A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Portimao vs. Marbella for Nightlife, Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Beaches

Should you visit Portimao or Marbella?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Portimao and Marbella. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Portimao

Portimao is a vibrant, colorful, and stunning coastal city. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Marbella

Marbella is a ritzy, glamorous, and fun-filled resort town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Portimao and Marbella: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty


How is Portimao different from Marbella?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Marbella and Portimao. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Nightlife?

Portimao
Marbella

Both Portimao and Marbella are comparable when it comes to partying.

Portimao offers plenty to do in the evening. The city's nightlife scene is mostly found around Praia da Rocha. It's a compact area that makes it easy to hop from bar to bar on foot. Particularly during the summer months you'll find plenty of parties and all night activities that draw a crowd. Sunset boat parties are also a popular activity in the area.

Marbella has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. European tourists flock to the town for its beaches and resorts. The town has a glamorous nightlife scene with exclusive clubs and ritzy cocktail bars, particularly in Puerto Banus and along the Golden Mile.


Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Resorts?

Portimao
Marbella

There are resorts to choose from in both Portimao and Marbella.

Vacationers flock to Portimao for its luxury resorts. The area has all types of resorts, from all-inclusive options to luxury or more family-friendly. Many of the resorts are surprisingly affordable and offer easy access to the beach.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Marbella is a great choice. From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Portimao
Marbella

You'll find places where you can go scuba diving or snorkeling in Portimao and Marbella.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Portimao. The best water conditions are during the summer months but this is also when the beaches are crowded and swimmers can kick up a lot of sand. There are a variety of vendors where you can book snorkeling or diving trips in the area.

The clear water and abundant marine life make Marbella a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Beaches?

Portimao
Marbella

Portimao and Marbella both offer beautiful beaches.

Portimao offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The stunning beaches are a major draw to the area. They are sandy and feature a backdrop of dramatic red cliffs. The most popular beach in town is Praia da Rocha, which can get crowded during the summer months, but it is quite large so you should still be able to find a spot. The strip behind the beach is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and a casino. If you want to avoid some of the crowds you can make the walk down to Praia do Vau. Families often enjoy Praia de Alvor, which has a boardwalk that leads to Ria de Alvor nature reserve.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Marbella. The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Shopping?

Portimao
Marbella

Marbella is generally considered to be a more popular shopping destination.

Marbella is a world class destination for shoppers. This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Portimao. It's the second largest city in the Algarve so you'll find several large and modern shopping centers including Aqua Portimão.


Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Families?

Portimao
Marbella

Both Portimao and Marbella are family-friendly destinations.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Portimao is very family-friendly. Kids will love the wide range of activities available near Portimao. They can kayak through caves, see an underwater world snorkeling, learn to surf, visit waterparks, explore nature parks, and more. There are activities that the whole family can enjoy, making this stretch of coastline the perfect option for those traveling with kids.

Marbella is a very family-friendly destination. The area has beautiful, family-friendly beaches and many resorts with pools that are great for kids.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Couples?

Portimao
Marbella

Portimao and Marbella both fun destinations for a couple.

Portimao is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. This beautiful stretch of coastline offers unique beaches and stunning outdoor activities. It makes a wonderful honeymoon destination for couples who enjoy adventure, pampering, and romantic resorts. There are great restaurants as well as places to relax or activities for thrill seekers.

Marbella makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Portimao
Marbella

Both Portimao and Marbella are popular destinations for backpackers.

Portimao is a good coastal city to visit for backpackers. Most people think of high end resorts when they think of the Mediterranean coast, but there are a couple of hostels available for backpackers. You should also consider transportation options. While buses are available, many visitors prefer to have access to a car so they can experience the outlying regions. The good news is the area in general is not particularly expensive so you can enjoy a touch of luxury at a lower cost.

Plenty of backpackers visit Marbella. There are a few good hostels in the area for backpackers who want to enjoy this part of Spain's cost. There's also a lively nightlife scene and plenty of opportunities to meet others.

Is Portimao or Marbella Better for Public Transit?

Portimao
Marbella

Both Portimao and Marbella offer public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Portimao. There are local buses around town but many routes don't run on weekends.

Public transit is mostly limited in Marbella. There is a bus system through the area, but most visitors prefer to get around by car.


Is Portimao or Marbella a more walkable city?

