You may have never heard of Manilva before, but now you have it is the perfect opportunity to go and explore this little-known destination just an hour’s drive from Malaga. This makes it a good idea to hire a car in Malaga and simply whisk yourself away from the normal tourist hustle and bustle that can be found there.
This little corner of Andalucia may be on the coast, but it has maintained its small town charm and does not feature any unsightly skyscrapers. Instead all of the quaint houses are painted white with some sporting terracotta roofs, while a backdrop of beautiful mountains provides the perfect contrast.
Reminders of the Romans
Manilva can trace its history back to the Roman times and there are several reminders of this in the town. These include a spectacular aqueduct and some particularly well preserved Roman sulphur baths.
Sulphur has medicinal properties and is good for the skin, which the Romans knew, so when they found a sulphur spring in the valley near Manilva they decided to exploit it for their own ends. They created an arched building complex with a number of chambers, four of which still exist today.
The main crop
Grapes are the main crop grown in the area surrounding Manilva, making a walk through the vineyards an interesting thing to do. Further to this make sure that you try the sweet local wine which is produced using them. Do not be tempted to take any home however, as it does not keep nor travel well.
It is also possible to buy raisins and fresh grapes from stalls set up by the roadside, so stop as you are driving past and pick up a tasty snack.
San Luis de Sabinillas
Just a few kilometres away from Manilva is the fishing village of Sabinillas, where there is a wide selection of seafood restaurants and cafes. It is well worth the short journey to come and sample the produce as it is of a very high standard and as fresh as can be.
For those desperate to go to the beach, then head to Playa La Colonia or Playa Sabinillas close by. Meanwhile there is a large market held every Sunday which continues to grow year-on-year as well as a smaller local produce market hosted on a Friday. This can be found at the west end of the seafront promenade.
Located within a large expanse of stunning scenery, Puerto Duquesa boasts a fantastic marina and just as impressive golf course. From here visitors can go out on boat excursions or decide to take up a more active pastime. This could include jet skiing, wake boarding and scuba diving depending on your taste.
If all that exercise and sea air gave you an appetite then this can be satiated at one of the cafes, bars and restaurants which line the marina. Souvenirs can be purchased at the craft market which is held during the summertime in the evenings at weekends.
Castillo de la Duquesa
If you continue to the west you will find an 18th century fortress guarding the coast and still in good shape with very impressive ramparts. The village which once accompanied it was lost until 1989 when excavations started to unearth parts of it.
Of interest are the Roman baths, with their under floor heating system, which can be seen clearly along with the layout of the various chambers. Further to this, there are some beautiful mosaics. The excavations also found the remains of a Roman villa nearby.