One of the most dynamic things about Malaga is its cosmopolitan society. The city welcomes people from all over the world and from all walks of life. In the second of our Expats in Malaga series, Nami Haghighi tells us why he loves Malaga, a place he came to for a short holiday – 19 years later and he’s still here!
When did you arrive in Malaga?
I first visited Malaga to attend a friend’s wedding in 1999 and fell in love with the place. A few month’s later I moved to Malaga to spend a year resting and relaxing away from my work and businesses in the UK. 15 years later I am still here enjoying my short stay!
What were your first impressions of Malaga?
The weather reminded me of my own country Persia (Iran) and the people very warm and friendly. I found the people of Andalusia were more interested in enjoying life, very relaxed and always up for a fiesta. The whole outdoor living was something I loved and it was great to plan a day’s cycling, a hike in the mountains or enjoying rock climbing without worrying if it was going to rain at the weekend. Living a few minutes from the beach was also a much appreciated bonus.
What do you think has changed most about Malaga since you arrived?
The city has had a substantial makeover with so many of the old buildings on the historic part restored to their former glory. It is now a beautiful city, more multicultural and vibrant than 15 years ago. It has become a centre for innovation too and many northern European and American businesses have established offices in the Technology Park bringing employment as well as new residents to the region.
Communications have also substantially improved with fast and easy access to Madrid and Barcelona. The new airport terminal and metro have been great additions to the transport infrastructure too.
What do you like most about living in Malaga?
I love the more relaxed and slower pace of life here and yet there is so much happening all year round that you never get bored. Everything is so close and the combination of great food and entertainment at very reasonable prices as well as the outdoor life on my doorstep give me a much better quality of life than I had in London for example.
What do you like least about living in Malaga?
Malaga can be a little bit noisier than I am used to. I like meeting people in cafes and restaurants and it can be challenging to hear yourself think!
The bureaucracy can be tedious and frustrating at times too but in balance it’s not a major problem once you speak Spanish.
Where is your favourite corner in Malaga and why?
I do enjoy the narrow streets of the historic centre for discovering new cafes and restaurants. Also the roof top bar at Hotel Molina Lario is one of my favourite places with a great view of the Port and the Cathedral. I also love the café at the Hotel Parador de Gibralfaro on the hills overlooking Malaga with amazing views over the city, especially beautiful at dusk.
Which is your favourite restaurant in Malaga and why?
That is a tough question as I rarely eat in the same restaurant and prefer to discover new places all the time, but Hotel Molina Lario has on of the best lunch menus for me – great food and service!
Describe Malaga in 3 words
Buzzing Spanish Experience
I was born In Tehran, Iran and moved to England at the age of 14 where I lived and studied in Oxford, Manchester and London. I then escaped the big smoke to live in Northern Ireland for 16 years before moving to Spain.
Having studied Business Studies and Certified Accountancy I worked as an accountant for Coopers & Lybrand for a couple of years (my first and only job) before deciding that I preferred helping business owners to do successful business rather than doing their accounts and taxes for them. So I set up my Business Consultancy practice in 1988 and have continued helping businesses succeed ever since. In Malaga, I’m a mentor and coach, and run Malaga Business Minds, providing business training and networking events for local business owners.
I guess I am a serial Entrepreneur and a World citizen at heart and feel grateful for living my dream and passion. I am always looking for ways to help others achieve their dreams in business and life too.
Thank you Nami!
We’re very grateful for Nami to taking the time to answer questions for this Guide to Malaga blog post and for telling us what Malaga means to him. Thank you!