Article by Sophie Ann Gatward Wicks
For many, a lifelong bucket list, (things to do before one dies) is usually fairly extreme and extravagant. Though if there is one lesson lockdown has taught, it is that so much joy can be found in even the most simplistic of adventures. With lockdown gradually ebbing into leniency, it is time to start dreaming again.
For those dreaming of visiting Marbella again soon, or for those lucky enough to live here permanently, this top 10 post-lockdown bucket list has been tailored for a gentle ease into society, and inspired mainly by locals.
1. Walk, cycle or roller blade along the Paseo Marítimo, visiting the Avenida del Mar and Alameda Park.
Picturesquely flanked by palm trees, and constantly overlooking the shoreline, the Paseo Maritimo (seafront promenade) spans from La Bajadilla fishing port in the east of Marbella, right by Playa del Cable, and realistically can be followed westwards along the sea front towards Puerto Banús on the same route all the way up to San Pedro Alcántara. The promenade forms part of the Senda Litoral de Málaga (Málaga Coastal Path), a 160 Km long path following the entire coast of Málaga province from Manilva to Nerja.The path is still in production – about 85% of it has been completed and is projected to be finished in the next year or so.
Staying snug to Marbellas hub, where the promenade is beautifully structured in immaculate marble, every few metres you’ll find water fountains and benches. The promenade also features a number of sculptures, shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. A day out on the prom is never a dull one.
Starting at the yellow marble-floored Avenida del Mar, which features 10 bronze sculptures by Salvador Dali, and convenient underground parking right beneath the avenue. After walking out of the car park onto Avenida del Mar, being greeted by Dali’s artworks, you can choose to head upwards towards Old Town Marbella, climbing a set of stairs at the end of the avenue which leads onto Alameda park.
The Alameda park features the impressive Rocio del Virgin fountain and botanical gardens, and is the perfect sanctuary to cool off in the shade on a hot day. Heading in the other direction towards the sea, take the stairs downwards at the end of Avenida del Mar to access the Paseo Maritimo.
2. Breakfast date at Churreria Ramon in Orange Square (Casco Antigua (Old Town)
Getting churros in Old Town Marbella is like getting croissants in Paris, or Gelato in Florence. It’s a timeless bucket list classic, and a great way to start the day followed by meandering through the various alleyways leading off of Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square). After the delectable deep fried delights, a coffee and fresh juice, you can visit the baroque style La Encarnación church which is a pleasant walk from Orange Square into Plaza de La Iglesia.
3. Sunset tapas and cañas by Marina Marbella, followed by ice cream at Rivareno Gelato.
Along the Paseo Maritimo there are many tapas bars to choose from. Often spoiled for choice, one of our favourites is La Bodega del Mar, just a stones throw away from the Marbella Marina known as the Puerto Deportivo de Marbella. Getting tapas outside during the golden hour when the afternoon sun meets the evening lull of the dampening sky is one of the most pleasant things to do on this earth. Enjoy a crisp caña (half pint) or a delicious cocktail. When the tapas are done and the sweet tooth hits, a gentle stroll down through the Marina and then up towards the Rivareno Gelato Cafe adjacent to the Parque de la Constitucion is the perfect way to round off a chilled evening.
4. A gander at the Roman Ruins in Rio Verde, and lunch at Camurí – Las Cuchis with a walk over the San Fran-esque red bridge
A historic setting adds an authentic touch to an otherwise usual escape for a late lunch offered by many other places along the coast.
2,000 years ago, the City of Ciliana thrived where Marbella now stands. Remnants of this Roman city can be discovered in different areas of Marbella, one of which can be found preserved permanently under a canopy in Urbanization Rio Verde Playa, where you will find intricate and vivid mosaics; ruins which once formed a regal roman villa. Further down the road from the ruins in the opposite direction of Coral Beach, turn left at the very end of the residential road to find the red bridge reminiscent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
This bridge allows pedestrian access to cross over the Rio Verde river, and continue the route onto the promenade towards Puerto Banús. Situated at the base of the bridge is the Camurí – Las Cuchis beach bar and restaurant (not to be confused with the Camurí restaurant in Laguna Village).
Trip Advisor Link:
5. A catch up over cocktails at Astral cocktail bar in Puerto Banús, followed by a moonlit stroll along the harbor front.
