Since the historic heart of Marbella is tucked away, just north of the town’s main thoroughfare, visitors sometimes miss its authentic and simple charm, as they are instead drawn to more well known tourist temptations of Puerto Banús or Marbella’s Golden Mile. However the popularity of Old Town is increasing as both independent travellers and residents look to enjoy a day’s shopping or an evening dining out in a relaxed environment.
Whilst the history of the Marbella area dates back to the Phoenicians and Romans, old town is thought to date back to the Middle Ages. During the Arabic influence, from the 8th Century, Marbella became a fortified settlement with huge defensive walls, parts of which are still visible today.
The Catholic Monarchs reconquest in the 15th Century brought the destruction of the Arabic medina and the construction of the historical parts we recognise now, such as Plaza de los Naranjos; the original town hall; the Old Governor’s House, the Chapel of Santiago and the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church, and the Bazan Palace that now houses the Museum for Contemporary Spanish Engravings
Despite the changes over the years however much of the original Arabic influence remains, with its narrow streets designed to keep building cool and shaded in summer and there is charming mix of Islamic and Catholic Spanish architecture.