There may be no snow or cold temperatures, but Christmas in Marbella has a very special charm of its own – and one that draws many a Northern European visitor or resident to these shores.
Indeed instead of snow, rain or sleet, picture palms waving gently in a blue sky. The shining sun produces pleasant daytime temperatures that make a game of golf, a hearty walk or just café society in a square a true delight. On the days that winter visits the Costa del Sol, we enjoy a cloudy or drizzly day to shop for Christmas gifts at the El Corte Inglés department store – one of the largest and finest in Spain – the popular La Cañada mall, where all international brands are represented, or the boutiques and shops to be found in the heart of Marbella.
The charming historic centre, with its pedestrian streets and little squares flanked by cosy restaurants, cafés and tapas bars, will have you feeling a warm Christmas glow in no time, as will the pretty Christmas lights that decorate the town centre and add a welcoming glow in the evenings. At this time of year people gather in restaurants and cafés, stock up on seasonal delicacies and hunt for fun gifts. Vendors of roasted chestnuts maintain a wonderful tradition that adds to the atmosphere, as do the various Christmas markets organised each year in the area.
Among the most elegant of these is the Christmas market hosted at La Virginia – a beautiful residential area near the Golden Mile that has all the charm of an idyllic Andalusian village. It’s the perfect place to top on Christmas cheer as you browse the gifts, homemade crafts, artwork and delicious treats on offer at colourful stalls arranged throughout this delightful urbanisation. La Virginia is a true community, and this adds to the warm ambience of its Christmas fair (this year held on Sunday 8th December). There are many others, however, including those in support of a wide range of charitable causes.
The latter, along with organisations and groups of colleagues, friends and families also arrange dinners and get-togethers this time of year, making it one of the most sociable periods to be in Marbella. The options are many, from cosy country restaurants and tapas bars with a fireplace to classic fine eateries and modern establishments, and with its share of Michelin star restaurants Marbella also caters to the sophisticated palate in a wide range of different cuisines. Dinner and dance events as well as gala events also take place in the year’s cosiest month.
If shopping, dining and socialising take their toll and you’re in need of a bit of gentle exercise, why not take to the hiking trails that lead into the hills and wooded groves just inland – usually at the end of your urbanisation or suburb – or alternatively, enjoy the coastal views as you follow the beachside pathway. With more and more of the shoreline connected by this comfortable footpath, it offers wonderful stretches for walking, cycling and just contemplating in areas as diverse as Marbella, Estepona, San Pedro Alcántara, Mijas Costa and the protected Artola dunes.
This year, enjoy Christmas the Marbella way, and if you have the time, add a whole new dimension of experiences in nearby Málaga, one of Europe’s growing capitals of culture and gastronomy.