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How much does it really cost to live in Spain’s Málaga?

The Local Spain
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How much does it really cost to live in Spain’s Málaga?
How much does it really cost to live in Malaga? Photo: Enrique / Pixabay

Thinking of moving to Málaga and making it your new home? Here, we break down all the costs so you can find out exactly how much living in the Andalusian city will cost you.


Málaga is one of Andalusia and Spain’s most popular cities for foreign residents. Although it’s most definitely cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona, prices have shot up in the southern city recently, especially rental costs.

So, how much does it really cost to live in the coastal city in terms of rent, transport, groceries and other costs?

Málaga is Spain’s sixth biggest city with a population of 568,305 in 2023. The capital of the Costa del Sol, it’s both a popular holiday destination and a great place to live, known for its excellent weather and coastal location.

More than just a beach destination though, Málaga is a thriving arts and business hub with a range of excellent art museums. In 2021, the city was voted the second-best city in the world for foreign residents

How do costs in Málaga compare with other cities in Spain?

Málaga is fast becoming a tech hub and as a result, is attracting digital nomads and more Airbnbs. All this, along with inflation, is driving costs up at a rapid rate. 

According to a study by HelloSafe, Málaga is the second most expensive province in the country when compared to the average salary, just behind Barcelona. This study is based on data from the Social Security office, Numbeo (cost comparison site) and Idealista (property site), and estimates that 81 percent of the average salary in Málaga is used on living and rent. 

It estimates that an average person would need €1,385.50 to live in Málaga, while the average salary is only €1,702.20.

According to Expatistan cost of living website, the cost of living in Málaga is 13 percent less expensive than in Madrid and 17 percent less than in Barcelona.

On another cost of living website, Numbeo, Málaga scores less than both Madrid and Barcelona for consumer prices, rent, eating out and groceries, although local purchasing power is 8.5 percent less in Málaga than in Madrid.

Numbeo states that a single person would need a total of €672 per month to live in Málaga, excluding rental costs, while a family of four would need a total of €2,338.60 per month, excluding rent.

Rental prices in Málaga

One of the biggest costs is of course accommodation, whether you’re renting or you decide to buy. Rental prices in Málaga have skyrocketed during the first half of 2023.

According to the property portal Idealista, Málaga is the city in Spain where rental prices have risen the most. The average rental price in Málaga in June 2023 was €12.4/m2, which was a new record, according to Idealista's historic data.

Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona are also the top three Spanish cities with the lowest percentage of reasonable rental housing available. This means a family has to spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent.

According to a report from Idealista, only 14 percent of two-bedroom apartments are economically suitable for a family with an average income. The reasonable price to rent would be €755 monthly, while the average market price of a two-bedroom apartment in Málaga is €905.

READ ALSO: Where in Spain are rent prices rising the most?


But it’s not just Málaga capital that’s been affected by the skyrocketing prices. Independent valuation company Gesvalt revealed that rents have increased significantly in the province of Málaga and the Costa del Sol. According to the latest data available, the price per square metre per month in Marbella reached €17.28, 27 percent more than a year ago. Estepona registered rents at €12.89 per square metre, 23 percent more than the previous year. There was also a 20 percent increase in Benalmádena and Mijas.

Buying a property in Málaga

Buying a property in Málaga is also the most expensive it’s ever been at 2,516 €/m2 according to Idealista data in June 2023. This means that if you buy an average apartment that is 80m2, it will cost you an average total of €201,280.

Málaga is the sixth most expensive province to buy a property in Spain after Madrid, Guipúzcoa (Basque Country), Balearic Islands, Barcelona and Vizcaya (Basque Country). 

Housing prices in the city have suffered the highest rate of increase of anywhere in Spain, with an annual increase is 8.6 percent according to the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. 

It's a similar story in the wider Málaga province, although there are still bargains to be had if you're willing to look inland, away from the coast. 



Supermarket prices have shot up significantly over the past year in Spain due to the rise in inflation and Málaga is no different, however, like in most cities, prices depend on where you choose to shop.

According to the latest data available from Spain’s Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) Dani Supermercados and Tifer are the cheapest supermarkets in Málaga, followed by Family Cash, Alcampo and Supeco.

Numbeo shows that a loaf of fresh white bread in Málaga costs €0.85, while a dozen eggs will set you back €2.33 and a block of local cheese is €5.01.

Eating out

Málaga is a great city for dining out on local tapas bites, as well as its signature espetos de sardinas (skewers of grilled sardines) on the beaches in summer, but it has some great international restaurants too. While you can spend a lot on going out to eat in Málaga, there are still many affordable spots in the city.

You can still find places that will serve a menu of the day (menú del día), a three-course meal at lunchtime on weekdays for €10. According to Numbeo, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will cost around €10 also, while for a meal for two for three courses in a mid-range restaurant, you’ll have to shell out €50. And if you just want to go out for coffee, you'll be paying €1.81. 



A one-way ticket on a local bus costs around €1.40, while a monthly pass is €34.98 on average. 

If you live in the centre, however, you'll find that Málaga is a very walkable city, saving you transport costs. It also has lots of cycle lanes so you can bike down to the beaches.

For the Cercanías local trains to take you to other coastal towns on the Costa del Sol, it costs €1.80 for a one-way ticket for zones 1-2 and €2.05 for zone 3.


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