While its climate is what attracts most people to the area, Marbella is a place steeped in history. According to some historians, people have been settled in the region since the Phoenician era around 7th century BC. While little from that period has survived, there is evidence of Roman occupancy and many stunning buildings stemming from Islamic rule between the 8th and 11th centuries can still be seen.
Key historical attractions include the Moorish walls surrounding the Old Town, the 16th century Capilla de San Juan de Dios Church, and the Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz chapel, which is more than 500 years old.
The so-called Golden Mile is perhaps Marbella's most famous region. Running for four miles in the east of the city, the stretch is very upmarket and features luxurious hotels, designer boutiques and large residences, including a palace belonging to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
Festivals are big in the city, with the Marbella International Film Festival being held each June. A month later there is the annual Marbella Reggae Festival and in October there is a week-long celebration for the patron saint of San Pedro Alcantara.
Marbella is situated close to the Autovia A7 highway, giving it access to other towns and cities along Spain's eastern coast. Bus services use the route to carry commuters between Marbella and neighboring destinations such as Malaga, Gibraltar and Torremolinos. Local buses are also available for those needing to travel from one part of Marbella to another.
The city does not have its own train station and those living in Marbella and looking to use the rail network to reach cities such as Barcelona and Madrid are currently required to first travel around 17 miles to Fuengirola. The airport serving the region is Malaga-Costa Del Sol, which is around 35 minutes away and can be reached by bus and taxi.
Marbella is also a major port and cruise liners regularly dock at both Puerto de la Bajadilla and Puerto Banús.
While the region has often been dubbed 'The Costa Del Crime', Marbella is actually a very safe city. Much has been done to clean up its reputation since the 1980s with operations initiated to extradite criminals who had taken up residence locally after fleeing their home country.
Initiatives have also helped to lower the number of break-ins and thefts by around 18% since 2009. That being said, anywhere that boasts the wealth of Marbella is always going to attract those looking to make quick money through illicit means so expats living in Marbella are advised to think carefully about their personal safety as well as that of their residence. Local police can be called by dialing 092 and the Civil Guard can be contacted on 062.