Written by Scarlett Murray,
Last Modified: 16th February 2023

Málaga has just earned the title of no.1 “alternative capital” in the world. Famed for being the capital of the Costa del Sol and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, we outline why we think Málaga is worthy of this title. To finish off, we’ve found some properties nearby– so that you can experience this fantastic city whenever you like.  

Malaga city

Malaga has won the title of no.1 alternative capital.



Find homes in Malaga via our property portal.


Top alternative capital

Premier Inn has a done a deep dive into our search histories to find out where our favourite “alternative capitals” in the world are. When we think of city breaks, names that come up time and time again are Paris, Rome, Madrid. But given how over-flowing with tourists these capitals can be, by excluding capital cities, Premier Inn has teased out where other fabulous cities are.

According to Premier’s Inn research, “Málaga” has 478,000 global searches. Furthermore, when it came to the specific search “Málaga holiday”, the city received 312,000 searches. In at number two was charming Venice. While the alternative cultural scene of San Francisco took third place.

I’ve often left a city break feeling like I haven’t got to grips with the city nearly as much as I’d like to, but with a property in Málaga, you can truly immerse yourself in the destination. You can have an endless number of wonderful city breaks.

Guaranteed as a popular holiday home

Moreover, if you are thinking of renting out your property as a holiday home, you can be assured that you will get lots of people wanting to stay in your home in Málaga. For more insight on renting out your property as a holiday home, read this article, written by Richard Way, who rents out his Spanish residence.

Malaga has over 300 days of sunshine and sixteen beaches.

Six reasons (we think) Málaga has earned the title of top alternative capital


1.    Brilliant beaches

Playa La Malagueta

Playa La Malagueta.

With over 300 days of sunshine and an incredible sixteen beaches, if you are a beach babe, you will be truly spoiled for choice here. Being in southern Spain, Málaga enjoys a climate of long, warm summers and short, mild winters. In Spring and autumn, temperatures are in the late teens to early twenties. Even winter can see average daily maximums of 18ºC. While summer regularly sees temperatures of 30 ºC. In short, you are going to be able to get a lot out of Málaga beaches, almost all year round.

Playa La Malagueta is the Costa del Sol’s most famous urban beach. As it is just ten minutes from the city centre, it is super convenient for when you want to mix up time at the beach with catching a bite to eat and mill around the shops. With dark sands, the beach is 1,2000 metres long and has a promenade lined with palm trees. The beach has features such as umbrellas, sailing equipment, and even a children’s play area.

Playa de el Palo offers a different vibe. Just east of the urban beaches, this beach is smaller than others, generally less busy, and is often used for fishing and diving.

2.    An enviable art scene

Soho Malaga

Soho Malaga.

As the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Málaga has remained a hit with artists. If you’re a Picasso fan, then you might find yourself daydreaming in Mueso Picasso Malaga. As well as a permanent collection of 233 Picasso works, the museum often holds exhibitions – for example, this year will see an exhibition on Picasso’s sculptures. The museum itself is something to behold as it was once an elegant 16th century palace. Málaga has many museums and galleries for you to brood in. But perhaps the cultural highlight Soho Málaga, where you will find the city’s most recent art, in the form of large-scale graffiti that covers most of the buildings. On the first Saturday of every month, there is a “Made in Soho” market selling local art, antiques, and vintage clothes – you could find some local art to decorate your new property with.

3.    Fantastic for history

View of the ancient Roman Amphitheatre and the Alcazaba fortress in Málaga. 

You don’t just have to be an art historian to enjoy Málaga’s cultural scene. The Phoenicians first colonized the city of Malaga in 100 BC, and it has been occupied by the Romans and the Moors since. In 1951, a Roman Ampitheatre was discovered and subsequently resurrected from underground. Additionally, the Alcazaba, an Arabic palace-fortress tells the story of 11th century Malaga.  


4.    Foodie’s paradise

El Pimpi.

Find a bite to eat in El Pimpi.

Málaga food scene has everything from tasty tapas to upscale dining for special nights-out. Around the corner from the Mueso Picasso Málaga, El Pimpi is a tapas bar so well-known that its most famous customers line the walls. Málaga has eleven restaurants featured on the Michelin Guide, with two restaurants with a star, José Carlos García, which specialises in creative cusine, and for contemporary, Kaleja.

You can fly from London to Málaga from just £13!

5.    Diverse shopping scene

From little second-hand shops to big modern brands, Málaga has a shopping scene to meet your every need. For second-hand clothes and vintage boutiques, you are going to want to visit Calle de los Mártires. While the Plaza Pintor Eugenio Chicano square is full of handicrafts, perfect for gift-buying. When you’re after big brands, head to Puerto Muelle Uno, an open-air shopping centre.

6.    Easy to get to

All this Málaga magic is just a flight away.

