Retiring in Malaga
Living the Good Life on the Coast of the Sun
Malaga, a municipality in southern Spain, is part of the autonomous community of Spain called Andalusia, where more and more people want to retire because it has many advantages that we will explain in this article.
Malaga is an attractive port city with 300 days of sunshine a year, located on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean. This city has about 590,000 inhabitants, beaches, good weather and a beautiful culture. It is great for international life because Malaga offers a lot to visitors and immigrants alike. It is a big bustling city that still offers a quiet and relaxed small town atmosphere, which makes it ideal for international living. For this reason, many Westerners have chosen to live here, retiring to Malaga and strong expatriate communities have formed.
Despite being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a history of 2,800 years, many guidebooks in the past recommended skipping Malaga. It’s a living museum with archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arab, and Christian eras.
Real Estate in Malaga
There has been plenty of real estate development in Malaga, both commercial and residential. The city and business center is pedestrian only, clean, beautiful, and very easy to navigate. The harbor and coastal areas have been renovated and are relaxing to stroll and spend time in. There are over 30 museums, hundreds of great dining options, and plenty of shopping for all needs and wants. The historical side of Malaga has been preserved, with plenty of buildings showcasing the various rulers throughout its 3000 year history.
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Weather in Malaga
Retiring in Malaga is ideal for living out your good days in a Mediterranean jewel. The hot summer months go up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit but don’t fall under 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Malaga is on the Costa del Sol and the sun shines on it’s coast and sea harbor. The winter weather is still comfortable, averaging 63 degrees Fahrenheit in January. 300 days of sunshine are mitigated by the cool coastal sea breeze from the Mediterranean sea. Sunrises and sunsets are awe-inspiring on most days, whether you enjoy it on the beach or in the city eating tapas and drinking wine. There are no snow or snow days, or any of the inconveniences associated with that.
There are many great public and private hospitals in Malaga and close by cities on the Costa de Sol. They offer convenient and high-quality health care and medical assistance.
Cost of Living & Lifestyle in Malaga
Malaga, a city of half a million and metropolis of over a million, has much more than tourism. Just a few minutes away by city bus from the historical downtown area is the regular Malaga, with locals living their lives. These are residential neighborhoods with wide sidewalks, which outdoor cafes pop up often, apartments, and private homes. Retiring in Malaga is very easy because one can quickly reach schools, work, dry cleaners, hair salons, grocery stores, nail salons, bars, movie theaters, doctors, and much more. Some local areas close to the seashore have access to paseo maritimo, the boardwalk. Some apartments and homes have an incredible view of the seashore.
The cost of a home in the centro historico is very moderate. A small 500 to 600 square foot apartment is typically about €145,000, and rent for $658. Prices drop considerably a mile out or so, from the centro historico. Living is often more convenient in the residential areas, where prices are cheaper, than in the historical downtown. The historical downtown is enchanting but is better suited to short term rental or vacation stay. Huelin, an area two miles from centro historico, is a middle class neighborhood, clean and beautiful. It is very conducive to comfortable and affordable living. It’s amenities are supermarkets, bars, restaurants, golf courses, and beautiful apartments. $718 per month can get you a 900 square foot apartment, with one or two bedrooms. Huelin is not the only comfortable part of Malaga. There are a string of residential neighborhoods by the sea that are very conducive to long term stay. Alhaurin de la torre is a town in the Malaga province that is at the entrance of the Guadalhorce valley of the Sierra de Mijas mountains. Food and drink expenses are also affordable, generous tapas in the area are about $5 or less. Dinner for two is usually less than $50. Grocery stores have various brands and generic options to choose from, and grocery costs are about $300 to $400 per month. For a couple, Cell phones and the internet typically cost $75 per month, groceries about $370 to $400, and health insurance about $315. Out of 560 cities rated, Malaga is rated 370th most expensive in cost of living, with 1 being the most expensive. The currency used in Malaga is the euro and they don’t offer their citizens retirement programs or pensions. They do grant a visa specifically for those retiring in Malaga, called the “Non-lucrative Visa“. It is granted for immigrants who will not be earning income in Malaga and you must meet income minimums to qualify. Before moving, speak to a tax consultant and lawyer for both your home country and Malaga. Make sure you understand laws, in both your home country and Malaga, pertaining to health care options, tax laws, legal citizenship status, and residency requirements.
