News & Blog
Iron Man 70.3 Marbella
On April 29, 2018, Marbella will become the sixth city in Spain to host an IRONMAN event. Facing the Mediterranean Sea in the southernmost region of Spain, Marbella has grown from a traditional fishing village to a glitzy resort destination along the always-sunny Costa del Sol.
Fortunately for visiting triathletes, Marbella’s past and present seamlessly coexist. Charming Old Town reflects the area’s Andalusian, Roman, and Moorish cultures, while the bars of the marina Puerto Banús throb with the latest Euro dance music. The seaside boardwalk Paseo Marítimo satisfies families, and nature lovers hike into the nearby Sierra Blanca mountains.
The course for IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella lets triathletes experience everything the city has to offer. The race starts with a swim in Mediterranean Ocean and continues into the Sierra Blanca mountains. Competitors return to Marbella city center for a run along the seafront promenade before crossing the finish line at glitzy Puerto Banús.
A meal in Marbella combines the flavors of Spanish cuisine, foods from the Mediterranean Sea, a dash of European chic, and simple potatoes from the nearby mountains.
Traditional and modern versions of paella are served throughout the city. Sample local specialties such as grilled sardines, fried boquerones (fresh anchovies), and tortillas españolas (Spanish omelets), along with the traditional cold soups of gazpacho and ajo blanco (made from blending bread, almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, and salt.) Don’t pass the opportunity to try salmorejo either; a hard-boiled egg and serrano ham are added to salmerejo’s gazpacho-like base.
A popular place for breakfast and lunch, Rachel’s Eco Love is a restaurant/bakery/juice bar featuring organic meals and over a dozen creative smoothies. Order its Veggie Firestarter or Hulk Cappuccino smoothie and take a seat at its patio for extra vitamin D.
With an 8 a.m. opening, early by Marbella standards, Green Bar specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free salads, sandwiches, and small plates. Locals consider its veggie burger the best in the city and often end their meals with the avocado and chocolate cream postre.
Two Old Town restaurants are good choices for celebrating your IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella will finish or enjoying a romantic dinner. The namesake restaurant of chef and owner Paco Jimenez pleases with its seasonal menu of Mediterranean dishes, like snapper with saffron, and Jimenez was awarded the gold medal at the World Gastronomic Meeting.
In a 16th-century building next to a 14th-century castle, Marbella Patio treats diners to Spanish cuisine in a distinctive Andalusian environment. Its version of paella, salmerejo and the house special suckling pig are a few of the original recipes that make Marbella Patio stand out.
With a large open layout facing the Mediterranean Sea, Marbella Club’s MC Beachaccommodates a couple or a large party. And if you want to do more than eat tapas, the chefs at the Michelin-starred Skina give private lessons in creating their inventive tapas.
You can’t miss Marbella’s famous mountain. The southernmost mountain of the Sierra Blanca range, La Concha curves like a giant shell (thus its name) around Marbella, and a hike to its rocky peak at 1200-meters high culminates in a panoramic view of Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, and Morocco.
Driving 25 minutes from Marbella to Refugio de Juanar, visitors start the hike besides pine, walnut and olive trees. The hike is considered moderately difficult. Plan at least 2.5 hours each way, and start early to avoid the heat. Don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, food, and the camera, and watch out for wild goats.
Charca del Canalón
In the Sierra de Las Nieves national park, you will find waterfalls and swimming holes at Charca del Canalón, a series of secluded clear pools along the Rio Verde river. A favorite escape for locals, the pools are reached by hiking eight kilometers from the village of Isan north of Marbella.
Everyone can find the beach right for them thanks to a long coast divided into over 20 beaches. A few beaches to consider:
Playa Rio Verde: Bordering the Rio Verde, the beach has been awarded the Blue Flag for its cleanliness and facilities.
Playa Nueva Andalucia: This beach is popular with younger crowds and west of Puerto Banus
Playa el Faro: Family-friendly, this small beach is near Old Town.
Art and culture
A mix of song, dance, and guitar music, flamenco developed as an art form over the centuries by Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) living in southern Spain. Flamenco los Chatos Ana Maria presents a nightly flamenco performance in a rustic space known for its intimacy and informality.
While walking along the promenade of Avenida del Mar from Old Town to the beach front, visitors will notice something other than the chic boutiques and cafés. Ten bronze sculptures made by Spain’s legendary artist Salvador Dali line the avenue; Dali’s unique artistry is evident in the large pieces—plus touching the sculptures is encouraged.
Marbella’s historic district north of the beaches, Old Town presents the best of European and Mediterranean traditional city centers with its narrow cobble-stoned streets, whitewashed buildings, and tiny shops. Make time to visit Plaza de los Naranjos, a pleasant little park lined with orange trees. Old Town’s charm is overwhelming in the evening when the sidewalks become alive with cafés, street artists, and strolling couples.
On the west side of Marbella is Puerto Banús. Considered Costa del Sol’s wealthy playground, the marina district is composed of high-end shops, dressed-up nightlife, and trendy restaurants, as well as being the place to admire luxury sports cars and yachts.
Bonus: Take a water taxi from Puerto Banús to Old Town for an amazing view of Marbella’s coastline.
Outdoor restaurants, clothing shops, and ice cream parlors line Marbella’s seafront boardwalk.
Like most visitors to Marbella, finishers of the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Marbellawill enjoy the Costa del Sol beaches—only their bling will be different.
REF: David Landers