What to do and what to see in Manilva

The municipality of Manilva is located in southwest of the province of Málaga, integrated into the region of Costa del Sol Occidental. With a little more than 35 km2, it limits to the north, northeast and west with Casares, in the province of Málaga, to the southwest with San Roque, in the province of Cádiz, and to the east with Mediterranean Sea.

With a smooth orography consisting of small hills separated by streams and valleys, the Manilva relief descends in stages to the coast.

The Manilva coast stretches from northeast to southwest, on a 7.8 km coastline that ranges from rocky inlets to sandy beaches.

The municipality of Manilva is made up of three main population centers, Manilva, located 2 km inland, San Luis de Sabinillas, which is the most populated of the three, and the fishermen district of La Duquesa, 1.75 km west along the coast line. In addition, there are several urbanizations such as Puerto de la Duquesa, Los Hidalgos, Guadalupe, Aldea Beach, Vistalmar Duquesa Sur and Camino Martagina, which are turning the municipality into a small coastal town.

History of Manilva

The man activity in the lands of Manilva dates back to the Paleolithic, although the most representative evidences of settlements belong to the final stage of the Bronze Age, as evidenced by the Phoenician settlement of Los Castillejos de Alcorrín, from 9th century B. C.

The Roman presence in Manilva is credited since the beginning of our era and especially throughout the 2nd century with the rise that the salting fish industries took. An example of this, is the archaeological complex around La Duquesa Castle, made up of the remains of a town, hot springs, necropolis and a large fish salting factory that has an attached market.

With the Arab domination, the population in the area increased and the lands that correspond to the current municipality of Manilva, depended on the largest known settlement in the area, the current Casares. River Guadiaro, current border of Manilva with the province of Cádiz, would be for several years the border with the Kingdom of Granada.

In 1485, Casares passed to the Christian troops and was handed over to the Duke of Cádiz. In 1530, the Cortijo de Manilva was created, due to the need to repopulate the coast to reduce the presence of piracy from North Africa. This was supported by a gradual increase in population thanks to the cultivation of sugar cane, its industry and vineyards, the true engines of Manilva's economy for centuries.

In October 1796, Manilva definitively segregated from Casares, due to the granting of the "Villazgo Royal Privilege".

Nowadays, Manilva's economy depends mainly on agriculture and fishing, and more specifically on vine cultivation. In the 70s, the golf course and the marina were built and since then tourism has grown quite rapidly in the municipality.

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What to see in Manilva

The municipality of Manilva has two monuments of considerable importance within its cultural heritage. Both are from the second half of the 18th century, the century in which it reached independence of the municipality of Casares.

The first of these is the Parish Church of St. Ana, located in Church Square. The current temple was built on a smaller one from the end of the 16th century. It has three naves separated by semicircular arches, the central one covered with a half-barrel vault, with its transept, presbytery, atrium, warehouses and sacristy that is attached to it.

While the second monument that you can find of considerable relevance in Manilva is La Duquesa Castle, located next to La Duquesa Beach. It was built in a place where there was once a Roman villa, which part of the material was reused for its construction. It was raised in order to protect the area from raids by pirates. Its structure housed a detachment for the cavalry and another for the infantry, as well as a haystack, a kitchen and a chapel. It has been used as a barracks for Carabineros and Civil Guard. Currently, it houses a Tenure of Mayor and is a meeting place for cultural and leisure events. Also, you can visit some archaeological remains found in the area.

In Chullera, the westernmost area of Manilva along the coast, you will find Chullera Towers. A frustoconical and an older one with a crossed base, the latter being the primitive tower from Nasrid times.

Other elements of the cultural heritage in Manilva that you can see are the Church of San Luis de Sabinillas, from the year 1776 resulting from transformations of another church from the 16th century, and El Ingenio Chico, where the union of the aqueduct with the rest of the rammed earth construction, recalls the medieval constructions.

