• Coastline Med chic and fabulous beaches, darling
  • Coast life Shopping, schmoozing and sunbathing

A bustling city with 24 beaches, this Spanish hotspot has more to it than the usual Costa del Sol tourist route.

Reborn as a players’ destination, Marbella oozes old-school glam. The Costa de Sol’s classiest joint is looking spruce, its avenidas made over with palm-trees and marble pavements. Go for the exclusivity of the boutiques, the rat-pack appeal of the casinos, and the unashamed glitz of the nightlife, but don’t miss the old town, with the Plaza de los Naranjos at its heart.

Do go/Don’t go

With 320 days of sun a year, and the lowest average temperature around 12 degrees in January, Marbella is pretty wonderful whenever you go.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes The nearest airport is Malaga | around 30 minutes away by car. There’s a toll road and a freeway | neither of which is straightforward to negotiate | particularly at night. A licensed taxi from the airport is around €50 | or ease into your holiday via a Merc or BMW from Skybus for a few euros more (book at the UK office on +44 (0)1243 784349; www.skybusspain.com). If you want to ham up the jet-set look | glide up to your hotel in a stretch limo from the Marbella Limousine Company (+34 618 640 100; www.limosol.com) | from €25 a person.
  • Trains There’s no direct rail link from Malaga airport to Marbella.
  • Automobiles You’ll probably find it’s not worth renting a car: the narrow Marbella streets are much friendlier to pedestrians than vehicles; signposting isn’t great; and traffic lights are positioned high up so you have to squint into the sun… There are buses from Malaga airport: see www.andalucia.com/travel/bus/airport.htm for timetables and details.
  • Taxis Cabs are cheap, but not always metered. Those that aren’t should carry an official book of rates, so check with your driver before you set off. Taxis display a green ‘libre’ notice or green light at night. You can ask your bar or restaurant to call one for you.