117 km2 crossed by the Mediterranean highway and the toll motorway, main access points to the municipality and 40 minutes from the Malaga-Costa del Sol airport.
With a length of coastline of 27.9 kilometres and a width between 3.5 and 5.5 km that goes into the slopes of Sierra Blanca.
Location: Marbella is located in the south of Spain, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Autonomous Region of Andalusia, belonging to the province of Malaga. It is located in the heart of Costa del Sol.
Marbella is the second most populated municipality in the province and the eighth in Andalusia and in its municipal area we find two main population centres: Marbella city centre and San Pedro de Alcántara. The rest of the population is scattered in a multitude of residential areas, with Nueva Andalucía and Las Chapas standing out as large urbanized areas.
Neighbouring Municipalities: Estepona, Benahavís, Istán, Ojén and Mijas.
Distance to Malaga, capital of the province: 57 kilometres.
Marbella stands out for its privileged weather with an average annual temperature of around 19º C (66º F).
The coincidence in the Marbella municipality of a series of factors makes the general climatic conditions of the Costa del Sol have a special peculiarity here, forming the so-called Marbella microclimate. Such factors are: its latitude, being located on the slope of Sierra Blanca, the influence of the Strait of Gibraltar and the thermoregulatory presence of the sea.
Fair and festivities of San Bernabé: June 11th, patron saint’s day. This festival served as a pretext to visit the Cruz de Humilladero and remember the Christian beginnings of Marbella.
Pilgrimage of San Bernabé: Sunday before the fair.
Fair and festivities of San Pedro de Alcántara: one week around October 19th, the day of San Pedro de Alcántara.
Local Holidays: June 11th and October 19th.
Fiestas of the Virgen del Carmen: seafaring festival and maritime procession of the Virgen del Carmen (patron saint of the city), July 16.
Easter: March – April, etc.
Marbella is one of the most important tourist cities of the Costa del Sol and all across Spain. During most of the year it is a centre of attraction for international tourism, mainly due to its microclimate and its tourist infrastructures.
Its thriving business network and investment appeal in recent decades have generated a large number of private facilities that increase the number of health, sports and leisure services. Thus, Marbella is in the first positions in terms of number of private clinics, sports infrastructures – it is the city with the most golf courses – and private schools with high quality education.
Its regional character also makes it home to many public health and leisure services. To this must be added the wide tourist offer, both public and private. In fact, it is the Andalusian municipality with the most hotel establishments per inhabitant and has one of the most luxurious ports in Spain, Puerto Banús, located six kilometres from the urban centre and is the 4th marina in the world ranking for berthing cost.
Marbella was first a mining town, then agricultural and finally a tourist city. It is an ancient and noble city. But few know that the first settlements date from the Paleolithic; that the deep Roman footprint bequeathed the Las Bóvedas hot springs (the only one with an aerial structure) or the town of Río Verde (which culinary mosaics are exceptional); that Marbella has one of the most renowned Visigoth monuments in the country, the Paleo-Christian basilica of Vega del Mar; that the Muslims already called it the “well inhabited” and built a fortress that has endured the passage of time and that became a royal city, studded with viewpoints, with aristocratic buildings, such as the Bazán Hospital and convents that mediated in the rescue of the captives of the Berber tribe.
It is the Basilica of Vega de Mar that proves the settlements that occurred in this area and in which historians place the ancient Cilniana. In the surrounding area, throughout various excavations, graves and ceramic and metal objects have been found.
When Muslim Marbella is taken over by the Catholic Monarchs, the keys were handed over before a cross that is currently kept in a small temple that is on Malaga street: it is the Cruz del Humilladero. From that moment the town abandoned the fortified precinct of the castle to spread throughout the area.
In the nineteenth century Marbella became the national capital of the iron and steel industry with the first blast furnaces in Spain: three on the La Concepción estate and three in El Ángel, owned by the Heredia and Ejiró families. Here, 75 per cent of the iron melted in Spain was manufactured from the El Peñoncillo farm, which was exploited until 1931. Finally, the steel industry collapsed due to competition from the north (Vizcaya – Basque Country).
At the same time, Marbella became an agricultural pioneer with the Marquis of Duero and, to a lesser extent, El Ángel. At the end of the nineteenth century, General Manuel Gutiérrez de la Concha, Marquis of Duero, designed San Pedro de Alcántara, the largest work of agricultural colonization carried out in our country by a private individual on 10,000 hectares of land located between the Guadaiza and Guadalmansa rivers. It was a colony dedicated to the cultivation of sugar cane and beet, with its own sugar mill, a building that is still preserved.
