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Making the Most of Your Vacation in Marbella

Sep 6, 2008
Marbella is the best known resort of Andalucia's Costa del Sol, the Sunshine Coast, and is sometimes called "the St Tropez of Spain" because of its popularity with the rich and famous. The resort has been tastefully redeveloped, unlike Torremolinos, has a beautiful old town area, the "casco antiguo" and many sights to see and tourist attractions to visit when you are renting villas in Marbella.

The Old Town

The old town area of Marbella is largely unspoilt and is made up of narrow white streets and alleyways, historical churches and pretty squares surrounded by the ruins of Moorish walls. The prettiest square, the Orange Square, Plaza de los Naranjos is located right in the middle of the Old Town and dates back to the 15th century. From this square you can see the 16th century Town Hall, the Hermitage of Santiago, the old governor's house and a 16th century stone fountain at the end of Nueva Street. The nearby Plaza de la Iglesia, Church Square, is the location of the 16th century church of Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion with its Baroque features, tower and famous organ.

Museo del Bonsai

The Bonsai Museum is situated in the Arroyo de la Represa park. It is an incredible display of bonsai trees and is said to be the largest collection of bonsais in Europe. Unwind after shopping or sightseeing by strolling through the shaded park of bonsais, weeping willows and lily ponds.

Rio Verde Roman Villa

This Roman villa can be found 4km east of Marbella and is from the second century. The villa is known for its unusual black and white mosaics which depict kitchen utensils as well as more classic themes like Medusa's head. The detailed representations of kitchen equipment helped archaeologists to date the villa.

Roman Baths of Las Bovedas

These Roman baths can be found on the edge of the beach of the Guadalmina urbanization. These baths are from the third century and you will see a well-preserved bath in the centre surrounded by seven chambers which would have been steam rooms. It is also possible to see remains of the hydrocaust system. To visit the baths you need to visit the tourist office at San Pedro de Alcantera to arrange a guided tour or to collect a key.

The Municipal Art Gallery

Visit this gallery, when you are renting villas in Marbella, to see beautiful works by local artists. It can be found in the Jose Palomo Square.

The Museo del Grabado Espanol Contemporaneo

The Museum of Spanish Contemporary Engravings is said to be one of the world's best collections of engravings. Make time to visit this museum to see works by Picasso, Miro, Dali and Tapies. The museum itself is a 16th century building, the old Bazan hospital.

The White Villages

Not far from Marbella, just off the coastal strip, built on the side of the mountains are the famous 'White Villages' (pueblos blancos), which have barely changed in the last hundred years.

Perhaps the nicest of these is Casares, which can be found if you drive inland for approximately 15km from the main highway near Estepona. Keep going past groves of olive and cork trees and, as you round the corner, you will experience your first dramatic view of the beautiful and unspolit village of Casares.

In this real working village, life continues much as it has done for decades, with locals gathering together in the village square every evening for conversation, drinks and tapas. For many people, this is the 'real' Spain that they came looking for, and hopefully, it will be for you as well.
About the Author
Gerrard Cholmondeley is an author and publisher who writes content for Villa Retreats (http://www.villaretreats.com), a luxury villa rental specialist offering a range of luxury apartments and villas in Marbella, the Balearics, and the Algarve. If you want a relaxing holiday in the sun, then Villa Retreats can even arrange a chauffeur, chefs or babysitter.
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