Moving to Marbella


Our rating

1 out of 5

  • Affordability 6 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 5 out of 5

  • Property affordability 3 out of 5

  • Climate 5 out of 5

  • Environment quality 5 out of 5

Marbella is the largest city, most popular tourist destination and economic hub of Spain’s Costa Del Sol – the stretch of Mediterranean coastline famed for its sun, sand and sangria. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll see that Marbella has plenty to offer the long term resident from a rich architectural heritage to a packed calendar of festivals and events.

Having provided a home to the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Moors and, finally, the Spanish once more, the city is replete with artefacts of its long history from Moorish defensive walls to Roman Bridges and buildings in the traditional Andalusian style. A walk around the old town is like being in a pleasantly sunny time machine.

There are twenty four beaches along Marbella’s 27 km of coastline, a dozen golf courses in the vicinity, four ports with large numbers of private moorings, several museums, and the city plays host to annual film, opera and reggae festivals.

Marbella has experienced some turbulent times recently in terms of politics and economics. The recession in the EU has been felt keenly by a tourist destination popular among Europeans and a spate of corruption convictions among the city’s elected officials has left confidence in the political system shaken.

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Healthcare in Marbella

Before your big move to Marbella, it’s wise to think about medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Spain. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Moving to Marbella from the UK

Along with the rest of Spain, unemployment, especially amongst the youth, has risen dramatically in Marbella since the onset of the Eurozone crisis. As such, moving without employment already secured is ill advised unless you have a separate source of income which you can live off.

Learning Spanish will help greatly in the hunt for employment. Castilian Spanish is spoken in Marbella and lessons can be obtained from a large variety of schools and private tutors.

Among retirees Marbella is as popular as ever. A large British expat community means that settling in shouldn’t be too much of a problem and property is much more affordable than in, say, London. You will however pay higher prices in the popular expat areas of Neuva Andalucia, Elviria, and Calahonda & Riviera.

Average house prices in Marbella are much higher than in the rest of Spain due to all this interest from foreigners: around €600k in Marbella as opposed to around €230k for Spain as a whole.

Buying a new residential property will incur VAT (IVA in Spain) of 10%. Transfer Tax on a previously owned property in Andalucia is 7% on the first €400k and 8% on the remainder of the purchase value. Also, when buying from a non-Spanish resident the buyer needs to withhold 3% of the purchase value for the tax authorities to avoid the seller incurring capital gains tax on the full amount.

Can you still move to Spain after Brexit?

Yes, you can – but you’ll have to follow a new set of rules. Britain is now treated as a “third country” when it comes to moving to somewhere in the EU, which means that the process is a little more complicated than before.

If you were a legal resident in Spain before 1 January 2021, you will be able to stay. If you would like to move to Spain without committing to residency just yet you can take the following steps.

Firstly, you’ll need to get a temporary residence visa – also known as a Tarjeta de Residencia – which will allow you to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days.

To do this, you should make an appointment with the Spanish Consulate in London by emailing with your details, including your:

  • Name
  • Nationality
  • Passport number
  • Telephone number
  • Preferred date for an appointment (only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

You can also apply for a temporary visa within Spain, though you must do so at an oficina de extranjeros – an immigration office – within 30 days of arriving in the country. Although this might appeal to some, we wouldn’t recommend doing this, as it’s typically the more stressful way of applying for a visa.

A temporary visa will allow you to stay in Spain for anywhere from three months to five years, depending on your circumstances. And, if you find yourself not wanting to part ways with Spain after five years of living there, you can apply for a permanent residence visa.

Comparing Marbella vs London

Marbella, protected on its northern side by the coastal mountain range, enjoys a microclimate which brings summer average high temperatures of 31 °C and winter lows which barely fall under 10 °C. Rainfall almost all occurs between September and March, leaving hot, dry summers of blue skies and pleasant sea breezes.

The cost of living in Marbella is significantly lower than that in London: rent, property, groceries, consumer goods, energy bills and transport will all leave more change in your pocket than they would in the UK capital.

In addition, marbellíes report greater feelings of safety, less pollution, lower commute times and better health care standards than Londoners.

Comparing the cultural offerings of London with those of a city with barely 150,000 inhabitants is of course silly but Marbella does have a lot to offer. The town itself is home to six museums including the Ralli Museum which has works by Dalí, Miró, Chagall and Henry Moore. Festivals take place throughout the year and include the Marbella International Film Festival, the Fiesta of San Bernabe and Fair and Festival of San Pedro Alcantara, both lasting a full week, and the smaller Fair and Festival of New Andalusia and the El Angel. Most neighbourhoods in the town also host their own mini-festivals between July and October.