All you need to know about Marbella's Ports
Marinas in MarbellaMarbella, sometimes known as the jewel of the Med, just a short hop from most European cities, has some of the best ports in the world.
Marbella has in fact got four marinas which are Puerto Banus, Puerto Deportivo de Marbella, Puerto Deportivo de Cabopino and Puerto de la Bajadilla.
Walking down directly towards the sea from the famous Cafeteria Marbella on Avenida Ricardo Soriano you will come to the entrance of the Puerto Deportivo, the original berthing spot for your yacht in Marbella, should you be lucky enough to own one. Way back in the eighties, when life was less stressful and those of us (me) who were lucky enough to see the heydays of Marbella, Puerto Deportivo, or the Sport Port as it would be in English was an amazing place to be, with thousands of revellers partying every night in the bars like Willy Salsas, Locos (my God that's a story on its own), Mata Hari ( that's better forgotten, read my forthcoming book) Bar Sol (same) the list goes on, and my did we have just the most fun then, younger and more foolish maybe, but it was the best.
Puerto Deportivo de Marbella
Today the Puerto Deportivo has taken on a more sophisticated air, the craziness has gone, well most nights, and venues have been replaced with fine gastro bars like The Beacon, Nelly Mc's, B-Bistro & Bar, Hestia, and of course the great new late night hot spot Maya. In my humble opinion, Marbella Port is the best place to go, be it for a tidy cocktail in El Faro, where the stools are on wheels, to enjoy one of the finest burgers in town at The Beacon, or to watch full sports at Nelly Mc's with a blinding mug of tea, may I add. If you are seeking some adventure then you can book all your water sports from the quay wall from deep sea fishing to paragliding, boat and jet ski hire, or browse the many market stalls selling fine bric a brac and jewellery, what's not to like?
Puerto Banus, the dream of one man way back in the early 70's, Jose Banus, in fact to be precise I mean May 1970, a tad before I headed southwards to these beautiful shores, but I did get here just in time to see the heyday of Banus with its supper classy hedonistic European and Hollywood elite crowd, and trust me I shared a G&T with more than my share (again wait for my book). Built in a classical Andalusian pueblo style, Puerto Banus, then and now has everything the Luxury traveller needs, be it gasping at the multi-million dollar yachts, the supercars, or should I say Hypercars like the latest Pagani Huayara or the plethora of Lamborghinis, Ferraris or Bentleys. Over the last year, in particular, the port has seen some super improvements with new parking areas, lighting and security to ensure that it remains on the "must-visit" list of the rich and famous worldwide.
Now, to the cuisine...may I be honest? OK, I will, let's not forget you are in the biggest tourist trap this side of the Great Wall of China so best check out our guide on Restaurants in Banus to be safe not sorry!
Piucaro has great food, steaks at Grill del Puerto are excellent and if you wish to queue with the rabble outside Piccassos Pizzeria you won't be disappointed, but you will lose a few kilos waiting. For most visitors to Puerto Banus food is secondary to the amazing shopping with the likes of Christian Dior, Gucci, Bvlgari, Versace, YSL, D&G, Cartier, Louis Vuitton et al, and of course the chance to take a tipple or two in the amazing bars and clubs scattered around the Port like Portside, for all your sporting needs, the Skybar in the newly re-vamped Benabola Hotel (a must for the most stunning views of the port) or Babilonia or Astral for a decent cocktail or two. For you night owls, of course, there is Tibu, Mirage and News Cafe if you like your music loud and bouncy. Don't forget that over 5 million people each year decide to visit this place, so you will not be alone...
The Puerto Deportivo de Cabopino is a small marina located 10km away from the centre of Marbella. Cabopino port is surrounded by beautiful beaches and ''chiringuitos'', beach restaurants, where you can enjoy typical Spanish dishes like fried fish with salad or the well-known Paella or maybe an ''espeto de sardinas'' which are sardines grilled over an open wood flame. There is also a workshop for the maintenance of the boats and a leisure zone on the surrounding areas.
Puerto Deportivo de Cabopino
Last but by no means least there is the Puerto de la Bajadilla which is the main fishing port in Marbella where many trawlers ply their trade fishing for fish like Sardines, Sea Bass (Lubina), Sea Bream (Dorada) Turbot (Rodaballo) Salmonette (Red Mullet, delicious, but a bit fiddly) which you will find freshly cooked on your plate in most of the chiringuitos along Marbella's 28 km of beaches. There are also some moorings for pleasure boats but really this is more of a working port.
Puerto de la Bajadilla
Estepona & SotograndeOn the outskirts of Marbella, you can also find other busy leisure ports. The Puerto Deportivo de Estepona is situated at a walking distance from the old town of Estepona and has 447 docks in total, the close location to the centre of Estepona allows tourists to enjoy all that this typical Andalusian town can offer. On Sundays, you can find an amazing market going on in the marina which is definitely worth a visit or two and you can find a multilingual staff member at the service office of the control tower. This lovely harbour has a much more laid back feeling to it, reflecting the calmness that pervades the town, which by the way has the most amazing and humungous murals around.
Sotogrande, famous for its Polo season, attracting the best teams from all over the world is also home to some of the best sailing in the Meditteranean and holds regular world-class regattas. Sotogrande water sports fans are spoilt for choice with kayaking and kitesurfing to wakeboarding and diving being a possibility to arrange in the port.