Marbella used to have reasonably priced underground parking - This is no longer true! If you are only there for a short stay, or aren't concerned about cost, it's recommended to use these official car parks as they have security and keep the sun off your windows, but it is an extremely expensive affair now. It is also extremely difficult to find parking in the center.
When I used to live in nearby Estepona, we used to go to Marbella and park free. Approaching from the Estepona side, you go through Marbella centro and at the far end of the town there are some flats with free parking outside on the right opposite Calle San Ramon. We always parked there. It is a 2 min walk to the beach and 5 mins to everything else amd it worked for us many times. We had our own car in those days, this was a hire car, although whether this is relevant, I don't know.
Remembering our old parking trick on a visit to Marbella last August (2010), we left the car unnattended for 20 mins while we checked out of a hostal, we returned to a smashed side window (the small triangular one inbetween the driver window and the windscreen, the name of which escapes me) of our hire car. We had hidden the sat nav in the glove compartment while we were checking out of the hostal, but the Motocyclist had left its holder stuck on the inside as is his custom in Inglaterra. Within 20 mins someone had spotted it, smashed and searched, removed said sat nav from hiding place and escaped with some (new grr!) flip-flops, a (new grr!) beach towel, shorts and a t shirt from the boot. Also some of our stash of cafe Bonka bought to take home to the UK (double grr!) . Well, we would have recognised the thief if we had seen him! Luckily, we had 'some' sense and not loaded the car up with luggage and personal stuff.
A 5 min journey up the road on the edge of town (going towards Malaga, but hopefully you will never need it) opposite a Shell garage is a large modern Police station. We spent half an hour describing the loss etc filling in forms for insurance, with an efficient English speaking police woman - all done. (If you are unfortunate enough to need the Police, don't forget your passport/I.D.)
It wasn't too drastic, but it soured our visit slightly, we worried about telling the hire car company and we had a very drafty journey on the autopista thereafter!
So, the moral of the story is, don't leave the sat nav holder on the windscreen ! and apparently even a sticky mark of where it was, or anything that suggests a thief may benefit from a smash and grab (common sense I know, but when you are in the heat and checking out of hotels with teenagers or children, luggage or general distractions etc you can become forgetful. If you can afford it, opt for the paying car park, if not, I recommend booking an apartment with garage or a hotel with free parking!
Turned out, the car hire people (Niza Cars - Malaga) were lovely. I said " I'm sorry for the broken window " and they replied "and we're sorry for your loss". How refreshing. Great car hire co. b.t.w. will try and dig out details and post in another tip.
I was mugged at gunpoint in an underground parking garage on the Av. del Mar -- at 2 pm in the afternoon! Marbella is going through an economic crisis -- many restaurants and shops have closed in the three years I have been going there and there is a major problem with druggies -- like my assailant who was clearly crazed out of his mind on god knows what. Oh, and don't expect much assistance from the local cops in these situations.
I was mugged at gunpoint (not sure if it was real or a fake) at 2pm in the parking lot of the Avenida del Mar. It happened when I was looking for change for the ticket machine. Guy snatched my wallet waved a gun in my face and ran off. I didn´t lose much money but replacing driver´s license and credit cards has been a real pain. Local cops took 20 minutes to arrive and then drew their guns on my father who they thought was the mugger! They did give me a number where you can make a report ("denuncia") in English which is translated into Spanish for insurance purposes. Just be careful at any time when parking underground in Marbella.
Marbella is full of dog owners. Irresponsible, unthinking, unhygienic ones. I don’t blame the dogs. They don’t know any better and there is very little grass here. In fact I found a nice patch of well maintained grass in one of the few open spaces on my walk to the bus station. There was a large metal sign that said no dogs. What is a poor pooch to do? Yes, they poo all over the tiled footpaths and YOU get to walk in it. Want to enjoy a nice romantic meal 'Al Fresco'? Hope the wind doesn’t change direction. Yes they poo here, they poo there, they poo EVERYWHERE.
And who cleans it up? NOT THE OWNERS! Oh nooooo, that would be too considerate. I had some new hiking shoes. The first day I ever wore them was in Marbella. And now they smell like dogs**t. Thanks for the memories folks. They loved me on the plane. Probably thought I had some personal hygiene issue. I don’t.
So if you come to Marbella – WATCH YOUR STEP!
POO. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
While they may look like ordinary tourists, you will find them gathering in every odd nook and cranny around the world. Just when you thought you were able to find a vacation site, there you see them. The guy you saw in Orlando last year, the couple from the London underground and that cute girl you saw in Taiwan photographing her food.....
There were not one, but two reports of two DIFFERENT perverted old men approaching VTers on this trip. The "victim" in the first story was Poons (June) who reported getting cupped by a dirty old man.
And then I hear about sweet as pie Lori (LoriPori), after greeting an old man with a cheery Buenos Dias, having him trace the outline of her body and exclaim "BUUUEENNOOOO". Make sure you greet Lori with this the next time you see her, I think she really enjoys it ;-) LOL
And I think I may just be a little offended that no one approached me, ha, ha! Perhaps they know I'm a mean redhead from Chicago and would have decked them!
...be aware of credit-card-bandits in the city!
I have been personally concerned with that
after withdrawing money. Somebody must
have put a film on the ATM and somehow
must have forged my credit-card. I was
lucky to have a limit of 500 Euros on that
card, but still 400 Euros were gone because
of this criminal gang. They had withdrawn
money from my account in Valencia even
though I have never been there.
But the bank gave it back to me.
Recently on TV they said a gang of ATM-robbers had been arrested in Marbella.
Be very, very careful with ATM?s and money
Loved the sunset on the first day of 2003! But i am afraid i do not have enough travelogues to show it!!!
You can get adicitve to this place, and maybe you would wish you have not bought your ticket back home!!