Is Marbella Expensive? How to Budget For a Trip to Marbella

Is Marbella expensive?

A world-famous city in the south of Spain, Marbella is one of the most sought-after vacation destinations. However, many travelers are scared to book because they assume they can’t afford it. But is Marbella expensive? This article breaks down the different costs of traveling to and staying in Marbella while also offering tips on how you can save money on a Marbella vacation.

As Spanish vacations go, Marbella, unfortunately, isn’t the cheapest destination. Like many coastal towns in Spain, the costs can quickly add up. Just a week in Marbella will set you back an average of $1500 if you’re traveling alone, around $2700 if you’re a couple, or a whopping $5000 for a family of four. Compared to similar Spanish tourist destinations like Seville or Valencia, this is a lot.

Nevertheless, we’re determined to help you afford your trip to Marbella. Read on to discover what costs are involved and how you might potentially save money.

How Much Does a Marbella Vacation Cost?

Tourists walking in Marbella
Photo by Envato Elements

The cost of a trip to Marbella can vary significantly depending on how many people are traveling, where they stay, and what they’re doing. However, a good rule of thumb is to look at average costs. This can help you determine whether a trip is within your budget. You can then start searching for ways to get this number down until you’re able to afford your dream travel experience.

Unfortunately, you have to pay for what you’re getting. Among European vacation destinations, nowhere but France is more popular than Spain. The country receives over 80 million visitors a year, most of whom visit the southern coastal cities like Marbella. So, is Marbella expensive? Yes, because it’s so popular.

The total cost of a vacation to Marbella, including flights, accommodation, food, and activities, works out to between $147 and $345 per person per day. This means that even the most budget week in Marbella will be $1027, while a more luxury stay will set you back $2414.

How Much Does Accommodation Cost in Marbella?

White house in Spain
Photo by Envato Elements

Like anywhere in the world, you get what you pay for when staying in Marbella. The closer you are to the city center and tourist attractions, the more it will be. Of course, the more luxurious the hotel, the more it will cost you. If you’re willing to stay in a one-star hotel, then you’ll pay around $60 a night. Two-star hotels tend to be closer to $70 a night, three-stars go for around $100 a night, and four-stars average $140.

If you only want to stay in five-star hotels, then the prices skyrocket. You’ll be looking at paying an average of almost $350 a night. But if you’re looking at five-star places only, then the question isn’t “is Marbella expensive?”, it’s “when shall we go?!”. If you’re looking for rental accommodation, then these properties tend to range from $250 to $450 a night.

Budget solo travelers often get by through a combination of sofa surfing and staying in budget hostels. Backpacker hostels start from around $40 a night, making the whole trip a lot more affordable. You’ll sacrifice your privacy but you might make some lifelong friends.

What’s the Cost of Food in Marbella?

Local Spanish plates
Photo by Envato Elements

Travelers to Marbella often want to eat out every day but this might not be possible. Even a cheap meal from a low-end restaurant will set you back $10-$15. This is okay on occasion but by the end of the trip, you’ll have put hundreds down on food alone. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs around $60-$70, on average.

If you want to save money, then try doing your grocery store in a typical Spanish supermarket. If you head to local Marbella grocery stores like Alcampo, Super Banus, and Supercor, then you’ll find you can pick up food for a lot less. Of course, though, this requires you to have access to a kitchen, which may mean spending more on a vacation rental apartment. Alternatively, backpacker hostels often have a kitchen you can use.

Grocery store shopping in Marbella is generally the cheapest option. You can pick up 12 eggs for $2.15, a kilogram of bananas for $2.18, a loaf of bread for $1.26, and a bottle of wine for $5.51. That should keep you going.

When to Visit Marbella for the Best Rates

View of Marbella
Photo by Envato Elements

A fantastic way to save money on your trip to Marbella is to be flexible about when you travel there. During the peak tourist season, the costs of hotels, attractions, and high-end restaurants go sky high. The months of June, July, and August are undoubtedly the most expensive times to travel. This is when schools in Europe are on their summer holidays and everyone travels to the south of Spain for some sun.

If you want to avoid the crowds, then try going just before summer or just after. That means traveling in April, May, October, or September. The great thing about these months is that it’s still warm enough to swim in the ocean. In fact, it’s probably a slightly more bearable temperature than in the scorching summer heat. You’ll be enjoying mid-twenties temperatures rather than low-thirties.

It’s a careful balancing act. The closer to summer you get, the nicer the weather will be but the higher the costs will be. If you’re really looking to save, then just go in winter instead. Who says you can’t have a lovely Christmas in Marbella?

Is it Expensive to Drink in Marbella?

You’re on vacation so of course, you want to enjoy a few drinks by the pool. One piece of good news that you’ll be glad to hear is that drinking in Marbella can easily be done on a budget. Unlike countries like the United Kingdom where tax on alcohol has caused the prices to rise beyond belief, drinking in Spain remains a budget-friendly activity.

The key is to stick to local drinks served in local bars. Naturally, if you’re downing cocktails in a five-star hotel lobby, you can expect to pay through the nose for the privilege. A half-liter draft of the local beer is usually less than $5 and even the imported stuff is no more than $7. That’s when drinking in a nice restaurant. 0.5L of local beer from the supermarket rarely costs more than a dollar, averaging just $0.72. A standard bottle of wine is a mere $5.51.

How to Find Budget Accommodation in Marbella

Hotel on Marbella beach
Photo by Envato Elements

Hotels in Marbella usually aren’t cheap. That’s because it’s one of Europe’s top tourist destinations and the demand is simply too high. However, there are ways to save some money. First of all, be flexible about where you stay. Marbella is a big city with lots of neighborhoods worth checking out. Don’t just stay in the most touristy areas but be willing to look further afield.

The cheapest neighborhoods in Marbella are Elviria-Cabopino, Rio Real-Los Monteros, and Marbella Pueblo. Rental costs here are cheaper, meaning vacation rentals and hotels are cheaper as well. Transport in Marbella is pretty good and a one-way ticket on local public transport is only $1.45. Therefore, you don’t need to be within walking distance of everything.

If you are traveling with others, then try to share rooms to split the costs. If traveling solo, then consider booking a hostel dorm which can cost as little as $40 a night. This also gives you access to a kitchen so you won’t need to eat out so much.

Is it Expensive to Fly to Marbella?

If you’re in Europe already, then flying to Marbella can be incredibly cheap. Using one of the many budget airlines that exist there, it’s possible to get return tickets to Marbella from major European cities for as little as $20. Of course, if you’re coming from the US, then the trans-Atlantic flight will set you back a little more. From New York or LA, flights start at around $350. During the summer, this can easily increase to more like $1000. The trick is to be flexible and be willing to make compromises.

Marbella on a Budget: Money-Saving Advice

Promenade in Marbella, Spain
Photo by Envato Elements

Marbella may seem expensive at first but there are many ways to save money. The best and most obvious solution is to go there off-season. If you go in October, then you could end up spending half as much as if you went in August. First of all, the flight costs will be slashed. Second, hotels won’t be nearly as much. Already, you’ve made massive savings.

Next, think about your day-to-day living costs. If you’re able to find an affordable apartment, then consider cooking as often as possible. It’s okay to go out a few times but don’t eat out for every meal. This will quickly set you back. Spanish grocery stores are cheap and allow you to cook up your own delicious dishes for no more than you’d spend at home. In terms of tourist activities, why not explore Spain’s incredible nature rather than spending all your money in the city?

Reece Toth

Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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