Portimao
Marbella

Marbella is more walkable than Portimao.

Marbella is a very walkable destination. The old town is particularly walkable and there are a number of hotels and nice resorts within a short walk of the town along a nice promenade.

Portimao is generally not a very walkable coastal city. While there are some nice walks along the coastline, the city is fairly large and spread out with many resorts located far from the center of town.

Should I spend more time in Marbella or Portimao?

How long in Portimao or Marbella?

In either Portimao or Marbella, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Marbella than Portimao because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Portimao is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Marbella is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Portimao or Marbella? Ideal Length of Stay
    Portimao 2-4 
    Marbella 2-5

One day in Portimao or Marbella?

The beautiful coastal city of Portimao offers nightlife and scuba diving and snorkeling. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The beautiful resort town of Marbella offers shopping and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Portimao or Marbella?

Portimao is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Portimao, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Marbella is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this resort town makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Marbella, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Portimao or Marbella?

Portimao is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Marbella is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Marbella, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


A week in Portimao or Marbella?

Portimao is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

Marbella is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This resort town offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Marbella or Portimao?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Portimao is €121, while the average daily cost in Marbella is €93. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Portimao and Marbella in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Portimao 62
    Marbella 49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Portimao 124
    Marbella 98
Compare Hotels in Portimao and Marbella

Looking for a hotel in Portimao or Marbella? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Portimao


Hotels in Marbella


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Portimao Hotel Prices and Marbella Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Portimao 30
    Marbella 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portimao

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portimao:

  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $52
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $66
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Alto Golf Pestana (Alvor): $36
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Alamos Golf (Portimão): $36
  • Transfer Portimão - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $52
  • Transfer Portimão - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $62
  • Transfer Portimão - Alto Golf Pestana (Alvor): $36
  • Transfer Portimão - Alamos Golf (Portimão) Pending: $36
  • Private Transfer from Portimao to Faro (FAO) Airport: $96
  • Private Transfer from Hotel da Rocha to Faro (FAO) Airport: $96
  • Faro Shared Transfer to or from Portimão: $38
  • Faro Private Transfer to or from Portimão: $44

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Marbella

Also for Marbella, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Marbella to Malaga Airport (AGP) - Departure Private Van Transfer: $45
  • Marbella to Malaga Airport (AGP) - Departure Private Car Transfer: $61
  • Departure Private Transfer Business Car Marbella to Malaga airport AGP: $62
  • Departure Private Transfer Luxury Van Marbella to Malaga airport AGP: $92
  • TRANSFER MALAGA AIRPORT from/to PUERTO BANUS-PRICE ALL INCUSIVE: $106
  • TRANSFER MALAGA AIRPORT from/to MARBELLA-PRICE ALL INCLUSIVE: $106
  • Private Transfer from Las Chapas to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Elviria to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Hotel Marbella Beach Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Marbesa to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Lomas De Cabopino to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Los Monteros to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $122

Is it cheaper to fly into Portimao or Marbella?

Prices for flights to both Marbella and Portimao change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Portimao 36
    Marbella 31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portimao

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Portimao.

  • Portimão - Food Tour: $96

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Marbella

For Marbella, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking courses at home & online: $75
  • Tapas & Paella Cooking Course: $80
  • Food Tour: $85

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Portimao 33
    Marbella 15

Tours and Activities in Portimao

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Portimao are as follows:

  • 1 Hour - Express tour to Benagil Cave: $28
  • 2 Hours Portimão Walking Tour: $20
  • 2.5-Hour Cruise to Benagil Caves From Portimão: $37
  • 2h30min Private Benagil Caves Tour & Snorkeing & Cliff-jumping with Lots of fun!: $373
  • Afternoon Sailing and Caves Tour from Portimao: $44
  • Algarve Coastline Tour from Portimao jeep and boat tour: $75
  • Algarve Jeep Safari tours: $38
  • Benagil & Marinha Boat Tour: $44
  • Benagil - Private Tour with Captain - Algarve Cave Captain: $348
  • Benagil Boat Tour with Local Guide: $35
  • Benagil Cave and Marinha Beach Boat Tour from Portimao: $37
  • Benagil Caves Tour & Snorkeling & Cliff-jumping - lots of fun and adventure: $50

