Despite not being in Spain’s top 5 cities by population, Malaga has been named the city where expats enjoy life the most in 2023. InterNations, one of the biggest expat communities in the world, surveyed its users and ended up with Malaga taking out the top spot. The city scored extremely high in areas like local friendliness and leisure options, and these are just a couple of the reasons why Malaga has become such a great place for expats.
Malaga’s Sunny Climate
Given that Malaga is a city along the coast of Spain, it should come as no surprise that it has a climate that expats look upon favorably. With about 3000 sunshine hours each year, mild winters, and comfortable summers, the climate of Malaga is best described as Mediterranean bliss.
The weather in Malaga encourages an outdoor lifestyle that becomes second nature to those who live here. Expats relish the opportunity for beach days well into what would typically be considered autumn months elsewhere or dining outdoors even during the cooler seasons. From hiking in nearby mountains to strolls along the promenade at sunset, there’s always an excuse to be active and outdoors in Malaga.
Malaga’s Great Accessibility
Another benefit of Malaga is its great accessibility. The Costa del Sol Airport is one of Spain’s busiest, and this becomes immediately apparent when travelers research flights to Malaga with Opodo . They will quickly be able to find direct, cheap, and easy-to-book flights from a number of well-known carriers, including Wizz Air UK, easyJet, British Airways, and Spain’s low-cost carrier, Vueling. This level of connectedness makes life even easier for expats, allowing them to both return home during holiday periods and have family and friends come and visit them.
Malaga’s great accessibility extends to traveling to other parts of the country, as well as getting around the city itself. Thanks to high-speed rail, major cities like Barcelona and Madrid are only a few scenic hours away, while nearby towns and regions are accessible via buses and well-maintained road networks. There is both a bus and metro service within Malaga itself, and together, they provide extensive coverage throughout the city.
Andalusian Food and Flavors
Another area where Malaga scores high points is the food. Spanish cuisine is already extremely highly rated around the world, but the Andalusian traditions found in this region kick things up a notch. Whether it’s a seafood dish like espetos (sardines skewered and grilled over a pit of coals) or a refreshing gazpacho (a cold soup made up of blended vegetables), there are many local dishes that keep expats well-fed.
Given that they’re not going to eat out every meal, expats can be regularly found at the Atarazanas Food Market, picking up local fresh produce, seafood, and meats to sustain themselves throughout the week. When the weekend rolls around, you have a long list of great restaurants to dine at, including the Michelin-starred José Carlos García. Whether you eat out or at home, having such easy access to high-quality ingredients that have been produced locally is yet another reason why Malaga is a great place to live.
History and Culture
Like most great cities, Malaga has a proud history and culture that has shaped what it is today. As a traveler or expat in this storied city, you’ll find yourself walking in the footsteps of ancient civilizations. The Phoenicians first settled here, leaving behind a legacy that has been built upon by Romans and Moors. Evidence of this history is everywhere you look, with prominent examples including the 11th-century Alcazaba, as well as the ruins of the Roman Theatre, which lies at its feet.
Malaga is also a city that embraces festivals, and this is a great way to experience its culture. Specifically, both the Feria de Agosto (August Fair) and Semana Santa (Holy Week) are must-visits if you happen to be there at the right time. The former is where Andalusian folklore is celebrated with a flamenco soundtrack, while the latter is the most sacred week in the Christian calendar.
Malaga really has it all. The climate is unbeatable, the food is to die for, and the local population is extremely welcoming. It will be interesting to see how things change as its international community continues to grow, but for now, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an expat location anywhere in the world that can compete.