Accommodation in Malaga

accommodation in malaga
Updated 2023-07-30 12:13

Malaga is a busy port city on southern Spain's Costa del Sol, a place that blends ancient history with the freshness and excitement of a modern metropolis. This Andalusian city is a cosmopolitan place, popular with holidaymakers and expats, and has plenty of accommodation options to choose from. They include beachfront villas, city-center apartments and studios. In total, the city has 11 districts, each one boasting its own character and flavor.

Moving to Malaga can be a life-changing experience, a fantastic opportunity to discover Spanish culture, traditions and history.

The city is the capital of the province of Malaga and has a population of approximately 580,000. This makes it the second-most populous city in Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain. With a laidback lifestyle, proximity to the sea, sunny climate, the warmth and friendly nature of Andalusian people, gorgeous beaches and excellent cuisine, Malaga is one of the leading expat locations in Spain. Tourists, students, trainees and young professionals all flock here.

Best reasons to live in Malaga

Whether you are moving to Malaga for work or to retire, you will soon feel at home in this delightful part of Spain. Here are just some of the reasons to pack your bags and move to one of the most liveable cities in the country:

  • A warm Mediterranean climate, which means long, hot summers and mild winters. Typically, there are more than 300 sunny days per year.
  • Cultural attractions. The city of Pablo Picasso's birth has dozens of art galleries and museums. There is also a well-preserved Roman amphitheater that dates back to the first century BC.
  • Beautiful landscapes that encompass beaches, mountains and countryside. There are lots of places to cycle, hike, jog or simply relax amid gorgeous natural scenery.
  • Choice of urban and rural locations. Whether you want to be close to the action or something quieter with more green open spaces, there's a place for everyone in Malaga.
  • Andalusian tapas and cuisine. A mouth-watering variety of dishes awaits with fresh fish and shellfish, the stars of coastal destinations.
  • Affordable housing. Although Malaga is not the cheapest place to buy or rent property in Spain, many affordable options are available.
  • Job opportunities. The city's labor market has picked itself up following the COVID-19 pandemic. There are opportunities in many sectors, including tourism, hospitality and manufacturing.
  • Great quality of life. In a 2021 survey by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU), 15 Spanish towns and cities were compared. Malaga beat Madrid and Barcelona for the best quality of life regarding places to live. Factors considered included leisure, culture, the cost of living, employment and health services. The previous year the American magazine Forbes included Malaga in its top 20 list of best cities in the world to live.
  • There is an international vibe. Due to the many nationalities who live in and visit Malaga province, many parts of the region have a cosmopolitan feel.
  • Diverse nightlife. From cozy traditional Spanish restaurants to beach bars, nightclubs and international eateries, Malaga City comes alive every night.
  • The fiestas. The city throws some of the best parties in Spain, with at least one fiesta being held every month. Among the local favorites are the colorful carnival in February, the dramatic processions of Semana Santa (Easter) and the beach bonfires and fireworks of San Juan in June.

Malaga's neighborhoods

When looking for a place to live in Malaga, you'll be spoilt for choice with a rich diversity of neighborhoods. Of course, the best one for you depends on your needs, circumstances, and what you want personally. If are unfamiliar with the city, it will probably be worth your while to visit a selection of neighborhoods to help you decide where to live.

To give you a flavor of what to expect, here is a quick guide to some of Malaga's coolest and most exciting neighborhoods. Each place has its own character, charm and energy. Among the most popular areas for expats to live are La Malagueta, La Merced and Soho.

La Malagueta

La Malagueta is a charming and popular seaside locale with the Mediterranean just outside the front door. It is also close to the historic center and features high-rise apartment blocks and an attractive promenade lined with bars and restaurants. This is one of the most visited neighborhoods in the city. The main attractions include:

  • La Malagueta Beach - one of the most famous beaches on the Costa del Sol extends for more than one kilometer and is next to the Real Club Mediterráneo de Málaga, Spain's oldest active yacht club. Bordering the beach's soft sands is a palm-tree-lined promenade.
  • Hospital Nobel - a 19th-century building with a neo-Gothic façade that is now home to municipal offices.
  • The bullring - a 19th-century neo-Mudejar-style arena that can seat approximately 14,000 spectators. The bullfighting season runs from April to September/October.

