Marbella: the beautiful sea. And it is gorgeous around here. I know that it makes for the ideal British holiday destination, but it also happens to be one of the best places to live and work in. Before I moved to Gibraltar, I spent a few months with some friends living in Marbella, Spain, and as you can imagine, when I returned to a grey and cloudy UK, the words on everyone’s lips were: what’s it like, living in Marbella? Of course, this was quickly followed by questions on moving to Marbella, so I thought a blog post might help those of you thinking about life in Marbella to decide whether to join us out here!
Pros of Living in Marbella
Where do I start? Well, if you can handle over 300 days of sunshine a year, then Marbella might be the perfect location for your new life in Spain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough call having to think about making sure you pop the sun cream into your handbag before you set out in the morning, that you’ve got your sunglasses about even in winter and maybe a hat in case you need to add a touch of style. Marbella is beloved of celebrities from all over the world and you never know who you might meet!
🌅 The weather
But on a serious note, the weather is one of the biggest pros of living in Marbella. This beautiful coastal town basks in sunshine for around 320 days a year, but the sea breezes keep the air fresh so that it is pleasant for strolling in the afternoon even in the height of the August heat. If the British and other European tourists love it, so do the Spanish, who regularly enjoy their summer holidays in this gorgeous district. And because it’s by the sea, it never gets particularly cold, even in the height of winter when inland areas are covered in snow and ice!
🏖️ The beach
If you’ve got great weather you need great beaches, and Marbella does not disappoint. These really are the most beautiful beaches for miles around – and I should know, I’ve spent hours sunning myself on those stunning stretches of sand! The nice thing is that the beaches are also so family-friendly, with lots of places for kids to play, besides the sea shore itself. And a stroll along the promenades in the evenings is so relaxing. Unless, of course, you fancy the fun of the Marbella nightlife…
🌃 The Nightlife
Okay, so Marbella is the party capital of the Costa, and I love it. While you can also find quieter bars for intimate dinners or beautiful sea front restaurants for that special romantic occasion, if you need to let your hair down after a hard week at work, Marbella is just perfect. Marbella glitters at night; it’s glamorous, hip, happening, and above all, fun!
⛵ The Marina
Back to daytime pleasures, and if you love a bit of glamour, you’ll love Puerto Banus. It’s a stunning, luxurious marina, where you can admire both the yachts berthed just feet from the bar where you’re sipping your morning mint tea (or hangover remedy!) and the super cars dropping off the yacht owners. Or you can nip into any one of dozens of high end designer fashion shops. And yes, we all play celebrity spotting at Marbella’s stunning Marina. It’s a must!
💎 The Golden Mile area
And if the area has glamorous bars, super yachts and flash cars, designer shops and some of Europe’s top restaurants, it stands to reason that there are some incredible places to live in Marbella. While there are so many delightful properties in Marbella well within the reach of most people, it is the Golden Mile area that fascinates visitors and those who have recently moved here. The Golden Mile is one of the most luxurious residential areas in Marbella, maybe even in Europe. It’s stunning. And as well as the incredible houses and their gardens, a pleasant walk along this beautiful sea front brings you to exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, boutiques and shops, and to the Puerto Banus Marina at the western end. If you can’t afford a villa on the Golden Mile, you can still enjoy its splendour by taking a stroll along it.
Golf is great – of course as a type of exercise and a sport, and in Marbella, if you love golf you won’t’ be disappointed. Some of Europe’s best golf courses are situated in the area and the landscape they are set in is simply stunning, not to mention the wonderful facilities these provide to members. I wasn’t a golfer till I came out here. Well, I’m still not much of a golfer but I’m getting better and really enjoy meeting other players and being outdoors in such lovely surroundings. This time next year, my handicap will be the best yet!
🇬🇧 British Community
And if you live in Marbella, or if you live near Marbella, the neighbours are great. The Andalucian people are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature. But if you’re coming to live in Marbella from the UK, then you might be happy to hear that there is a large and settled British community based here. This means that you won’t feel alone, that there will be Brits living in Marbella who can help you out. Of course, because Marbella is close to Gibraltar, you can always nip over the border to pick up some familiar groceries from Gibraltar’s Morrison supermarket. The British community in Marbella is very supportive and you won’t want for anything once you’re here.
Cons of living in Marbella
Okay, so it’s not actually easy to point out the bad bits about Marbella, but, if I am going to be giving advice about living in Marbella, I’d better think about what some of the English living in Marbella might find as cons.
So, let’s start with the weather (of course!).
☀️ The Weather
I know I’ve just said the weather is great, and for me, it really is. But if you do find it difficult to deal with what sometimes seems like constant sunshine and with heat, then you might be worried. There are of course, miles and miles of coastline and beaches for cooling off in the sunshine, and most properties enjoy the benefit of air conditioning. And you do adjust. But this might give you food for thought, especially as the main beaches can get crowded in the height of the summer and I know not everyone likes that.
🚙 Driving chaos
One of the benefits of living in Marbella, or even living near Marbella, is the fact that it is so easy to get to from almost anywhere in the world because
- a) it has a world class marina;
- b) it is served by great roads, and
- c) it is close to the international airport and the ferry ports of Malaga.
But this means many visitors and, of course, it means a lot of traffic. If you’re going to have to drive around for work at the height of the rush hour, you need to expect traffic jams and the stress that comes with it. I can’t gloss over that. It’s a fact of working life. I just happen to think that the sunshine and the pleasant nature of local people make it that bit less stressful than the rain and standstill traffic of the M25 round North London that I used to endure…!
🔒 Sundays – everything is closed!
I’m not sure if this is a con or not, but I do remember being frustrated at this when I first came out here. I guess if you’re like me, and are not just one of the English living in Marbella, but a Londoner living in Marbella, you tend to be used to everything being open all day every day. It’s different here; you have to slow down the pace at the weekend. After all, Marbella is part of Spain, it has its own ways, its own culture, and this is one of the joys of living here in some ways. You soon get used to making sure you have fresh milk to last you the whole weekend! And, of course, there’s always the friendly neighbours ready to help you out – the local people or the British expats living in Marbella.
For me, the benefits of living in Marbella far outweigh the disadvantages. Give it a try – talk to HABiKONS about how to best go about making that move, and come and enjoy a Sunday glass of wine and some tapas in the sunshine at Puerto Banus!