Manilva is a municipality of Malaga, located in the Costa del Sol occidental, which combines the charm of being by the sea while surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Bordering Casares and the province of Cádiz, and boasts great beaches stationed along eight kilometres of coastline that invite you to rest and breathe peace.
For lovers of culture, history, traditions and good food, Manilva is the perfect destination to enjoy a well-deserved holiday.
NOT TO BE MISSED IN MANILVA
One of the most important monuments of Manilva is El Castillo de la Duquesa, also known as the "Fortín de Sabinillas". This was built in 1767, in the ancient Roman town, to defend the coast from continuing pirate invasions. This fortress, next to the Neolithic village of Castillejos de Alcorrín, is listed as a Site of Cultural Interest.
Inside the Fortín de Sabinillas is the Museo Arqueológico de Manilva, which enjoys a unique collection of ceramics, ornaments, different utensils and coins dated from between the first and fifth centuries.
In the surroundings of the town we can see the Ingenio Chico, with its aqueduct, and Villa Matilde. With a Moorish air, the first forms part of one of the sugar mills (installations where sugar cane was processed) built by the Duque de Arcos in these lands. Villa Matilde is a residence that once belonged to the brother of Blas Infante, Diego Infante, whose rooms currently host various cultural exhibitions. With a little luck, maybe you can enjoy some of them during your stay.
As for the religious monuments of the town special mention must be made to the Iglesia de Santa Ana. The story goes that along with the Bishop and the Duque de Arcos, those who built this building in the middle of the eighteenth century on top of a previous sixteenth century building were neighbours.
It’s best to drive to take the AP-7 paid motorway from Málaga and get off at exit 142 and continue on the A-337. You can get there in an hour and 15 minutes if there’s little traffic.
Manilva surprises its visitors with the number of beaches to be found on its eight kilometres of coastline. The Mediterranean Sea provides this municipality with extensive fine sandy beaches that have all the services that tourists want to find when they get to the shore, as well as others that seem hidden between the topography of the coastline. These include Playa de Sabinillas, Playa de Los Toros and Playa de Duquesa-El Castillo.
The many trails found in Manilva outline the landscape for adventurers who can enjoy several trips, including the Senda Litoral stage, taking you from this town to Punta Chullera.
CENTRES FOR ENTERTAINMENT
Puerto de la Duquesa Manilva is another of the municipality's tourist hubs. Strategically located between Marbella and Sotogrande, it is a port which lies west of the province of Malaga. Every year it receives the Blue Flag for the quality of its services. After visiting its facilities, you may end up tasting the local and international cuisine in the many of the surrounding bars and restaurants.
On our visit to Manilva, we can also include water sports and, of course, a round of golf at the wonderful La Duquesa Golf & Country Club course, designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones. A trip that offers spectacular views of the coast, the mountains and even Gibraltar.
One of the best times to visit Manilva is definitely the summer, coinciding with the Virgen del Carmen festival on 16 July. The neighbourhoods of El Castillo and San Luis de Sabinillas organise emotive maritime processions in honour of the patron saint of fishermen. Also in this month the town celebrates the Santa Ana festival.
If you have the chance to visit Manilva a little earlier, in June, then you mustn"t miss the traditional night of San Juan and the burning of the 'júas' (cloth dolls stuffed with sawdust) in the usual bonfires that are organised on the beaches of municipality. This month the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Fatima also takes place, another important date when locals accompany the image of the Virgin to the hermitage of San Adolfo, in the Hedionda Baths.
In September, coinciding with the end of the grape harvest, the Harvest Festival takes place, a chance to experience the typical steps first-hand, plus to sample the extraordinary wine of the area.
The festive calendar of Manilva is completed by the celebration of Carnival as well as Semana Santa (Easter), with its traditional processions.
Like the rest of the municipalities of the Costa del Sol, the Mediterranean diet is the star of the Manilva's gastronomy. Fish and seafood seem to be the common denominator of many of this town"s dishes; highlights include the "papas" (chips) with skate, cuttlefish stew, noodles with clams or the classic Malaga fried fish.
We also recommend that you try the local wine and Muscat grapes, keeping some room for pinch and pine-nut cake (pieces of mixed and fried nuts dipped in honey), key ingredients of manilveña pastries.
Located near the Strait of Gibraltar, Manilva has always been at the crossroads of different civilisations. Man has lived here since the Neolithic period, as attested by the archaeological evidence found in the caves in Sierra de Utrera and in Cerro del Castillo, where numerous pieces from the Bronze Age were unearthed.
The Romans left their marks mainly in Sabinillas, Cerro del Hacho and Haza del Casareño. Funerary offerings, pottery, decorative objects and a variety of tools are on display at the Manilva Museum of Archaeology. Most Islamic sites are in the hinterland, far from the coast.
From the sixteenth century onwards, the fate of Manilva ran parallel to that of Casares, the county it was attached to. Málaga, Gibraltar and Ronda petitioned King Charles V to establish a population centre on the coast to protect the area from enemy attacks. The King had a lookout tower built – one of the two we can still see. Some time later, about 50 neighbours from Casares arrived and settled in Loma de los Mártires; this was the core of Manilva. It only became an independent village in 1796.
The varied Mediterranean diet is the star of Manilva’s cuisine, where olive oil plays a fundamental role. As a fishing area, there’s an unmistakable, delicious flavour of the sea through the fish and seafood like the red sea bream, red mullet, grouper and tuna belly, and of course baked sardines.
The farm-to-table philosophy is a crucial part of Manilva’s culinary culture. We can find that in its classic dishes like the asparagus, clam and tomato soups, the cuttlefish stew or octopus salmorejo. And, of course, there’s a wine coming off Manilva’s vines made of indigenous Moscatel grapes that makes for a perfect pairing with your meal.
- Inhabitants (10,001-25,000)
- Coastal area