Malaga and the Costa del Sol are popular, chic and cosmopolitan destinations for holidaymakers and expats. Many families and couples settle here for the great sunny weather, friendly lifestyle, fresh cuisine, culture and amazing Andalusian festivals. It’s still more economical to live in southern Spain than in northern European countries as property prices and the cost of living are comparatively cheaper.
It’s a fabulous place to bring up children who have plenty of sports and activities to enjoy as well as a range of good schools, either Spanish-run or international institutions. It’s fun for the grown-ups too who enjoy sports in the sunshine or learn about the culture and cuisine of the Costa del Sol.
Here are just 10 great reasons for living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol:
1. A superb climate and miles of coastline
The Costa del Sol enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine so you always have an excuse to head for the beach. With 160kms of coastline, the Costa del Sol has plenty of sandy beaches and coves to discover or water sports to try. Head East of Malaga for the rockier shores but crystal clear waters. To the West of Malaga you’ll find miles of sandy beaches and promenades to explore.
2. Kick-start a sporting life
Malaga and the Costa del Sol are the perfect playground for practising sports on dry land, in the mountains or out at sea. The great weather means you can play sports all year especially golf – with about 50 courses to try out – tennis, basketball and water sports. The beautiful ski resorts of the Sierra Nevada mountains are only two hours from Malaga so you can enjoy surfing and skiing on the same day. Football fans can cheer on Malaga in the Spanish La Liga, who enjoy a very loyal following, especially when playing against Barcelona or Real Madrid.
3. All the fun of the fiestas
The Andalusians throw some of the best parties in Spain with at least one fiesta being held every month. Among our favourites are the colourful Carnival to mark the start of Lent, the dramatic processions during Holy Week, bonfires on the beach for San Juan in June, and the Spanish film festival in Malaga with Antonio Banderas, who was born in the beach city, acting as honorary president. The very best festival on the Costa del Sol is without doubt the Malaga Fair in August with a non-stop nine-day party to celebrate traditional Andalusian customs including flouncy dresses, fans and castanets; spectacular flamenco shows; live music; food and fairground rides.
4. Tucking into tapas and Andalusian cuisine
The Costa del Sol is one of the best region’s to try tapas. In some establishments, you will be given a free tasty dish of food when you order a drink. You could sample anything from traditional jamón to garlic prawns or spicy patatas bravas. Fresh fish and shellfish play a prominent part in the cuisine on the coastal resorts while other dishes to try include Malaga raisins (in both sweet and savoury dishes);plato de los montes; gazpacho cold soup with tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and garlic; ajoblanco cold soup with almonds and garlic; fried mixed seafood; hearty estofados and meatballs in a variety of delicious sauces.
5. Discovering the Costa del Sol’s cultural side
The Costa del Sol has a long and interesting history so a trip to some of the finest art galleries, museums and old buildings will help you find out more about your new home town. The first stop has to be the Picasso museum in Malaga as many of the works on display are family heirlooms and offer a fascinating insight into the Malaga-born artist. Other must-see cultural attractions in Malaga include the 11th century Alcazaba citadel, Roman theatre, 19th-century bullring, cathedral and Arabic baths.
6. Family fun on the Costa del Sol
Living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol is a dream for most families as there are so many things to do and places to explore. If you can get the children away from the beach or sports centre, there are some of the finest theme parks in Spain to test your adrenaline rush or enjoy a family day out. Tivoli World in Benalmadena is one of the most popular with breathtaking rides and great shows to entertain all ages. In Benalmadena, you can also visit the Sea Life Aquarium with more than 2,000 fish including sharks, and the Selwo Marina with marine mammals, including dolphins and penguins as well as exotic birds. Nearby Torremolinos is home to Spain’s first water park, Aqualandia, to help you keep your cool and the Crocodile Park, which is the only park of its kind in Europe.
7. Getting to know the great outdoors
Turning your back on the beach can be tough but it is worth it to head inland to explore Andalusia’s impressive mountains and nature parks. A great place to start is to wander among the unusual Jurassic limestone rock formations in El Torcal nature reserve in the mountains between Antequera and Malaga cities. Only two hours from Malaga is the impressive Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is a popular skiing resort in winter as well as being a great place for hiking the rest of the year. The Montes de Malaga mountain range with a cool waterfall and the River Guadalmedina flowing through is right on Malaga’s doorstep and provides a dramatic backdrop to the beach city. These are fabulous for a day’s trekking or a camping trip.
8. Mingle with the locals while you shop
While the supermarkets, like Carrefour and Eroski, provide everyday essentials at a good price, shopping in Malaga and the Costa del Sol can be much more exciting than that. High street brands such as Zara and Pull & Bear can be found in the shopping malls, such as the Malaga Plaza and Larios, while Spain’s flagship department store El Corte Ingles is definitely worth visiting for quality clothes, leather goods, electrical items and food. However, we like the weekly outdoor markets and daily indoor markets for clothes, household goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and local produce. Malaga’s central market, the Atarazanas, is fantastic for meat such as goat or lamb as well as shellfish and olives. Going to the market is a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and speak Spanish.
9. Investing in property on the Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is not the cheapest place to buy property in Spain but you certainly get what you pay for. With the strong sterling, you’ll find property prices are looking attractive, especially away from the chic Marbella resort. There are bargains to be had with apartments available from around €80,000 but make sure they are in the right location for you and your family. Properties in prime locations come at a premium price. Demand is high. Properties with beach views or on the golf course are in high demand. It may pay to rent before you buy so you can really explore the Costa del Sol or consult a property finder with local knowledge to help in your search. You can get a family-sized apartment to rent long-term from around €600 a month in Malaga. Remember to contact me if you are looking for a property to rent or buy.
10. Getting around and about on the Costa del Sol
Transport links in Malaga and the Costa del Sol are fantastic so you can explore the rest of Spain or hop back home to visit the family. Malaga international airport is 8kms from the city centre. The main A7 road runs all along the southern coast to link the popular Costa del Sol resorts like Malaga, Marbella and Estepona as well as providing links to major cities such as Cordoba, Sevilla, Madrid and Valencia. There is also a highly-efficient, high-speed train network linking Malaga with other major cities such as Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona.
So there you have a shortlist of ten initial reasons for living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol. If you are still uncertain, our A to Z Reasons for Moving to Malaga will point out a few more reasons too.
It is really important to choose the best area in Malaga for you. This article, “Finding Your Ideal Location” will help you make this decision.
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