The average price per month for rented accommodation in La Malagueta is around 15 euros per square meter.

La Merced

A vibrant neighborhood northeast of the old town center, known for its bars and restaurants and as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. La Merced is also home to several notable landmarks, including the 16th-century church of La Merced and the Museo Casa Natal Picasso.

The average price per month for rented accommodation in La Merced is around 15 euros per square meter.


Soho is a young, trendy and artsy district close to the port and the old town. It is within easy walking distance of the historic center and just a short bus ride from the beach.

The average price per month for rented accommodation in Soho is around 15 euros per square meter.

The Historical Centre

The Historical Centre, or the old city, is an attractive enclave of churches, convents, palaces, period buildings, shops and restaurants. The main pedestrian thoroughfare through the neighborhood is Calle Larios. At this vibrant destination, you can find lots of fashionable clothing shops and bars with outdoor seating areas. The neighborhood's other main attractions include:

  • The Cathedral of Malaga - although known as "the cathedral," the full name of this 16th-century place of worship is Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of the Incarnation).
  • Plaza de la Constitucion - this attractive plaza has been a busy social hub for hundreds of years.
  • The Picasso Museum - contains a collection of the artist's works from the late 19th century to 1972, the year before he died. The pieces span almost 80 years and cover numerous themes and techniques.

Pinares de San Antón and Pedregalejo

Pinares de San Antón and Pedregalejo are among the city's main residential neighborhoods, encompassing modern houses and apartments. Padregalejo is a picturesque fishing village about 15 minutes from the city center and home to many big villas and luxury homes.

La Trinidad

La Trinidad is a popular historic neighborhood that started life as a royal camp during the reign of Isabel I de Castilla. It is home to centuries-old buildings, including the 16th-century Trinity Convent and the late 19th-century St. Paul's Church. The neighborhood is particularly lively during Easter with Semana Santa processions and the week-long patio festival in June.

El Palo

El Palo is a relaxed beachfront neighborhood with many good restaurants and sandy expanses.

El Perchel

El Perchel is one of Malaga's oldest neighborhoods, a working-class area full of charm and abundant student accommodation.

Cost to rent or buy property in Malaga

In addition to budget, mid-priced and expensive hotelsMalaga has various accommodation options, including studios, villas and houses. To rent a one-bedroom property in the city center, expect to pay between 600 and 1,000 euros per month (the average price is 797.11 euros). Outside the city center, a one-bedroom apartment costs approximately 500 to 900 euros per month (the average price is 651.50 euros). A three-bedroom apartment can cost between 900 and 2,000 euros per month in the center (the average price is 1,384.89 euros) and between 800 and 1,500 euros outside the center (the average price is 1,061.90 euros).

To purchase a property in Malaga, the price per square meter for a city center apartment is from 2,700 euros to 4,500 euros (the average price is 3,704. 17 euros). The average price per square meter for an apartment outside the center is from 2,000 euros to 2,900 euros (the average price is 2,375 euros).

Whether renting or buying property in Malaga, expect to pay higher prices closer to major landmarks and popular beaches.

How to find accommodation in Malaga

There are several ways to look for properties for sale in Malaga, but most likely, the best place to start is online. One of the advantages of property websites is they are continually updated, unlike magazines. Many real estate agents and individual owners in Malaga market rental properties on the Internet, and numerous buyers turn to well-known property platforms such as fotocasa and idealista.

You can also try the classified sections of local newspapers. Start your search while in your home country to give you the best chance of finding exactly what you want. Contacting estate agents beforehand to register with them and explain your preferences is also a good idea.

