Moving to the Costa del Sol

by Marie

We are looking into a permanent move to the Costa Del Sol, probably the Estepona/San Pedro area. Our children are both under the age of 5 and we feel now would be a good time to move before their schooling starts.

Our main reason for leaving the UK is the hope of providing our children a better quality of life, definitely a more outside life. Although we try not to look more than 5 years into the future, have a business in the UK so there are many factors to consider.

For those who have made the move:

Are you happy with your decision?
Do you find the quality of life to be better? Safer than the UK?
Do you feel it is a good place for teenagers? I think this is my main concern, I know our children at this age will just love it.
Have you found it easy to meet new people?

Any information you can provide, good or bad to help us make our final decision would be greatly received.
Many thanks

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Feb 25, 2012
And its a Yes from me too!
by: Ali Meehan

Hello Marie
We have lived in various countries and always come "home" to Spain because of the great quality of life, the lower (still) cost of living, light, long summer days, ferias, fiestas ... oh the list is endless!
Our Grandson was born and lived here for 10 years and loved it; taking back to the UK two languages and an understanding of a different culture.
Spain is generally more family orientated and people are much friendlier (even the expats!) - here we know a lot of our neighbours which wasn't the case when we lived in the UK.
As far as finding new people to meet, I set up Costa Women which Marina mentioned which is a social and business networking group for women. We now have over 580 members right the way across the Spanish mainland, Balearic and Canary Islands, although the majority are currently in this area. If you want to join up (membership is free) you can start connecting before you move.
Look forward to meeting you on the Costa soon!
facebook/Costa Women
Twitter: @costawomen
Linkedin: Costa Women Entrepreneurs

Feb 17, 2012
It´s a "yes" from me!
by: Coach Marina

Hi Marie,
I think the fact that you found this forum and are already being pro-active in integrating yourself into the local community, shows that you´ll do just great here. I think all the opportunities - social and business, are here for the taking of those who work hard for it.

We've only just moved here 3 weeks ago (although from Madrid) and it's already one of the best decisions I´ve made - it's all that it promised to be and so much more.

The climate, the sea & mountains, with its fresh air, very entrepeneural, welcoming and international spirit all around.

I've personally been welcomed with open arms wherever I've turned to here so far - from this very excellent forum, to networking forums such as Costa Women and many wonderful people in-between.

Then again, I've also heard another newbie complain about just about everything, but I guess it's just a matter of attitude - here on the Costa the same as anywhere else.

Bestest of luck in the meantime!

Feb 17, 2012
Move to Costa del Sol Part 3/3
by: Anonymous

Have you found it easy to meet new people?
Yes, absolutely. But not everyone feels this way. Take a look at this article on Making friends in Marbella. Having children makes it really easy to meet people, because they usually go to a school or playgroup where you have to meet other parents. One of my biggest recommendations is to learn the language. Spanish people are extremely friendly and open. You just need to say two words of Spanish and they are all over you. It has been very encouraging for learning Spanish. I got plenty of practice when I first arrived with the girls at the gym. They always invited me to sit and chat over a coffee after class. I was extremely touched, not only because I hardly knew them, but they accepted me even though I could hardly speak Spanish. At first it was uncomfortable, but I got over it and eventually learned. There was no other way around it.

So learn Spanish! The more languages you speak, the bigger of pool of friends to choose from. And definitely expose your children to Spanish. They'll suck it up like a sponge. Languages come so easily to children. Take a look at this Q & A about Spanish classes.

Well, I hope this helps. I recommend you read a short article about why the quality of life is so good in Marbella.

We hope this helps your decision and stay in touch!

Feb 17, 2012
Move to Costa del Sol Part 2/3
by: Anonymous

Do you feel it is a good place for teenagers?
Well, I'm just starting on that journey now. From what I've witnessed in the last 7 years is that teenagers are the same around the world. Some people think Marbella has a bad reputation for kids with the Port (Puerto Banus) and drugs...the wealthy families that live here... Personally, I don't think it's different from any other city, unless perhaps, you are from that small village in Switzerland. I think Marbella should be considered like any other large city. Although it isn't large it is very cosmopolitan and has many features of a large city. But this is why we like it so much. It's a bit of the best of both worlds.

So far, my son hasn't asked me to go out to the teen discos, the movies or the port on his own. He is a quiet kid and doesn't seem to be attracted by this (thank goodness!). However, if one day he does (which will probably happen), I think I've screwed his head on well and he will make the right decisions. I will trust him until he breaks the trust. And if he makes some poor decisions, hopefully he'll learn from them. Kids learn from their environment and their parents. Yes, even if you raise them the best way you can, they will probably make some unwise decisions, but I believe, for the most part, they will make the right decisions more often than not.

Both of my kids are very occupied by sports and activities. We are an athletic outdoorsy type of family, so my kids don't have a lot of time to get into too much trouble. Marbella is a great place to get your children involved in football, gymnastics, bicycling, golf, tennis, padel tennis, running, hiking, exploring, kite surfing, and just about any outdoor activity. The weather is always good here, so there are plenty of opportunities. So, yes, I think Marbella is a great place for teenagers.

Feb 17, 2012
Move to Costa del Sol Part 1/3
by: Marbella Family

You sound like so many of us who had to make the decision to move to Spain or not and have all the same questions. I think our site will be really valuable to you, because there isn't a whole lot of information for families living in Marbella (one reason why we created it!)

So, to answer your questions:

For those who have made the move are you happy with your decision?
Yes, we are very happy. I am originally from Los Angeles and we were living in Moscow for 7 years before moving to Marbella, so I feel very comfortable with the opposite end of the spectrum. Very much like home here. The rest of the family feels the same.

Do you find the quality of life to be better? Safer than the UK?
I lived in London for about one year and have lived in many other parts of the world and my opinion is that the quality of life is fantastic in Marbella. Many families move out here solely for the quality of life. I do believe, though, that you have many constraints that you don't have at home, i.e. no family, businesses may be abroad, fathers come home only on the weekends if they work outside of Spain, economy is pretty weak here, so if you have a local business, be prepared... It's a tough time in Spain now, so do your research well on how you will financially support yourselves.

Is it safer than the UK? I don't know. It probably depends on which neighborhood you are talking about. I feel very safe here, but can't say it was safer or more threatening than in Moscow or London or anywhere else. We just spent some time in a Swiss village where everyone leaves their doors open, so comparetively speaking, no, it's not as safe as some places. But I feel no more threatened than in Moscow, a city of over 10 million people. I think it's like many other cities: you must lock your door at night, be vigilant and just use common sense (like don't walk around a deserted neighborhood late at night by yourself).

To give you an son is now 13 and I let him ride his bike to school and to his friends' house on his own. I feel he knows the roads well, follows the rules, the neighborhood is safe, and he has a phone. Of course, anything can happen, but I can't keep my teenager locked up at home.

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