Enjoy our quick guide to Manilva, a municipality situated on the coast at Malaga’s southernmost edge along with the province of Cadiz at Spain’s autonomous community of Andalusia.
Below we feature a fantastic interview with Björn Ingbrant Rubio of Enova Estates who covers the Manilva area.
Björn, thanks for helping our readers. I guess we should start off by asking what would you say would be the advantages to living in Manilva compared to other Costa del Sol towns?
The advantage of living in Manilva is that it’s a small town that is still very genuine Spanish. Most of the Spanish people live here the whole year and they work here or in nearby towns like Estepona, Marbella or Gibraltar.
Manilva is small and for most people who live here have walking distance to shops and restaurants. It has very low criminality and people feel safe.
Manilva is divided in 3 parts: Manilva Pueblo that is located up on the mountain; San Luis de Sabinillas and La Duquesa that are located by the coast.
Manilva Pueblo is a genuine Spanish mountain village with a wine museum and other things. San Luis de Sabinillas is a coastal part with about 80% Spanish residents living here.
La Duquesa is mixed and the foreigners are in majority there.
La Duquesa has a famous and cosy international port with many restaurants and some night clubs. There is also a genuine Spanish fishing village with mostly seafood restaurants.
Manilva is a good place for families. It is also a very good place for golfers and many golfers have apartments here and also many golfers rent here because we have 12 good golf courses within a radius of 10km. Among them top European and top Spanish courses like Valderama, Finca Cortesin, Sotogrande Reserva, Dona Julia, Alcaidesa Links etc.
Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides?
Yes, it will not be the best place for people who want to have party the whole night. There are some night clubs, fiestas, moon festival, wine festival and more but not a big party place. It is not a sleepy town either.
What proportion of the local population are Spanish?
At least 70%, maybe more.
What are your favourite things to do in the area?
Me and my wife like to take long walks along the Paseo Maritimo, be on the beaches, go fishing, and eat on some of the very good restaurants that are located here.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?
In the port of La Duquesa, we have a great Argentinian restaurant called Victor Grill, another Italian restaurant called Toscana. Also a Belgian restaurant, La Taverna.
Since Manilva is a coastal town, we have many seafood restaurants with fresh fish and gambas etc.
In San Luis de Sabinillas:
Casa Diugichi – Great seafood, the best.
Miel – Belgian restaurant
Cruz Blanco – Tapas
La casita – Spanish Argentinian
Paparazzi – Italian food, to name a few.
The fishing village, Castillo de la Duquesa, has several good fish restaurants. To name one, Delfines, with fresh seafood.
There are several fishing boats here that deliver fresh seafood directly to the restaurants.
Are there many facilities such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
There are a few private doctors and dentists here and 2 smaller public clinics. For bigger hospitals, we have to go to Estepona, which is 10 kms away.
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
Yes, Casares pueblo, which is mountain village on the Unesco list. Gaucin, Jimena de la Frontera, Torreguadiario.
Next west to Manilva, we have the famous luxurious Sotogrande with its fantastic marina and other things.
What are the nearest international schools and how good are they?
The international private school is in Sotogrande, ranked as number one international school in Spain. 10 -15- minutes by car from our place.
Is crime an issue for expats?
Yes it is and everyone here is happy that it has so low criminality.
Coming onto buying property, what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, or down or staying the same?
We have a good demand for properties here. It is an increasing market and the prices started to slowly go up in 2014 and the prices still go up.
Manilva was not well known 5 years ago when we started here but today, many people know what it is and want to purchase a property here. Before the financial crisis, the new construction boom was here before the crisis and many new apartments were unsold until a few years after the crisis and they were taken over by banks who sold them for a much lower price than the builders. Today, most of the new built are sold and we have visitor records every year.
Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
We only have a few bank repossessions left for sale and they are selling. Most of the properties that we have sold during these years are bank repossession properties. There are a few new cheap apartments left and we put much promotions on them.
How much are the typical property prices in Manilva for apartments, villas etc?
Typical price for an apartment is about 140,000 euros.
Villas about 450,000 euros.
Townhouses about 190,000 euros.
Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Manilva or surrounding area?
To come down here, rent an apartment and hotel room and feel the atmosphere first, to see if they like it. Try the restaurants, talk to the people etc. The Spanish people here are very friendly and they still have time. Okey, Spanish people are in general very nice and friendly but here they take their time with foreigners and they are proud of their hometown and helpful.
Since this town is small, only 15,000 registered residents, many people know each other and for example, my youngest son spends much time here in the summer. He is 10 years old. He was on the beach with a friend without me or any other grown up, because I had to work. Then Raul, an owner of a restaurant nearby, called me and said, “Hola Björn, your son and a friend is on the beach without any grown up and it’s quite big waves today, do you know that?”
I said “Yes and they swim very well.” “Okey,” Raul said “but I keep an eye on them and if they need anything they can come here.”
This was just a sample of the friendliness and that people care about each other.
The people who look for a place with many shops and party places, for them Manilva is not the right place, it is too small. It is better for them to live in Marbella, 30 minutes by car from here.
Björn, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact him, you can find his details below.
This video highlights the popular Puerto de la Duquesa of Manilva.
If you have a property in Manilva, you may be interested in our property maintenance & management page for Manilva.
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