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Moving to Marbella … an Expat Guide

in Moving to … Expat Guides
marbella - Indalo Transport

The beautiful mountains overlooking the lively coastal town of Marbella – Click for Map Guide

You may be wondering what life would be like if you took the plunge and moved to the dazzling, vibrant town of Marbella, and you’ve found this page during your quest to finding out whether Marbella is the perfect place for you to become an expat or not.

You may even already live in this exquisite coastal town and are perusing the internet to discover new and interesting things to see and do there.

Well, whichever kind of visitor you are, we’re glad you stumbled upon us, because we have great news for you!

Our handy little guide,  part of our series of guides about the villages, towns, cities, provinces and regions of Spain, will reveal a copious amount of indispensable information that any person, considering moving to Marbella, needs to know about. Also, we’ll let you in on a few, hitherto secret, hidden gems of the town, and ones which you should definitely go out and visit.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Where is Marbella?

Marbella is an incredibly popular destination for countless British expats, and the bustling town is located in the province of Malaga, in the Andalucia region of Spain.

Marbella is just one of the amazing destinations expats can find along the world-famous Costa Del Sol.

Click on the Photo above to open up a google map guide to pinpoint Marbella (Just so you know, all links on this page open in a new tab on your browser)

How can I get there?

By air, there is the option to go to Malaga Costa Del Sol Airport, or Gibraltar International Airport, both less than an hour away from Marbella.

Most airports within the UK offer affordable, direct flights to Malaga, and you can get there in less than three hours. Check out Cheap Flights to get more information on prices, airport locations, and great deals.

By car, you can drive onto a ferry in Portsmouth or Plymouth, arrive in Bilbao, and then drive  down to Marbella, which should take you no more than about 10 hours. Visit Brittany Ferries to book your tickets.

If you are relocating and require a removal to Marbella from the UK, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we specialise in removals from the UK to Spain.

Why choose Marbella?

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Marbella Video – (3mins 50secs)

If you’re looking to experience sun-drenched, pristine white beaches, vivid culture, excitement and opulence every day, Marbella is the place for you.

It’s a truly irresistible town, permeated by Roman and Moorish history and it has an array of rich cultures.

Opposites attract here, as the six different districts are a rich melting pot of ethnologies, where Spanish heritage, tradition, and folklore mix with lively modernity, luxurious living and an alluring buen estar.

In Marbella, not only can you experience the delights of a traditional, laid-back Spanish lifestyle, with its charming history & delicious local meals. At the same time you can also experience sumptuous delights from prestigious boutiques, and enjoy haute cuisine in Michelin star restaurants, like Dani Garcia’s Calima where elegant and complex foods are served up in a secluded, subtropical garden.

The Eastern sector of Marbella, which stretches from Rio Real to Puerto de Cabopino, is less urbanized, and is blessed with pristine white beaches, an enchanting marina, and a number of traditional Spanish bars and cafés.

Marbella Old Town has a unique, rustic and colourful charm, its ambience is truly special. This is the place to go if you want to immerse yourself in the distinctive Andalusian character.

old marbella - Indalo Transport

Beautiful, colourful, inspirational – all words to describe the charming district of Old Town

From Ricardo Soriano to the entrance of Puerto Banús, you’ll discover The Golden Mile, and as its name suggests you’ll find that luxury abounds here, with its endless upscale boutiques, and exorbitant nightclubs, like the well known Olivia Valere.

Famous families and European aristocracy built their summer homes here, and it’s not hard to see why.

The Saudi Arabian Royal Family have even built a palace here, an exact replica of the White House.

It’s even rumored that Salivdor Dali would eat out all along the Golden Mile, eating and drinking with his friends, amassing large bills. When it came to paying, Dali would sketch a beautiful drawing on the back of his cheque, knowing full well that the owners of these exquisite Spanish restaurants would never cash them in!

The Nueva Andalucia district , the most residential part of the area, is known as Valle del Golf for a reason; it’s a haven for the golfing enthusiast.

