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Town history
  • Istan is a town of Arabic origin located in the Natural Park of Sierra de las Nieves and just 15 kilometres from the beaches of Marbella. The beauty of the surrounding nature, the passage of river Verde, its fountains and the magic of its corners make Istan be known popularly as the "Manantial (Spring) of the Costa del Sol". In addition, the proximity to Marbella allows you to combine relaxation with nightlife entertainment or golf. What are you waiting for, come to find out?



    To begin the visit by Istan, we recommend you to visit Escalante Tower, the oldest building in the town which is located in Street San Miguel. It was built during the Moorish period and has the distinction of Cultural Interest. Originally, it could be one of the constructions for the defence of Marbella. Tower retains the courtyard of stables, its dome-shaped enclosure and a semi-circled arch.

    We follow through the church of San Miguel, built in the XVI century and one of the scenarios where disputes between Arabs and Christians took place. This temple was burned by the Moors in 1569 and later rebuilt. It has a single nave with wooden roofs and has images of important artistic value. Also, dedicated to this saint is the hermitage of San Miguel. Three kilometres away from the centre of Istan and housed in a cave, the views of the mountains, Verde river valley and the background sea are unparalleled.

    Water is a fundamental part of the landscape of Istan and character of its neighbours. In your way through the city you can discover the Moorish irrigation channels and drinking from the fountains in a popular style. One such Fountain is the Fountain and Laundry of El Chorro. Together with its crystalline water pipes, it is also the pillar where the women of the town went to wash clothes. Finally, we recommend visiting the Museum and Water Interpretation Center. In this interpretation exhibition space and you can learn a little more about the historical relationship of water resources in the district of theSierra de las Nieves.

  • Istán is 75 kilometres from Málaga. The best way to get there by car is taking the Mediterranean Motorway (A-7) until exit 176 and then continuing on the A-7176 until you get there.


    Located in the Natural Park of Sierra de las Nieves and between the rivers Verde and Molinos, Istan is ideal for capturing some of the best pictures of the Sierra de las Nieves and is a must destination for lovers of active tourism. Trekking, climbing and canyoning are some of the sports you can practice in the surrounding area.

    The Natural Park of Sierra de las Nieves has been declared as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and EDhas been awarded with EN ""European Destinations of Excellence 'award in the category of Tourism and Intangible Heritage. This park has more than 20,163 hectares and is one of the richest ecological of Andalusia, thanks to its 3,000 hectares of pinsapo (fir), a protected endangered species.

    Istan has ten trekking routes and six for bicycles of mountain biking. Among the places to go are: the source of River Molino, the Gorge of Hell, Cañada del Infierno, elvalle del río Verde, el Charco del Canalón and sierras Blanca y Real (White and real Mountains). And you can go fishing and canoeing in the reservoir of the Conception, where you will find fishes such as rainbow trout and catfish.

    Undoubtedly, one of the biggest attractions of Istan is its spectacular viewpoints. From the Mirador del Tajo Banderas and from the Natural lookout of Herrizas, beautiful views of the Concepción reservoir and the mountains can be seen. The Natural Viewpoint of Tajo Banderas owes its name to the place where the flags were placed during wars. From the House of Youth, the Mirador, the Street Azufaifo y del Peñón, the rivers Verde and Molinos, with its cascading decline, and the classic mountain environment of the fields of Istan is observed.

    Finally, we recommend visiting a natural monument with a curious history that takes us to the times of the Reconquest. The Holy Chestnut is a tree of over 800 years old and a perimeter of 13 meters. According to the legend, under this tree, King Fernando celebrated a Mass in the year 1501.


    Earlier this year one of the most unique festivals in this town is celebrated, the Quintos, where the young people of legal age during that year participate. Easter is one of the most important cultural events in Istan, with the celebration of El Paso as a protagonist. This tradition is the staging of the Passion of Christ through the streets of the town. It is celebrated from the XVII century and with the seals of National Tourist Interest Festival of Andalusia and of Provincial Tourist Singularity. If you like the cofrade world, you have to come to discover it.

    Other dates that we recommend to enjoy in Istan include: Corpus Christi, the 'Tostoná' of the chestnuts celebrated in November, on the Saints Day, and the Christmas "Zambombeos".

    The Fair of San Miguel and the festival and procession of the Tomillería are important dates in September that Istan celebrates in honor of its Saint.


    The cuisine of Istan is closely linked to local agricultural products. The typical dishes include: corn soup, gazpachuelo (soup of hake with potatoes and a very light unique mayonnaise), the stew of fennel, fried rabbit, collards (a stew of vegetables, legumes and meats) and crumbs (sliced and sauteed with garlic, accompanied by cold cuts and fried peppers, among other ingredients). And among its desserts and pastries, you can not miss oil cakes, wine donuts, zahína (sorghum) (a preparation of flour, oil, bread and honey) and hornazo, interleaved egg bread.

    The town has two key celebrations for those interested in discovering its cuisine: La Ruta de la Tapa and Gastronomic Day and the Orange Show celebrated in spring. This sample is listed as Festival of Provincial Tourist Singularity and is an ideal place to sample typical dishes accompanied by orange juice and cornbread, music and dance.

  • Town history

    Istán"s geographical features, location close to the sea and valuable water resources attracted the Moors, who settled in the area. The village itself, however, was founded in the mid-fifteenth century, following the attack against the Arboto fort by a Christian army headed by Saavedra Urdiales. When the Arabs fled, a new fortress was built – the epicentre of the emerging village.

    The village soon joined the Moorish riots that broke out in 1568. King Philip II sent Luis Ponce de León to crush the rebels. The area was then repopulated with Christians coming from other regions in the Iberian Peninsula, mainly Murcia. Since many of them spoke Panocho (the variety of Spanish spoken in Huerta de Murcia), the inhabitants of Istán began to be called "Panochos".

    Currently, Istán is part of Sierra de las Nieves, a region with a privileged natural environment that attracts lots of hinterland and nature travellers. Part of its territory falls within Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) 2008, a EU project promoting sustainable tourism.

  • Istán’s cuisine has a basis in the local crops coming from the land.

    Corn soup, gazpachuelo, fennel stew, fried rabbit, collard greens, and migas are some of the most typical, traditional dishes you can find. For dessert, the olive oil cakes, wine doughnuts, zahína and hornaza are the signature sweet treats.

    There are two culinary celebrations held in the spring that can give you a taste of its cuisine: the Ruta de la Tapa y la Muestra Gastronómica and Orange Day. Orange Day was declared a Unique Day of Provincial Tourism Interest and is perfect for tasting the most traditional dishes with a side of orange juice, cornbread, music and dancing.

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  • Inhabitants (1,001-2,500)
  • Inland area

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