The exact area covered by Manilva is difficult to define; in part due to the region’s hilly makeup and twisting coastline, but also because Spain’s marketing men have had little cause to really classify the town. Or is it a resort? Either way, tourism has only recently come to Manilva, followed closely by property investment opportunities. The baby-steps made thus far are encouraging and equally quaint – Manilva’s main attractions boast an endearingly naïve quality to them, as if the resort expects holidaymakers and expats fresh off the latest Ryanair flight to be dazzled by an American-style pizzeria and a dusty bar decked out in neon and red leather.
But then tourists are often simple folk. That is, simple pleasures are easier to appreciate when on holiday. Who needs sophisticated wine bars and complicated transport systems when you can instead enjoy a simple beer while sat on patio furniture in the sun overlooking the beach? If you’re prepared to step back in time and get a great tan in the process, Manilva could be just the place for you.
To understand Manilva, one has to identify its main areas. The town proper is small, situated 3km inland from the coast and located toward the far (western) end of the Costa del Sol, beyond Estepona and a short drive from Sotogrande. Historically, the town grew thanks to agriculture; the hills that surround it proving fertile ground for some of the best grapes found in Spain.
Aside from the town centre, the coastal resort of Sabinillas is also part of Manilva, and is distinctly different. The fantastic beach that lines the town lends it a laid-back air, while the promenade has an air of dilapidation to it, despite being equally rather charming at the same time. Alongside Sabinillas is the quaint fishing village of El Castillo and the rather smart port at Duquesa, which has undergone a swish gentrification in recent years