My Marbella – a Tale of Food and Frolics…

Marbella’s reputation is… misleading. Playground to spray tanned, golf club swinging, boat-owning Lotharios, the uninformed traveller could be forgiven for thinking they’ve just fallen into the depths of budget hell. However, spurred on by the promise that ‘there’s loads more to Marbella than chic bars and decadent nightclubs’ (, I strolled off in search of Spanish evidence, the first stop: fuel for the hunt.

Marbella Mountain

‘I love tapas. They’re like appetizers for a main meal that never comes’ – Marge Simpson

When travelling on a pittance, the best way to eat is to go native. So I did. My Marbella travel bible demanded I wash down tapas snackettes with local Spanish sherry (from Jerez). However it failed to tell me it’s pronounced ‘hereth’ (oh the shame, god knows what the poor waiter thought I was asking for). Glugging my hereth sherry in a bijou cafe, my weird and wonderful tapas dishes sauntered out lazily, adorning my table with vibrant flashes of colour, my nostrils with garlic and my belly with lusty growls of anticipation.


Tortillitas de camarones, or shrimp fritters, are staples in Andalucia (as are most things deep fried in oily loveliness). Hot and sprinkled with coriander, just writing about them induces salivating. Also perched on my table were artichoke rice cakes with an oozing melted manchego cheese centre and tapas of ceviche; plump fresh fish ‘cooked’ through lime juice acidity with a tongue-tingling smattering of chilli.

Marbella Old Town


Resisting the urge for a recovery siesta, the Old Town of Marbella, Casco Antiguo, beckoned. Potted geraniums dangle from startlingly white houses, some streets so narrow you face several socially awkward moments with approaching wanderers. Little craft shops, antique displays and other trinket-charms contrast with the international generic chains. Marbella, it seems, has managed to ward off mass-consumerist suffocation…in some streets at least. This cobblestoned old quarter remains remarkably clean, its famous square (Plaza de Los Naranjos) enticing you in with the cloying scent of orange blossom. Marbella can be a bit of a struggle for those of us without yacht-sized wallets; though meandering through this quaint old quarter provides sensory compensation. Away from the mortgage-priced cocktails of the sea front, the impoverished explorer only occasional contends with a string-plucking hawker and over enthusiastic shop keepers, both easily abated with a smile and a headshake.

On my visit, I was fortunate enough to view what appeared to be an impromptu salsa lesson in the square; an embarrassed man trying desperately not to trip over his size nines as a slick looking Spanish chica shimmied around him, playfully tut-tutting at his lack of wiggle and self conscious awkwardness. The unlikely duo attracted quite a crowd, though the men lurked behind female onlookers, clearly fearing they would be next. I read recently that salsa is like dreaming with your feet – this poor man appeared to be having a bit of a nightmare…

Author Bio: Scarlett Redman is a postgraduate social researcher with a heavily stamped passport, an empty bank account and a desire to eternally dodge the rat race.

All pics and text are from the author.


  1. […] also hosted some great articles about Marbella, Mallorca, Cape Verde and […]

Speak Your Mind


Follow my Adventures in Facebook