The Spanish town of Manilva is located on the western Costa del Sol and sits back 2 kilometres from the coast, the town sits on a hill offering sea views to the Straits of Gibraltar and Rif Mountains of Morocco and mountain views towards Casares and the Sierra Bermeja. The town is surrounded with vineyards that date back to roman times, today the area still produces fine wines from the Moscatel grapes grown on the sloping hills that surround the town. Harvest time around the beginning of September features the Fiesta de la Vendimia where the grapes are trodden as part of Manilva’s annual grape festival.
Brief HistoryThe town’s strategic position has resulted in a long history of settlement and can be dated back to the Stone Age. With archaeological finds in the caves of the Sierra Utrera which sits just north of Manilva and a roman kiln discovered a few years ago.
It is during the Roman period though, that the area first enjoyed prominence, as it was the site of a thriving fish processing industry, remains of the factory, a villa and bathhouse can be seen today just outside the Castillo de la Duquesa, one of Manilva’s coastal villages and artefacts can be seen in the museum inside the castle.
It was in the 16th century that the town of Manilva itself was founded, although a part of the neighbouring municipality of Casares, it gained its independence in 1795 and has grown ever since.
Today’s ManilvaThe town has developed with more housing and an industrial area over recent years but still kept its Spanish village feel. The AP7 motorway is on the doorstep and offers easy road transport access, at present there is a campaign to get the proposed route of the coastal train service extended to include the area of Manilva.
Manilva’s community has a mix of local Spanish, Brits, Irish and other foreigners from around the world who have settled and started a business others commute to Gibraltar for work. There are plenty of quality chiringuitos (beach restaurants) restaurants and bars offering an eclectic mix of cuisines from local Spanish Tapas, Indian, Chinese food to fusion and fish and chips.
With easy access to the coast and 8 kilometres of beach, with the main beach in Sabinillas just a few kilometres from Manilva village and Puerto Duquesa with its marina and local fishing boats the coastal region has grown with further development but again not been spoilt with high rised buildings.
Beaches are wide and sandy stretching from Casares to the east and Punta Chullera on the western side of the area. These beaches are kept clean throughout the year, and during the summer months are patrolled by a team of lifeguards and medics.
Like all Spanish towns and cities, Manilva has an annual feria or fair, which in Manilva’s case is held in the second week of August, to coincide with Spain’s national holiday, Ascension Day on the 15th August.
In fact Manilva has a very busy calendar of ferias and fiestas either religious, traditional or modern. Starting off with the Three Kings cavalcade on the 5th January, then the raucous fun of Carnival around the beginning of Lent; the solemn devotion of the Semana Santa processions during Easter; the Manilva International Festival, around the end of May, during which the municipality’s international community takes the opportunity to show off its varying culture, cuisine and traditions; the Eve of San Juan during the summer solstice with its pagan tradition of bonfires, fireworks and partying till dawn; the fishermen’s celebration of their patron, the Virgen del Carmen in mid-July, and then rounding off the summer with the Vendimia.
Throw into that a good smattering of Saints’ days and pilgrimages and you’ve got a busy schedule of partying and celebrations.
Situated in the province of Malaga and bordering the province of Cadiz the area has much to offer holidaying visitors and people who settle in the area.
Travelling from the local airports of Malaga and Gibraltar you can be relaxing within an hour from Malaga and 20 mins from Gibraltar.