Marbella has steadily climbed the tourism rankings and is now one of Europe’s top holiday spots

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Marbella has steadily climbed the tourism rankings and is now one of Europe’s top holiday spots – and has of course become a celebrity magnet, attracting everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to Princess Diana and the Goldsmiths - to more recently, Roman Abramovich and Michelle Obama and of course we have to mention the cast of The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) – from where the phrase “[no carbs before] Marbs” originated.   TripAdvisor rated the resort among one of the ten best destinations in Spain this year and Marbella is one of the only two Spanish resorts nominated for best European beach destination in the 2014 World Travel Awards. Confirming its popularity, winter tourism was the busiest for several years and Easter visitors reached figures not seen since 2007. On the back of the huge influx of tourists so far this year, city businesses are expecting the best summer on record. But Marbella isn’t just about holidays – it’s also one of the most popular places in Spain for relocation. Nearly 40,000 of the 142,000 inhabitants are foreigners (from 137 different nationalities with a British majority) and this number gets bigger every year. What has this southern Spanish resort got that makes it so popular?   Top of everyone’s list has to be the weather – 320 plus days of sunshine a year appeal to anyone – and of course, the outdoor lifestyle that goes with it. But there’s much more to Marbella than just a great climate. Plenty to do is another attraction and importantly for residents, this happens all year round. “It’s the only resort city on the Mediterranean with a true 12-month season where they don’t roll up the sidewalks in the winter,” says Christopher Clover of Panorama (, Savills’ new associate. Bar the beach clubs, you’ll find practically everything in Marbella open all year. And for everything, read one of Spain’s largest shopping centres, 15 golf courses, four marinas, over 600 restaurants (three with Michelin stars to their name), numerous clinics and hospitals, 10 international schools, 16 miles of beaches…