Let C2C Properties be your guide and help you to understand what’s on offer in the beautiful area of Manilva on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
We are Manilva property experts and have been helping international buyers to discover this hidden gem since 1997. Since then, property programmes have been following in our footsteps and shining a light on the great combination of lifestyle, beaches, amenities and value for money properties we have in this area. However, it can be a little difficult to get your head around, so this blog will tell you what you need to know. If you’d like to drill down a little further, or visit some properties in Manilva, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and book a viewing trip to this delightful corner of southern Spain.
What is Manilva?
This might sound like a strange question, but clarifying this should avoid any confusion.
Manilva is both a small white village on the Costa del Sol, and a district. The district of Manilva includes the coastal town of Sabinillas and the port of Duquesa, the charming fishing village of Castillo de la Duquesa, as well as Manilva village and the many developments just inland from the coast.
The village, although small in size, is the administrative capital of this region, hence the confusing name. When people are talking about that, they will usually say Manilva Pueblo, or Manilva village. But if you just hear Manilva, they are probably talking about the area as a whole.
We hope that’s cleared it up for you!
Where is Manilva?
The district of Manilva is on the western Costa del Sol, within the Malaga province of Andalusia, in the south of Spain. It is bordered by the Casares district to the east and Sotogrande (which is in the Cadiz province) to the west.
It is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Marbella and 1 hour from Malaga International Airport. The popular and vibrant town of Estepona is just 15 minutes’ drive away. To the west of Manilva you have Gibraltar, with its International Airport approximately 40 minutes’ drive away – border queues allowing.
It is also a great location to access the beautiful Atlantic coastline of Spain. You can be in the windsurfing capital of Tarifa in less than an hour and easily explore the pretty fishing towns of Bolonia, Zahara de los Atunes and Barbate – famous for their award-winning tuna. For culture and history, you can be in Jerez in an hour and a half, Seville in just over 2 hours and Ronda in just over an hour.
It’s a fantastic location!
Why is Manilva so popular with international residents and tourists?
The proximity to Gibraltar, with its many job opportunities, makes Manilva a very popular base for English speaking expats. It offers better value for money than nearby Sotogrande, along with a strong Spanish sense of identity and a large expat community.
Everyone loves the relaxed lifestyle, delicious food, quiet beaches and of course great year-round weather. It is a diverse area where the cost of living is low compared to other coastal districts. You can choose between the areas with a very Spanish culture and lifestyle, or choose to base yourself in areas with a very British identity, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds as and when you wish. The surrounding countryside is stunning too and there are lots of Spanish festivals and events to join in with, as well as things catered to the expat residents and tourists.
As a British expat, you’ll be able to find food and culture from home and people that speak your language and there’s a lot of help for people who don’t speak Spanish. That means settling in is easier and you can quickly make friends and start to enjoy everything the area has to offer.
Properties in Manilva have also catered to the international market and new developments have been built with their tastes in mind. Although not as cheap as it once was, Manilva still offers good value properties and a wide range of options, from apartments, to townhouses and impressive villas. You can browse some of the properties for sale in Manilva on our website, or contact us to draw you up a shortlist and arrange viewings for you.
Let’s explain a bit more about the distinct areas within Manilva to help you choose the right location for you.
Manilva Pueblo (the Spanish word for village) is 3 kilometres inland from the coastal town of Sabinillas. It is known as a “pueblo blanco” or white village, and although it isn’t one of the most picturesque, it probably is one of the most practical white villages to live in.
The heart of Manilva village is the Vendimia Square (home to the Manilva Wine Festival and many other events) and Calle Mar. Calle Mar is the modest high street and has a selection of bars and cafes, the Town Hall building, a few hairdressers and shops.
