Roman baths near Manilva

Set in the tranquil and rural landscape between Manilva and Casares, Hedionda Roman baths are the remains of the ancient bathhouse which dates back to the 1st century BC. The structure is still available for use today, free of charge. The remains of the underground bathing facility consist of two chambers –  a smaller outer chamber and a much bigger inner chamber.

Roman baths are not very popular among tourists and most of the time the place looks almost abandoned. However, during hot summer weekends you will find there lots of locals taking advantage not only of the healing properties of the water, but also of the curative mud scrapped from the popular mud wall.

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Follow in Julius Caesar’s footsteps

According to the ancient sources, the sulphurous spring was very popular among both Romans and Arabs. One of the old stories holds that Julius Caesar himself took to the waters on a regular basis to cure himself of a skin infection when he was a governor of southern Spain.

Walking routes

Canuto de la Utrera and Charco del Infierno/Diablo are two spectacular walking routes available for tourists near the Roman baths. The first one takes you into a valley-gorge with beautiful limestone rock formations on both sides. Because of the unusual rock forms, Sierra de Utrera is called by some people ‘small Torcal de Antequera’. The second route leads along the Rio de Manilva, and a couple of times across the river, to a charming swimming pond with a waterfall. It is possible to connect both routes into one 8 km long circular route.

Charco del Diablo near Manilva

Charco del Diablo near Manilva

Getting there

From the coastal A7, take a turn inland at the Lidl roundabout in Sabinillas. Follow the Camino los Baños road. Just before the road passes under the highway bridge, turn slightly to the right on a dirt track. After 200 meters, you will find a small parking space on the left, opposite the old Los Alamos restaurant. Continue on foot until you reach Baños De La Hedionda. The Roman Baths are also easily accessible from the A7 highway.

Manilva

Manilva is a small quiet village located just 2 kilometres inland from the coastal town of Sabinillas and Puerto la Duquesa. The town is nestled on a hill overlooking beautiful Costa del Sol and surrounding vineyards and countryside.

Hedionda Roman baths is probably the most famous spot in Manilva, located in La Hedonia valley close to Manilva. According to the legends, the sulphuric springs of Hedionda helped Julius Cesar cure his skin infection in 61 BC when he was governor in southern Spain. The baths are enclosed by Roman-built arched structure with four chambers inside. Despite the foul smell hanging over the water, local people still like to take a dip in the mineral-rich waters believing in its healing powers. With the exception of weekends, you won’t find too many people here, and if you come early enough, it is very likely you will have the place for yourself, just like Julius Cesar did!

Roman baths is also a good starting point for an amazing hiking trail in the direction of Casares, upstream Río de Manilva.  During your hike you will see waterfalls, lagoons, amazing rock formations and different species of birds.

Canuto de la Utrera, located just next to Roman baths, is another amazing spot worth a visit. It’s a beautiful hiking trail along the valley that passes through the Sierra de Utrera. The valley is quite narrow and the path rocky, but the views of the spectacular limestone gorge are definitely worth the effort.

Quiet and peaceful Manilva provides a perfect setting to relax, unwind and get close to nature. Manilva can also be a good destination for golf breaks as Casares Costa Golf and Coto Real Golf are located nearby. If you are looking for summer beach holidays in the area, the coastal Sabinillas and La Duquesa might be a better choice.

Manilva is conveniently located only 20 minutes drive from Estepona and 30 minutes drive from Gibraltar. It’s close both to the main costal road as well to the Autovia del Mediterráneo highway.

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