A popular tourist resort on the Costa Del Sol, Marbella is known for its beach life, nightlife and for being in one of the sunniest regions of Europe.
The cosmopolitan resort town combines vibrant bars, historical sites and local culture to delight even the most seasoned tourists.
The surrounding region of Andalusia, however, is also full of many tourist delights and great options if you want to get away from the strips of Marbella.
From shopping havens and outdoor adventures to quiet villages and historical sites, there are plenty of great day trip options within easy travelling distance from Marbella.
Here are the 15 best trips you can take from Marbella.
This British territory is connected to Andalucia and is easily accessible from Marbella within a day trip.
There are plenty of interesting sites to visit in the area, including Punta Europa.
Here you can look across the Strait of Gibraltar towards the Atlas Mountains of Africa as well as interact with the Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys in Europe.
You can also explore the underground tunnels of the San Miguel Caves, a system that runs underneath Gibraltar rock.
Low taxation also makes Gibraltar a popular shopping destination, with most of the stores being located down Main Street.
Available tour: Full Day Gibraltar Sightseeing Tour
2. Mijas Pueblo
Mijas Pueblo is a typical example of an Andalusian village located in the Sierra de Mijas mountains.
Here you can see whitewashed buildings, stroll through ancient Moorish streets, and even get a great view across Andalusia and towards the African coastline from the top of the mountain.
There are small shops selling artisanal goods and boutique-style items.
If you are into golf, you can also find seven courses in the area, and outdoor activity lovers will enjoy the rock climbing opportunities.
There is also a large bullring and interesting museum located in the centre of the town, if you are keen to learn more about Spanish culture.
Suggested tour: Mijas Pueblo Private Tour from Marbella or Malaga
3. Puerto Banús
Located southwest of Marbella, Puerto Banús is where the rich and famous spend their time in the area, and the town oozes luxury and wealth.
You can spot a wide range of luxury cars along its streets including Ferraris, Bugattis and Aston Martins.
If you are interested in luxury shopping, there are plenty of upscale malls within the town for you to peruse.
Bargain hunters, however, can also enjoy some shopping along the Puerto Banús Street Market every Saturday morning.
Though you can opt to visit Puerto Banús by land, there is a fun catamaran trip that can be made between the town and Marbella which is well worth considering.
Málaga is the largest city in the Costa Del Sol region and provides a good mix between tourist infrastructure and local vibe.
Famed as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, you can visit a museum dedicated to the artist right in the city centre.
There is a tonne of interesting museums and art galleries scattered across the city, making it a cultural delight.
There is also a beautiful, if somewhat busy, beach stretching across the waterfront and marvellous views towards the mountains of Andalusia.
Fish is the local food speciality, and seafood lovers will be in heaven trying out the restaurants along the coastline.
5. Serrania De Ronda
Serrania De Ronda, known locally just as Ronda, is a gorgeous, traditional Andalusian town located in the south of the region.
The main sites include the Almocabar Gate, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Town Hall Square.
The bullring in Ronda is one of the oldest bullrings in the country and worth visiting to learn about the history of the sport in southern Spain.
There are wineries in the area, most notably Bodegas La Sangre, that give a good insight into the local wine culture and usually provide tours and sampling.
6. Tangier, Morocco
Africa is a lot closer than you think.
You can take a fast ferry from the nearby port of Tarifa to the Moroccan city of Tangier and spend a day soaking up the very different cultures of Northern Africa.
You can take a trip around the souk to try and bargain for various consumer goods, such as food, leather goods, and jewelry.
The medina is a good example of old Arabic architecture, and the Kasbah is an old fortress area of the city.
Tangier is the best place in Morocco to watch snake charmers, as much of the tradition in the country stems from this region.
7. Nerja and Frigiliana
Nerja and Frigiliana are two neighbouring towns that are slightly off the usual tourist routes and therefore give a better taste of local life in Southern Spain.
Nerja is famous for its underground caves which can easily be explored as part of a tour.
Frigiliana has a large Moorish castle in the town, one of the last refuges of the Moorish people before they left the Iberian peninsula.
