If you are looking for a charming and peaceful place on the Costa del Sol, Manilva is an excellent choice. Located right on the border with Cádiz and just a few kilometers from Marbella, this small town is an oasis of tranquility to enjoy with friends and family.

History of Manilva

The origins of Manilva date back to the late Neolithic period, specifically in the Sierra de Utrera, near the town, where more than twenty archaeological sites were found. Although most of the sites date back to the Roman period, indicating that the area experienced its major development during this period.

Impressive coastal fortification, Castillo de la Duquesa
Impressive coastal fortification, Castillo de la Duquesa |

In 1528, King Carlos V ordered the construction of a watchtower strategically located at Salto de la Mora to protect nearby towns such as Marbella and Ronda. This area became an important fortress in the coastal defense.

Years later, 50 inhabitants from Casares moved their homes there and named it El Cortijo (Manilva today). By the year 1600, it already had a stable population, and in 1796, the municipality gained independence from Casares.

What to See and Do in Manilva

Places to See in Manilva

Manilva has a variety of interesting places to visit. We recommend the following:

If you enjoy architecture, you must visit the Church of Santa Ana. It was built in the 18th century on the site of a smaller church from the 16th century and still maintains its original Mudéjar-style appearance.

Archaeological remains of the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Manilva
Church of Santa Ana, Mudejar style, built in the 18th century |

The church can be seen from many points in Manilva, as it features a large and tall façade. Its interior showcases great artistic beauty with precise vaults, separated into three high naves.

  • Address: Calle Iglesia, 0, 29691 Manilva, Málaga
  • Price: Free admission
  • Phone: 952 89 00 02

The Castle of La Duquesa, also known as Fortín de Sabinillas, is a construction dating back to 1767, ordered by Carlos III. It is a military fortress of the time, located next to La Duquesa Beach, with the purpose of defending the area from constant pirate and corsair attacks.

Archaeological remains of the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Manilva
Archaeological remains of the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Manilva |

Today, inside the castle, you will find the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Manilva. You can see a wide variety of original archaeological remains from different periods that were found in the area. If you visit Manilva, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this historic castle.

  • Address: Calle Iglesia, 0, 29691 Manilva, Málaga
  • Price: Free admission
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00-15

In summer, you shouldn’t miss the kayaking routes along the Guadiaro River and other water activities on the coast of Manilva, such as boat trips with views of the port and the possibility of seeing dolphins in the area. Along the Puerto de la Duquesa, you’ll find multiple companies offering these leisure activities.

Enjoy the leisure and sunset at Puerto de la Duquesa
Enjoy the leisure and sunset at Puerto de la Duquesa |

To end the day, after visiting the Castle of La Duquesa, you must take a stroll through the Puerto de la Duquesa under the spectacular sunset of the Costa del Sol. It is located just a few meters from the castle and is one of the highlights of the town with a vibrant tourist atmosphere.

Nature and Hiking

Manilva boasts beautiful natural landscapes that can be enjoyed through various hiking routes. Here are some accessible routes for most people:

Las Fuentes and Las Viñas Trail

This route has a distance of almost 6 kilometers. It starts at Plaza de la Vendimia, then goes along Calle Utopía and Calle Muro Aguilar until reaching the Church of Santa Ana. Once there, you need to leave the urban area and cross the A-377 road.

Sendero de Las Fuentes y Viñas: a long route through vineyards
Sendero de Las Fuentes y Viñas: a long route through vineyards |

Descend to the Peñuela stream and continue to the right until reaching the Fuente de la Peñuela. After climbing among vineyards, you’ll reach the Fuente de la Ocasión and continue parallel to the stream. The route ends at the Rústico La Peñuela Park.

The fountains along the route have non-potable water, so we recommend bringing your own water.

Canuto de Utrera – Río Manilva Trail

If you’re looking for a longer and more challenging route, this one covers a distance of 12 kilometers. The path starts parallel to the Manilva River and follows a narrow trail marked by painted stones in green and yellow. You’ll reach a gate that must be closed when crossing since it is an area with horses.

After a steep climb, you’ll reach the Casares road, and after a kilometer and a half, exit through a gate on the left. You’ll reach the high part of the karstic massif and then descend through the meadow. To finish the route, head towards the road and you’ll arrive back at the starting point.

