The town of Manilva is situated in the SW end of the province of Malaga, 97km from Malaga city and 35km from Gibraltar. With an area of 35.30km, it is the joining point between the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar. Manilva has an altitude of approximately 128m above sea level, an annual precipitation of 750L/m2 and an average temperature of 18 ºC.
The terrain is made up of a series of ridged hills that rise in steps from the sea inland, making it possible to simultaneously enjoy the rural tourism, the greenery and the sea.
The current population is 14,346 people, divided into 3 villages; Manilva, Sabinillas and El Castillo and in many neighborhoods the figures triple with people visiting over the summer period.
San Luis de Sabinillas
San Luis de Sabinillas is a district located by the sea, belonging to the municipality of Manilva, Malaga. It lies 97km from Malaga city and 35km from Gibraltar. Its relevance, especially among the youngsters, is due to the Sabinillas summer camp that is held there. In 2009 it had a population of 6,289 inhabitants.
This district is located on the coastline, bordered; on the north by Manilva, to the west the A-7 (through the core), southwest by the Duquesa Castle (Sabinillas castle), and south and east by the Alboran sea. It is protected by low-lying peaks and the surroundings are covered by urbanizations and scattered crop fields; the vegetation is sparse.
Archaeological remains of the Bronze Age have been found, of which little is known. The remains found of the most importance have been those dated at the time of Roman Spain. These correspond to the area of the population in a Roman villa, which are linked with the remains found at El Castillo, corresponding to a Roman bath and a possible tower. There are also two crenellated towers dating from the fifteenth century which have been conserved.
San Luis de Sabinillas celebrates its festivals in the month of August, in honor of Saint Luis. It also celebrates the harvest throughout the first week of September. Since it is a coastal town, there is a procession of the Virgin of Carmen in July.
The local gastronomy is centered around mainly dishes of the Spanish Mediterranean diet, amongst those, emphasis is placed on fried seafood and cooked fish. Also be sure to try the traditional Andalusian gazpacho.
The main tourist attraction and leisure activity is the beach of Sabinillas and the marina situated between El Castillo and Sabinillas. During the summer period, youngsters from Andalusia attend the summer camp mentioned previously.
The Duquesa Castle
The Duquesa Castle is situated near Duquesa Beach, in the neighborhood known as El Castillo, in the town of Manilva and province of Malaga.
It was built in 1767 during the reign of Carlos III to improve the coastal defense and thus stop the continuous landing of pirates. Its original name was ´Battery´ for the four artillery cannons of Manilva.
The Battery of artillery was made up of 1 Officer, 2 Corporals and 12 soldiers from the Urban Militia, 1 Corporal and 6 soldiers from the Cavalry, 1 Corporal and 4 soldiers from the ´Invalidos´ artillery, 1 store-guard and 1 chaplain, forming an army of 29 in total.
It consisted of three different parts: first, the semicircular battery facing the sea, with 4 cannons available, which was separated from the main body of the building by a moat.
The main body is built around a rectangular courtyard, where all the quarters of the castle used to be based around, in which originally was a well with a cistern.
The building entrance is defended by a wall at an angle that leads up to the main entrance, which used to be preceded by a moat and drawbridge, although now ceasing to exist.
The main body of the building is covered in arrow slit windows for defense during an attack.
In the early nineteenth century, the arrival of the French during the War of Independence, led to their occupation of the castle. Fifty French men were allocated to control the main roads.
There were many things that turned the patriots and soldiers against these French troops, and the forces located in the castle were continually harassed especially armed forces who were coming out of it or troops who guarded the roads.
Also, around this time, the castle suffered its only known naval attack, carried out by the English fleet against the French troops who occupied it.
After the capture of Algiers by the French in 1830, piracy was almost extinct, which together with the development of new defensive techniques, meant that the castle lost its military value.
Thus, it remained abandoned for years until it was occupied by the Carabinieri Coast in the mid nineteenth century, whose mission was to ensure the security and surveillance of the coast and border in order to prevent smuggling. This stayed the same up until 1890 when a Barrack was built 100 meters from the east, which has now been moved.
At the time the former mayor took advantage of the situation, being owner of the adjoining land where an inn was located, by seizing it to use as a storehouse, stable and barn.
In the early twentieth century the castle became occupied once again. This time, some 70 homeless people resided within its walls, even as recently as 1975.
Currently it is municipal property and it is the headquarters of the Archaeological Museum of Municipal Manilva, a fencing museum, an exhibition hall and a public library.
It is surrounded by the archeological site called ´Setting the Castle of La Duquesa´ declared a site of cultural interest. It is an archeological site dating from Roman times between I and V centuries after Christ and consisted of a salting factory, villa, thermal baths and necropolis.
Duquesa Port is found within the municipality of Manilva, the first town you find in the province of Malaga leaving from Cadiz. In addition to its water attractions, Duquesa Port offers a wide range of facilities and services to provide visitors with the most enjoyable stay.
You can find everything in the Port, including supermarkets, restaurants, a butcher, news agents, banks and a nice, quiet atmosphere ideal for rest and relaxation. Without a doubt it is the largest tourist hotspot in the area.
A short car journey will take you to the village of Sabinillas where you can enjoy all the comforts of a small town.
Across the road is the La Duquesa Golf and Country Club, the golf course of La Duquesa. If you practice this sport, not only can you benefit from this course but also from some of the most famous and important golf courses in Sotogrande at a maximum of 15 minutes away such as Valderrama and San Roque Club. Also, less than 10 minutes away is the recently established Doña Julia golf course, in Casares, which will soon become a landmark in the area not only for quality but for the extent of the green.