5 Reasons Marbella is a Great Place to Raise a Family


With its beautiful beaches, fantastic weather and wealth of things to do, Marbella is a truly wonderful place for families.

It is for this reason that so many foreign residents choose Marbella over any other European destination to relocate – there are around 40,000 expatriates living in Marbella.

It’s the perfect place to start a new life with young children, offering them the opportunity to enjoy a healthier, more free, outdoor lifestyle and grow up bilingual.

Here at MP Dunne properties we have helped many clients realise their dream of moving to Spain. Marbella is the number one location for a number of reasons, including its choice of high quality, large family homes. To take a look at the selection of 3-bed+ houses we have on offer click here.

Why Families Love Marbella

1. You can afford more for your money

We have many clients from countries like the UK, Sweden and Benelux who are amazed at what they can afford in Marbella. The average budget of €500,000 can buy you a modern 3-4 bedroom townhouse in Marbella, whereas in other desirable locations around the world, such as London, it can easily cost twice as much, if not more.

In addition, homes here are generally built to a higher spec, including basements, integral garages, balconies, utility rooms, multiple en suite bathrooms, air conditioning and security systems. Meanwhile, the urbanisations in which they are located usually offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, community space and gated security.

In general, foreigners can enjoy a higher standard of living here than they could back home.

2. The outdoor lifestyle

The wonderful climate of the Costa del Sol enables families to spend a lot more time outside. Marbella enjoys 320 days of sunshine per year and very little rain. This means that instead of filling rainy days shopping at the indoor mall or staying inside sat on the couch, kids can get out and be active.

There are so many sports on offer here including golf (the Costa del Sol has more than 70 golf courses), tennis and padel, football and netball, horse riding, watersports and even skiing in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Even when not taking part in activities there’s so much to do, from building sandcastles on the beach and swimming in the pool, to playing in the plentiful community parks and playgrounds.

If mum and dad want to sit back and enjoy a drink in the sunshine while the children get busy, there are plenty of places to do that too!

3. It has excellent schools

Many of our clients are surprised (and delighted) to discover that their children can access full time education (Monday to Friday 9am-2pm) here free of charge from the age of 3.

Around 80% of expats in Marbella send their children to the local state schools – called ‘colegios’ for primary schools and ‘institutos’ for secondary schools. The state schools here are of a high standard, comparable with the rest of Europe, and attending them helps children integrate into Spanish life quickly.

However, for those who prefer their children to follow the curriculum of their home country or have older children who are likely to struggle with learning in a new language, there is an excellent selection of private schools.

Leading international schools in Marbella include Swans School, Aloha College, Calpe School and Mayfair Academy. See our guide to the top 8 international schools here.

swans school marbella

4. It’s safe and secure

Marbella is a prosperous destination, with low unemployment, low crime levels and many wealthy foreign residents.

The town is immaculately kept by the local authorities, with much money invested in public parks and spaces. First time visitors are often surprised by the amount of civic workers visible every day maintaining and improving the area.

Families stay out late into the evening meaning it never feels threatening to be walking alone at night. Long daylight hours mean children can safely play outside by themselves and enjoy more freedom.

Meanwhile, people of all backgrounds, races and sexualities are tolerated and live harmoniously side-by-side. The Spanish people are generally very gracious and welcoming to expats despite the large number of foreigners living in their town, and English is widely spoken.

5. Family orientated culture

The Spanish are very big on family. Spanish families normally eat lunch or dinner together daily and those who no longer live at home normally return on the weekends for a big family meal. Traditional Spanish food is served and meals can last for several hours.

Because of this emphasis on family, children are welcomed in restaurants and bars in a way that they are not in other countries. It’s not frowned upon for children to be up way beyond what we might regard as bedtime!

There are always free activities being laid on for families around the many religious holidays like Semana Santa (Easter Week) and the Three Kings, which takes place just after Christmas. From bouncy castles and face painting, dancing and music, to free food and drink, Spanish fiestas celebrate all that’s wonderful about family life.


Top 10 Things to Do With The Kids in and Around Marbella

1) Selwo Aventura

Get up close with elephants, giraffes, lions, monkeys and much more at this fantastic safari park. As well as the opportunity to see over 2,000 animals of different species from all five continents, Selwo Aventura offers a variety of adventure activities like zipwire, archery and trampolining.


2) Aqualand Torremolinos

There are a number of great waterparks on the Costa del Sol, but Aqualand is the largest. Experience water slides of all different shapes and sizes, from adrenaline rush drops to a water playground for the little ones.

3) Tivoli World

The largest amusement park on the Costa del Sol, at Tivoli World you can experience breathtaking rides and fantastic, fun shows. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, and with a variety of restaurants, there’s something to please all ages.

tivoli world

4) Crocodile Park

Find yourself in front of prehistoric monsters that have miraculously survived 200 million years of evolution. From a distance of less than 2 metres, you can observe the secrets of one of the most fascinating creatures of our world.

5) Selwo Marina

Selwo Marina is the only Dolphinarium and Ice penguinarium in Andalucía. Visitors can enjoy incredible dolphin and sea lion shows, see the penguins being fed and meet colourful, exotic birds.

6) BIO park Fuengirola

Feel like an explorer as you discover the ecosystems of Equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia and learn about the amazing animals that call them home.

7) Adventura Amazonia

Launch yourself on the longest treetop zipline in Andalucía; an amazing 240 metres in length. The adventure park has 83 treetop challenges including a MiniKids area offering adventure for kids aged from 4 to 7, which also serves as a crèche for parents who want to do the adult circuits.

aventura amazonia

8) Wakeboard Centre Marbella

Fully renovated in 2013, the Wakeboard Centre in Marbella is now considered one of the best facilities in Europe. Learn to cable ski, wakeboard, paddle surf or simply kick back and enjoy the trendy pool club.

9) Teleferico Benalmadena

Teleferico is a 15-minute cable car ride that takes you from Benalmadena Costa to the summit of Mount Calamorro offering spectacular views of the Costa del Sol. Once you’re at the top take one of the terrific hiking routes.

10) Funny Beach

Located right on the beach in the heart of Marbella, Funny Beach offers a range of high-octane activities. Test your driving skills on the go-karts, go parasailing, waterski, go for a spin on a water scooter or feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future on a hoverboard!

There’s so much to see and do in Marbella. If you are considering making it your home, drop us a line and let us help you find the perfect house for your family. Call us on 952 866 072 or (from the UK) 020 3287 2745.

Mary Dunne

Mary Dunne

Mary Dunne is a highly qualified and experienced real estate broker in Marbella. Holder of a Spanish Realtor license GIPE 2.709. In 2005 she earned an MBA in Spanish Real Estate Management. A GIPE Association member, a professional organisation for qualified Real Estate agents in Spain and registered with the CEPI (European Association of Real Estate Professionals.

Mary Dunne

Mary Dunne

Managing partner

+34 952 866 072

[email protected]

Contact us