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QUICK LINKS: Spain Guide - Spain Discussion Forum - Spain Property Listings


Marbella is one of the many resort towns on the Costa Del Sol in the South-East of Spain. Once the exclusive domain of the wealthy jet-set, globalisation and the increase in budget air travel has made this beautiful town much more accessible to holidaymakers and expatriates, particularly those from the UK.

Getting There

Flights arrive at Malaga airport, a 30 minute drive east of Marbella and flying is by far the most economical and popular transport method for newcomers. For travel between towns (or close countries like France and Portugal), train is usually the best option. Clean, inexpensive and safe, the long-distance train network is a much improved version of earlier Spanish rail travel.


Marbella has a large British expat population, especially among retirees and its support networks are well established. Expat social and business groups, high numbers of locals who speak English, and even specialty food stores that stock UK favourites like Baked Beans make the transition easier for those who make the seachange.


Marbella alone has three International Schools, reflecting the high demand on the Costa Del Sol for the children of expatriates to be educated in line with the UK system. Aloha College (http://www.aloha-college.com/) and The English International School (http://www.eic.edu) cater for all ages, while Swans International Primary School (http://www.swansschool.net/) takes care of those aged 12 and under. Fees are average for international schools in Spain, at around 10,000 Euro per year.

Getting Around

Public Transport in Marbella is adequate, but in keeping with the general Spanish culture of relying heavily on private transport, it is much easier to get around via car than bus.

Settling In

The quality of roads and other infrastructure in Marbella is high, and UK citizens are able to arrange bank accounts as well as contracts for utilities & the Internet with only their passport, rather than requiring residency. The exception to this is for expats who would like to own property. Buying property in Spain does not require residency but foreigners will need an NIE (Numero de Identitad de Extranjeros) which is easily obtainable from the Commissionaire of the local police station for an application fee of less than seven Euros.


Marbella has always been a popular area for foreign real estate investment and many UK expats own homes and holiday houses here. The 2009 Global Economic Crisis hit Spain hard and there is now (2009) a glut of homes for sale to savvy investors. Prices have dropped between 15 - 25% since the market peaked and some owners have been forced to sell their homes at more than 30% less than they paid for it. While some owners are content to hold on to their houses until they get the price they want, others have been forced to sell in order to maintain their lifestyle at home. While Marbella has plenty of high-end properties for sale (30 bedroom mansions are not uncommon in this beautiful part of Spain), the median house price is more realistic and buyers are able to own a standard three bedroom family home for around 300,000 Euro.

The impact on house prices has been felt in the rental market also. Rental prices have dropped slightly less that purchase prices, but it is possible to rent a studio apartment in Marbella for 400 Euro per month and a three bedroom family home for around 800 Euro.

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