Nueva Andalucia and Puerto Banus – the best of Marbella

Famous for being two of the most elegant destinations in Spain, if not Europe,  Puerto Banus and Nueva Andalucia, Marbella, attract thousands of visitors every year to their sunny shore.

Massive construction may have taken place all along the coast in the 1970's but these are two destinations which have retained their charm and elegance throughout the decades. As more holidaymakers and celebrities began flocking to the region, Nueva Andalucia became an extension of the port area, and is now home to some spectacular residences with stunning views of La Concha Mountain and the coastline.

Nueva Andalucia is situated less than half a kilometre inland from Puerto Banus, and offers visitors a wealth of things to see and do, and also boasts some fabulous restaurants. Nueva Andalucia is also home to some of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol, situated in Golf Valley, including Aloha, Las Brisas and Los Naranjos. Visitors can combine the glitz and glamour of Puerto Banus with the stylish restaurants, bars and cafés of Nueva Andalucia, where they will find a wealth of stunning rental properties. Since the introduction of budget airlines, Marbella is much more accessible to holidaymakers from all over Europe, and is no longer an exclusive haunt of the rich and famous. Having said that, the area still retains much of its original charm and is home to some of the most famous restaurants, golf courses and sports facilities in southern Spain.

Cheaper hotel and package deals are available but the best type of accommodation for a group or family is definitely villa rental. This not only works out cheaper than similar hotel room accommodation, but you have the flexibility to come and go as you please, and enjoy your own swimming pool and gardens.

Visitors can find a range of fantastic shops, bars and live entertainment in Nueva Andalucia and Puerto Banus, particularly in summer time. Most of the top name designers have outlets close-by, including El Corte Ingles department store situated just off the main road entrance to Puerto Banus, Marina Mall for your designer shopping, and plenty of small boutiques to choose from. La Cañada Shopping Centre is just a five minute drive from Nueva Andalucia, where you will find hundreds of retail outlets to choose from.

Whatever you want in Nueva Andalucia, you will find it - from fish and chips and pints of guinness to fine cuisine, champagne bars and gourmet delis, the choice is huge.

The Costa del Sol enjoys  over 320 average days of sunshine a year,  and Nueva Andalucia attracts sun-seekers all year round, who flock here to enjoy the elegant surroundings, the wealth of great things to see and do, and some of the best beaches in Europe. If you take the direction Puerto Banus to Nueva Andalucia, the bullring on the right marks the entrance to this upmarket residential area, while the road climbs towards the mountains and offers magnificent views of the coast.

On a clear day, of which there are plenty, you can even see Gibraltar and North Africa in the distance. For golfers in particular, the area could not be more ideal.  All the Nueva Andalucia golf courses are surrounded by stunning scenery with a backdrop of mountains and open countryside.

Sports fans can find much more than golf on offer here with tennis, paddle tennis and gymnasiums close by. For the more adventurous, sample the water sports facilities on most local beaches, including water skiing, para-sailing, windsurfing and scuba diving. There are many good beaches around Nueva Andalucia, but probably the best are situated either side of Puerto Banus Marina. Plenty of summer events also hit the beach in July and August, including live DJ´s and local radio station road shows which run late into the night.

If you are looking for a famous local restaurant with excellent food, try Ristorante Regina, which has been serving locals and holidaymakers in Nueva Andalucia since 1995, and seems to go from strength to strength. Owned by run by Daniela and Paola, whose family also run the famous Valparaiso Restaurant near Mijas, this restaurant is undoubtedly one of the areas best. Live music including bands, opera singers and solo artists are regularly hosted at Regina´s, and the quality of the food is very high. Traditional Italian cooking is the order of the day here and the professional chefs provide a fabulous selection of fresh fish, meat and pasta dishes to suit all tastes.

This is the ideal venue for a special occasion or simply a great dinner out, and is open from 7.30pm Monday to Saturday and for Sunday lunch during the winter months. Popular speciality dishes are delicious, and we tried the following when we were last here: Smoked Italian Beef with Rocket Salad; Seafood Salad with Lemon Dressing, Fresh Mussels Baked with Garlic and White Wine; and a fabulous home made Minestrone Soup with fresh crusty bread. For the main meal we chose Veal Escalope, pan fried with mushrooms and marsala wine, Fillet Steak with gorgonzola cheese sauce, Chicken Breast with mozzarella, courgette and tomato and a superb Risotto with parmesan and spinach. Desserts included creamy lemon mousse, the light and delicious tiramisu and a selection of fresh fruit and Italian cheeses.

If you are looking for somewhere quirky to eat lunch, go along to the Magna Café in Nueva Andalucia. If you are looking for a great place for dinner after a hard day on the golf course, take a five minute drive down the Golden Mile towards Marbella and give James Hewitt´s Polo House a whirl. Offering superb cuisine in beautiful surroundings, Polo House is a welcome addition to this decadent part of Marbella.

Boasting a team of professional chefs from all over the world, this fabulous eaterie was opened in 2005, and is the perfect place to sit and relax over a crisp glass of wine or to take advantage of the delicious food on offer. This chic café boasts a spacious terrace with great views or a modern but comfortable restaurant and bar area inside, so is suitable for all times of the year. We have sampled lobster all over the world, but the seafood and fish dishes at Polo House are exceptional. Also a great place for live music in summer.

La Sala is a relatively new kid on the block, and a fabulous place to eat, meet and greet, situated between Puerto Banus and Nueva Andalucia next to the Kristina Szekeley office near the roundabout. Open from 10am till 2am La Sala offers a choice of any one of 8 different areas, so whatever your mood we have an area to suit you! Sit outside in our Spanish "Rincon", or on the front decked terrace where you can relax and watch the world go by. Alternatively choose the Lounge Terrace, or the high tables of the bar where you can soak up the atmosphere of La Sala. The rear terrace offers stunning views to "La Concha" Mountain and is the perfect place for a leisurely coffee. If you want to go gourmet, spoil yourself in the A La Carte Restaurant for that unforgettable dining experience. A great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks.

Whenever you decide to visit Nueva Andalucia or Puerto Banus you will find a wealth of things to see and do in this beautiful part of southern Spain, without having to travel far from your holiday villa.