Exercise caution on the road as it has a very narrow shoulder. Near the river, you may encounter slippery stone paths.

Beaches of Manilva

The beaches of Manilva are ideal for those looking for a quiet and relaxing place to sunbathe and enjoy the sea. Here is a list of the best beaches in Manilva:

Playa de la Duquesa

The Playa de la Duquesa is one of the most well-known beaches due to its proximity to the town center. It is a family-friendly beach with all kinds of amenities such as showers, sunbeds, bars, and restaurants. It has a wide coastline that tends to be very crowded during the peak summer months, so we recommend arriving early to secure a spot.

Playa de la Duquesa: a family beach, quiet and beautiful
Playa de la Duquesa: a family beach, quiet and beautiful |

Playa de la Chullera

If you’re looking for a peaceful beach away from the town center, the Playa de la Chullera is the ideal place. This extensive beach with golden sand and clear waters is one of the most emblematic beaches on the Costa del Sol. It is located on the border between Málaga and Cádiz and is home to a wide variety of marine species, making it perfect for observing fauna or practicing underwater fishing.

Chullera Beach, a long golden beach with transparent waters
Chullera Beach, a long golden beach with transparent waters | andalucí

Playa de Sabinillas

This beach is located in the urban area, so it offers services such as showers, surveillance, restaurants, and beach bars. It is one of the most complete beaches on the Costa del Sol thanks to its extensive coastline, beautiful views, and good connection to the town.

Popular Festivals and Gastronomy

Manilva celebrates several popular festivals throughout the year. One of the most prominent is the Feria de Santa Ana, held on July 26th in honor of the patron saint of the town. If you have the opportunity to visit Manilva during these dates, you mustn’t miss this colorful and joyful experience. You’ll find a variety of activities, fair attractions, and live music.

Another unique festivity is the Romería in honor of the Virgen de Fátima at the end of June, where the townspeople act as pilgrims to accompany the Virgin to the Ermita de San Adolfo. Throughout a whole weekend, the inhabitants gather and make a floral offering to the Virgin.

The Fiestas de la Vendimia is a very traditional occasion on the Costa del Sol. It is celebrated on the first weekend of September in the town center, coinciding with the end of the grape harvest. This festival is characterized by grape stomping to extract the wine and offer it to visitors.

Pilgrimage to the Virgen de Fátima, celebrated at the end of June
Pilgrimage to the Virgen de Fátima, celebrated at the end of June |

During all these festivals, you’ll have the opportunity to try some of the most traditional dishes of the local cuisine. However, you can’t miss their stews that use seafood as a base, such as jibia potaje (cuttlefish stew) or clam soup from the area. All of this paired with a muscatel grape wine from the region.

How to Get to Manilva

Getting There by Bus

To get to Manilva by bus from Málaga, there are several options available:

The best option to get to Manilva by bus from the center of Málaga is to take the Avanza L-607 bus towards Marbella, and once there, take the L-77 bus and get off at the Policía Local stop. The ticket price for the L-607 bus is around 15 euros, and for the L-77 bus it’s about 1.35€. It will take you about three hours to get there.

Getting There by Car

The best option to reach Manilva by car from Malaga Airport is to take the N-340 road towards Torremolinos/Cádiz, heading towards the A-7 motorway. Then take exit 142 towards Manilva and follow the signs to reach the town center.

Renting a car without a credit card at Malaga Airport is a good option if you want more freedom and convenience to explore the area and visit towns like Estepona, Gaucín, or Genalguacil. If you have time, you can also visit the stunning province of Cádiz.

Map of Manilva

Below, you will find a map with all the points of interest and places mentioned in this article to help you plan your visit to Manilva more easily and efficiently. Enjoy your stay in this beautiful town on the Costa del Sol!

Relevant Information

Best time of year to visit: Spring and summer, due to its wonderful coastline.

Can’t miss: An ideal plan is to spend a day at the beach on its extensive coastline, engage in water sports at the Puerto de la Duquesa, and take a walk through the streets of the old town.

Nearby places to eat: In this post about some of the best restaurants in Manilva, you’ll find some options for dining both in the town and its surroundings.

For more information, please visit the website of the Manilva Town Hall:

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