Both towns feature some cute, boutiquey independent stores showcasing local handicrafts such as pottery and clothing.
There are also plenty of inexpensive fruit markets in both towns.
The most famous site in Granada, and the most visited monument in all of Spain, is the Alhambra.
This provides a great rundown of Spanish history including the Roman, Moorish and Colonial periods, and it is recommended that you book your tickets at least a day in advance.
Despite the crowds visiting Alhambra, the rest of Granada is a lot quieter tourism-wise, and a great place to discover more authentic Spanish culture.
Alcaiceria is a great shopping district, and there are plenty of historical attractions waiting to be discovered in the city centre.
9. Sierra Blanca
The Sierra Blanca mountain range is named after the pure limestone cliffs which dominate the region.
The mountains are a hiker’s paradise with plenty of trails.
There are also some great bike trails if cycling is more your thing.
The area is also, rather appropriately, dotted with whitewashed towns that give a great insight into local Andalusian culture and provide a scenic backdrop for boutique shopping and sampling some local food.
The true star of the local villages is Monda, where you can sample some of the best wine Spain has to offer as well as a good range of Andalucian delicacies.
The capital of Andalucia is a great place for a day trip from Marbella.
It is famed for its magnificent architecture, historic monuments and vibrant atmosphere.
The centrepiece of the city, the Cathedral of Seville, is the largest gothic cathedral in the world and is attached to a minaret that was built during the Moorish period.
Aside from the historic attractions, Seville also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar before planning your trip.
The city is an ideal spot for checking out a Flamenco dancing show, as well as visiting open-air markets and vibrant bars.
Cordoba is known as the heart of Andalucia and is steeped in the traditions and history of the region.
The city’s Jewish Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site and can take up an entire day of exploring in itself.
There is a large synagogue that you can visit in the Jewish Quarter, as well as a sizeable Cathedral and the site of the former Grand Mosque within walking distance.
If you are looking to keep clear of the usual tourist crowds, Cordoba is the perfect alternative to Seville, offering much of the same charm without the hustle and bustle.
Guadalmina is a large canyon just a short twenty-minute drive from central Marbella.
Here you can enjoy activities such as hiking and canyoning, and the entire region is very popular with tourists who love outdoor activity.
In terms of ability, Guadalmina is great for those new to the world of canyoning, and there are plenty of guided tours available for the uninitiated.
There are also opportunities to jump right into the water and enjoy some abseiling down cliff edges.
For families, there are toboggan rides available, adding a dose of adrenaline activity to your itinerary that all the family can enjoy.
Once known as a cheaper, less-attractive resort on the Costa Del Sol, Torremolinos has recently been revamped to become a truly welcoming place for visitors from abroad as well as Spanish tourists.
This fishing village has a great fish market close to the beach at La Carihuela, as well as some fine examples of Andalusian architecture.
There is a crocodile park for you to get up close and personal with the animal, and this is a fun trip for families.
The recent tourism boom has also resulted in a variety of watersports activities being made available including kitesurfing, water skiing and pedal boating.
Founded over 3000 years ago by the Phoenicians, Cádiz is often said to be the oldest city in Europe.
Centuries of architecture and examples of human history can be found in the small town, which is only just over an hour away from Marbella.
You can find an archaeological museum displaying Phoenician artifacts, a Roman amphitheatre, and a gothic cathedral all within easy walking distance, and the modern attractions of the new town are also easy to walk to or within a short bus ride.
If you are visiting in February, Cádiz is home to the oldest carnival, and the largest in Spain.
Ojen is a town about 10km away from Marbella, which is famed for its olive oil production.
You can visit the olive oil makers in the town and sample some of the best oil in the country.
There are also brandy distilleries and museums that are worth visiting, and even trying out a sample or two.
There is a famous lookout over the town that gives breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape, and the region is famous for churros majaos, which will provide a hearty breakfast if you arrive early enough.
The whitewashed walls are also typical of rural Andalusia and will provide a very picturesque backdrop to your visit.