Marbella experienced before and after the civil war the collapse of its economy, which regained its pulse thanks to a phenomenon only anticipated by visionaries: tourism. The spectacular transformation started in 1940, although the great take-off began in 1943 with the arrival of Ricardo Soriano, the Marquis of Ivanrey, who founded the Venta y Albergues del Rodeo. It was a residential complex, with a neighbouring urbanization, which would set the style and touristic direction of the city. Ivanrey copied the bungalow from the United States, although rather more rustic, similar to peasant huts. It attracted artists of the time, such as Edgar Neville, Conchita Montes or Antonio “El Bailarín”, who bet on an idyllic Marbella, with dune beaches and with La Concha as an eternal profile, guarantor of its climatic kindness.
The city was transformed to host visitors, homes were remodelled, and land values changed. In most cases the owners sold to other developers who were doing great business. As an anecdote, it should be noted that the lands that were sold in the Nagüeles area for 13 million pesetas (just over 78,000 Euros) today make up the area known as the “Golden Mile”. New hotels are created, such as El Fuerte, San Nicolás, Guadalmina or Salduba, and the emblematic Los Monteros and Don Pepe.
While all these operations were being carried out, the first builders of the “mecca of tourism” arrived in Marbella: Alfonso de Holenlohe and José Banús. The latter undertakes a titanic development with the largest urbanization known in the country so far. A macroproject finally named after one of its parts, Puerto Banús, and which included several hotels (Hotel del Golf and Andalucía Plaza), golf courses, a bullring, night clubs and a marina that, since its inauguration (to which Grace Kelly and Rainier of Monaco attended), it became the largest in Europe with a structure that mimicked a typical Andalusian town.
Years later, in the 80s, the Arabs arrived, as big investors. At that time King Fahd built a palace in the town on a gigantic fenced estate where the Marbella Mosque was also built. And then the Arab banks arrived. It was a time that helped spread the image of Marbella as a mecca for billionaires, businessmen and women, and world-renowned artists. Don Alfonso de Holenlohe contributed to this dynamic and began to attract people to his hotel, the Marbella Club, personalities such as the Onassis, María Callas, the Dukes of Windsor or Ava Gardner. And Puerto Banús, which has hosted such famous yachts as those of the tycoon Kassoghi with the Nabila letters in gold, or that of the Count of Barcelona, the Giralda. A marina with an operations tower that stands out among the white country houses that surround the yachts and that has more than 900 berths.
The best way to get to know Marbella is to walk through its streets. In the centre, a walk through its Old Town that can be started on Lobatas street, where the houses still have two floors. Through there, we can walk through the Plaza del Santo Cristo and go down Calle Ancha until reaching the Puente de Ronda, which will be the access to the popular Plaza de los Naranjos, a place visited by thousands of people. There the Casa del Corregidor is located, built in the sixteenth century, as the old Town Hall. By its side stands a building that houses the Casa Grande de Marbella and, next to it, the hermitage of Santiago, a construction of the sixteenth century that contains the images of the Cristo del Amor and María Santísima de la Caridad, carvings that are part of the Marbella’s Easter.
Also in the centre we will find the Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, from the eighteenth century, whose three naves lead to the altarpiece of the main altar from where one of the most important organs of Andalusia can be seen. On a mahogany and silver altar rests “La Soledad” with her black cloak, one of the oldest Easter carvings. At the exit of the Encarnación, through the side door, we arrive at the well-known Calle del Viento, a narrow alley flanked by white walls, which leads us to the old Bazán Hospital that was founded by Don Alfonso Bazán (mayor of Marbella) in 1568. It was a house built to attend to the needy of the town and it had an impressive Mudejar coffered ceiling. However, the passage of time has led to the building being remodelled and occupied by the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engraving, the most important in Spain in terms of engravings. If we continue down this same street we find the Convent of the Trinitarians, now in ruins but dating from the 15th century when the Catholic Monarchs decided to create it as a religious foundation.
Leaving the Calle del Viento, we can look for the castle walls that, according to the latest studies, have a Roman origin. The highest part that is preserved is the one that looked at the river, the stream of the Represa, which is now vaulted and was the one that served as a moat for the castle. Legend has it that there are passageways that connect the fortress with the sea.
