Karen McNiven from Glasgow bought a two-bedroom apartment in Malaga city for a place to escape to every month with her partner, Aidan. Here she tells us why she preferred the Andalusian capital to the Costa del Sol.
I have travelled all over the world and fell in love with Malaga when I first visited 8 years ago. Back then it was shabby chic, but I loved the fact it was still so Spanish, unlike resorts on the Costa del Sol, where tourists seem to outnumber locals. I also loved the outdoor lifestyle of pavement cafes and tapas bars.
I got some general tips for property hunting from A Place in the Sun TV shows, and I started looking seriously for two years. I found it quite hard to find a place in the city as many places are not advertised online, but don’t even reach websites as they are sold by locals to each other, by word of mouth. I also had a bit of a nightmare dealing with pushy Spanish solicitors, until I found an English one, working in Malaga, Alex Radford at My Lawyer in Spain.
With his help, I found a beautiful two-bedroom flat in the old historic centre of the city, near San Juan Church. It was in an old building, on the second floor and every single room of it has floor to ceiling windows with Juliet balconies – it is gorgeous! It is also not too noisy, despite it being so central.
It was just before the Brexit vote and we negotiated the seller down from €200,000 to €150,000. Looking back it was a bargain, although I did spend an extra €50,000 on a bill for the refurbishment of the common areas that were being completed, and purchase taxes.
I just love Malaga city. The large beach of Malagueta is great, so is La Caleta, and the fisherman’s village of Pedregalago. We can walk along the front for 45 minutes before enjoying a lunch of fresh fish there. I also love sitting in the beautiful botanic gardens to read a book, or to stroll around the port area.
In the past five years, there’s been a massive regeneration of the harbour, and other aspects of the city. I am hoping it won’t become as touristy as Barcelona, but the city has announced it won’t be issuing any more new alcohol licences to bars and pubs so this is encouraging.
I visit twice a month for long weekends and it’s great as so many flights go into Malaga. Sometimes I only pay £22 return. I am so happy about my second home.