can enjoy activities such as hiking and canyoning, and the entire area is popular with tourists who love the great outdoors.
In terms of ability, Guadalmina is great for those new to the world of canyoning, and there are plenty of guides available for beginners.
There’s also a chance to jump straight into the water and have some fun descending along the edge of the cliff.
For families, add a dose of adrenaline to your itinerary with a sleigh ride that all families can enjoy.
Once known as a cheap, less attractive resort on the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos has recently been transformed into a place that is truly welcoming to foreign and Spanish tourists alike.
This fishing village has a great fish market near La Carihuela beach and some fine examples of Andalusian architecture.
There is a crocodile park for you to get up close and personal with the animals, which is a fun trip for families.
The recent tourism boom has also spawned a variety of water sports activities, including kite surfing, water skiing and pedal boating.
Founded by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago, Cadiz is often said to be the oldest city in Europe.
Centuries-old examples of architecture and human history can be found in a town just over an hour’s drive from Marbella.
You can find an archaeological museum with Phoenician artifacts, a Roman amphitheatre and a Gothic cathedral within walking distance, and the modern attractions of the new town are easily accessible on foot or by short bus.
If you’re visiting in February, Cadiz is home to the oldest carnival in Spain and the largest carnival in Spain.
Ojen is a small town about 10 km from Marbella, which is famous for its olive oil production.
You can visit olive oil makers in town and taste some of the best olive oils in the country.
There are also brandy distilleries and museums worth visiting and even trying a sample or two.
The town has a famous lookout with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, the area is famous for churros majiao, and if you arrive early, it will provide a hearty breakfast.
Whitewashed walls are also typical of the Andalusian countryside and will provide a picturesque backdrop for your visit.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Marbella, Spain
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