Of course, as Premier Inn’s search was global,  Málaga is easier to get to from some countries than others – but for us in the UK, it’s not hard at all. Located 8km away from the city, Málaga airport serves the whole of the Costa del Sol. It is the fourth busiest airport in Spain, with flights running from Málaga to the UK throughout the year, with budget-friendly airlines, Ryanair and EasyJet. It is a domestic and international airport, so if you ever want to explore other parts of Spain, that will be easy enough. Plus, it is well-connected with links to the rest of the Costa del Sol through buses and trains – so if you want to live near to the city of Malaga, but not actually in it, that won’t be a problem.

Plus, according to Skyscanner, you can fly from London to Málaga from just £13!

It’s unsurprising that Málaga has been named the top alternative capital in the world. It is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city – and it so happens to be on the sea – and, luckily for us Brits, it’s very nearby.

What kind of properties can I find in Málaga?

We have over 1,4000 properties in the province of Málaga. Some are city or coastal based, while others are located further inland. It may be that you don’t want to live directly in the city of Málaga, and would prefer a quieter destination, but still have the fabulous city within reach – so you can reap its benefits for cultural tours, drinks and nibbles, and shopping until you drop. Plus, outside of the city, there are more budget-friendly options. Here is a list of the types of property – and at what price – you can get for a home in the province of Malaga.

Please note: our properties are highly sought after and if any of the properties below are no longer available, you will find a similar alternative on our property portal. 

A large home in need of renovation: Comares, Málaga, €58,000


If you would like to see more images of this property and to enquire, click on the image. Comares, Málaga, €58,000.

Our lowest priced properties in the province of Málaga are $50,000. These tend to be multi-bedroom homes located in the countryside. Additionally, they often need considerable renovations to be homely. If you are up for the challenge, take a look…

This is a four-bedroom traditional house in a quiet village in the province of Málaga. It has a charming old-fashioned feel with its low, wood-beam ceilings, but the bathroom does need constructing.

A modern apartment for a couple: Estepona, Málaga, €126,700


chairs on a terrace, Spain.

Click on the image to enquire. Estepona, Málaga, €126,700.

One of the most vital questions to answer when you’re hunting for homes is how many bedrooms will I need? Perhaps, you are planning a solo move to Spain, in which case, a one or two bedroom will work well. Alternatively, you may be a couple looking for somewhere to come together on holiday, away from your busy work lives in the UK.

When you’re looking for a one- or two-bedroom home, you can find somewhere for as little as $50,000 – it will likely still need renovation, though probably less than a multi-bedroom home for the same price.

Luckily, with a budget of around $100,000 you can find really wonderful one-to-two-bedroom apartments that need little to no renovation before you turn the key in the lock.

This is a completely renovated one-bedroom duplex, just a step away from Epestona tennis club.  It is located in an urbanisation that has as gym, swimming pool, parking space, and 24/7-hour surveillance.


Family countryside home ideal for outdoor living: Sedella, Málaga, €219,000


Is the Spanish country life for you? Click here for more. Sedella, Málaga, €219,000.

Do you love the idea of your kids running freely in the sunshine? In the UK, there’s a bit of a limit in just how many days kids get to do that, but in Málaga, not so much.

If you’re looking for a home set in a tranquil environment where your kids can run around freely, your extended family and friends can come to stay, and you can show off your barbeque skills, then look no further. Typically, the price for a large countryside finca is around $200,000. This villa is under the slopes of the highest mountain in Málaga, La Maroma. It has 3000m2 of land with fruit trees, a chicken coop, and a kennel. There’s also a swimming pool, barbeque, an Arabic oven, and a wonderfully large terrace. Inside, the house boasts of rustic charm with its wood beam ceilings.


Family home near the beach: Caleta de Vélez, Málaga, €280,000


Want to see more? Caleta de Vélez, Málaga, €280,000.

If you don’t fancy the idea of country living in the province of Málaga, you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t cost too much more to find a family home closer to the beach. This three-bedroom townhouse is just 100 metres from the beach and marina, restaurants, supermarkets, and golf course.


Luxury property in Malaga: Marbella, Málaga, €3,995,000

home cinema

Seeking luxury? Click on the image.

Over 3,000 of our properties in Málaga are priced over $1,000,000 – so if you are looking to purchase a luxury property in Spain, Málaga has bountiful options. This luxurious contemporary villa boasts of five-bedrooms and six bathrooms. It is walking distance from the beach. Inside, the property benefits from olive trees, a gym, air-conditioning and underfloor heating, and an indoor cinema.



Living in the heart of the city: Málaga, Málaga,€1,160,000

interior of a luxury property

Want to live in the heart of the city of Málaga?

Don’t fancy having to travel any distance to the city? This brand new three-bedroom apartment is located in Soho, the centre of Málaga (where all the incredible graffiti art is!). All the rooms have double-glazed windows equipped with a solar filter, air conditioning and heating system.


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The Spain Buying Guide is a free, independent resource to help anyone who is looking to buy property in or move to Spain through each critical stage of their property buying journey.

Set up to help our readers avoid the many complexities and pitfalls of buying property in Spain, the guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves.


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