Marbella is known for being a fantastic summer getaway – its stunning golden sand beaches, its international events and nightlife, and its lively atmosphere make it a top choice destination in Spain.
However, if you’re wondering if it’s worth visiting Marbella in winter, the short answer is yes. Although you may want to skip swimming in the sea, there are other amazing activities to do in winter in Marbella such as going on a scenic hiking trail.
Not only can you do activities that you would avoid in summer because of the heat, but you’ll experience a different Marbella – a calmer and more authentic side.
In addition to this, if you wish to escape the cold and rainy winter, Marbella is an excellent option.
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Reasons to visit Marbella in winter
1) The sunny weather
Marbella weather is good all year round, and the town as well as the rest of Costa del Sol enjoys 320 days of sun on average, so there isn’t any better place to be in Europe in winter.
Winter temperatures reach up to 18 degrees (64º F) during the day which is the perfect weather to explore Marbella’s old town, enjoy a meal outdoors or stroll on the beach promenade. During the evening, expect a minimum of 8 degrees (46º F).
The coldest month in Marbella is January with a maximum of 16 degrees (60º F) and a minimum of 6 degrees (42º F).
2) There are fewer crowds
If you prefer to visit places at a slower pace and with fewer tourists, travelling to Marbella off-season is ideal for you.
Winter in Marbella is peaceful, so you don’t need to worry about queueing to sit at a restaurant table most times, being stuck in traffic or getting earlier than the crowds to visit attractions or towns near Marbella.
This doesn’t mean there are no tourists! You’ll be surprised by how many people choose Marbella as their winter sun getaway. On top of this, there are many expats and digital nomads that make Marbella their home base.
Overall, you’ll experience a quieter Marbella apart from the Christmas period that lasts until the 6th of January.
3) It’s more budget-friendly
You’ve probably heard that Marbella is expensive, and certainly, Marbella isn’t the cheapest place to visit in Costa del Sol.
However, if you’d like to visit Marbella while being on a budget, you want to avoid the summer months at all costs. Not only is it expensive, but busy too and you’ll struggle to find accommodation at a good price.
Visiting Marbella in winter offers you a better price range in accommodation and affordable flights too.
If you’re travelling from Europe, there are plenty of cheap flights to Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport from November to February, excluding the festive period.
You can find return flight tickets for less than 50 pounds, and the best way to check the cheapest dates is with Skyscanner.
Things to do in Marbella in winter
A common question is what to do in Marbella during this time of the year. Here are seven activities to do in this charming town.
Stroll the promenade
There’s nothing better than waking up early and strolling Marbella’s promenade. Enjoying a walk while there are barely any people around, listening to the noise of the waves and contemplating the beautiful coast with the warm colours of the sunrise.
If you aren’t an early bird, walking in Marbella’s promenade is always a good idea, although doing this at sunrise or sunset is even more magical.
On Sundays, expect to see more people on the beachfront because it’s the day when many locals don’t work (except hospitality workers). You’ll see many friends or families walking on the promenade and stopping by a beach bar to have lunch.
Enjoy a meal on an outdoor terrace
Outdoor eating doesn’t only happen in summer, but in winter too. The beautiful weather in Marbella and across Costa del Sol allows restaurants and bars to keep their outdoor seating during all year.
Although it isn’t as warm as in other seasons, you’ll only need a jacket or coat, depending on how cold you normally get, and you’ll be fine sitting outside. However, there are days that you may not even need these!
Plaza de Los Naranjos, known as Orange Square by tourists, is a very picturesque and relaxing place to enjoy a meal.
However, if you’d like to eat traditional dishes such as pescaito frito (fried fish), head to La Lonja, one of the best places to eat fish in Marbella.
Explore the Old Town
Exploring the Old Town of Marbella is an activity that you can do all year round, but if you’re wondering why winter is a perfect time, there are two main reasons.
Firstly, it isn’t crowded as it happens during the summer months. And, secondly, the temperature is often pleasant – sunny, blue sky, not too hot, not too cold.
As you get lost in the beautiful whitewashed streets, take photos of the picturesque buildings and flower pots hanging on the walls, go inside Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church, spot the remains of Marbella Castle, and stop by the local independent shops that sell unique souvenirs and clothes.
If you’re into learning about the history of the town and knowing a bit more about the local culture, then you want to consider booking a tour with a local guide to tell you all the secrets about Marbella.
Despite the small of the old town, you can spend hours in this charming part of Marbella. The Old Town of Marbella is the most beautiful one in Costa del Sol.
📌 If you’d love to learn about Marbella’s old town history while tasting delicious tapas and wine, check out this 3 hour tour.
Marbella is a paradise for those who love golf. You’ll find many golf courses for all ages and levels across Marbella and Costa del Sol. In case you’re looking for a good golf course, these are the best golf courses:
- La Quinta Golf & Country Club
- Los Naranjos Golf Club
- Marbella Club Golf Resort
- Cabopino Golf Marbella
Shop at La Cañada
If you love shopping, you’re spoilt for choice in La Cañada Shopping Centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in Costa del Sol that is just outside Marbella.
La Cañada is a paradise for anyone who loves shopping. It has over 200 shops where you can buy anything from high street brand clothes like H&M and Zara and jewellery to home decorations and children’s toys.
In addition to the wide selection of shops, you can also grab some food or go to the cinema.
Go on a hiking trail
Hiking is the best thing to do in Marbella in winter. Its proximity to the mountains makes Marbella an ideal place for nature lovers.
