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    The Historic Centre of the Campo de Gibraltar area

    San Roque has a collection of listed historical buildings that are the oldest and best preserved in the Campo de Gibraltar area. The most important monuments in the City of Gibraltar in Exile are Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church, the Governer's Palace and the Bullring.

    SAN ROQUE: A town steeped in history

    The so-called "Very Noble and Most Loyal City of San Roque, Gibraltar in Exile" was officially founded in 1706. In spite of the fact that this typical white-washed town was actually established by the Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar on 4th August 1704.

    The foundation was a historical event of enormous significance: a powerful Anglo-Dutch fleet, commanded by Adiral Rooke took the Fortress of Gibraltar and hoisted the Union Jack during the Spanish War of Succession.

    Five thousand proud Spanish Gibraltarians rejected the British offer to remain in the city, leaving en masse. They settled on this hill where the old Saint Roque Shrine, built in 1508, was situated, overlooking the usurped city.

    The inhabitants of the Rock brought their most precious belongings with them as well as priceless relics. Examples of the legacy of Spanish Gibraltar are proven by the Standard of Gibraltar (1502), which is said to have been embroidered by Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad), or the Royal Warrant (1502) granted by the Catholic Monarchs in which the city was given its titles, authorities and coat of arms. In addition, Saint Mary The Crowned Parish Church houses numerous religious images from the 15th until 17th century which were also brought from Gibraltar. The Rock's church records from 1556 until 1704 are preserved at the temple as well. The Historical Archives contain the municipal records from Gibraltar City Council from 1502 until 1704.


    iglesia-sta-ma-coronadamodificado.jpgThe old quarter of town was declared a collection of listed historical buildings in 1975. The most notable monuments in the city are Saint Mary The Crowned Parish Church (1735), the Governor's Palace (18th century) and the Bull Ring (1853), the second oldest one in the province of Cádiz and one of the oldest ones in Andalusia. The most picturesque streets are San Felipe (ancestral homes with typical patios), San Nicolás and Historiador Montero. The most emblematic square is Plaza de Armas in which the Red Cape and Sword Technique, the modern form of bulfighting, was invented in 1720.

    The city offers three museums at present: the Municipal Museum featuring the Carteia exhibit (archaeology) and Luis Ortega Brú exhibit (sculpture & iconograpy), the Bullfighting Museum and the CB Museum, the only one of its kind in Europe.

    The highlight of the festival season is Holy Week, declared an Event of Andalusian Tourist Interest. The Magna Procession on Good Friday is the most eye-catching parade. This procession is unique in Spain because it is the only one held annually and includes fourteen different statues. The other key festive date is the Royal Fair in August, which comes to an end with the "Toro del Aguardiente" Bull Run, dating back to 1649.

    San Roque is the Historical Centre of the Campo de Gibraltar area. Therefore, a city tour is a must on your first visit to the area. For more information consult the Tourism or Culture sections of the website.


    Towns and villages of San Roque

    Puente Mayorga



    In 1540 a Turkish fleet raided the district of Puente Mayorga, where they destroyed 200 full wineskins from the tithe and killed 300 pigs who were grazing nearby. Even in this epoch there were small centres of population. Until the 1930s there was a customs post and it may have been the most natural port for the Bay of Gibraltar. The bridge over the Río de los Gallegos, which gives the town it's name, dates from the 18th century.


    This village came into being with the Great Siege of Gibraltar. It was here that an important camp of Spanish forces was established, which would give the area its name. The first racecourse of the Andalusian Horseracing Society was built here as the Spanish soldiers had links to societies in the area. It was constructed in 1916, which coincided with the building of the duel carriageway between Campamento and La Línea. In this era there was already a golf course, polo field and greyhound park.

    Estación de San Roque



    The district of Estación de San Roque was officially founded in 1909 due to a resolution adopted in December of the previous year. A new centre of population had emerged because of the creation of a trainline between Algeciras and Bobadilla, the first section of which had been opened in June 1890 and went as far as Jimena. The new village began to grow up around the train station, originally called El Loro.


    This old fishing village takes its name from the river, which meets the sea next to this district. The origins of Guadarranque are close by: the ancient city of Carteia, established in the second half of the 7th century B.C. in the area known today as Cerro del Prado. Diverse cultures passed through Carteia, which was the first free latin colony outside of Italy. It also played a role in the Second Punic War and the civil war between Julius Ceasar and Pompey in the final years of the Roman Republic. Strabo, Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela all wrote about this city, that came to have its own coins.


    San Enrique


    This village originates from the nearby Roman settlement of Barbésula, which was established in the lower area of the río Guadiaro. Some have interpreted the name Guadiaro as a latin version of the Greek name Chrysus combined with the Arabic prefix Wadi (wadi-aúreus). In the 4th century B.C. the river Chrysus is mentioned as a resupply post and a point of contact for trade East of the Straits of Gibraltar. In the 17th century there were many country estates in the region, such as the popular Guadiaro Inn, which was on the land of the Cortijo Grande. When English and Dutch forces occupied Gibraltar in 1704, some of those who fled the Rock came to this area. In 1709, the council of "Gibraltar en el Campo de San Roque" established the price for travel by boat along the river Guadiaro.


