Is Marbella a Good Place to Live?

Perhaps the biggest draw of Marbella is its vast expanses of beautiful beaches: the area proudly boasts some of the best beaches in Spain. Many of these beaches are lined with restaurants and beach bars, and spending time at the sea front is an integral part of the everyday culture here, no matter what the time of year. Alongside its beaches, Marbella’s nightclubs, bars and luxury venues are famous around the world, and are a great place to relax and unwind.

Marbella is a relatively small town, and it retains much of its small-town charm whilst managing to offer its residents all of the amenities of a much larger city. Marbella is a safe place to live, where residents can walk the streets feeling just as safe as they would in any of Spain’s other large towns and cities. For these reasons, and so many more, Marbella is considered one of the best places on the Costa del Sol to call home.

The Benefits of Living in Marbella

Some of the main benefits of choosing to live in Marbella are that:

  • The Town is Very Accessible – If you’re travelling to and from the UK on a regular basis then Marbella’s easy access to Malaga airport is a huge advantage. You can reach the airport by shuttle bus in less than an hour, and Malaga airport offers regular flights to many of Europe’s major cities.

  • The Wonderful Weather – The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, and the right in Marbella rarely falls at all! With less than 50 days of rain a year, on average, the climate here remains dry and sunny year-round. In winter, the average temperature is about 16 °C and in summer it’s around 25-30 °C.
  • Stunning Scenery – Whilst the biggest and most obvious draw of Marbella is the beaches, the hills that surround the town are beautiful and are a perfect place for walking and hiking. The Donana national park on the outskirts of the town is also an excellent place for birdwatching. Whatever kind of outdoor pursuits you enjoy, you can enjoy them in Marbella.

  • The Perfect Lifestyle – Whether you choose a secluded villa or a high-rise seafront apartment, it’s easy to seek out the lifestyle you always dreamt of in Marbella. From there, the world is your oyster; amazing shopping, beautiful food and wine, pool parties and nights out, or your own yacht in one of the many marinas, whatever lifestyle you want can be yours. Whether you want life in the fast lane or you’re ready to slow down, you’ll find the right group of ex-pats to match your pace in Marbella.

The Cons of Living in Marbella

Of course, no place is perfect, and even the biggest fans of living in Marbella will admit that it isn’t always luxury resorts and wall to wall sunshine. Some of the main cons of living in Marbella include:

  • The Summertime Crowds – When you live somewhere that is popular with tourists, you have to expect it will be busy during the peak holiday season. Many residents choose to holiday elsewhere when the crowds are too much, and you could even generate an income by renting out your Marbella home during this peak period.

  • The Cost- Marbella is known as town of luxury. A playground for the rich and famous. As a result, you can expect to pay more for property here than you might in many of the smaller (and less well known) surrounding towns in Andalusia.

  • Service Can Be Slow – The Spanish pace of life is notoriously laid back, and you will find in Marbella that shops open at 10:00 am, close at 14:00 for siesta (lunch and a nap) and reopen again at 17:00. Many things close completely on a Sunday. This can be frustrating if you’re used to things happening quickly, and don’t want to adjust your schedule for other people’s nap time!

Is Marbella An Expensive Place to Live?

With its reputation for playboys, private yachts and luxury living, you would be forgiven for assuming that a property in Marbella is out of reach. But in reality, whilst Marbella is certainly not the cheapest place to buy a property on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is cheaper than many big European cities. Property prices are often dictated by demand, and because Marbella is favoured by ex-pats, there’s no denying that that can drive prices upwards.

The cost of living also tends to be a little higher in Marbella, with restaurant and drink prices, amenities and local services, and even supermarket places all costing more than the regional average. Everything is relative though: Marbella is a town with one of the highest disposable income levels in the whole of southern Spain, and that contributes to the overall cost of living.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t live affordably in Marbella though: and you may even find it a cheap place to live, depending on where you were living before you moved to the region. For context, living on the Costa del Sol is 43 percent cheaper than living in London and 39 percent cheaper than living in Paris.

Where Are the Best Places to Live in Marbella?

There are very few bad places to live in Marbella, but five of the best spots to choose are:

1. The Golden Mile. One of the most well-known and exclusive areas to live in Marbella, this area boasts decadent properties that have unobstructed views of the sea. The best beach clubs and resort hotels in Marbella are found here.

2. La Zagaleta. This is a private gated community, and one of the best country clubs in Europe. Closed to the public, only residents here can enjoy the private golf courses, equestrian centres and clubhouses. These are big budget properties.

3. Sierra Blanca. Another gated community that values privacy above all else, and serving incredible views. Location is key in Sierra Blanca, as it is close to both the beach and the town centre. This is the place to buy if you’re looking for a luxurious villa with an equally luxurious price tag.

4. Nueva Andalucia. Boasting the most accessible property prices on this list, you’ll find different property options and environments here.This sought after area offers peace and tranquillity but at the same time is close to amenities and within walking distance of Puerto Banus.

5. San Pedro De Alcantara. This town is technically ten km west of Marbella, and therefore isn’t in the Marbella boundaries, but this typical working Spanish town offers the best of both world; typical old-Spanish cobbled streets alongside a beautiful stretch of beach.

What Amenities Are There in Marbella?

Because Marbella boasts such a large ex pat community, you will find a good selection of international schools here: ideal if you’re relocating with kids. Many of these will work to a British curriculum, meaning if you plan to relocate back to the UK in the near-future, your kids won’t fall behind in their education. Some of the best international schools in Marbella include:

Calpe College International School: follows a British curriculum and caters for children from 2 to 10 years.

The British International School of Marbella offers contemporary British international education from early years through to secondary.

Swans International School offers primary and secondary education.

The English International College offers primary and secondary education.

Other amenities include great health centres and hospitals, including many aimed at an international population that feature multilingual medical staff. For Marbella residents, the main state hospital is the Costa del Sol hospital off the main A7 coast road at Los Monteros. It is a modern, state-of-the-art facility, one of the best-equipped hospitals in Spain. It has both inpatient and outpatient departments and a 24-hour accident and emergency centre. Approximately 15 percent of the visitors are foreigners, so the hospital has volunteering interpreters to help those who don’t speak Spanish and might need support with interpretation.