How to find cheap rentals in Malaga

Finding affordable rental accommodation in Malaga can be challenging, especially on a tight budget. If you're struggling to find a cheap place to live, don't give up just yet! Here are some top tips to help you find inexpensive accommodation that won't break the bank:

  • Use multiple search engines or websites to compare prices
  • Consider renting a room or sharing an apartment with other people
  • Look for rentals in less popular areas of Malaga
  • Negotiate with landlords for lower prices or discounts
  • Consider signing a long-term lease for a lower monthly rent
  • Use social media or online communities to find available rental accommodations
  • Check local newspapers or classified ads for cheap rental listings
  • Use local real estate agents who know the market well and can help you find affordable options
  • Keep an eye out for rent specials or promotions offered by landlords
  • Be prepared to pay a higher security deposit to secure a cheaper monthly rent
  • Consider renting a furnished apartment, as this can save you money in the long run.

Rental agreements in Malaga

A property rental agreement in Malaga is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of a property rental between a landlord and a tenant. It includes details such as the rent amount, security deposit, lease term and other relevant terms and conditions. Property rental agreements are important for both parties, as they provide clear expectations and guidelines for the duration of the rental period.

In addition to the written agreement, other formalities may need to be completed before the rental period begins. These may include background checks, credit checks and verification of income. The landlord may also require the tenant to provide references from previous landlords or employers. Once all formalities are completed, the tenant can move into the rental property and begin the rental period.

Property purchasing tips in Malaga

Are you considering purchasing a property in Malaga instead of renting? Preparation is key when buying a new home. The process can be daunting, especially when searching for property in a foreign country. So, bear these property purchasing tips in mind to ensure your journey to becoming a homeowner in Malaga is a smooth one.

  • Think carefully about where you want to live. Would you prefer to be close to the beach or in the middle of the city? You may love the old quarter, but it can get noisy with the volume of tourists. Draw up a shortlist of preferences to help you find the neighborhood with the closest match to what you want.
  • Start early with preparing all the paperwork you will need, such as your NIE (foreigner's identity number) and documents for opening a Spanish bank account.
  • Be on your guard with estate agents. The industry isn't tightly regulated in Spain, and almost anyone can open an estate agency and start selling property, even without any real training. Ensure you go with a reputable, established agency with office premises. There are numerous ways you can check the reputation of an estate agency, such as:
  1. Check to see if they belong to a regulatory body known as the API (Agentes de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria)
  2. Study social media commentaries and Google reviews
  3. If possible, speak to anyone who has used the agency's services
  4. Hire an independent lawyer. The proper legal advice is crucial, so hire a lawyer that isn't associated with any estate agency. This is to ensure they'll defend your interests, not theirs.
  5. Prepare your budget. When you buy a property in Malaga, as elsewhere in the country, there are numerous fees, taxes and sundry costs. Therefore, allow between 10% and 12% on top of the purchase price to cover these costs. So, if your dream apartment costs 200,000 euros, you should have access to funds of at least 224,000 euros to cover everything.
  • If you are taking out a mortgage on your property, do your research beforehand. The market is highly competitive, and it's worth spending time tracking down the best deals for you. When comparing mortgage deals, pay attention to fees for setting up the loan, interest rate, repayment period and any early repayment or cancellation fees.
  • If you decide to engage the services of a British estate agent working in Malaga, check they are qualified, reliable and have relevant experience. 
  • Hire a translator. A property purchase is a considerable investment, and you need to know what is going on. If you do not have a strong command of the Spanish language, make sure an independent translator translates all documents.
  • Before you complete your Malaga property purchase, you should make sure you've seen the loan registry extract (nota simple), there are no debts or charges on the property and no legal proceedings are issued against it either. You should also check the home is a legal build and that all the planning permissions are in order. This is particularly important if you are buying off-plan.

If the property is built on rural land, you should check with the regional government that the construction has been authorized.

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