Manilva…unspoiled paradise in Costa del Sol
Manilva is the last Town in the province of Malaga, located in the western part of Costa del Sol, around 97 kilometers from the capital and 35 kilometers from Gibraltar. In the same province it borders with Casares municipality and the town of Guadiaro, which is in in the province of Cádiz. The main urban nucleus is just 2 miles from the coast and about 128 over the sea level, which gives the town a panoramic view of the Mediterranean and the African coast.The municipality is extended over 35 square kilometers where coexist urban areas of traditional and modern impression together with a great diversity of natural areas.
Currently there is a population of about 15,000 inhabitants spread between its three main urban areas, reaching over 50,000 in the highest peak of the tourist season. Manilva is located in the highest position, whereas the other two centers are closer to the coast: San Luis de Sabinillas , with higher density of population , and El Castillo de la Duquesa, a traditional fishing village nearby the famous Puerto de la Duquesa. Just behind the marina we find La Duquesa Golf Club with a fabulous 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones which enjoys fantastic sea views.
ACCESS AND TRANSPORT
The AP-7 motorway is the main gateway to the western area of Costa del Sol, which connects the city of Málaga to Sotogrande, Cádiz. This highway has 3 tolls, one of them located in Manilva. The most attractive coastal alternative runs parallel to the sea which is the national road N340 / A7, though longer and less rapid.
The main airports are in Malaga and Jerez, and the closest is in Gibraltar though with a lower number of flights. There are bus services from these airports that stop in the center of San Luis de Sabinillas.
The proximity of Manilva’s municipality to the Strait of Gibraltar has meant that virtually all cultures that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula have left their mark on this unique corner of the coast of Malaga.
Already in prehistoric times, Paleolithic Era, remains of human settlements are evident, being the Castillejos de Alcorrín one, dated to the late Bronze Age, the first clear evidence of Phoenician influence.
The most obvious example of the Roman presence is constituted by the archaeological site next to the Castillo de la Duquesa, where we find the remains of a villa, thermal baths, necropolis and what was a factory of “garum”, considered by the inhabitants of ancient Rome as an aphrodisiac sauce just reserved for the upper classes. Also belonging to this time there are small farms along with the remains of what once was a guard tower in the area of El Hacho.
In Muslim period insecurity of the population increased in the coastal boundary, which caused the spreading of the population towards the highest part of the area, reaching up to what today is the town of Casares.
In the fifteenth century, after being Manilva the border with the Kingdom of Granada Nazarite for many years, was reconquered by Christian troops and assigned under the protection of the Duke of Cadiz.
From the sixteenth century the history of Manilva and Casares goes together. In fact, it is at the beginning of this century when the Cortijo de Manilva is born. The high insecurity in this area, which suffered from continuous harassment from the North African piracy led Carlos V to apply for protection of the surroundings under the leadership of the Duke of Arcos, granting favors and land to the inhabitants of Casares with the aim to repopulate the area.
In the late eighteenth century Manilva achieved full independence of the town of Casares by granting the privilege of Villazgo Real Manilva, and thus ownership of municipality was assigned.
Manilva is the town in the province of Malaga that has had the biggest development and transformation in the last decade. It has turned from being an unknown area to the world, to be internationally valued and desired. Despite the impulse received in recent years, there is still a future full of opportunities … in some way the story of The Ugly Duckling lays underneath the evolution of this magical corner of the Andalusian coast where past and future coexist next to the Mediterranean, in front of the coast of Africa.
Thanks to its strategic location overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, thanks to the marina of La Duquesa – crossing of nationalities and linguistic exchange – thanks to its 8 miles of natural beaches awarded the Blue Flag in consecutive years, and the increasing modernization of its infrastructure, the economy of Manilva, traditionally based on agriculture and fishing, has gradually and successfully changed into wide variety of touris activities. Despite all this, the inhabitants manage to keep alive all their customs and a pure flavor of tradition.
Noteworthy are its dwindling vineyards that produce a type of sweet grapes, for the exquisite Malaga’s wines. Other typical local crops are cereals, vegetables, fruits and grasses.
Now tourism is the largest source of business in Manilva. There are several hotels, hostels, a frontline beach campsite and many luxury urbanizations. There is a range of cuisine from traditional chiringitos – beach restaurants – to international restaurants. Manilva definately has all the ingredients to make it a unique place for relaxation.
Manilva has several public education centers covering educational needs from the youngest ages up to university studies. There are 3 kindergartens, 2 of them run by the Town Hall, 3 primary education schools and a high school education center, all of them run by the Andalusian Government..
In some the schools up to 50% of students are from 30 different nationalities. There are a considerable number of residents from different nationalities which has led the Town Hall to create a department exclusively to attend the needs. This department is actively involved in the integration of new citizens by conducting a language exchange program together with many other cultural activities of different nature.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The influence of so many cultures over the centuries has left an imprint in Manilva resulting in an important cultural heritage of high interest. It’s worth highlighting:
Archaeological site “Los Castillejos Alcorrín”.It consists of a walled fortress dating from the fourth century BC, declared of cultural interest.
Archaeological site of the Castillo de la Duquesa.Remains composed of a villa, baths, necropolis and factory of “garum”, declared of cultural interest.
Towers of Chullera.Watchtowers dating to Nasrid times
The Castle of la Duquesa.A fort dating from the seventeenth century and built with the remains of the adjacent archaeological site.
Parish Church of Santa Anarebuilt on an earlier temple dating from the late sixteenth century.
Archaeological Museum. Dedicated to the objects found at different sites in the area, represent a journey through time and history of Manilva.
Manilva City Council, in coordination with several associations, organise a wide number of different of cultural activities aimed at the integration and participation of all the inhabitants of the municipality. Among others, it worth mentioning the cultural trips to neighboring towns and cities that take place throughout the all year. When the Spring comes St. George’s Day is celebrated in Puerto de la Duquesa, and the International Day of Families, held in the Castillo de la Duquesa. At the beginning of summer there is also the Sabi St. Party, with live music and artisan market stalls on the promenade.
In Manilva there are several sports facilities, both private or run by the Town Hall, where you can practice a wide variety of sports. There are also a few provincial competition programs of different sport disciplines, starting at the youngest categories. There are plenty of beach activities including fishing, windsurfing, diving, sailing, or just walks by the sea .
For the more daring, Manilva, in addition to the two climbing walls, has a natural area well known among climbers and ramblers.
La Duquesa Golf and Country Club House, located a few meters from the sea, boasts fantastic facilities where, besides golf, enjoy a wide range of alternative activities, such as 3 tennis courts, paddle tennis, billiards, ping-Tennis, gym, jacuzzi, snooker, indoor pool etc..
Manilva’s celebrations calendar extends throughout the year. Of all the important dates worth noting for its uniqueness:
Night of San Juan – From 23 to 24 June. Beach party celebrating the shortest night of the year, coinciding with the summer solstice.
Virgen del Carmen festivity – is the patron saint of fishermen and a day marked for sailor’s boroughs. After a seafaring Mass the sculpture of the Virgin is taken in procession to the beach where it is shipped and guarded by ships.
The day of the tourist – this is for the enjoyment of visitors organized by the Town Hall.
Grape harvest festivity – The wine harvest festival known for its uniqueness on the Costa del Sol consists of harvesting the first grapes for the first wines of the year.