Summer in Marbella, My Future Retirement City


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IMG_9925Whew! Someone open a window, please. The temperature today in Barcelona is 31ºC/87ºF. Mix in a little humidity and..well what does it matter…it’s only going to get hotter later this week!

While I’ve been on hiatus for awhile, I’ve been busy with summer shenanigans. That includes planning my daughter’s birthday…and going on vacation!

I’m really lucky to have gone to the beaches of Marbella — no, not the crowded urban beach in Barcelona. The one in the south where Spain’s celebrities like Julio Iglesias, Penelope Cruz and all those other beautiful people wine, dine, and get tan. In fact, I saw a mini airplane flying a sign over the beach that said Eva Longoria was hosting a party in Marbella. Fancy stuff, people.

For a week, I stayed in Costa Bella near its gorgeous 570m beach with plenty of sand space to spread out. Even in July. It’s probably because it has no main boardwalk nor major shops, and the only access is to park on the residential road.

Costa Bella feels fresh, clean, open.


I loved just walking around the white neighborhoods and see the saturation of nature’s colors.


I noticeably heard German much more than any language, even Spanish. Many Germans are known to buy homes to retire here.


About 30 minutes from Costa Bella is Puerto Banús, where the rich and pretend-rich shop and be seen.

I kind of have to laugh at the people driving their Rolls Royces and Porsches down the crowded strip. While talking on a mobile phone. So pretentious.

Puerto Banús

From Costa Bella, we went to Marbella’s city center. You can even find Antonio Banderas plaza. Sadly, there was not yet a statue of the Cat in Boots to be found.


The city center really plays on the whole “welcome to Spain” thing. The hanging flowers overflowing over the balconies are a lovely touch.


You know you’re in Andalusia when you see a wall full of flower pots.


This plaza is a bit oversaturated with “all things Andalusia”. In the middle left of the photo are windows dressed with trajes de gitana (ruffly Flamenco dresses). Come on, who does that, really?


Tables, tables, tables, even in the middle of the plaza. So many restaurants here.


I admit that the Andalusian patios and pretty tilework are pins in my Pinterest. Happy?


Shopping, summer, and sun.

IMG_0104At Marbella’s beach, you can rent cute straw umbrellas for 5 euros.

Heading back to our home base of Costa Bella. Lovely, gorgeous, and waiting for me to retire here too.

IMG_9921From Barcelona, it’s about a 6-hour train ride via the AVE. Not to mention, the Malaga train station (Málaga-María Zambrano) is a large shopping center with shops such as H&M and even Mercadona. AND it’s easy for travelers to find their train (unlike Barcelona’s Sants Estació :-O)

By Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).


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