The gateway to Spain’s Costa del Sol, the municipality of Malaga is steeped in culture and history, from its contemporary art centre to its two Moorish castles and museum dedicated to the city’s most famous son – Pablo Picasso.

The 361 metre MS Oasis of the Seas set to arrive at Malaga en route to Barcelona
The 361 metre MS Oasis of the Seas set to arrive at Malaga en route to Barcelona

It is also home to some of Spain’s finest beaches, with wide expanses of sand at locations such as Estepona attracting large numbers of tourists each year.

In fact, the autonomous community of Andalucía, where Malaga is located, attracted some 7.9 million international tourists during 2013 (up 4% on 2012) according to The area’s combination of sunshine, beaches and delicious cuisine has proved a winning combination with visitors for decades.

Five swimming pools

Now, the world’s largest cruise ship is set to join the list of those enjoying Malaga’s myriad attractions. On September 11, the 361.6 metre long MS Oasis of the Seas, which has 16 decks and can hold up to 6,365 passengers, will dock at Malaga en route from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona. The ship features the usual range of bars, restaurants, lounges and shops but also includes everything from a miniature golf course, 5 swimming pools, 10 whirlpools, an ice-rink, tattoo parlour and water park.

The cruise liner industry is one that has experienced massive growth over the past decade, with passenger numbers doubling from 10.4 million in 2004 to 20.9 million in 2013, according the Cruise Market Watch. By 2018, the figure is expected to rise to 24.1 million. In the 2015 and 2016 alone, 17 new cruise ships are expected to come online, adding $3.4 billion in annual revenue to the industry.

Spain is a popular destination not just for cruise passengers. According to the UN World Tourism Organization’s Tourism Highlights 2014 Edition report, it is the third most visited country in the world, with the Costa del Sol amongst the leading tourist attractions.

The sea view from a Horizon Beach pool
The sea view from a Horizon Beach pool

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España, one of Spain’s most prestigious and respected homebuilders, comments, “Spain, and in particular the Costa del Sol, has so much to offer that tourists can spend weeks here and still go home feeling that there were things that they didn’t have time to do. It’s one of the reasons that so many look to purchase a second home in Spain, so that they can return time and again in order to make the most of this fascinating country.”

The current strength of the pound against the euro has certainly also played a part in prompting buyers from the UK to look to Spain to find the holiday home of their dreams. Those wishing for property in the Malaga area would do well to consider the stunning new Horizon Beach development in Estepona.

With direct access to the beautiful, 2km long Galera Beach, overlooking the Bay of Gibraltar, the two and three bedroom homes at Horizon Beach boast sea views, private gardens or sunroof terraces and a delightful cream marble finish in living rooms and bedrooms. Delivery is set for June 2015, with prices starting at just €360,000.

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