Marbella is home to many scenic hiking trails that range from easy to difficult, so you’ll find the best walking route for you.
One of the most popular but challenging hiking trails in Marbella is La Concha which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coast, Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, Gibraltar and Africa on clear days. It takes about 6 to 7 hours to complete.
Another incredible hike, which isn’t next to Marbella but is worth doing, is Caminito del Rey located very close to Ardales.
This used to be one of the most dangerous hiking trails in Europe, but fortunately, the path has been restored and adapted for tourists.
In order to access Caminito del Rey, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee. Make sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid any disappointments. It has become a very popular spot!
📌 Planning a visit to Caminito del Rey? Book your tickets here.
Go on a day trip
Here is a list of the best day trips from Marbella in winter:
The best way to travel in Marbella and Costa del Sol is by car. Renting a car gives you the freedom to visit towns which are difficult to travel to by public transport.
On top of this, driving to these destinations has also the advantage of getting there earlier than others which is ideal if you wish you watch the sunrise or take photos without crowds.
However, if you don’t drive or don’t wish to drive abroad, I highly recommend checking guided tours with Get Your Guide. They’re very convenient and you don’t need to stress about catching different buses to get to a place.
Things to do in Marbella in winter by month
If you’re wondering if there are any special events that take place during the winter months, here are the highlights of each month.
Marbella in December
This is the time to experience Christmas like a Spaniard. There are different Christmas markets in Marbella that take place across the month of December.
One of the most popular Christmas markets is Mercado Navideño El Corte Inglés which has cute Alp-style stalls with unique gifts, food trucks that serve waffles, crepes and burgers, children’s attractions and live music.
During your stay in Marbella, I highly recommend going on a day trip to Malaga to see some of the best Christmas light displays in Spain!
Estepona has a beautiful Christmas market and other lovely events in December too.
Marbella in January
One of the main events in Marbella in January is Cabalgata de Los Reyes Magos on the 5th of January.
This consists of a street parade in which the “three kings” and their helpers throw sweets, and sometimes toys, from their floats to children. It’s a special event to attend with the little ones!
The parade is way smaller than the one in Malaga, but if you prefer to experience it without lots of people, then the Marbella parade is your best option.
Apart from this Christmas event, there aren’t many things events that take place in January.
Marbella in February
February is the month of the carnival in many countries like Italy, Brazil and Colombia. The south of Spain celebrates carnival at its best, and Marbella celebrates it too.
Although the best place to celebrate the carnival in Andalucia is Cadiz, it’s an experience seeing how locals in Marbella dress up, sing in the streets, and participate in fancy dress competitions.
In addition to the carnival, another important event is Andalucia’s day on the 28th of February. On this day, there is live music, free paella tasting and other food stalls in Avenida Las Albarizas.
Marbella in March
St Patrick’s Day wasn’t a thing in Marbella or Malaga a few years ago, however, it has become another celebrated event since the increase of Irish expats across the Costa del Sol.
The event often takes place on the 16th and 17th of March in the Glorieta de la Fontanilla. Here you can enjoy traditional Irish food, listen to Irish songs, dance and much more. There are also activities for children such as face painting and inflatable castles.
By the end of March and beginning of April, it’s Semana Santa (Holy Week), a very traditional and important time in Marbella and the rest of Spain. See the impressive religious floats day and night and taste traditional Easter desserts like torrijas
Is Marbella worth visiting in winter?
This will depend on the type of holiday you’re looking for. Marbella is perfect for you if you want to sightsee, go on hiking trails or have a more authentic experience in the town. It’s also a great place to start a road trip in the south of Spain.
Marbella isn’t for you if you’re looking for a beach break. Although I’ve seen a few tourists diving in the sea, the water is cold (it’s about 17 degrees). You won’t see any locals swimming in the sea during this time of the year.
It isn’t for you either, if you want Marbella nightlife at its best. You’ll only find the best events and parties from late spring until the middle of September. Many beach clubs are only open during the summer season.
If you have any questions about visiting Marbella, you can always reach me via email or Instagram. I’m happy to help you plan your trip to my hometown.
Don’t forget to save these reasons to visit Marbella in winter for later
Top things to do before visiting Marbella
- Check out cheap flights to Malaga Costa del Sol Airport here.
- Book accommodation in Marbella. This hotel guide will tell you the town’s best hotels.
- Have a look at this Malaga food guide to indulge yourself in eating the most traditional food in Malaga and Costa del Sol.
- Rent a car to travel with ease around Marbella and Costa del Sol.
- Book travel insurance, this is a must for any trip!
Frequently asked questions about visiting Marbella in winter
How warm is it in Marbella in the winter?
Temperatures reach a maximum of 18 degrees (64º F) during the day and a minimum of 8 degrees (46º F) during the evening.
Does it snow in Marbella?
No. The chances of snow in Marbella are very low due to its location, humidity and average temperature.
However, if you want to see snow, you can visit Sierra de las Nieves where you can occasionally see snow during the winter months, or go to Sierra Nevada (Granada), one of the best ski resorts in Spain.
Does Marbella shut down in winter?
No, most restaurants and attractions will still be open in winter because there are tourists that visit Marbella off-season. Especially in the old town of Marbella. Nevertheless, what you’ll find closed is certain beach clubs, including popular ones like Nikki Beach.
Is Marbella busy in winter?
Marbella isn’t as busy as in summer. Nevertheless, there are quite a few travellers who choose Marbella as their winter sun getaway in Europe.