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What to do in Manilva

The most remarkable thing about Manilva is its beaches. These make up the main tourist attraction, with almost eight kilometers of coastline, with clean and crystalline waters within the Mediterranean Sea. Manilva beaches are:

  • Punta Chullera Beach - It is a beach with crystal clear waters, of special scenic interest and ecological wealth, ideal for diving. With about 700 meters long and about 6 meters wide, with golden sand and moderate waves, it has a car park, showers, litter bins, beach bar, sun beds and umbrellas for rent and public toilets and it is cleaned regularly. Access is not easy.
  • Las Arenas Beach - It is a rectilinear beach located near La Duquesa that can be accessed on foot. In its easternmost area it has a cove called Sardine Cove. It is a beach about 1,000 meters long and about 20 meters wide, with thick golden sand. It has showers, sun beds and umbrellas for rent, toilets, litter bins and is cleaned regularly. It can be accessed on foot and can be reached by bus.
  • El Negro Beach - It is a rectilinear beach that stretches from Sardine Cove to Stream Alcorrín. It is a beach about 1,300 meters long and about 60 meters wide, with dark sand. It has parking, rental sunbeds and umbrellas, showers, jet skis and is cleaned regularly. It can be accessed by bus.
  • Los Toros Beach - Located in La Duquesa, with easy access. It is a long natural beach that gets its name because in the past it was the place where cattle passed in the direction of Estepona. It is a beach about 1,300 meters long and about 50 meters wide, with dark sand. It has parking, rental sunbeds and umbrellas, showers and is cleaned regularly. It can be accessed by bus.
  • La Duquesa Beach - Adjacent to La Duquesa Marina, it is a beach about 1,600 meters long and about 30 meters wide, with moderate waves, flanked by the promenade. It has a children's play area and a beach volley net. Due to its proximity to the port, it is a good place to start a good walk and visit it. It is accessible to people with reduced mobility and has public toilets, litter bins, boat rentals, showers, footbaths, umbrellas and hammocks, parking and a tourist office.
  • Sabinillas Beach - It stretches between La Duquesa Marina and River Manilva. The coastal front is occupied by the nucleus of San Luis de Sabinillas. It is an urban beach, with calm waters, about 1,900 meters long and about 50 meters wide. It has public toilets, litter bins, showers, footbaths, umbrellas and hammocks, parking, tourist office, children's area, guarded, kiosks and is regularly cleaned.

The last two beaches are close to La Duquesa Marina. This port has more than 300 moorings and is the center of greatest tourist activity in the area. Inside, there is a residential area, made up of Andalusian architectural style apartments. The marina area offers berthing services, dry dock, repair shop, nautical, petrol pump and personalized surveillance through closed circuit. In the surroundings there are several luxury urbanizations, a golf course and two hotels.

The golf course is the one located next to the marina, La Duquesa Golf Course, with eighteen holes, easy access and where you can enjoy this sport every day of the year, due to the mild climate of Manilva. Built on land with excellent panoramic views to the surrounding mountains and sea, reserved for lovers of sun and Mediterranean breezes.

Apart from the golf course, Manilva has magnificent sports facilities, which, together with its climate, its location because of the sea and its landscape, make it possible to practice a wide range of sports throughout the year. Among them are two climbing walls and tennis, football and basketball courts.

In the event that you want to delve deeper into nature, the rural roads through the municipality of Manilva will give you the possibility of doing hiking routes, as well as horseback riding and cycling routes.

One of the routes you can take is Miraflores Route, where you can enjoy the beautiful and wide landscape that the environment offers you. You will enjoy an intense colorful Mediterranean vegetation until you reach Alcorrín Valley, where Castle Hill rises, an archaeological site from the last stage of the Bronze Age surrounded by a Mediterranean forest, gall oaks and cork oaks. From there you can get a perspective of the town of Manilva in the distance, resting on Loma de los Mártires and surrounded by vineyards.

Another route that Manilva offers you is Las Cuestas del Molino, where you will be able to witness from the beginning, passing through the old Casares road and until its final point on the river; a whole series of old buildings. These are faithful witnesses to the history of Manilva and are some such as Old Winery, Cortijo de Linares, in the distance, or El Ingenio Chico, of the Dukes of Arcos.

Returning on your steps on the last route and taking the detour towards the stream, you will arrive at the gorge known as Canuto de la Utrera, where Gran Duque Cave is located. This preserved remains of prehistory, moments in which man sought refuge among the rocks of this mountain range, dominated by birds of prey.

