Are you ready to embark on a shopping adventure along the sun-soaked shores of the Costa del Sol? In this guide, we’ll explore the vibrant retail scenes of Malaga and Marbella, helping you discover the ultimate shopping experiences in these two stunning Spanish destinations. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a treasure hunter, or a luxury aficionado, both Malaga and Marbella have something special to offer.
Which is Better for Shopping? Malaga or Marbella?
If you’re in Spain to shop, you can’t go wrong with Malaga or Marbella. Malaga is the larger city, so the variety of shops is more diverse. There are big brands, small boutiques, and everything in between. Marbella caters to luxury shoppers, although it’s still possible to drive to shopping malls and markets if you aren’t into designer brands.
To give you a better idea of what to expect (and what you can buy!), I’ll share a couple of must-visit shopping areas in both cities.
My Favorite Shopping Spots in Malaga
Malaga is the largest and most populated city on the Costa del Sol, making it a prime destination for those seeking some retail therapy. There’s something for every shopper here, from high-end designers and international brands to handicraft boutiques and local flea markets.
1. Calle Larios
Calle Larios is arguably the most famous shopping street in Malaga. When I first visited Malaga last year, I was in complete awe walking down this pedestrian boulevard. Lined with marble tiles, elegant street lamps, and Neo-Baroque buildings that date back more than 100 years, Calle Larios is the epitome of luxury. No wonder it’s the most expensive street to live in all of Malaga!
But the shopping here is second to none. Most of the brands are known internationally; you’ll find Mango, L’Occitane en Provence, the Body Shop, Pandora, etc. However, there are some other Spanish-only shops too, which is great if you’re looking for something you can’t find back home.
Dotted between the shops are large cafes and restaurants. I personally think it’s expensive and touristy to eat here, so I recommend the neighboring side streets if you want something more authentic.
2. Puerto Muelle Uno
Hugging the Port of Malaga is the Puerto Muelle Uno, a modern shopping complex and one of my favorite places in the city. It’s essentially an open-air waterfront promenade (so the views of the water are fantastic) with dozens of shops and eateries.
Keep in mind that it does not have the same quality of shops as the city center. There are some athletic brands, perfume stores, and boutique clothing shops, but nothing really luxury or high-end. However, it’s still a fun place to visit if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere.
3. Calle Especería
Calle Especería is a small pedestrian-only street that runs perpendicular to Calle Larios. But unlike the international shops in Larios, the ones along Especería are more focused on independent retailers. If you’re like me and interested in finding unique souvenirs or local brands, then you’ll love what Calle Especería has in store for you.
4. Mercado Central de Atarazanas
A visit to Mercado Central de Atarazanas is an absolute must if you’re in Malaga. Located inside a historic Moorish shipyard, this food hall has three massive sections for fresh produce, meats, cheeses, spices, and more.
Even if you’re not planning to cook during your stay, it’s worth coming just to admire the locals going about their daily business. You’ll also find lots of tapas restaurants and bars, perfect for a pre-or post-shopping snack.
5. Centro Comercial Larios Centro
A short 20-minute walk outside of Malaga’s Old Town will take you to Centro Comercial Larios Centro, one of the largest shopping malls in the city. It has everything you want in a shopping center – floors of well-known brands, a vast array of dining options in the food court, and crips cold air conditioning to beat the sweltering Andalusian heat.
Here’s Where to Go Shopping in Marbella
First and foremost, Marbella shopping is all about glitz and glamour. As the playground for the rich and famous, the city has a surprising number of luxury retailers (as well as upscale resorts, villas, and restaurants) for its small size. However, there are still some outstanding boutiques and local retailers that appeal to non-luxury shoppers as well. Here are some of the best shopping areas in Marbella that are worth a visit.
1. Puerto Banús
When people think of high-end shopping in Marbella, they undoubtedly picture the marina area of Puerto Banús. It’s where you’ll find the highest concentration of luxury boutiques, international brands, and designer stores (think Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, etc.)
If those shops are a little out of your budget, then you can always go to the Banus Marina Mall for more affordable options like Zara and H&M. A block away from the mall is El Corte Inglés, Europe’s largest department store for men’s and women’s fashion.
2. Old Town
While many affluent travelers love the Puerto Banús area, I prefer the charming alleys and historic shops of Marbella’s Old Town. As you wander through the cobblestoned streets, you’ll come across boutique shops, home decor outlets, and jewelry shops.
Of course, it’s still Marbella, so it’s not the cheapest shopping area along the Costa del Sol. However, it’s a really beautiful place to walk around. And there are some great restaurants and bars here too, if you’re looking to get a bite to eat!
3. Avenida Ricardo Soriano
Connecting Old Town with Puerto Banús is Avenida Ricardo Soriano, Marbella’s main arterial road and another popular shopping street. This tree-lined avenue has an impressive collection of upscale shops and gourmet restaurants on both sides of it.
Avenida Ricardo Soriano is rather long (over 1 mile), so it’s not as compact if you just want to hop from shop to shop. I recommend coming with a car if there are certain shops you want to visit.
4. Centro Comercial Centro Plaza
Centro Comercial Centro Plaza is a 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive north of the bustling Puerto Banus harbor. Although it looks like a business center from the outside, it also has quite a few boutiques, restaurants, and commercial services like hair salons and fitness studios.
The best thing about coming here is that it has an underground and outdoor parking lot, so you won’t have to stress if you’re bringing your car. And if you’re coming on Saturday, you can also visit the Puerto Banus Saturday Street Market to pick up handicrafts, clothing, produce, and souvenirs!
5. Marbella Monday Market
Every Monday from 9 am until 2 pm, you can head to eastern Marbella (between Avenida Las Albarizas and Calle Platino) for the weekly market. With over 360 stalls, you’re guaranteed to find something that sparks your interest. Fresh produce, flowers, clothing, housewares – the Monday Market has it all.
Sure, it can be a little chaotic, but that’s part of the charm! If you want to have first pick of the items, you’ll want to come as early as possible before things sell out.
If you’re traveling through the heart of the Costa del Sol of Spain, Marbella and Malaga are two of the best places for shopping. Both cities are less than an hour away, so it’s easy to rent a car (or take public transportation if you’re feeling more adventurous) to visit both shopping meccas on your trip.