The Costa del Sol may attract the rich and famous, from Simon Cowell to Vladimir Putin, but there is plenty for people with more modest budgets too. All with the same blazing sun and sparkling Mediterranean. So, where should you buy if you’re after some bling? And where for something a bit more budget?
The Costa del Sol has something for everyone. Basking in 3,000-plus hours of sunshine (compared to around 1,500 in the UK), and an average of 17°C even in January, it’s one of the most popular regions to buy for people from outside Spain.
If you’re preparing a visit to the Costa del Sol to look at properties, ensure you know what to look for by reading Your Viewing Trip guide.
It has miles of sandy beaches, a warm Mediterranean and everything you would want from one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations.
The natural appeal of Andalusia
But there’s more to the Costa del Sol than that. The southernmost coast of Andalusia, it has a beautiful hinterland of pretty, white hilltop towns, the Sierra Nevada mountain range and attractive foothills bedecked by almond blossom and olive trees.
As the spiritual home of everything from bull fighting to Picasso, culture-wise it has everything you could possibly want too. Málaga has first-class museums, a lively music scene and every type of restaurant and tapas bar you can think of, selling local produce from field and the sea. Every local town seems to have its own local festival – and many have been revived by the arrival of energetic expats from around the world.
As for shopping, you will be spoilt for choice with local markets, shopping centres and smart boutiques in which to browse.
Travel communications are excellent. Málaga International Airport has flights to most European destinations as well as to the United States (or you can land your private jet there).
The AVE (very fast train) gets you to Madrid in just 2.5 hours, while local trains and buses whisk you from the airport to resorts along the Costa so there’s no need to hire a car every time.
The motorway network is a quick and easy alternative, whether you’re hiring a car or have your own chauffeur.
With all this going for it, what about buying a dream home on the Costa del Sol? Prices vary and cover all ranges from very upmarket homes to pleasant small apartments. Let’s take a look at the possibilities:
Buying on a budget
It is quite possible to both buy good properties for less on the Costa del Sol and live a wonderful lifestyle on a UK state pension. Our own website has more than 300 properties under €150,000 in the Málaga province. Here are a few of our favourite locations.
Sought after because of its proximity to Málaga and the airport, Benalmádena has a pretty marina and a lively British community. The town lies between Torremolinos and Fuengirola and caters well to British tastes.
It has a lovely long sandy beach and promenade with shops, bars and restaurants which are open all year. Enjoy your Sunday roast al fresco, even in January
Arroyo de la Miel is perched above it and is a pretty old-style Spanish village and is home to the train station.
Puerto Marina is a large area constructed in Arab style and is home to restaurants and boutiques as well as being a pleasant place for a stroll in the warm evenings.
You can buy a studio apartment with sea views and within easy reach of the beach for less than €100,000, or perhaps a little townhouse on a complex with access to a shared pool for under €200,000. See a few budget properties in Benalmádena here.
On the south-west edge of the Costa del Sol lies the town of Manilva. It still feels properly Spanish, without a wealth of skyscrapers, and it has several distinct areas. Like many Spanish towns it divides between the old ‘white village’ a little way inland, Manilva Pueblo, and the newer development by the sea.
The fishing village (Sabinillas) and Puerto Duquesa, which is a tranquil marina with a residential zone and a golf course. It has seen a rise in tourism only recently as the economy is mainly based on fishing and agriculture. Almost everything is within walking distance. It is popular for families and also for golfers but you can enjoy hikes in the mountains, swimming, fishing and long walks on the promenade. The nearest hospital is 10 kilometres away in Estepona.
Manilva has an even bigger range of properties at lower budgets, with a good choice of apartments – even with two bedrooms – on an interesting choice of urbanisations at around €100,000.
Nestling in the mountains below the two peaks of the Sierra de Cártama in the Guadalhorce Valley and just 25 minutes’ from Torremolinos, is the large town of Cártama.
This is a green and pleasant part of southern Spain, overlooking farmland and verdant hills full of orange and lemon trees, yet just a 16-minute ride from Málaga airport. For those wanting to live away from the bustle of the coast but to be within easy reach of the sea, the white town of Cártama is an ideal choice.
It has one of the region’s more affordable golf courses, Lauro Golf, but if you believe that golf is ‘a good walk spoiled’ the hills have plenty of walking and cycling trails through them and you can enjoy horse riding and rock climbing too.
Although properties off the coast tend to be cheaper than the equivalent on the costa, so village houses for under €100,000, in the countryside they are also bigger. You can buy a pleasant villa, even one with a pool and some land, for under €250,000.
High-end homes and living the high life
People looking for the luxury end of the market also won’t be disappointed. The Costa del Sol has long since moved on from its costa del crime image and appeals to oligarchs, sports stars and music moguls, as well as those who have built up a nice pension pot, thank you very much! There are some magnificent properties all along the coast in a broad selection of towns and resorts.
Long renowned for high-end living, Marbella continues to attract people in search of discreet locations and well-appointed properties.
When changing pounds to euro for a luxury home, you need a specialist. We recommend Smart Currency Exchange, with offices in the Costa del Sol. Read Smart’s Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.
It is also close to some of Spain’s best golf clubs; in fact 16 of them! Puerto Banús Marina is the place for luxury yachts and offers chic boutiques and smart restaurants, three of them with Michelin stars. Many of the more exclusive properties are to be found in the hills above Marbella where there are some beautiful gated communities and where many celebrities have their homes. The nightlife is famous; in ordinary time you can party through the night at the numerous cocktail bars and lounge bars.
On our website we list over 400 Marbella properties priced at over €500,000. While you can easily pay €15,000,000, you can find gorgeous villas for little over €500,000 too.
Just 10 minutes’ from Marbella is the Zagaleta resort and Country Club, in what was once a hunting estate. Another is the gated community of Marbella Sierra Blanca but there are many others offering luxury homes.
You can find lovely hillside homes for anything up to €32,000,000 but an average of €1,000,000 to €3,000,000 for an apartment on the Golden Mile or a four-bedroom penthouse.
Estepona doesn’t quite have Marbella’s blingy reputation, but it does have just as many gorgeous homes in the above €500,000 price bracket. It offers a blissful luxurious lifestyle, yet still has a flavour of its original fishing village ambience just with wonderful flowers displayed all around the town.
Recent improvements to the infrastructure, plus a brand new hospital, plus ongoing development of the marina all make it one of the nicest places on the Costa del Sol.
For fun, San Luis Castle has been refurbished as a concert/activity venue. . The marina is surrounded by excellent restaurants and bars and in all, the town has 20 kms of coastline with 17 beaches. There are 5 first class golf courses nearby.
Known as one of the prettiest villages in Spain, Frigiliana is a typical white village of Andalusia which boasts wonderful views to the sea. As in Estepona, it’s streets are lined with decorative flowers and plants and to enjoy the incredible views there are several bars and restaurants with roof terraces.
Nature is all around and you are close to the wild and beautiful Sierras de Tejeda Natural Park where you can enjoy vistas of rivers and streams descending the mountains and a vast variety of trees and wildlife. All this just 7 kilometres from Nerja! Frigiliana offers the finer things in life, excellent gastronomy, fabulous views, luxury homes.
This part of the Costa del Sol has an abundance of attractive villas in the hills, with no shortage of beautiful country properties with pools from around €300,000.