Friday was cloudy, but at least it stayed dry, so we decided to check out Marbella. Parking was nuts! After two rounds of looking for parking we settled on the notorious steep garage… let’s just say that most cars were squealing their tires to get out! We did manage a spot on the first level after a half dozen point turn. Once out of the car, Marbella was charming with lots of little laneways lined with plants.
After lunch we headed down to the Mediterranean boardwalk, which must be crazy busy in the high season.
That evening we also enjoyed the sunset along the coast. Many of the restaurants were closed for the season so we had the beach mostly to ourselves.
Finally a clear day! Our objective on our last day was to see the botanical gardens, and then get back to the mountains for more views. Castillo Sohail was an easy turn off along the way so we started the day here. There was a nominal 1€ parking charge, and lots of dogs on the grassy slope. The castle was free to enter and you can walk the upper walls for better views of the coast.
From the castle we continued on to La Concepción Historical-Botanical Gardens – parking was free in a small lot, but entry was a bit pricey at 5€. Some parts of the garden were rather weedy and unkempt, and the Gazebo was closed (no mention of this at the entrance), so they could put more effort into communication. Other parts of the garden like the palm walk and Around the World in 80 Trees were quite nice, so it was a mixed experience.
Probably better for the shade on a warmer day, but not worth the admission as it currently stands.
From the gardens we drove to the hills around Cártama for lunch, but were foiled in our efforts to get to the Cástillo de Cártama due to lack of parking and suspicious Google maps routing.
The views on the return to the coast were stunning, well worth the drive!
The coast was OK though a little crowded and touristy, so we definitely found ourselves more interested in the villages and views of the surrounding mountains for future trips.