The sector of San Pedro de Alcantara has a small town charm, but it’s one of the areas of Marbella which has seen the greatest growth and changes in the past six decades.

Guadalmina, the final area of Marbella, is another haven for golfers and is dotted with amazing roman architecture.

History

Marbella has been shaped by centuries of rich history, and countless cultures have left their mark all across this marvelous municipality.

Muslims, Romans, Christians, and modernity, have all played their part in making Marbella the place it is today.  It wasn’t until very recently, 1960 in fact, that Marbella began to transform itself into one of the top five-star tourist destinations in the whole of Europe.

Architecture

Marbella showcases an incredible mix of architecture, and it has a combination of Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic and Moorish styles.

The theme for Marbella, if it had one, would certainly be history, urbanity, simplicity and style.

When exploring the colourful Old Town quarter, the whitewashed houses sparkle in the sun, highlighting the charming Plaza de los Naranjos, The Orange Square, which is blessed to have three historic buildings around it, the Town Hall; the Church of St. Mary, and the Governor’s House.

Intrepid expats can also discover the authentic and beautiful roman bridge, the Marbella Puente, near the elegant Roberto Hotel. There’s also the awe-inspiring architecture of the Las Bóvedas Roman baths to discover, the old castle walls, an exquisite 16th century church, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnación, Alcazaba, the ruins of a Moorish castle, the Bull Ring, or the Mezquita del Rey Abdul Aziz Saud Mosque.

 

Culture and Lifestyle

architecture

Plaza de los Naranjos, Marbella Puente, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion and Alcazaba,

No-one is deemed ‘a foreigner’ in Marbella as it’s one of the most cosmopolitan and cultured places in Europe.

For art aficionados, there are many wonderful art and history museums to visit, such as the Museo Del Grabado, the engraving museum.

There’s the absolutely stunning Avenue del Mar to walk down, which is dotted with jaw-dropping Dali Statues. There are cinemas to attend, moving musical concerts to hear, and nature in all its glory to behold, like at the breathtakingly beautiful, Paseo del Alameda, an elegant 18th century park.

Since the tourism boom in the late 20th century, Marbella has become a marriage of the old and the modern. There is a cornucopia of beautiful foods to try, delicious drinks to savor, phenomenal festivities to get involved in, and a bustling night-life to enjoy.

During the day, there is always something to do, and something to see, as Marbella really is a bustling place. However, Spanish traditions are strictly adhered to, and life slows down during siesta times and at the weekend.

The local people of Marbella are relaxed, but they sure know how to have a good time. They’re down-to-earth, hard-working, honest people who are both proud and mindful of their origins and heritage.

Festivals

The are countless fiestas and celebrations to witness in Marbella, and among them, the following deserve special mention.

marbvid2

San Pedro de Alcantara Fesitavl Video – (9mins 16secs)

In May expats can witness the exciting Cruz de Juanar and in June they can celebrate the Patron Saint, San Bernabé. In July, the dramatic and vibrant tradition of the Virgen del Carmen procession takes place, and in October, expats can join in a typical Andalusian affair, the San Pedro de Alcántara festival, renowned for its colour and folklore.

Cost of Living and Quality of Life

The cost of living in the province of Malaga is 13.6 per cent lower than it is in Spain’s capital, Madrid, so your money will stretch a lot further in Marbella.

Well, it’s not strictly true, as that actually depends where you live and how extravagant you are! A three bedroom apartment in the most sought after places of Marbella, along the Golden Mile for example, can cost you around €1200 to rent, per month.

In the more quieter areas of Marbella though, like the Eastern sector, or Old Town, you can get a lovely one or two bed apartment for less than €500 per month.

A cinema ticket will cost you about €8, a gym membership will be around €60, a bus ticket costs less than €2, and a pint of milk; 1kg of potatoes, 1kg of rice, and a local beer will all cost you less than €1.