Astral cocktail bar is built entirely out of wood in the shape of an old Galleon, fitted with a rotating circular platform that gives you the authentic feeling of being out at sea on a very calm day (or very drunk after a few sips of your cocktail). The unique style, friendly staff and great atmosphere has brought the spotlight to this unique addition to Puerto Banús since it’s opening in 2002. Located right at the entrance where the first line of the port begins, it’s the perfect place to start the night. The following cocktails are certainly worth a try: Astral’s Star Daiquiri, Banana Dreams, Adrómeda and Paulo’s Mojito.
Trip Advisor Link:
6. Enjoy lunch on the beach then rent a pedalo or padddleboard and enjoy a day of sun-kissed leisure.
There are so many beach bars along Marbella’s coast – pick any one of them and you’ll have a great day! When in Marbella town we often pop into the New Bounty Beach on Playa del Cable (Cable Beach), which has over the years become one in the same with Bounty Beach. Showers, public toilets, great food at the beach bar, along with amenities for volleyball games make this an all-rounder beach destination.
Often there is live music (sometimes saxophone jazz or DJ summer vibes), and although the golden sands here are 1,300 meters long and 70 meters wide, it’s still quite a cozy hangout.
Trip Advisor Link:
7. Pack a lunch and dive into nature with a trip up to La Concha mountain.
The bold and beautiful La Concha mountain which overlooks Marbella is an absolute must for this bucket list. You can either take it chilled and meander to the view point, or scale the full mountain for a days worth of intense cardio paired with unforgettable views. See our blog: The ascent of La Concha, Marbella’s Landmark Mountain for everything you need to know about La Concha and your planned day trip.
8. Visit the Sierra Springs (Nacimiento de Río Molinos) natural water source in Istan, and bottle some takeaway spring water
Istán sits 14km from the Marbella coastal road on the A-7176. Once you arrive at the center of Istán, follow the signs to Istán Alto, Calle Calvario. Head to the Sports center and turn left once you reach the crossroads. Coming to a bridge you will see the Nacimiento de Rio Molinos on your right and the waterfalls on the left.
There are also so many walks around the mountainous regions to further hidden water pools. When the water supply is plentiful, the pure, fresh Sierra spring water is seen coming from underneath the mountain rocks, staying briefly in the aqueducts and naturally constructed stone paddling pools before cascading under the bridge and merging into distinctly carved falls. It is common to bring water jugs and bottles to refill and take back home, a lot of people do this weekly.
The water from the Sierra Springs and Rio Verde feeds into the many fountains dotted aesthetically around the white blossomed village of Istán, and even when the pools at the Nacimiento are seemingly empty, water still flows freely through the town. Drinking this crisp, cool water tastes as if it is from a magical source that could heal all ailments and make dreams come true. It wouldn’t be surprising if fairies lived here.
9. An indulgent and celebratory dinner at The Marbella Club Grill
There is no place more iconic and ingrained into the heart of the timeless and upscale Marbella lifestyle than the Marbella Club Hotel itself. The Grill is a culinary landmark for its local and international dishes and the romantic setting is second to none – the perfect place for a beautiful candlelit dinner. A go-to classic for all the important celebratory moments in life – like lockdown ending!
Whilst enjoying the exquisite food and drink, surrounded by good company and serenaded by the stars, jasmine flowers, bougainvillea and ocean breeze, it is places like these that make you realize how lucky you are in life. Head to the website to book your table in advance – the hotel repoens on July 2nd.
Note: During the day, this dining area is transformed from romantic evening Grill, to sun loungers and an epic seafood-rich buffet.
10. Pre-dinner margaritas in the Puente Romano Plaza
Another indulgence and preferred way to unwind in a cooling and atmospheric environment is right in the epicenter of the Puente Romano. Known as La Plaza, the secured mesh canopy and fairy light trees decorate the outside seating areas which can be enjoyed day or night. The Plaza bar offers beautifully and freshly made cocktails – you won’t have had a better Margarita.
After drinks, choose from tapas at the bar, equipped with rainbow sushi, or a have a sit-down meal to round off the evening at one of the many surrounding restaurants. If none of the restaurants around the square take your fancy, you could always walk the 10 minutes to the Marbella Club Hotel and dine at The Grill instead, which is just a stone’s throw away along the road in the direction of Marbella. Get there by car, taxi, or a short walk along the beach or pedestrian roadside access.