Costa del Sol property & lifestyle, news, views, advice & information

Seaside resort, city, or inland? Where should you buy your home in Spain?

Author:   |  March 30th, 2017

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Malaga will make your heart soar... but would living there be preferable to the coast? It all comes down to personality.

Málaga will make your heart soar… but would living there be preferable to a seaside resort or hilltop village? It all comes down to personality.

The remarkable transformation of Málaga over the past few years from airport hub to bona fide world-class city has been great news for Andalusians. For too long their second-largest city (after Sevilla) was scandalously overlooked by tourists, the international media and fellow Spaniards alike, with the world seemingly blindsided by its charms and drawn to the (beautiful, granted) vistas and history of Granada, Córdoba, Cádiz and Sevilla instead…

Now though, Málaga is a genuine attraction in its own right, and a real option for would-be homebuyers who have their heart set on southern Spain. Property prices in the city are generally lower than those found a few miles south along the Costa del Sol proper, and the range of amenities on one’s doorstep is exceptional.

That being said, Málaga is still a very Spanish city, in the sense that it can be loud, and it can be brash. If you are thinking of moving to Spain then it pays to know exactly what you want from life abroad. Thankfully, the Costa del Sol has enough to offer all types of personality, be they outgoing, introverted, eager to try new things or nervously curious of life abroad.

On the Costa del Sol, your choices can essentially be boiled down to three options: seaside resort, city, or inland. But which one are you?

Love the outdoors? Head inland
The undulating strip of hills and mountains that hem in the Costa del Sol form an alluring and photogenic backdrop when down at sea level. But it is not until you head into the hills that you fully appreciate all that they have to offer. The tiny whitewashed villages that dot the landscape offer a throwback to a bygone age, and deliver a hefty dose of “real Spain” – dusty bodegas, cute bakeries, quiet plazas and small but spotlessly neat and clean housing.

But it is beyond these clusters of Spanish life that the true appeal of inland living comes to the fore. From lakes to forests, the landscape alone is impressive enough. But it is Spaniards’ relationship with it that truly appeals. If you want to hike, horse trek, bike ride or simply surround yourself with peace and quiet, Andalucía’s inland delights will be right up your winding, steep and almost car-free streets.

Love culture? Head to the city
Obvious, sure, but it has to be said that – despite all of its positives – the Costa del Sol is not exactly big on ‘culture’ of the historical kind. Marbella, Estepona and San Pedro each have their Old Towns, but for big-ticket architectural sights, Málaga is the place to be. From its Bullring to the hilltop castle atop Gibralfaro, Málaga oozes history and delights with every step.

What’s more, the backstreets of Málaga are crammed with superb museums, art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops, mixing old with new to create a fantastic metropolis that serves up something for everyone. The fact that a lovely beach runs alongside it is simply a cherry on top.

Love fun in the sun? Head to a seaside resort
The array of viable locations for property hunters on the Costa del Sol is head spinning: Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Benahavís, San Pedro, Manilva, Benalmádena – all different, each with their own selection of centres, leisure facilities, nightlife and urbanisations, and all likely to appeal to everyone from families to retired couples.

So if you want to combine beachside living with spacious, affordable accommodation and ease of access to pretty much anywhere on the Costa del Sol, the coast is for you. What’s more, because it has been a perennial favourite with British and other expats for many decades, this is the corner of the region that boasts the biggest choice of international schools and sports clubs, and is far easier to settle into for those who speak little or no Spanish.

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