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Marbella, Spain

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Marbella, Spain is 140,000. People describe Marbella as a glamorous and luxurious resort town on the Costa del Sol. Expats love the year-round sunshine, the beautiful beaches, the vibrant nightlife, and the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. The weather in Marbella is typically mild and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit (12-24 Celsius). The average cost of living in Marbella for an expat is around $2,000 to $3,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $800 to $1,200 per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $1,200 to $1,800 per month.

What do I need to know about living in Marbella?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Marbella, they said:

"Before retiring in Marbella, it is important to research the cost of living and expectation of taxes for retirees. It is worthwhile to investigate different areas of the city to see which one best matches your interests, budget, and lifestyle. Additionally, you should become familiar with the local laws and regulations regarding the purchase and rental of real estate, as well as the financial opportunities available. In addition, you should find out if healthcare services are available in Marbella and become familiar with the local culture in order to make sure you will be comfortable while living there. Lastly, make sure to explore the surrounding areas and attractions available to ensure you are making the right decision when you retire or relocate," replied an expat in Marbella.

"Don't expect to be one of the Ferrari driving glitterati overnight, but work hard and Marbella can be a great place to live. There is an old saying about Marbella - The man who arrives with money will depart with experience, and the man who arrives with experience will stay with Money," remarked another in Marbella.

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What do I need to know before moving to Marbella?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Marbella, they said:

"Marbella is a beautiful coastal city in southern Spain known for its luxurious lifestyle, magnificent beaches, amazing climate, and abundance of activities. Before moving to Marbella you should consider the cost of living which is relatively high compared to other cities in the region. You should also familiarize yourself with local Spanish culture and customs so as to feel comfortable living in the city. Health insurance is also a must, as is having an international driver’s license and securing a residence visa. If you plan to work in Marbella, you should make sure that you have the necessary permits. Additionally, you may want to research the availability of public transportation and the cost of living costs in various areas of the city. Finally, it is important to remember that the summer months can be very hot and the winter months very cold, so it is best to be prepared for both hot and cold weather," remarked another in Marbella.

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How do I find a place to live in Marbella?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"To find a place to live in Marbella, consider your budget, lifestyle and where you would like to be located. Check online listings, such as classifieds, real estate websites and various expatriate forums to find listings. You can also contact real estate agents in the area to inquire about current and upcoming listings available. If you don't find what you are looking for online, try visiting the area and conducting a search on your own. Many people also use local expatriate networks or newspaper classifieds to find rental properties. Good luck with your search," replied an expat in Marbella.

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Homelike Rentals

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Spain. If you're moving to Spain, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Spain.

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Homelike Rentals

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Spain. If you're moving to Spain, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Spain.

SEARCH RENTALS

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Marbella?

"Expat homes and apartments in Marbella tend to vary in size and style depending on budget and personal taste. Many include spacious terraces with spectacular views of the Mediterranean, while some are located inside of luxury resorts with access to private pools and gyms. Many properties have well-equipped kitchens, and the majority have air conditioning to ensure a comfortable environment throughout the hot summer months. Most of Marbella's expat homes are designed with a contemporary touch but many will incorporate classic Spanish-style features such as terracotta tiled floors and wrought-iron fixtures," remarked another expat in Marbella.

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What is the average cost of housing in Marbella?

If you are thinking about moving to Marbella, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Marbella varies depending on the location, size, and amenities of the property. Generally, it can range from a few hundred euros to several thousand euros per month," explained one expat.

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We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Spain. If you're moving to Spain, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Spain.
Homelike RentalsFurnished Rentals in Spain from Homelike

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Spain. If you're moving to Spain, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Spain.
SEARCH RENTALS

How do I meet people in Marbella?

When we asked people living in Marbella about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Marbella is a great place to meet people, with plenty of options for socialising. Joining a club or sports team is a great way to meet locals and other visitors. The warm climate in Marbella means that outdoor activities like cycling, surfing, paragliding and rock climbing are popular and provide plenty of opportunities to meet other people who share your interests. There are also many cafes and restaurants, as well as nightclubs and bars, where you can socialise with people in a relaxed environment. Additionally, Marbella is home to many cultural and musical events throughout the year, which offer the chance to meet people with a variety of backgrounds and interests," replied an expat in Marbella.

"Marbella is a great place to meet new people with so many cultural activities, sports and clubs to join. The area of Marbella even has it's own social networking website called www.yourmarbella.com where residents and vistors can meet people, find out places to go, clubs to join and much more. There are clubs in the area which meet regularly based around expats, i.e. The American Society and hobbies i.e. Golf Societies," remarked another in Marbella.

