Welcome to Manilva, a charming corner of the Spanish coast! Nestled in the beautiful region of Andalusia, Manilva beckons as a dreamy destination for those seeking sun, golden beaches, and an authentic Spanish experience.
Manilva is renowned for its miles of coastline, bathed in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Here, you can unwind on sandy shores, soak up the sun under a blue sky, and revel in the sea breezes. Water sports enthusiasts will find their haven here, with opportunities for snorkeling and diving to explore a mesmerizing underwater world.
However, Manilva offers more than just beaches. Its narrow, whitewashed streets invite leisurely strolls, allowing you to discover the essence of a traditional fishing village. Local restaurants will tantalize your taste buds with delicious Mediterranean cuisine, featuring dishes like paella and fresh seafood.
Casares, situated just 11 km from Manilva, is a quick and scenic drive of under 20 minutes by car. The journey offers breathtaking vistas of the countryside and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. You can follow the enchanting “Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos”, a scenic route that links numerous picturesque white villages in the area, allowing you to savor the diverse and captivating beauty of Andalusia.
History of Manilva
Manilva, nestled on the Costa del Sol, boasts a captivating history intertwined with its stunning landscapes and attractions. The municipality has yielded significant archaeological discoveries, notably at “El Cerro del Castillo,” dating back to the late Bronze Age, shedding light on ancient civilizations that left their mark on this land.
In the 16th century, Manilva faced security challenges along its shores and roads. Recognizing its strategic importance, Marbella, Ronda, and Gibraltar petitioned King Carlos V for protective measures. In response, the “Torre del Salto de la Mora” was constructed, eventually evolving into the settlement of “El Cortijo.” This historic tower, besides being a symbol of the past, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coast and sea.
As Manilva’s history unfolded, its golden beaches and enticing climate drew visitors from around the world. Today, you can explore the beautiful local beaches like Playa de la Duquesa and Playa de Sabinillas, perfect for sunbathing and thrilling water sports.
The Duquesa Castle, perched majestically by the sea, is another highlight. This historic castle stands as a testament to the region’s rich heritage and provides a spectacular vantage point.
Sights and places to visit
Manilva, with its rich history and picturesque landscapes, has a wealth of captivating sights and attractions that reflect its diverse heritage. As you explore this charming town, you’ll discover historical landmarks and cultural treasures that paint a vivid picture of its past.
Duquesa Castle and Archaeological Museum
One of the must-visit sites in Manilva is Duquesa Castle, a majestic fortress overlooking the sea. What makes this castle even more fascinating is that it houses the Manilva Archaeological Museum. Here, visitors can explore a diverse collection of objects and remnants from different historical periods, spanning from prehistory to the Roman era. It’s an educational journey through time that adds depth to your understanding of Manilva’s past.
Parish Church of Santa Ana
For those interested in religious and architectural history, the Parish Church of Santa Ana is a must-see. Dating back to the 17th century, this church is a beautiful example of period architecture. Its intricate details and peaceful atmosphere make it a serene place to explore and reflect.
The Puerto Deportivo de la Duquesa is a port you can’t miss if you like the sea and nautical activities. It offers nautical, commercial and leisure services, and has more than 300 berths. It is an ideal place to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean, with its crystal-clear waters and spectacular views. You can practice water sports, such as sailing, kayaking, surfing or diving. Or you can just relax on one of the terraces or restaurants that surround the port.
Sabinillas is a quiet and family-friendly place that we recommend you visit. It is a town of fishing origin that has become an interesting tourist centre. It has apartments, hotels, campsites, golf courses and a promenade. You can do many activities in Sabinillas, such as:
- Walking through its old town, where you can admire its parish church and its hermitage.
- Enjoying its beach, awarded with the blue flag for its quality and cleanliness.
- Tasting its cuisine, based on fresh fish and seafood.
Sabinillas is a town that preserves its essence and tradition.
Activities, Fairs and celebrations
Manilva also comes alive with vibrant festivals and celebrations throughout the year, such as:
- The Romeria of “La Virgen de Fátima” in June, a traditional pilgrimage where hundreds of people accompany the image of the Virgin from the church to the countryside, singing and dancing along the way.
- The “La Virgen del Carmen” festivities in July, where the patron saint of fishermen is honored with a maritime procession and a spectacular fireworks display.
- The celebrations in honor of San Luis of Sabinillas, the town’s patron saint, which include musical performances, bullfights, and a giant paella for everyone to enjoy.
- The traditional “Feria de la Vendimia” celebrated on the first weekend in September, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s rich culture and traditions. This festival celebrates the grape harvest and the wine production, and features activities such as grape stomping, wine tasting, and folk dancing. You can also admire the beautiful floral decorations and the colorful costumes of the locals.
Another festival that draws many visitors to Manilva is the August Fair, which takes place from the 9th to the 13th of August. This fair was started in 2000 as a way to boost tourism and local economy, and has become a popular event that showcases the joy and atmosphere of Manilva. During the fair, you can enjoy activities such as dancing, music, gastronomy, and fireworks. It’s a great opportunity to have fun and mingle with the locals.
Besides the festivals and celebrations, Manilva offers plenty of other activities to suit different tastes and preferences, such as:
- Enjoying the stunning beaches and coves that dot the coastline, such as Playa de la Duquesa, Playa de Sabinillas, or Playa de los Toros.
- Practicing water sports, such as sailing, kayaking, surfing, or diving.
- Visiting some of the local wineries and vineyards, such as Bodegas Manilva or Bodegas Cezar, and tasting the exquisite wines that are produced in the area, such as the Moscatel de Alejandría or the Pedro Ximénez.
- Exploring the river Manilva and its surroundings, where you can find natural wonders: Baños de la Hedionda, a Roman construction that houses thermal waters with medicinal properties; the Canuto de la Utrera, an impressive karstic canyon that forms part of the Natural Park of the Alcornocales; and several pools and waterfalls where you can refresh yourself and admire the beauty of the landscape.
- There are several hiking trails that follow the course of the river, such as the one that goes from the Baños de la Hedionda to the Molino de la Chica, or the one that goes from the Puente de los Baños to the Puente de los Alemanes.
If you’re a foodie, you can savor the delicious local cuisine, which is based on fresh seafood, vegetables, and olive oil. Some of the typical dishes are:
- Sopa de tomate, a tomato soup with bread, garlic, and herbs.
- Gazpacho, a cold soup made of blended tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, garlic, and vinegar.
- Espetos de sardinas, grilled sardines on skewers.
- Tortillitas de camarones, crispy shrimp fritters.
As you tour these sights and partake in the local festivities, including the August Fair, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the history of Manilva. Each place and celebration tells a unique story, adding layers to the town’s identity.
How to get
Here’s a step-by-step guide to reach Manilva from Malaga Airport by car:
- Exit the airport and follow the signs towards the A-7, heading in the direction of Algeciras/Cádiz1.
- Continue on the A-7 for approximately 85 km, passing through towns such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, and Estepona2.
- You have the option to take the toll road AP-7 or continue on the A-7. The toll road is faster with less traffic, although the A-7 offers picturesque views of the coastline2.
- Take Exit 142 onto Calle de las Cruces towards Manilva3.
- At the roundabout, take the first exit onto A-377 towards Manilva.
These directions should help you navigate your way from Malaga Airport to the beautiful town of Manilva. Safe travels!