Marbella Or Puerto Banus – Where Is The Better Area

When it comes to sun holidays in Europe, few areas will stand out more than the costa del sol, well known for it’s year round excellent weather, picturesque golden beaches and a plethora of activities for people of all age groups.

Marbella refers to the town center, old town and beach front which has a greater Spanish contingent than the flashy and exuberant Puerto Banus which comprises of a infamous port area where you can see all types of super cars, yachts and shops selling all types of premium brand names. Marbella is more laid back, has a Spanish population and is more suited to full time living while Puerto Banus attracts tons of British tourists and is more suited to sun holidays and nightlife. 

Both areas are going to have plenty to offer for all types of tourists but the main thing to consider is that Marbella is more like a town and Puerto Banus is more like a holiday resort.


Puerto Banus


First Impressions






Cost Of Living






Work Opportunities









For Nomads



History & Attractions







Puerto Banus First Impressions

While Puerto Banus is technically within Marbella, there is three distinct areas worth considering, which are all in close proximity to each other. Puerto Banus, Marbella Centro & San Pedro De Alcantara

Puerto Banus is a smaller area of Andalucia, popular with British holiday makers which has the world famous port area where the finest cars and boats in the world can be found.

The first thing to do when visiting Puerto Banus is to take a walk along the world famous port area where a ton of super boats and sports cars will be on show and the rich and famous of the world will walk, shop and line the exclusive restaurants, cafes and brand name shops all along the port.

The port also comprises most of the activity in terms of pubs, night club, restaurants and cafes.

There is a large square in close proximity to the port with shopping centers, shops, apartments, the Irish bar and more night clubs.

There is a real holiday vibe to the area and it can become quite quiet in the off season and winter.

Puerto Banus Overall Score: 90/100


Marbella First Impressions

Marbella Centro will be a lot more suited to full time living. It has a strong expat community alongside the Spanish contingency which ensures that Marbella is livable throughout the year.

The old town area will be a very Spanish area but it also houses plenty of top notch restaurants and bars.

Below the old town on the map is center which contains most of the shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels. It is a much larger area than Puerto Banus with a much bigger population.

Marbella is punctuated by a promenade area, overlooking the impressive beach and sea areas. The promenade is a long walk way with restaurants and cafes all along the strip.

Marbella Overall Score: 94/100


San Pedro De Alcantara First Impressions

The third pueblo or town that is worth considering in San Pedro De Alcantara which has a more Spanish feel, split in a commercial area or town and a quieter beach front area. Spanish is more widely spoken here and this is the fastest growing of the three areas.

San Pedro is bigger than Puerto Banus but smaller than Marbella. It is has tons of restaurants and housing options while being the most Spanish of the areas.

It is also the area that is growing the fastest and is suitable for year round living. The Expat community is also growing rapidly!

San Pedro De Alcantara Overall Score: 92/100


The Golden Mile Connects The Three Areas

You can drive between Puerto Banus and Marbella in about 5 minutes. The areas are also connected by the Golden Mile.

This a strip of prominade that runs along the beach and on the other side of the strip there is an assortment of multi million dollar homes, exclusive hotels and fine eateries.

The golden mile is perfect for walking, cycling, using a segway or e scooter and also for eating, drinking and relaxing by the beach.

 You can walk from Marbella to Puerto Banus in about 1 hour, each way. A popular option is to walk 1 way and get the bus or the boat back in the opposite direction. It is also ideal for cycling.


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus Beaches


In Marbella the whole strip is lined with Plush beach and port areas. You can get a sun lounger any where along the coast and that lasts all the way along the golden mile too and right up to Puerto Banus.

There is endless options to find beach along the coastline of marbella.

While Puerto Banus is known for it’s exuberant ports, there is plenty of beach areas too towards the east and west of Puerto Banus.


Winner For Beaches: Marbella



Marbella Vs Puerto Banus Accomodation

On The Outskirts of Puerto Banus, you have residential areas like Los Naranjos which have plush houses for living in, they can be also found on Air bnb for holidays.

Puerto Banus also has tons of exclusive villas that can be rented out by groups for holidays and there are also luxury hotels. These are going to be expensive, especially in summer but if you rent out for long term, you can usually get a place for much cheaper per month.

There is a lot more accomdodation options in marbella, partly because it is much bigger area. You have luxury beach front properties but also large apartment blocks and housing options around the old town area that are quite cost effective.

There is also all different quality hotels and Air Bnb’s to suit a range of budgets. Marbella has both exclusive quality as seen in hotels like the Fuerte and affordable living.

The Golden Mile between Marbella and Puerto Banus has the most exclusive property’s from Villas to hotels to apartments.

Winner Accomodation: Marbella


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus Food

Marbella is the hand down winner when it comes to food as there are a ton more options and it is also better priced.

Puerto Banus does have a lot of options but they are spread around a bit more, more expensive and more exclusive.

Marbella will have more options and probably better options too.

Winner For Food: Marbella


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus Nightlife

Since Puerto Banus is set up more around holiday makers, there is a party vibe around the place, whether that is private villa parties or frequenting the many night clubs around the square and the port, Puerto Banus is an exclusive party zone that attracts celebrities and rich and famous in their droves.

Marbella has a number of good night spots along the prominade and in the center but Puerto Banus will probably take it as the number 1 party spot.

Puente Romano would be a good spot for night life with entertainment and great vibes.

Winner For Nightlife: Puerto Banus


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus For Family Holidays

For Family holidays there will be more going on for kids as well as adults. There are also a ton of playgrounds and facilities that are set up for kids to keep them occupied.

It also has a more relaxed feeling in the evening and night times.


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus For Nomads

As a nomad, I would either chose Marbella, San Pedro or along the golden mile to base myself. Puerto Banus would be too quiet and boring to stay there long term.

There is a lot more of everything going on in Marbella and I would enjoy walking or cycling the golden mile every other day.

The accommodation is also better and more competitively priced. There is nothing like working from a sunny balcony for less rent than you would pay at home.

San Pedro is well priced, there is plenty going on and it has an excellent atmosphere too with plenty of quiet areas to walk, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.


Marbella Vs Puerto Banus For Fitness

Puerto Banus and Marbella both have plenty of options for gyms as does San Pedro.

Puerto Banus used to house the MTK boxing gym which has move to the Real Padel Club, near San Pedro. The M13 gym is also in Puerto Banus and is well worth visiting.

Marbella has plenty of good gyms that you can see with a quick search for Google maps.

Winner: Draw



Overall my favourite area would be Marbella or possible San Pedro or along the Golden Mile.

Puerto Banus will suit the rich and famous, celebrites, people who like that culture and people who want have a good sun holiday.

The residential areas like Los Naranjos can also be ideal for expats and families to move to.

For anything else, check out Marbella, San Pedro is a bit cheaper and is definitely worth checking out too.