Looking for a maritime landscape, you can find a path parallel to the coast, in the direction of La Duquesa Castle, from where, continuing along the coast, you will reach Chullera. You will be able to witness Campo de Gibraltar in the distance, from the watchtowers that look impassively at the sea on the rocky ground, with the beacon towers that watch time pass by the beaches. On the way back, passing through La Duquesa Marina, the urbanizations and the gardens, you will arrive at San Luis de Sabinillas, where the beached boats rest on the sand.

In summary, in Manilva you will be able to do all the activities you want, whether you are a lover of the sea, through fishing, windsurfing, diving or sailing, among other activities; as if you are a mountain lover, doing climbing, hiking, mountaineering and much more.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Manilva

Manilva has a wide range of festivities and celebrations, although the vast majority of them are concentrated in the summer months.

The first two celebrations that you can enjoy in Manilva are nationwide. One is Carnival, which takes place over three days in February and where the protagonists are the costumes and the music of chirigotas and troupes with current public issues. The other is Holy Week, which takes place in the month of March or April and that, during its celebration, brotherhoods organize processions that cross the streets of Manilva, constituting one of the festivals with the greatest cultural interest.

To make way for summer, you will find St. John's Night, celebrated the night of June 23-24. In it, the "juas" are burned, especially on Sabinillas Beach. Many of the attendees, take the opportunity to purify themselves at midnight, washing their feet and face in the sea water, while making three wishes.

June 27 is the Pilgrimage in honor to the Virgin of Fatima, when the people from Manilva celebrate their traditional pilgrimage in the Hedionda Baths de Casares.

In July, two religious celebrations take place in Manilva. The first, on July 16, is Virgin of Carmen's Day, in La Duquesa Castle and San Luis de Sabinillas. After the seafaring mass and at dawn, the images of the Virgin of Carmen go out in procession to the beach, where she is embarked and continue their journey by sea, guarded by fishing and sports boats. This day is lived with great devotion and emotion in the town. The second is St. Ana's Day, July 26. This is the patron saint festival in the town of Manilva. In it, attendees enjoy parades of floats, music, dances and musical shows until dawn.

Do not forget the Full Moon Party, classified as a Tourist Singularity Festivity and held every year on a full moon night in July or August. At the time of the night in which the moon is brightest, thousands of people dressed in white gather on Sabinillas Beach and, along the promenade, in a festive atmosphere and with a carefully decorated environment and lighting with candles and torches, there are innumerable activities of juggling with fire, light and shadow shows, acrobatics, chill out music and activities aimed at girls and boys. It acquire its climax when, simultaneously, hundreds of candles and wish balloons illuminate the sea for a magical moment.

During the month of August in Manilva you will have San Luis de Sabinillas' Day, specifically on August 25. It is celebrated in San Luis de Sabinillas in honor of its patron St. Luis, with competitions, sports activities, in a festive atmosphere of music and dances. You can also enjoy Tourist Day this month, with the development of various events for your enjoyment.

To finish, on the first weekend of September the Harvest Festival takes place, where the protagonist is the grape. In a festive atmosphere, among other activities, the characteristic feature of this festival is the grape treading to extract the first must wine of the year, which they will then offer you so that you can taste it.

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Gastronomy of Manilva

The gastronomy of Manilva is typical of a coastal town that combines the products of the land and the sea. Among all the products, the one that stands out the most is, without a doubt, the grape. And it is that the vineyards are the main engine of the economy of the municipality. The most famous and typical Manilva grape variety is the muscat grape.

However, it should not be forgotten that, since Manilva is a coastal municipality, many of the typical products come from the sea, and that it enjoys a long fishing tradition.

Manilva has a long list of typical dishes, some of these are tomato soup, asparagus soup, clam chowder, gazpachuelo, gazpacho, cabbages, tagarninas stew with chickpeas, pipirrana, gazpacho fried, crumbs, scalloped potatoes, clam noodles, cuttlefish stew with chickpeas, fish soup, rice with fish, emblanco with fresh fish, cod cake, pickled anchovies, anchovies in vinegar, frying from Málaga and moraga.

For desserts, stand out pinch cake, fried cake, French toast, piñonate, and muscat grape, which can also be tasted in brandy and raisins.

There are numerous restaurants and bars in Manilva that offer a rich and varied offer of fish to combine with a wine from the land of muscat grape.

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