If you’re looking for a gastronomic delight, a three-course meal will set you back about €30 per person. But again, this is dependant on where you decide to eat, as you can easily build up a very expensive restaurant bill of over €200 in the most expensive parts of Marbella. But if you’re just grabbing a lunch time bite to eat, check out The Menu of the Day at cafes dotted around The Old Town, & you’re bound to get something tasty for less than €5.

Public Transport

Local buses operate in Marbella on a route from La Cañada Shopping Center, to El Ángel, via the Hipercor in Puerto Banús. A timetable can be viewed here. It costs €1.16 for a single journey and tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver. A monthly card is also available priced at €36 per month for unlimited travel on the Servicio de Transporte Urbano de Marbella buses.

Conveniences

Evеrу mоdеrn convenience can bе fоund in Marbella. There are several mеdісаl сеntrеs, an abundance of designer ѕhорѕ, traditional stores, affordable ѕuреrmаrkеts, banks, amazing restaurants, bаrѕ, clubs, ѕоlісіtоrѕ, everything is here.

And the best part? Nearly everyone in Marbella speaks some level of English, so getting directions and finding what you need won’t be a daunting task.

Finding a Job

The British expat in Marbella won’t find it difficult at all to get a job, particularly if they have experience in the tourism industry, can teach English, have worked in Security, are an eu pair, or have Sales, IT or Construction experience.

Two invaluable job sites can be found at Think Spain, or The Local.  For those who can commute, the city of Malaga is less than 50 minutes away.

The Weather

Marbella experiences hot summers and it’s possible to sunbathe almost every day from June until September with little or no rain. Daily highs can reach 35 degrees centigrade, and nights can get as low as 15 degrees. If you like to keep an eye on the weather, you can do so here here.

Things to see, and things to do

In Marbella you can bathe on pristine white beaches, play golf, go sailing, shop ’til you drop, and eat gastronomic delights ’til you’re fit to burst. If you’re an adventurous person who loves nature, you should definitely take a Monte Aventura Andalucia Ecotour through the staggeringly awesome Andalucian countryside. You know you won’t miss out on anything because this tour has been given the Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor.

There’s also the Lagoland Mountain Lake Center, a brilliant place to spend the day pushing yourself to the limit, and becoming one with nature.

For anyone over 18 years old with a full drivers’ licence, and who sometimes secretly pretends they’re on Top Gear, you can jump in a go kart and take a 40 kilometer scenic tour with Kart4Fun.

For those who prefer to take things a bit slower, you should take an interesting Marbella Segway tour, or visit the wonderful Marbella Food Market.

Or you can see how the other half live, and go spotting supercars down near the marina.

Food and Drink

The traditional food of Marbella is Andalucian. The types of traditional dishes you’ll find here, like Salmorejo (tomato soup usually served with a boiled egg and ham), and Pringa (a slow-cooked stew, have been passed down from generation to generation.

Being a coastal town, fish and seafood plays an essential part in the food there. However, at every corner of Marbella you’ll find some of the most amazing restaurants to eat at. You can even get a taste of history, by ordering traditional Spanish tapas at El Estrecho, which opened back in 1954. For a recent list of the greatest restaurants in Marbella today, check out The Culture Trip’s restaurant reviews.

Other useful information

For more information, please contact the Marbella Tourist Board.

T: +34 952 768 760

E: turismo@marbella.es

We really hope our handy guide has been helpful. Either you’ve learned something new about this wonderful place, or it’s helped you make your decision and you’re thinking of moving there. If that’s the case, please don’t hesitate to contact us now, for help and advice on your removals from the UK to Marbella, or anything else about becoming an expat in Spain. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we can point you in the right direction to get one!

Photo Credits

Main Title Photo – Chris Goldberg

Marbella Old Town –  Nick Kenrick

Plaza de los Naranjos, – Photosylvia

Marbella Puente – Falk Lademann

Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion – SantlMB.Photos


If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may enjoy

Moving to Spain … an Expat Guide,

Moving to Spain … Regions guide for expats,

Easter in Spain – Fantastic festivities in the Sun, 

Essential Tips for moving to Spain with your Children or

Gardening in Spain for Expats – What you need to know

 

 

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