When my friend Alison came over with her family recently, I thought a fun way for them all to see Marbella’s luxury harbour complex Puerto Banús, would be to rent some bicycles and set off westwards along the beachfront promenade, stopping off for lunch there and having a wander around before heading back.
This makes for a great small group day outing from Marbella Town, and while I don´t tend to go as far as Puerto Banús when I head west from Marbella’s leisure harbour on one of my daily cycle rides, I started out at about 10.30 from there on a sunny morning last week to retrace the route we took, in order to share this with you…
Once you reach the land-mark statue of a girl on skis at the end of the access-only road that cuts through the promenade on the first section of this route, the next stretch of paved promenade is lined with bars, restaurants and shops with a row of beach restaurants below.
As such, this area, is a crowd-puller from about 11.30 am right up to the siesta hour, particularly on sunny weekends and during peak holiday seasons. If you happen to set off in these “rush hours”, it’s less frustrating and faster to hop off and push your bicycle along until you have cleared the crowds, which thin out almost altogether past the Plaza del Mar shopping centre.
Passing the 5-star Melia Hotel and its beachfront Cappucino lounge café, you are now entering what is known as Marbella’s Golden Mile which extends to Puerto Banús and is home to some of Marbella’s most exclusive properties and hotels.
For it is here that the promenade converts into a wider compacted sand path separated from the beach by a low hand railing. After you have passed the La Pesquera restaurant, the few mansions that are dotted along this stretch are shrouded by towering palm and eucalyptus trees and the much more attractive expanse of sandy beach is only sporadically dotted with the area’s most expensive beach restaurants, meaning that the views to the shoreline and the sea beyond are blissfully unspoilt.
It’s worth parking up and stopping off for a stretch and a lungful of pure ocean air when you reach the 5-star Marbella Club Hotel jetty, which is open to the public. If you walk to the end, not only will you experience the delicious sensation of being out at sea with the fresh ocean air swirling about you but it´s a great spot to take some panoramic photos of Marbella Town from afar and the now closer Puerto Banús. On a clear day, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco straight ahead and the Rock of Gibraltar to the west are so clearly etched out; you almost feel you could reach out and touch them.
After this refreshing stop-off, the route then takes you past the 5-star Puente Romano Hotel up to Victor’s Beach Bar. Along the next stretch leading up to the suspension bridge over the Rio Verde which connects Marbella to Puerto Banús, there is only a low stone wall separating you from the beach, giving an even greater sensation of cycling on the sand.
Once you´ve crossed the Rio Verde suspension bridge, a wide promenade leads past a series of exclusive apartment complexes, and once you reach the immense La Victoria statue, you have now arrived in Puerto Banus.
As you can see from the featured image, I found a great temporary parking spot just in front of Picasso’s, the frontline restaurant where I ate with Alison and family. Famous for their pizza’s, burgers and salads, the food is tasty, the portions generous and the bill won´t burn a huge hole in your pocket, making lunch in Puerto Banús an affordable treat.
At a gentle pace, with stop-offs along the way to take photos, this cycle takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour, one way. If you don’t feel the urge to visit Puerto Banús, you can always stop off en route along the sandier beaches at the western edge of Marbella Town for a walk along the shore.
Once you´ve cleared the crowds of Marbella Town centre, this is a lovely, exhilarating beachside cycle ride, however far you decide to go, and along which the refrain from a Van Morrison song, never fails to come to mind:
“smell the sea, and feel the sky, let your soul & spirit fly…”
(Text and photos: Liz Glazer)