Istán Travel Guide

If you like rural tourism, visiting Istán is definitely worth a trip to the mountains. In just a short driving distance from Marbella you will discover totally another side of the Costa del Sol. Istán is a charming, typical white village in the middle of nature in the Andaluz Mountains, gently hidden from the mass tourism, with a population of just over 1400 people.

It is an old Moorish village that dates all the way back to the 15th century and means ‘spring’ from Arabic. You’ll find original water aqueducts, fountains and springs filled with fresh mountain water flowing from the top to provide the villagers with crystal clean drinking water.

The village is known for its breathtaking views of Lake Istán, which appeared after a dam was built in 1972. It supplies many towns along the coast with drinking water. The view over the lake to the Mediterranean Sea on a clear day is unforgettable!

There are few small restaurants and bars in the village that serve excellent local tapas and refreshing drinks.

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istan Sierra de las Nieves

Around Istán you can find a great number of hiking paths and mountain biking trails where you can enjoy the stunning nature of Andalusia and challenge yourself by doing some adventure sports and activities.

Places to visit in Istán:

The fountain El Chorro: This fountain and also an old washing place is located at the beginning of Calle Chorro. The water in it is not drinkable now, but it was the main source of fresh drinking water for the village for thousands of years using the old Arabic system of canals.
Charca Del Canalón: A hidden natural paradise with crystal clear water and beautiful waterfalls. La Charca is translated as a ‘river pool’. Many of these pools are suitable for swimming and even diving as it is deep enough to jump from the rocks into the water.

Museum of Water: It demonstrates the vital role that water plays in our life and in the environment. The museum is reflecting the ‘culture of water’ of Istán and its inhabitants. It is a modern museum with audiovisual presentation rooms.
Arabic Tower: This tower is located in the highest part of the village on Calle San Miguel. It is a square tower built in the 15th century that was a part of a large fortress. Recently it has been restored and again opened its doors to the visitors.
Church of San Miguel: The church of San Miguel was built in the 16th century on the orders of Diego de Deza, archbishop of Seville. It was reconstructed in the 17th century and then again in 1950.

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La Esfera Fountain: A modern fountain opened in 2003. The purpose of the fountain is to remind everyone that water is an essential part of the landscape that surrounds the village.
Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park: Istán is one of the gateways to visit the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. From here you can start your journey into the wild pretty close to the bustling life of Marbella. What a contrast!