The busy tourism sector is one of the most important industries in the city, although investment in a new port development has improved Malaga's reputation as a vital transportation hub. Sites such as the Contemporary Art Center and Trade Fair and Congress are popular places to visit.
Some six million people visit Malaga as tourists every year, so during the summer months the population of the city and surrounding area is much larger than in the depths of the winter. Spanish is the dominant language but many locals have a firm grasp of English too.
Since the 1970s the number of expatriates moving to Malaga has been on the rise, with a large number of British and German nationals now calling the Spanish city home. Many expatriates in Malaga choose to stay near the coastline rather than in the city center.
Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in Malaga, although there is also a substantial Protestant population living in the city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is becoming increasingly popular in Malaga, and Islam is also on the rise with more mosques opening in the city. There is a synagogue and the Jewish Association has a presence in Malaga.
Malaga's stunning climate is one of the top reasons expatriates move to Malaga. The city has a Mediterranean climate and the summers tend to be long, hot and dry, while the winters are mild.
No European city with a population over 500,000 is warmer than Malaga and during the hottest months of the year — June to September — temperatures tend to be around the 30°C mark. It is rare for the mercury to dip below freezing in Malaga and even the winters are warm compared to much of the rest of Europe as the Malaga Mountains block out the weather from the north.
Summer officially lasts from April to November in Malaga, but the climate is so pleasant even for the other six months of the year that the city remains a popular place for both tourists to visit and expats to move to.
Expatriates planning to move to Malaga who are from the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter Spain. However, new residency requirements have been introduced for EU citizens who are planning to live in Spain for more than three months.
Passports and travel documents must be valid during the duration of the expatriate's visit to Spain. Any expats who have a valid residence permit in any of the Schengen member states are entitled to re-enter the Schengen area without showing a visa as long as they are able to produce proof of residence and their passport.
Expats from outside of the EU should allow at least two weeks for the document to be processed. For more information on how to a visa for Spain, please refer to the corresponding section in our article on Moving to Spain.