With its beautiful location on the Costa del Sol holidaymakers have been flooding to Marbella on the Spanish coast since package tours first became available to the wider market. Once a sleepy fishing village on the Mediterranean Marbella is now a large cosmopolitan resort, the guarantee of sunshine enticing in the well heeled with the promise of a perfect tan top up.

Although the glamour and the glitz may attract more than the occasional celebrity this popular destination has far more to offer then the promise of the high life; the Andalusian region is amongst the most beautiful areas in Spain and it doesn’t take much to scratch below the glittering surface of Marbella to find a heart that beats with tradition and culture.

Marbella has some excellent hotels designed to please even the most discerning of tourists, there are also plenty of great villas for those that prefer a more private holiday, although much of the accommodation seems to appeal to those with deeper pockets there are also some great places to stay on a budget.

Hotel Lima Marbella is a great budget hotel just a few minutes from the beach and the old town it is ideally located to be right at the heart of Marbella attractions, the rooms are a little basic but the service is excellent, a perfect place to stay for those that want the Marbella glitz without the Marbella prices.

The traditional cuisine of Marbella relies heavily on seafood and fresh fish with plenty of use of bold flavours, garlic being a particular favourite, but as with any large resort it is possible to find a whole myriad of global cuisines; with more than its fair share of excellent restaurants Marbella is the perfect destination to indulge your gastronomic fantasies.

El Ancla has a glorious location right at the side of the beach, not only do they serve some of the best fish in the area but they also have the rather odd attraction of a large salt water swimming pool, unique and quirky this is a great restaurant for something a little bit different to the norm.

Marbella is more family friendly than most people realise and in order to promote this much money has been spent developing activities that will appeal to the family market, one of the newest and best attractions is the Costa Water Park – a huge inflatable water park floating in the sea just off the beach; there are slides, trampolines and plenty of extreme surfaces to climb. Although a real thrill for the family the water park is closely monitored by qualified staff to maintain the safety of all the customers.

For those that like their sporting activities to be on dry land there are a whole host of options, go karting and quad biking are both popular as is horse riding, head to El Dorado just a few miles inland to find some of the best stables in the region where a true Spanish horse trek can be experienced; if you are more interested in watching horses rather than riding them then the Hipodromo Mijas Costa all weather racetrack with its floodlit course is perfect to watch some night racing on those hot summer evenings.

The Mediterranean climate of Marbella gives perfect summers with as much as 11 hours sunshine a day, winters are mild and short with rain being a rare occurrence; Marbella is known for its sunshine and for good reason with over 320 days a year to work on that perfect tan.

The summer season in Marbella really comes to life in June with the week long celebration for the patron saint San Bernabe, this sets the tone for the rest of the summer which is filled with cultural events and festivities.