Living on the Costa del Sol: Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Destinations

March 6, 2024 | Costa del sol

The Costa del Sol, a bright stretch of the province of Malaga in southern Spain, is famous for its sunny climate, golden beaches and relaxed lifestyle. It attracts people from all over the world, whether looking for a place to retire, a second home or simply a change of life. With a variety of destinations ranging from seaside towns to vibrant cities, the Costa del Sol offers something for everyone. However, like anywhere, living here comes with its pros and cons. In this article, we explore the positives and negatives of living in some of the Costa del Sol’s most sought-after destinations: Marbella, Malaga, Estepona, and Nerja.



  • Exclusivity and Luxury: Marbella is synonymous with luxury. With its exclusive boutiques, yachts and high-end automobiles, as well as its world-class golf courses, it is the perfect place for those seeking a first-class lifestyle.
  • Ideal Climate: Like the rest of the Costa del Sol, Marbella enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year, which allows for an outdoor lifestyle and is ideal for health and well-being.
  • Gastronomic and Cultural Offer: The city is a hive of cultural activity, with numerous events, festivals and a gastronomic offer that includes everything from beach bars to Michelin-starred restaurants.


  • Cost of Living: Luxury comes at a price, and Marbella is one of the most expensive cities in Spain in terms of housing, services and lifestyle in general.
  • High Season: During the summer months, Marbella’s population can triple, leading to congestion and increased demand for services.



  • Culture and Entertainment: As the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga is rich in history, art and culture, with museums such as the Picasso and the Centre Pompidou, as well as a lively nightlife.
  • Connectivity: Malaga’s international airport offers excellent connections with the rest of Europe and the world, which facilitates travel.
  • Diversity: Malaga is a vibrant and diverse city, with a great mix of cultures and a wide range of activities and services for all ages.


  • Urban Unrest: Being a large city, Malaga suffers from typical urban problems such as traffic and noise.
  • Rising Housing Costs: The popularity of Malaga has led to an increase in housing prices, making it less affordable for some.



  • Andalusian charm: Estepona maintains the charm of a traditional Andalusian village with its cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses, while offering all the modern conveniences.
  • Nature and Beaches: Surrounded by nature and with miles of less crowded beaches, it is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking tranquility.
  • Quality of Life: Estepona offers an excellent quality of life with a lower cost of living compared to Marbella, without sacrificing services and amenities.


  • Fewer Cultural Options: Although it is growing in cultural and entertainment offerings, Estepona cannot yet compete with the options offered by larger cities such as Malaga or Marbella.
  • Infrastructure under development: Some areas are still under development, which means that there may be construction and a limited supply of certain services.



  • Natural Beauty: Known for its impressive caves and quiet beaches, Nerja is perfect for those seeking natural beauty and a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Welcoming Community: Nerja’s population includes a significant expatriate community, which facilitates the integration of new residents.
  • Cost of Living: Compared to other destinations on the Costa del Sol, Nerja offers a relatively low cost of living, especially with regard to housing.


  • Limited Entertainment and Shopping Options: Nerja is smaller and less commercial than other destinations, which means fewer options in terms of shopping and evening entertainment.
  • Connectivity: Although well connected by road, Nerja is further away from Malaga airport and the main train lines, which can be a drawback for frequent travelers.


Living on the Costa del Sol offers a unique blend of culture, luxury, nature and relaxed lifestyle that attracts people from all over the world. Each destination within this sunny region has its own charms and challenges. In the end, the choice depends on your personal preferences, needs and lifestyle. Whether you are looking for the bustle of a cosmopolitan city, the tranquility of a seaside village, the luxury of an exclusive enclave or the natural beauty of the beaches and mountains, the Costa del Sol has something special to offer.

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