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“Authentic and charming” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Marbella Old Quarter

Marbella Old Quarter
Pl. Jose Palomo, 29601 Marbella, Spain
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Ranked #1 of 27 Attractions in Marbella
Type: Neighborhoods, Other
Activities: City walk sightseeing
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Attraction details
Owner description: This old neighborhood is full of romance, with narrow, winding cobblestone streets: great for evening strolls.
Ringwood, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Authentic and charming”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2015 NEW

Lovely to walk around in the evening, loads of small interesting restaurants tucked away in the maze of tiny streets. Great atmosphere, and a mix of tourists and locals.

Visited January 2015
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london, UK
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165 reviews 165 reviews
18 attraction reviews
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140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
“Lovely old town”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2015 NEW

I'm always surprised to find how lovely and down to earth the old town is, given the place's reputation for brashness. The shops are many, varied and unpretentious. The old orange square is lovely and the streets behind the nicest bit of all, with cheaper restaurant prices and cute architecture. It's easy to get absorbed in the atmosphere and get pleasantly lost in the narrow streets for a few hours and the best way to enjoy it is to take it slow and stop often for food and drink at different places, all of which have their own character.

Visited December 2014
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79 reviews 79 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“You can't miss it !”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2015 NEW

You can't miss it. It's like go back in time to 1800's but with a lot of new things. Get lost in the streets and enjoy it. Also in front of it you have a beautiful park with a huge fountain that change the color of the water (great to see at night). It's also VERY VERY safe !

Visited January 2015
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Brigg, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
218 reviews 218 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 86 cities Reviews in 86 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
“Essential part of a Marbella visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2015

Such free 'attractions' seem harder to rate than restaurants. They are static and consistent, unlike a restaurant visit, and 'are what they are'. You don't even need to worry about value for money.

Every 'holiday town' seems to have it's 'old quarter', whether it's authentic, or recently created to simulate such, and if you were parachuted into one, you'd struggle to tell which town it belonged to.

My summary of Marbella's Old Quarter is that it's very pleasant, but still 'generic', with little to elevate it above the norm (unlike for example the Jewish quarter in Girona).

However, it would be silly to spend any time visiting Marbella and not wander around this area.

Visited January 2015
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15 reviews 15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Paradise lost”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2015

I went to Marbella as part of an exercise to see if I wanted to settle there. House prices have plummeted in recent years and there are a number of TV programs and internet advertisements for 'exotic villas' in the sun. Well, who would not want that?
I had hired a car from Malaga airport and intended to spend the next 9 days running round the South of Spain viewing villas - as it was, I managed 2 days before hitting the panic button.
You see, all these photos that are posted on travel web sites only give you the briefest of information on a place - most of the photos are repetitive and tell you nothing about the reality of the place, for instance checking out Granada, will show you perhaps 2 or 3 historically interesting and perhaps architecturally beautiful places. But surrounding these wonderful sites is a sea of industrialization, massive low cost housing builds, freaky, trite villas and apartments and a lot of repetitively similar shops and tourist traps.
Marbella for instance, nice sea front until you turn your head away from the sea and look at the buildings, where grossly ugly and depressingly similar mile upon mile of grotesque apartment masks any of the naturally beautiful mountainous scenery and encapsulate you in a surreal concrete and brick travesty. Somewhere I read that there are more Rolls Royce luxury cars in Marbella than anywhere else outside of the UK - but where do they drive to - what are they doing here? The roads are chockablock with irate and somewhat suicidal traffic constantly stopping at a bewildering selection of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.
The old town center, sounds romantic and you find yourself desperate to alleviate the tacky modern concrete jungle for something simpatico - you wish! The old town center consists of a few cobbled and somewhat slippery streets where you pass by shop after little shop selling the same almost mandatory tourist junk, interspersed with restaurants of dubious quality advertising tapas and other local delights. It's all geared up to give you that 'Spanish' experience, it's not real and it's not going to relax you unless like most tourist who come here you are prepared to put on blinkers and rose-tinted sunglasses.
Still, people continue to come here and buy here so there must be something to be said for Marbella - it's just that I cannot see what it is. Perhaps when we write about a holiday, we write to impress our friends back home - make them envious? Or for the people that buy here, is where they live back home so bad that a luxury apartment by a golf course really rocks their socks and they don't need to be aware of what's just round the corner? - It is all plainly ugly, repetitive and obscenely self-aggrandizing.

And if you are fed up with the kitsch and sameness of it all then walk a few more blocks to the drab reality for most people who live and work there. Or perhaps further still, take your car and fight your way out into the hills, which are also liberally covered in these wonderful, traditional Spanish 'jelly-mould' villas and apartments. Quite how a country renowned for it's artists can blanket every last bit of natural beauty with junk villas and apartments is beyond me.

Ultimately, it seems to me that in the case of Spain, the populace has rested it's laurels on the work of the past, the beauty that is nature. Spain (in the South, has contributed nothing to what it's forefathers created but continues to suck it dry for all it's worth.

So it was that I found myself gasping to get away from Malaga, from Marbella and from Grenada and ultimately, from Southern Spain just as fast as the aircraft could take me. I leave the gloss and kitsch and tacky trite commercialism to those who can appreciate it.

Visited January 2015
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