Hospitals and Healthcare on the Costa Del Sol

When relocating to Spain, one of the first things that many ex pats consider is the quality of the healthcare available, as well as what insurance they will need to pay for their healthcare. This is of particular concern to many people already living in Spain right now, given the national prevalence of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

The first thing to note is that if you do need medical attention or hospitalization in the Costa Del Sol for any reason then you’re in good hands: the hospitals here are equipped with state of the art facilities, many of the medical staff are multi-lingual, and the rapid response units are considered to be world class. Here’s everything you need to know about hospitals and healthcare on the Costa del Sol:

World Class Healthcare

You will often hear people say that the healthcare in Spain is world class, and for good reason. The healthcare standards are considered some of the best in Europe. Whether you have had an accident, have a long-term health condition, or take ill for any other reason, you’ll find that the emergency rooms in Spain are well-staffed, loaded with state-of-the-art equipment, and high staffing levels.

Whilst many medical professionals in Spain do speak English, you should not take that for granted: if you’re not fluent in Spanish then you might consider taking a Spanish speaking friend to the hospital with you. Finally, whilst the United Kingdom remains in the EU, British residents living in Spain are entitled to the same access to State-Owned hospitals as their Spanish counterparts, meaning that if you are concerned about your health and need to see a doctor, this shouldn’t break the bank.

State-Owned Hospitals

There are five main state-owned hospitals in the Costa del Sol, but it’s worth noting that state-owned doesn’t mean sub-standard. The state-owned hospitals in the Costa del Sol are some of the most highly regarded in Europe.

Hospital Costa Del Sol – Located in the Marbella area, the Hospital Costa Del Sol is located just off the main A7 (N340) coastal highway. This hospital is recognised as a leading centre for childcare and childbirth, and is also popular with non-Spanish speaking patients, meaning that you will find both English speaking professions and voluntary interpreters to help.

Hospital Maritimo – Situated in Torremolinos, the Maritimo hospital offers a huge range of healthcare services to suit a wide range of needs. Whether you need surgery or outpatient care, radiography or physiotherapy, you can have it all at the Hospital Maritimo.

Hospital Valle del Guadalhorce – The Hospital Valle del Guadalhorce was established to service the needs of inland patients, ensuring that residents from regions all over the Costa del Sol have convenient access to the medical care that they need.

Malaga General Hospital – Unsurprisingly, the Malaga General Hospital is located in the heart of Malaga. One of the larger hospitals in the area, different aspects of the hospital are located on different sites:  the children’s hospital is a separate building to the general hospital, for example. If you don’t speak Spanish, interpreters are available on request.

Private Hospitals

If you are interested in private healthcare facilities, then you will find an abundance of world class options available on the Costa del Sol. You could join the Helicopteros Sanitarios for an annual fee, which will give you access to a 24/7 emergency service: depending on the situation you will be attended to ASAP by either an emergency helicopter or a fully equipped ambulance. If your situation is life threatening, they will also arrange swift hospital transfer, for your convenience and peace of mind.

In terms of private hospital facilities, you have three excellent options to choose from. The Vithas Xanit International Hospital is located in Benalmadena, the Hospital Quirónsalud is located at the eastern end of Marbella town centre, and the Hospiten Estepona is located west of San Pedro. Each of these hospitals offer emergency services and intensive care units, as well as world class speciality services. The main difference between the private and state-owned hospitals is the speed with which you are seem and treated, with waiting times often expediated in private facilities.


If you’re in need of self-care, or advice about very minor healthcare concerns, then you’ll find an abundance of classic Spanish pharmacies located across the Costa del Sol. Many of these are open 24 hours a day, and they are very brightly light, meaning that you can always find a pharmacy if you need one. The pharmacies on the Costa del Sol are generally well stocked and are manned by friendly and knowledgeable pharmacists, many of whom speak English, ideal for ex pats who have yet to learn Spanish. What’s more, many drugs that are prescription only in other countries can be purchased over the counter in Spain, meaning that minor ailments can be easily treated.

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