Where you are is what you see. Your surroundings, immediate and distant, are a key factor in the desirability of your home. But location means more than views alone. It also means accessibility to nature, to sporting and leisure facilities, to entertainment and culture, to essential services and to a beautiful coastline. In other words, the stuff that dreams are made of.
Article by Vivion O’Kelly
For the best views of the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar and Africa beyond, climb La Concha Mountain. Or take a short drive up from the coast on the Ronda road, turn right and in a few minutes you’ll find the second-best views southwards in the entire Marbella area.
You are now in Vista Lago Residences, one of the finest luxury developments in the whole of Southern Spain, located within the larger Real de La Quinta country club estate. The spectacular views from here may be the main attraction, but the actual location itself, regardless of views, is also one of the most attractive along the southern coastline.
Geographically, you’ll find yourself up to 365 metres above sea level, less than eight kilometres from Puerto Banús, bordered on the western side by the municipality of Marbella and within the municipality of Benahavís. Malaga City and airport is a pleasant drive eastwards, and Gibraltar, although a slightly longer drive south-west, is less than an hour away. The La Concepción Reservoir, just a few minute’s walk from Vista Lago, is clearly visible from the western border of Real de La Quinta. And the recently declared Sierra de las Nieves National Park, covering an area of almost 93,000 hectares, is practically on your doorstep.
Nature may be wonderful, but for some people, the charms of Andalucian towns and villages are even more so. Hustle and bustle without stress. People milling about for no purpose other than to be together. Children playing in the streets and squares without being shouted at by worried parents. Sidewalk seats to view and experience life being lived to the full for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and some tapas. This is the typical Southern Spanish town, and there are quite a few of them within easy reach of Vista Lago.
We start with nearby Benahavís, known for decades past as the restaurant village of Andalucia. This is the most mountainous village in the region, at some 500 metres above sea level, and to drive up there in the past used to be an adventure in itself. That has changed, of course, but the village itself has remained more or less the same, thanks to strict conservation laws. We can see that it was once a Moorish settlement, not only by looking at the ruins of its 11th century castle of Montemayor, but by wandering its twisted narrow streets. It gained fame for its cuisine soon after the Costa del Sol began to attract foreign tourism, and the quality of its first restaurants ensured their survival. The subsequent establishment of many other top restaurants in the town cemented this reputation. In recent years, the area has also come to be known for its numerous golf courses.
Then we have San Pedro Alcántara, the latter part of whose name derives from that of a saint named Pedro de Alcántara, given to the daughter of the Marqués del Duero, who founded the town as recently as 1860 as an experimental agricultural estate. Most people now refer to the town as San Pedro de Alcántara. Its overall population in 1950 was little more than a thousand people, and that has grown to about 30,000 in the intervening years, although sources differ widely on these figures. The colonial-style church, built a few years after the foundation of the town, was burnt down during the Civil War and fully restored in the early 1940s.
What San Pedro lacks in traditional Moorish charm is more than made up for by its beautiful 19th century architecture, its lively plaza, its streets lined with excellent bars and restaurants and its proximity to the coast. It became part of the municipality of Marbella in 1945, when the then mayor of Marbella purchased the house built by the Marqués del Duero.
Nueva Andalucía, a few minute’s drive from Vista Lago and located just up from Puerto Banús, is an area rather than a town, although its many shops, businesses, restaurants and entertainment centres make it a good deal more than a large residential area. With four of the oldest and most prestigious golf courses in the region (Los Naranjos, Las Brisas, Aloha Golf and La Quinta), it has become known as the Golf Valley. It is, in fact, the largest neighbourhood in Marbella, extending over several square kilometres with an official year-round population of about 15,000.
To write about the world-famous Marbella and Puerto Banús would be, perhaps, to preach Catholicism to the Pope. Suffice it to say that getting to either town from Vista Lago will take no more than a few minutes by car. But fewer people might be aware of the numerous other towns and villages within close driving distance of Vista Lago, which include the mountain villages of Istán and Ojén on the east side and the bustling town of Estepona towards the west.
Istán, in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca mountains, is a delight to visit, partly because of the beautiful road that winds its way up the east side of the La Concepción reservoir from Nueva Andalucía. The town sits at 300 metres above sea level and is Moorish in origin, as can be seen in its urban layout and its many irrigation channels and drinking fountains, and as one would expect in such a place, it has some truly charming bars and restaurants.
Ojén, another quintessentially Moorish village, nestles in the mountains at eight kilometres above Marbella on an excellent road. Visit in the late evening, as the village square turns into a daily carnival of human interaction, with children on their bicycles disturbing the peace just enough to make you aware of how peace and quiet can frequently be overrated. The traditional life of the village was saved from destruction partly through the lack of building land in the mountainous terrain, partly by the abominable condition of the road from Marbella in years gone by and partly by the strict planning laws of recent times.
Head west and a fairly short drive brings you to Estepona, a stylish town that has also, to some extent, managed to keep its core as it used to be. Its Sunday market in the marina, a few minutes beyond the town centre, is a must visit and a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning, and when retail therapy fails to satisfy, there are many wonderful bars fronting the marina to have a drink in and watch the world go by. Lunch in one of the seafood restaurants and the afternoon spent exploring the many beautiful villages beyond and behind Estepona, such as Manilva, Casares and Gaucín, and you have the perfect day out.
And all this while still a relatively short distance from your new home in Vista Lago, and much the same in any other direction, especially northwards to the spectacular town of Ronda. The enjoyment of living is, to a large extent, a question of location.
For more information on Vista Lago Residences visit our information page, or call the Sales Team directly on (+34) 648 981 111