A little more than twenty minutes from Marbella and placed at the sides of “La Sierra Blanca”, we find this small town with a population of 1.350 inhabitants, declared “Reserva de la Biosfera” by UNESCO. Istán is synonymous with spring: springs that richly flow through the numerous fountains which the town has. The natural spots that surround the town are of striking beauty and it has amongst its places, the source of the Molinos River; the natural galleries of “El Peñón”, of “Azufaito” and of “Las Herrizas”, from which marvellous views of the hillsides that surround Istan can be enjoyed; and the “Paseo del Coto”, in which it is possible to admire the Mediterranean forest of holm- oak trees and kermes oak trees sprinkled by renovated Moorish irrigation ditches.
Istán is situated some 16km to the west of Marbella at the foot of the Sierra de las Nieves natural park and at the north end of the Concepción reservoir, which provides the main water supply for most of the west of the coast. Access to the village is from the Golden Mile or the A-7 km 177 exit.
The small mountain village, set in stunning scenery, is famous for its pure spring water and has numerous fountains. The architecture mainly consists of cubic, flat-roofed houses reminiscent of Moroccan architecture. The village has several small shops, two banks, a small health centre and a primary school as well as restaurants and rural hotels. The village is popular with mountain bikers and walkers as there are several hiking routes in the vicinity.
Few foreigners live in the village itself which remains essentially Spanish, although the Cerros del Lago and Sierra Blanca Country Club developments on the way to Istán is very popular with foreign buyers.
The origins of this town date back to the middle of the Fourteenth Century, when, after the capture of the Castle of Arboto by the Christians, its defenders fled fortifying themselves in the present location of Istan.
The oldest and most important of its monuments is the Parish Church, constructed in the Sixteenth Century by order of Diego de Deza, Archbishop of Sevilla. Other outstanding buildings are the cave, which houses “La Casa de la Juventud”, the public wash house and the Arabic tower which, situated at the highest point in town, formed part of the old fort.
The town´s local holidays and festivities are celebrated between the 26th and the 29th of September, with the colourful procession in honour of San Miguel on the 22nd. The local gastronomy is very varied and very recommendable dishes are the goat basted in garlic, tomato soup with prickly pears and corn soup.
Little property is available in the village itself, but the urbanisations situated on the way to Istán are popular with foreign residents.