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What should I bring when moving to Marbella?

People living in Marbella were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothes suitable for warm weather, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach gear (swimsuit, towels, flip flops), Spanish dictionary, umbrella and rain gear, general toiletries, important documents (passport, visas, health insurance information), any prescription medications, international drivers license, first aid kit, bug spray, adapters for electrical plugs, cell phone, camera, laptop, bank statements, cash in Euros, outdoor games," remarked another in Marbella.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Marbella?

We asked expats in Marbella what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"You could set up a bank account in Marbella at any of the local banks, for example BBVA, Banco Santander, Bankia, or Cajamar. All offer a range of accounts and services and have customer service in English; however, it may be helpful to research each bank's specific rates and requirements in advance, as well as choosing which account option (savings, current, youth, etc.) is best for your needs," added another person living in Marbella.

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Will I be able to find a job in Marbella?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Marbella, they reponded:

"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Marbella. Marbella has many sectors with varied job opportunities, from teaching and hospitality to construction and IT. The city also has many companies in these sectors and there are always job vacancies available. Additionally, there are foreign-owned companies in Marbella which provide employment in other areas, such as finance and marketing. With some research, networking and persistence, you should be able to find a job in Marbella," remarked another in Marbella.

"The main expat. industries and indeeed the Spanish ones are all based on seasonal and residential tourism. All sectors of Real Estate are huge, plus hotels, restaurants, etc. Many individuals and company owners in N Europe are now operating from homes in the sun, either part or full-time. As a result there are opportunities for most construction, admin. and leisure based skills," explained one expat.

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What is life like in Marbella?

When we asked people living in Marbella what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Expat life in the area can be exciting and rewarding. There is a great sense of community with people from all over the world coming together to share their cultures and experiences. There are a range of activities and events such as sports, festivals and cultural performances to enjoy and explore. Expats have access to good quality international schools, medical care, shops, restaurants and entertainment. Public transportation is also easily available and the cost of living is typically lower than in many other countries. Expats who are looking to immerse themselves in a new culture while maintaining a good quality of life will find this area a great place to call home," remarked another in Marbella.

"Marbella has a mix of a thriving city based on the tourist and property industry combined with a large ex pat retired community and wealthy 20/30 somethings driving ferrari's and wearing Cartier," explained one expat.

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What do expats in Marbella appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in Marbella appreciate the mild Mediterranean climate, the stunning beaches and the laid-back atmosphere that characterizes the town. They enjoy spending time outside, exploring the mountains and visiting nearby whitewashed towns, exploring the charming cobblestone streets and soaking up the charm of traditional Spanish culture. The city's exuberant nightlife and vibrant tapas and bar culture is another draw for those relocating to Marbella. Additionally, expats appreciate the sense of community that exists in Marbella, with its warm and friendly locals always ready to help and welcome you," explained one expat living in Marbella.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find adjusting to a new culture, language barriers, and sorting out work permits and visas to be the most challenging aspects of relocating to a new country. Other common challenges include learning the customs, finding and establishing new friendships, and coping with homesickness. These issues can be difficult to overcome and can potentially lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety," explained one expat living in Marbella.

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Is there a lot of crime in Marbella?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Marbella generally has a low level of crime compared to other cities in Spain. However, there have been reports of petty crime such as pickpocketing and muggings in certain areas. It is generally considered to be safe, but tourists are advised to take sensible precautions," explained one expat.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Marbella accepting of differences?

"Marbella is highly diverse with a large expatriate community and a majority of foreign residents. The area is very accepting of different backgrounds, traditions and lifestyles, and there is an atmosphere of tolerance and openness towards other cultures and nationalities. In general, Marbella citizens are friendly and welcoming to anyone regardless of their origin, religion or race," said another person in Marbella.

"Absolutely, all religions and cultures of the world are embraced and represented in probably one of the most diverse communities in Europe," remarked another expat in Marbella.

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What are the schools in Marbella like?

"Marbella offers a wide range of educational options. The city has both public and private schools from primary to secondary level, as well as a number of language and international schools with programmes in English and French. The city is also home to many prestigious boarding schools and universities, such as European University of the Atlantic and Marbella International University Centre. It is important to note that for secondary school, the choices are more limited, as the curriculum is government-regulated. Additionally, there are many private language academies in Marbella that specialise in teaching English as a second language," remarked another parent with kids at in Marbella.

"A good friendly and welcoming school with a cosy yet modern design. Wide range of nationalities of families that give a nice mix to the parental community," explained one expat living in Marbella, Spain.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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