Istán is a small white village in Malaga, 15km from Marbella, next to the reservoir of La Concepción and on the southernmost slope of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. Surrounded by rivers and fresh water bodies, you will fall in love with this green paradise that the winding roads leading to the village take you through.

History of Istán

Although the time of its foundation is unknown, it is known for certain that during the Muslim period it was an important enclave due to its proximity to natural resources, especially one as important as fresh water.

After the Christian Reconquest, Istán led an important Moorish rebellion, which ended in the defeat of the Moors, who were sent to the interior of the peninsula to be removed from the coasts near Muslim territories.

What to do in Istán

Places to visit

As for monuments, a visit to the Escalante Tower, a building dating from the 15th century, is a must. In the village itself you can also enjoy some of the various viewpoints overlooking the nearby reservoir.

Imposing Embalse de la Concepción reservoir near Istán
Imposing Embalse de la Concepción reservoir near Istán |

Meanwhile, on the outskirts, before reaching the village, you will find the hermitage of San Miguel, although the most important religious building is the church of San Miguel, right in the centre of the village.

Green surroundings, rivers and mountains

Istán is the closest village to the Embalse de la Concepción reservoir, one of the most important bodies of fresh water in the region. Furthermore, due to its proximity to the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, there are rivers, such as the Verde and the Molino, which have their source relatively close to the village, so the area has lush vegetation, offering a very green environment with spectacular views.

Of course, this natural environment in which Istán is located offers the possibility of hiking routes very close to Marbella. In this way, you can spend the morning with mountain activities or simply taking a stroll, and in the afternoon you can go down to this well-known coastal town to relax.

Charco del Canalón, a beautiful hiking route near Istán
Charco del Canalón, a beautiful hiking route near Istán | vacaciones-españ

If you want to go a little deeper into the Sierra de las Nieves we recommend you take the hiking route through the imposing Castaño Santo, a tree more than 800 years old. And if you dare, venture out on the Cañada del Infierno route.

Festivals and gastronomy

The main popular festivities in Istán that you should not miss are:

  • Religious festivals, such as El Paso de Semana Santa, with a representation of the crucifixion, Corpus Christi and the Christmas “zambombeos”.
  • The San Miguel Fair in September and “los Quintos”, in which those who have reached the age of majority (18) take part.

On the slopes of the Sierra de las Nievas, the Castaño Santo (Holy Chestnut Tree)
On the slopes of the Sierra de las Nievas, the Castaño Santo (Holy Chestnut Tree) |

Among the most typical and unusual dishes to taste in this region are corn soup and fried rabbit. If you are more of a sweet tooth, you must try zahína, a dessert made from flour, fried bread, water, oil and honey, and the tasty oil cakes.

How to get to Istán

How to get to Istán by bus

If we want to go by public transport from Malaga to Istán we can do it by bus, but we must take into account that we will have to take a bus from Malaga to Marbella, and then another one from here to our final destination. There are only 3 buses from Marbella to Istan daily, and the total journey can take more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, with a total cost of more than 10 euros. For all these reasons, we do not consider it to be the most advisable option.

How to get to Istán by car

If you prefer to move comfortably around the area, setting your own pace and adapting your trip completely, the most advisable option is to book a car at the best car hire in Malaga with CarGest, and squeeze every minute of your trip to the maximum.

Istán is only 50 minutes away if you take the AP-7 motorway (tolls included) or just over 1 hour if you decide to take the coastal road which, although it extends the journey time, allows you to enjoy the sea views and make a short stop in villages such as Fuengirola or La Cala de Mijas.

Map of Istán

In the following map we show you how to get to Istán from Málaga, as well as some of the most relevant points of the town, including hiking routes, monuments or recommended visits.

For more information you can consult the website of the Town Hall of Istán at the following link:

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