Tours and Activities in Marbella

For Marbella, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Secrets of Marbella walking tour (Group): $19
  • Marbella small group walking Tour: $24
  • Marbella group walking tour: $32
  • Bike City Tour Marbella: $32
  • Full-Day Gibraltar Shopping Tour from the Costa del Sol: $33
  • Guided Wine and Tapas Bike Tour: $40
  • Marbella Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $41
  • Paddle Boarding Tour on the beautiful Marbella Coast: $49
  • Sunset SUP Tour in Marbella: $61
  • Can-am Route Experience: $77
  • Original Marbella Tapas Adventure: $86
  • Marbella Gourmet Tapas Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $88

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Portimao 24
    Marbella 4.57

Sample the Local Flavors in Portimao

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Portimao:

  • Portimão & Carvoeiro: Algarve Wine Tour in a VW T2 Van: $57
  • Algarve Wine Tour of Two Wine Estates: $72
  • Algarve wine tour of two wine estates and lunch at hystorical town of Silves: $112
  • Algarve Wine Tour and Mountain Discovery With Lunch at Mountain Top: $144
  • Alentejo Wine Tour from the Algarve: $207

Sample the Local Flavors in Marbella

Also in Marbella, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Tour of the Old Town with Wine Tasting & Tapas: $112
  • E-Mountain Bike & Wine Tour from Marbella to Sierra Blanca: $123
  • Manilva & Gaucin Wine Tour from the Costa del Sol: $160
  • Ronda Full Day Wine Tour from Marbella: $210
  • VIP Wine Tour through the Guadalhorce Valley & Wolf Sanctuary Visit: $360
  • Ronda Private Wine Tour and Tapas from Marbella: $406
  • VIP Ronda Wine Tour and Tasting and Gourmet Lunch Experience with Winemaker: $778


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Portimao and Marbella, we can see that Portimao is more expensive. And not only is Marbella much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Marbella would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Marbella and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Portimao would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portimao than you might in Marbella.


When is the best time to visit Portimao or Marbella?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Portimao or Marbella in the Summer?

Both Marbella and Portimao during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Portimao in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Marbella for the beaches, snorkeling, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Portimao is generally around the same temperature as Marbella. Temperatures in Portimao average around 25°C (78°F), and Marbella stays around 25°C (77°F).

Portimao usually gets less rain in July than Marbella. Portimao gets 1 mm (0 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 2 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Portimao 25°C (78°F) 
    Marbella 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Marbella in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Portimao and Marbella. Most visitors come to Portimao for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Marbella because of the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Portimao is around the same temperature as Marbella in the autumn. The temperature in Portimao is usually 19°C (67°F) in October, and Marbella stays around 19°C (67°F).

In October, Portimao usually receives more rain than Marbella. Portimao gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Portimao 19°C (67°F) 
    Marbella 19°C (67°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Marbella in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Portimao as well as Marbella. The winter months attract visitors to Portimao because of the shopping scene. Also, the shopping scene and the cuisine are the main draw to Marbella this time of year.

In the winter, Portimao is around the same temperature as Marbella. Typically, the winter temperatures in Portimao in January are around 11°C (52°F), and Marbella is about 12°C (54°F).

Portimao usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Marbella. Portimao gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 83 mm (3.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Portimao 11°C (52°F) 
    Marbella 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Marbella in the Spring?

Both Marbella and Portimao are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Portimao this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Marbella for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Portimao is generally around the same temperature as Marbella. Temperatures in Portimao average around 15°C (60°F), and Marbella stays around 16°C (60°F).

In April, Portimao usually receives around the same amount of rain as Marbella. Portimao gets 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Portimao 15°C (60°F) 
    Marbella 16°C (60°F)

Typical Weather for Marbella and Portimao

Portimao Marbella
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 11°C (52°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)
Feb 12°C (54°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Mar 14°C (56°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 14°C (57°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 38 mm (1.5 in) 16°C (60°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
May 19°C (65°F) 21 mm (0.8 in) 19°C (66°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 22°C (72°F) 13 mm (0.5 in)
Jul 25°C (78°F) 1 mm (0 in) 25°C (77°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 26°C (78°F) 4 mm (0.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 19°C (67°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 19°C (67°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 15°C (58°F) 86 mm (3.4 in) 15°C (60°F) 115 mm (4.5 in)
Dec 12°C (53°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 102 mm (4 in)


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Portimao vs. Marbella Travel Comparison

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