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The cost of living on the Costa del Sol compared to Belgium and the Netherlands in 2024

Home » The cost of living on the Costa del Sol compared to Belgium and the Netherlands in 2024

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Many Belgians and Dutch choose to live in Spain because it is cheaper to live there. In this blog, we find out the difference in cost of living in some of the Costa del Sol’s best-known cities compared to Belgium and the Netherlands in 2024.

Cost of living Costa del Sol
The cost of living differs greatly between the Costa del Sol and the low countries

Determining cost of living

To determine the cost of living, we compare the price of some common and universal products and services displayed by numbeo.com:

  • 3-course meal restaurant
  • 0.5l native beer restaurant
  • 12 eggs
  • Water (bottle 1.5l)
  • Public transportation single ride
  • 1l gasoline
  • Monthly consumption house 85m2
  • Rental apartment, 3 bedrooms (center)

These items everyone knows and uses and are easily comparable, as the products between different countries differ in little from each other.

Cost of living comparison between Belgium, the Netherlands and the Costa del Sol

Their cost is compared between Brussels, Amsterdam and some of the most prominent cities on the Costa del Sol, with figures from Numbeo from April 2024.

Product/serviceBrusselsAmsterdamMalagaMarbellaEsteponaFuengirola
3-course meal restaurant€80,00€85,00€50,00€44,00€50,00€44,00
0.5l native beer restaurant€5,00€6,10€2,80€2,45€3,00€2,50
12 eggs€3,77€4,04€2,40€2,04€2,04€2,40
Bottle of water 1.5l€1,14€0,73€0,70€0,57€0,71€0,70
Public transportation single ride€2,50€3,40€1,40€1,30€2,00€1,27
1l gasoline€1,74€1,96€1,71€1,62€1,62€1,69
Monthly consumption house 85m2€218,73 €240,21€130,90€127,78€140,00€127,78
Rental apartment, 3 bedrooms (center)€1.866,67€3.172.37€1.612,50€3.550,00n.b.€1.300,00
To data from: numbeo.com

Almost across the board, the Costa del Sol is cheaper to live. Living alone in the center of Marbella is more expensive than living in the center of Brussels or Amsterdam. It is important to keep in mind that this average price is on the high side due, for example, to some outliers of homes near the beach or in other exceptional locations.

Reasons of cheaper living

The reason for these lower prices on the Costa del Sol is very simple: Spanish wages are lower than Belgian or Dutch wages, so prices must be lower to preserve the purchasing power of locals. Below is an average net salary on the Costa del Sol:

Malaga€1.854,93
Marbella€1.621,75
Estepona€1.225,00
Fuengirola€1.633,33
Average net salary by region according to numbeo.com

In Brussels and Amsterdam, an average net salary is €2,840.41 and €3,633.69, respectively. More than double that on the Costa del Sol, in other words.

Emigration to the Costa del Sol

The big difference in terms of wages and cost of living between the low countries and the Costa del Sol causes many Belgians and Dutch to emigrate. Retirees who struggle to make ends meet with their pensions in the low countries are especially attracted to the Costa del Sol. So, in addition to the health benefits that the good weather brings (heat and dryness improve blood flow to the body, which helps with rheumatism, for example), older people also derive financial benefits from moving to Spain.

Younger generations are also increasingly seeing the benefits of living on the Costa del Sol. Because of the Internet and as a result of the corona crisis, more and more people have begun to telecommute. Some even work completely location-independent and can thus continue their job from Belgium or the Netherlands abroad, these are called digital nomads.

Find out all about digital nomads on the Costa del Sol >

Other advantages of living on the Costa del Sol

Besides the cheaper cost of living compared to Belgium and the Netherlands, the Costa del Sol has many other advantages to offer: from friendly local and expat communities, rich culture and history, good health care to numerous investment opportunities.

Costa del Sol: quality of life

Local Communities and Facilities

One of the attractive aspects of living on the Costa del Sol is the vibrant expat community and excellent amenities this region has to offer. From international schools to medical facilities that meet international standards, expats will find everything they need for a comfortable life here. In addition, local communities regularly organize events and activities to bring expats together and help them feel at home. In addition, people who prefer to mingle among natives can also still visit the Costa del Sol. There is a distribution of about 25% expats, 75% locals.

Cultural Diversity and Experiences

In addition to the financial benefits, the Costa del Sol also offers a rich cultural experience for expats. With its rich history, beautiful architecture and vibrant art scene, there is always something new to discover. From traditional Spanish festivals to international art exhibitions, there is something for everyone. Moreover, nearby cities such as Granada, Seville and Cordoba are easily accessible for weekend getaways, giving expats a chance to explore the diversity of Spain.

Health and Welfare

Another important aspect expats consider when moving to the Costa del Sol is the quality of health care. Fortunately, Spain offers an extensive high-quality health care system, both public and private, allowing expats to access high-quality medical care. In addition, the region’s healthy climate contributes to overall well-being, with many hours of sunshine and an active lifestyle encouraged by the beautiful beaches and outdoor activities available.

Investment Opportunities and Real Estate Market

For those interested in real estate investment, the Costa del Sol offers an attractive market with several opportunities. Whether buying a vacation home, investing in rental properties or starting a business in the tourism sector, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the region’s booming economy and growing tourism. With a stable real estate market and favorable tax regulations, the Costa del Sol has become a popular destination for international investors.

Conclusion

In general, the cost of living is much lower on the Costa del Sol than in the low countries. Only the average cost of living (represented here by rent) is higher in outliers such as Marbella than in Belgium and the Netherlands. Therefore, many Belgians and Dutch choose to move to the Costa del Sol, especially retirees and digital nomads take this step. Besides the cheaper cost of living, the Costa del Sol has many other benefits to offer.

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