There’s no bank or post office, but Manilva village does boast a Spanish state school for children from 3-11 years old, a nursery, a study centre for extra classes, several playgrounds, an excellent music school, a police and fire station, a doctors’ surgery, dentist, church and a number of simple bars and restaurants. It has excellent sports facilities, including a municipal outdoor pool, a large football stadium, padel tennis courts, sports hall with basketball courts and a championship level climbing wall, a gym and fitness studios for classes. The Town Hall runs lots of sports and fitness classes for adults and children at a very low price, so if you’re sporty there are some great options for you.
Manilva village is a great place to live if you have a young family and want to take advantage of the excellent school and get your kids to integrate into the Spanish way of life. It very much retains its Spanish identity, but has been growing in popularity with international families and retirees looking for a community where you can walk to everything and take advantage of all the facilities.
It is quite limited in terms of things to do and bars and restaurants to choose from and people aren’t always friendly at first. But make an effort, learn some Spanish, do some classes and become a regular at some of the bars and before long you’ll really feel part of this little village.
San Luis de Sabinillas
Usually just known as Sabinillas, this is the biggest town in the Manilva district and has everything you need right there. There’s a big medical centre as well as several private clinics and dentists, there are nurseries, two primary schools and one secondary school (between Manilva village and Sabinillas), loads of supermarkets, shops, banks and a post office. There are several nice parks and playgrounds and it’s definitely a family friendly area.
There’s a long seafront promenade with plenty of bars and restaurants along it and there are many, many more bars and restaurants back from the sea too.
This is where you can find C2C Properties’ office, right in the centre of town, just back from the big statue on the beachfront promenade. Make sure you come and say hello if you’re in the area!
Sabinillas is not a rich and flashy town, but it has everything you need, at very reasonable prices and it hosts some fantastic events throughout the year. There is a large range of properties for sale in Sabinillas and you can browse our website to see what’s on offer.
If you like the idea of living in the Manilva area, and want to be in the centre of the action and be able to reach most things without using your car, Sabinillas would be a good choice for you.
Duquesa Port is a pretty marina, within walking distance of Sabinillas along the seafront promenade. With loads of international restaurants and bars and a hub for both the British expat community and the nightlife in this area. There are a few shops, hairdressers and a chemist, but this really is a spot to relax and enjoy, rather than a proper town. There are water sports and fishing trips to take part in from the port and it’s a vibrant place throughout the year and really buzzing in the summer.
There are lots of properties in Duquesa Port and the surrounding areas, which make it a great choice if nightlife is a big draw for you, or you’re planning to rent out your property to tourists.
Read our blog about the appeal of Duquesa to find out more.
Castillo de la Duquesa
Walk a little further along the promenade from Duquesa Port and you’ll reach Castillo de la Duquesa, a small, but pretty place which has grown up around the castle from which it takes its name. It is a small village of old fisherman’s cottages, with a small church, a nursery, playground and basketball court and a bunch of bars and restaurants. There are some excellent places to enjoy Spanish seafood here, as well as some tapas bars and a few international options. There’s also a big car park, which is handy especially in the summer, but no shops or services to speak of. The castle often hosts events and it’s a charming little place.
Inland from Sabinillas, Duquesa and Castillo, you’ll find a golf course and lots of modern residential developments. One area is known as Duquesa Village, which has a square surrounded by bars and restaurants, this has become a centre for the international residents living in the surrounding communities. There’s not much else around here in terms of amenities, but there are a great selection of properties for sale and it’s a very easy drive down to Duquesa or Sabinillas for shopping etc. Beyond that, there is some really stunning countryside, perfect for hiking and exploring. The area has lots of vineyards and larger properties in more rural locations.
Manilva in summary
As you can see, Manilva offers a wide range of living and socialising experiences to choose from. We love it because wherever you choose to buy property in Manilva, you have everything within a short drive away.
If you like the sound of this area and want to find out more, please do get in touch. We’d love to listen to your needs, wants and lifestyle and guide you through the best areas for you and then the ideal property options within that area. We’re sure we can find you a property in Manilva to suit your needs. Contact us today and let’s start your search!