To continue getting to know Marbella you have to go through the streets of “El Barrio”, mostly pedestrianized, far from ostentation and with houses adorned with flowers on their doors and balconies, such as those of Luna, Sol and Lucero streets or those of San Cristóbal and San Ramón places that, from their simplicity, offer a more serene image of the town. Places that are joined by other corners of the city of enormous beauty, such as Aduar Street, that gently rises. Or “El Paseo de la Alameda”, the oldest park in town, a park with hundred-year-old trees that was a place of fun and leisure for Marbella from the mid to late twentieth century.
Logically, Marbella sustains itself from tourism, especially from hospitality and commerce. In it, luxury hotels are mixed with pensions and hostels. There are alternatives for all different incomes. And next to them the exclusive restaurants -Marbella is the Andalusian city with the most Michelin stars- and shops where famous people are often seen. But also with popular “markets” that fill streets with stalls that offer the visitor almost everything.
Marbella is an extraordinary place, where luxury and traditions, beaches, sun, golf, restaurants, nature and a mixture of cultures coexist. You cannot say that you know the Costa del Sol if you do not know Marbella.
According to 2016 data from the Tax Agency, Marbella is among the 25 municipalities with the highest disposable income per inhabitant in Andalusia.
The business network, according to 2018 data from the National Statistical Institute, is made up of 18,301 companies, which represents 14.87% of the total in Malaga and shows the weight of the Marbella economy in the province and its business dynamism. The tertiary services sector accounts for 83.36% of the economy, which confirms the strength of tourist activity compared to 14.57% for construction, and industry barely representing 2%.
The number of enterprises in 2017, the latest data available according to the Andalusian Territorial Information System (SIMA), stands at 18,659 of which the service sector represents 84.68%, enterprises dedicated to construction represent 12.61 % and those dedicated to industry, energy and water 2.71%. 80.67% of them represent micro-enterprises with less than 3 employees and 10.08% had a workforce between 3 and 5 employees, although there are 25 businesses that employ between 100 workers and 249 employees.
A 2008 report from the Andalusian Institute of Statistics (IEA) revealed that Marbella was the Andalusian municipality with the highest social welfare, taking as a reference 14 variables grouped into four large blocks: income, public services and facilities, access and quality of housing, and training and education.
There are many statistics that highlight the dynamism of the local economy, but there are some that are worth highlighting:
1- Privileged Location. Marbella is close to strategic points in Europe. Thus, the high-speed train connections with Malaga; maritime transport from Puerto Banús, the Port of Malaga or Algeciras and the airway from the nearby airport of the provincial capital, make Marbella a very attractive pole for setting up companies.
2- Real Estate Investment. This area of the Costa del Sol is one of the best valued for real estate investment and, specifically in Marbella, this value remains the highest. Marbella is one of the favourite destinations for real estate investment for a high percentage of Europeans.
3- Good weather, sustainability and high quality of life. Leisure, restaurants, sports clubs, nautical areas, golf courses, excellent schools and health services … makes those who settle in the city enjoy high standards of quality of life accompanied by pleasant and privileged weather conditions, with an average annual temperature of 19º C.
Marbella is also a friendly and sustainable city, with natural resources, commitment to clean energy and sustainable mobility.
6- Tourism. Marbella is the economic engine of the Costa del Sol and hosts almost one million visitors every year during the summer season. The city has an extensive natural and artistic heritage. Strolling through its streets allows you to discover a treasure on every corner. Marbella is a 5-star tourist destination with great opportunities.
7- Innovation and New Technologies. Marbella is strongly committed to becoming an innovation hub and has a project to become a “Smart Destination”.
The city is committed to the development of the digital economy as a pillar for the growth, competitiveness and internationalization of local companies.
In Marbella, it has already implemented 5G in 80 per cent of the territory and it is expected that by the end of 2020 the coverage will be one hundred per cent, a fundamental step for the economic reactivation of the municipality and to promote the digitization of local SMEs.
8- Training and talent. The City Council develops free training actions with the intention of providing the population of the municipality with training that meets the needs of the labour market, and that meets the competitiveness requirements of companies in those occupations that have higher employment expectations, favouring their integration into the labour market.
9- Aid for companies. The main objectives of the Marbella Business Portal (empresas.marbella.es) are to stimulate the local economy and promote job creation with a mechanism that will bring different sectors into contact, generating opportunities and strengthening the city’s entrepreneurial network.
Rebates for constructions, facilities and works declared of special interest or municipal utility in which circumstances of employment promotion concur: