Travel: Exploring the culture and history of Marbella, Spain

Marbella is Spain’s diamond resort. Glamorous and expensive, Marbella is perfect for anyone who wants to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. But what many don’t realise, is that Marbella is also steeped in history with numerous museums, festivals and ancient buildings to explore and indulge in all the local culture.

marbella - exploring the culture


Marbella is home to many exquisite art galleries, with Casa Grande being the grandest. With free admission, you’ll be able to see an impressive collection of sculptures and crafts from the 4th Century, Byzantine art and works from some of the best artists across the globe. The gallery often has visiting exhibitions so you’ll see something new even if you’ve visited before.
For more contemporary art, visit the Gallery Houses of Art to see some of the highest quality examples of modern art as well as many up-and-coming artists along with a history of each piece displayed.

A more unusual visit is to the Contemporary Engraving Museum, where you’ll find an exhibition of 3,000 engravings and artwork from artists such as Picasso and Miro. There are also various visiting exhibitions. The actual building of the museum is incredibly interesting as it’s housed in the historic Hospital Bazan, which was built in the 1500s.

For more ancient history, the Municipal Archaeological Collections hosts artefacts from pre-history until Byzantine and Roman times. The collections include items such as currency, statues, pots and tombstones.


Every June, Marbella celebrates their patron Saint, San Bernabe, with a weeklong fair. Visitors can learn about the traditions of the region through the food, drink and entertainment on offer at the various casetas setup throughput the town. Expect flamenco dancing, traditional street food such as fried fish and Iberico Ham and plenty of local wine. Other highlights include fireworks displays, fair rides and live music.

marbella - exploring the culture

Also in June is La Noche de San Juan, a festival celebrated throughout Spain that marks the summer solstice. In Marbella, visitors can enjoy bonfires on the beach topped with huge papier mâché figures as well as plenty of evening entertainment usually in the form of delicious local dishes and drinks.

Historic Buildings

If you like to explore ancient buildings then Marbella has numerous choices for you. For stunning architecture, the Castle Walls is steeped in history. Dating back to the 10th century, the ancient Arab castle is situated in the city’s Old Quarter and is one of Marbella’s most loved buildings. The actual castle has no public access, but you can get wonderful views from the outside.

marbella - exploring the culture

Photo of Hospital Bazan by Té y kriptonita via Wikipedia

The Church of the Incarnation, is a beautiful 16th century church based in central Marbella that has been renovated to its former glory. The public are allowed to enter to view the ornate and elaborate interior, and can witness one of the daily masses that takes place within the church. It also hosts a number of large religious events throughout the year.

Of course, no historic building tour in Marbella would be complete without a visit to the Basilica Vega Del Mar. These 4th century ruins are highly significant historically and is the site that many of the city’s artefacts – which are housed in local museums – were discovered.

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