Duquesa´s closest neighbour is the fishing village of Sabinillas. For years this sleepy enclave has remained untouched by tourism and has followed much the same pace of life as it did years ago, however over the last while this has been changing and the town has been experiencing a bit of a transformation.
The walk from Duquesa to Sabinillas is a very pleasant one, along the seafront walkway which extends along the entire town. Although the amount of tourists in the area has increased dramatically and new apartment blocks are being constructed everywhere there is a distinct lack of hotels in the area, which has allowed this tiny community to keep much of its original charm.
Dotted around the Paseo Maritimo, on the seafront, are now quite a few restaurants, bars and coffee shops owned by foreign residents, the beaches have had a bit of a face lift and numerous Spanish classes for foreign speakers have been arranged by the local council to keep up with demand. There is also the ubiquitous presence of cranes and construction sites in the area signaling the ever increasing number of new homes for residents and investors to the region.
Sabinillas is not really a historic town, there are few ancient monuments or even old buildings in the town. It does of course have a history, San Luis de Sabinillas has had settlers from the prehistoric times, however its more recent history dates back to the 18th Century where it used to be a settlement with fishing huts and sugar factory worker´s cottages.
One of the oldest buildings in the town is the Church of Santa Ana, this building sits by the town square in the Calle Iglesia, the church itself only dates back to the 1800´s but it forms part of the main hub of the village and is the meeting point for many of the locals who go there for their weekly worship. Often you will see families or retirees sitting on the benches in the shade of the trees surrounding the church watching the world go by.
The town square also houses the Post Office, Pharmacy and Taxi rank and the village itself has all the utilities you would expect from a growing Costa del Sol location, with plenty of banks, shops, cafes and other services. There are two large supermarkets which have everything you will need for a self catering holiday shop as well as an English speaking doctor and dentist should you need one.
For much of its history the residents of Sabinillas have relied on fishing as a means of income and it is still an important part of the community and its everyday life. Whilst there are less fishermen tending to their nets along the seafront than there used to be, the beaches are dotted with fishing boats and often you will see the men unloading the days catch which goes straight to the local seafood restaurants and fishmongers in the area. Plentiful fishing also means an abundance in seafood, and the restaurants in Sabinillas are well known throughout the province for the quality of their food. There are a couple of authentic local seafood restaurants along the waterfront which are worth visiting, however you could do well by wandering around the town´s streets and alleyways where other restaurant´s are housed, these are just as good, less busy and a little cheaper than on the front.
Of particular note are the Mary y Mar and Restaurante Vinamar, both restaurants are located next to each other on the paseo maritimo but always appear to be full, especially on a weekend. On their menu you will find a good selection of traditional tapas and raciones such as deep fried cuttlefish, clams, grilled swordfish and prawns.
If you fancy a change from seafood there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Of particular note is Rilex on the Beach, at the very end of the paseo. This restaurant has a great selection of Indonesian tapas, salads and a good range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. The dishes come beautifully presented and are cooked fresh on the premises. They also have sun lounger hire on the beach and for a few euros you can relax in the sunshine all day.
If you fancy a cup of coffee and something sweet you should also visit Pattiserie Miel, this fantastic cafe has Belgian management and, as we all know, the Belgians know a thing or two about chocolate. This is evident in the beautiful cakes on offer, baked fresh every day, the fantastic Belgian chocolates as well as crepes and more substantial meals on their menu.
In fact there is an abundance of good restaurants and bars dotted along the promenade where you can sample the menu and make up your own mind, with tables that spill across its width up to the beach edge. Here you can eat your evening meal whilst you relax and listen to the sea lapping on to the beach.
The beach itself is one of the highlights of Sabinillas, it is a long expanse of well maintained sands and is very safe for families and young children. There are plenty of trained lifeguards on call throughout the summer and a number of children´s play areas as well as chiringuito beach bars and sun lounger hire.
Sabinillas is a perfect place to while away the day relaxing on the beach, if you fancy a bit of shopping however, the village holds two market days a week, a street market on Friday and a massive carboot sale on Sunday. The Sunday market has been moved to the Recinto Ferial due to its increasing popularity and browsers can find anything from fruit and vegetables to second hand furniture, books, paintings and handicrafts. Increasingly, many of the market holders and business owners in Sabinillas are foreign residents who have moved to the area to find that they fit in quite comfortably.
There are also exciting plans for the future, with new developments planned such as a new sports complex which is being built on the Campo de Futbol. The complex will include an indoor swimming pool, paddle and tennis courts, a squash court, all-weather 7-a-side football pitch and a sports hall, as well as more underground parking which is very much needed in the area.
All of this makes San Luis de Sabinillas a great place to visit, live, work and play. It is never overcrowded, in fact it is usually very quiet, and the beach and its bars and restaurants make a nice change from the port.