There are also many people who buy properties of more than 500.000€ and obtain the golden visa in Spain.
Something that visitors are most impressed by is Malaga’s convenient and efficient transportation system. The third largest international airport in Spain located just outside Malaga. Malaga has modern and sleek train stations and shopping centers. It receives and sends passengers on high-speed trains from all over Spain. Steps away from the train station is a long distance bus station, an urban train called Cercanias. Cercancias goes on from Malaga all the way down the Costa de Sol, through to Fuengirola.
The local bus system in Malaga is highly reliable, and provides transportation around the city and along the coast. Taxis, Uber and Cabify are all available modes of transportation as well.
Another amazing feature of retiring in Malaga is that you can play day trips and short vacations to other parts of Spain via Malaga’s well built transportation system. Quick trips can be taken to other parts of Southern Spain and Andalusia. There lies a few miles away, rich culture, monuments, gorgeous landscapes, and historical sites. Try Gibraltar, Granada, Marbella, and many other cities.
Retiring in Malaga is amazing because the best mode of transportation is often walking.The city is very walk-able and it is easy to get around your neighborhood without even using a city bus.
In 2014, Malaga installed a subway with 2 lines. They complement the existing bus lines.
A flight from Malaga to New York city in the United States is about 13 hours.
Lifestyle of Retiring in Malaga
Tourists, expats, and locals love Calle Larios, a wide pedestrian only avenue in the center of Malaga’s historic center. It is beautiful, lively, energetic, and charming. The shops and the restaurants fill both sides of Calle Larios. It’s paved with tiles, with many benches, seats, colorful flower carts, and tall beautiful street lights spaced out evenly. Huge canopies strung across the avenue decorate Calle Larios from four to five stories above, shading the strollers from the heat and the sun.
It is common to lunch and brunch outside because of the balmy weather, with sidewalk cafes, bars, and shops. They provide umbrellas with their seating, along with white apron waiters. This area is popular for post-shopping relaxation, drinks, and lunch.
The tourists and expats love the culture of the historical center, which has museums and monuments. For example, Museo Picasso contains works from Pablo Picasso, a native of Malaga. Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, showcases paintings of the Old Masters, European painters of skill from about the 1800s, and Spanish paintings from the 20th century, all housed in a 16th century nobleman’s residence.
Minutes south of the historical center is the port area. Here there are quays, a structure used as a landing place built parallel to a waterway, for commerce, cruise ships, yachts, and pleasure boats. There is a secret passageway to Morocco, which is just 80 miles away. The secret passageways are ferries, and they take you to the Spanish owned enclave in Morocco called Melilla.
The port area has undergone gentrification. The avenue along the sea now has parks and there is a boardwalk along the water. “Wharf One”, known as Muelle Uno, is a wharf of shops and restaurants that is very busy with activity, having been renovated recently. The Pompidou Museum of Paris has a branch here with works by Spanish artists.
The beaches are the best part of retiring in Malaga. Conveniently in the city is Playa Malagueta, east of the port. Further east and in front of an older residential neighborhood is Playa de la Caleta. On the west side of the port are the beaches of Huelin- San Andres. Further along on the west side of the port is Playa de la Misericordia, which is Malaga’s most popular beach. This beach features relics of the 19th century and industrial era, such as chimneys along the promenade.
Every year there is a carnival in February, where the entire city marches to the beach with a giant statue of a boqueron. Malaga is the host of one of the most popular film festivals.
Something to note about retiring in Malaga is a possible language barrier. In the city center and at tourist attractions, you may encounter many English speakers. Restaurants all over the city typically have an English menu. However, a person living here in Malaga must learn some Spanish because locals and local businesses will conduct their business in Spanish.
Malaga is a very safe city and the locals are welcoming to tourists from all over the world. Out of all the cities on the Costa de Sol, it is considered one of the safest. However, it is advisable to avoid flashing valuable items in the city and its surrounding areas for extra precautions.
Conclusion for retiring in Malaga
Retiring in Malaga is never boring because there is much tourism clustered throughout the city. Malaga is vibrant, happy, and blissful. It’s one of the quintessential cities of Andalusia. Malaga is literally the happiest place on earth, being named “The Happiest City on Earth” by the Happiness Institute in 2019.
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