    The poweful Larios familiy created this village, that included the Los Álamos and Las Bóvedas estates, in 1887 through the family company: the Industrial and Agricultural society of Guadiaro. In this period agricultural colonies were created that developed into small settlements. This was how San Enrique came into being. It followed the tradition of the Larios familiy and took the name of one of it's members; Enrique Crooke Larios.



    taraguillamodificado.jpgThe name Taraguilla appears for the first time in 1582. It can be found on a document certifying that Constancia Rodríguez, widow of Bartolomé Carrillo, donated "the rental of Taraguilla, with it's vegetable gardens, vineyards and lands" to the Hospital of our Lady of the Orphaned in Gibraltar. One of the roman roads from the so-called "Itinerary of Antonino" may have passed through this place. This village has a history of flooding, as the Estación de San Roque area was frequently flooded before the building of the Guadarranque reservoir. In the 1960s some of the victims of the floods were given shelter in stilt houses by the board of military housing.


    This area formed part of the defensive fortifications along the coast that were in use from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The watch tower here was constructed at the either the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century. It served as a shelter for travellers, cattle breeders and timber merchants from the area. In 1976 there was a canon and sentry guards. The current settlement sprung up by virtue of the concentration of fishermen in the area, who came from different parts of the coast of Málaga and the Campo de Gibraltar area.

    Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro

    Sotogrande Marina

    pueblonuevomodificado.jpgPueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro was founded as a residential area for the workers tasked with the construction of Sotogrande in the mid-1960s. The land was granted to the Ayuntamiento by the developers of Sotogrande and was within the area earmarked for development. The first houses were built by the Caja de Ahorros de Jerez. The Gloria Fuentes state secondary school was also one of the first buildings.


    The marina was opened in July 1987. From the very beginning of the Sotogrande project, there were plans to construct a marina with artificial islands. It was with this goal that Sotogrande S.A. purchased suitable land on the left bank of the river Guadiaro estuary. In the early 1990s the decision was taken to build a small lakeside town with luxury apartments nestled on islands and riverbanks, which is what can today be admired in the Marina. Currently it is one of the two most important marinas in Spain with the best facilties and services for sailors, tourists and residents alike.




    In 1964 a Northamerican citizen living in the Philippines, Joseph McMicking, developed what we know today as Sotogrande. His exceptional plans came to fruition as one of the foremost luxury resorts in Europe and a world-class Golf Course, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. A year later in 1965, his nephew Enrique Zobel opened the first Polo field of the Sotogrande Polo Club close to Guadalquitón beach, next to what is now the El Cucurucho Beach Club. At the beginiing of the 1970s, Sotogrande was an enormous and largely unpopulated estate dotted with various country houses with names such as "Paniagua", "Valderrama", "El Conchudo", "Los Cano" and "La Higuera". Upon visiting the area McMicking formulated a plan that would give future property-owners two options: a peaceful getaway and an ideal location for excursions along the Costa del Sol.


    This village is located next to the Miraflores inn. Founded in 1916, it was once one of the most famous settlements in the Campo de Gibraltar area. During World War II it was frequented by German and Italian spies who were operating in the region. It was also the recreational centre for the instructors of the Academy of Provisional Sergeants of San Roque,

    Guided tours

    San Roque Borough Tourist Office offers a free guided tour service with guided theme tours (in the mornings on weekdays). These tours can arranged for groups of 10 or more people in English or Spanish. The only requirement is to book at least 5 days in advance. If you cannot get a group of friends or relatives together, please contact us so you can join other visitors on booked tours in your language. We shall do our best to offer you a date.

    Guided tours in the San Roque Area:

    - “Monumental San Roque” Guided Tours (walking tour around the Collection of Listed Historical Buildings,
    museums, streets, squares and the Carteia Archaeological Site). Free of charge. Tapas sampling experience or typical
    menu (ask for a quotation). Tailor-made excursion: one hour and a half to 4 hours long.
    - “Sotogrande Lifestyle” Guided Tours (bus tour around San Roque’s exclusive world-famous private resort:
    mansions, golf, polo, the Port and Marina). Free time available for a coffee break and shopping at the magnificent
    Leisure Marina.One hour and a half long. Coach hire not included.


     Monumental San Roque


    - The Governor's Palace (early 18 th century) , neoclassical architecture, old HQ of Spanish Military Command) –
    houses two museums and the Standard of Gibraltar (1502).
    - Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church (1735, Tuscan architecture and baroque artwork) – built on the site the old
    Saint Roque shrine (1508), the temple contains priceless statues brought from Gibraltar (16 th -18 th century).
    - Collection of Listed Historical Buildings (old quarter of San Roque): Calle San Felipe, Plaza
    de la Iglesia, Plaza de Armas (where the Red Cape and Sword Technique was invented in 1720), Mirador Poeta
    Domingo de Mena (Panoramic viewpoint), Calle Historiador Montero, Calle San Nicolás and Alameda Alfonso XI.
    - The Bull Ring (1853), the second oldest in the province of Cadiz and one of the oldest in Andalusia.
    - Carteia Archaeological Site (700 BC – important Phoenician and Roman city).
    - Municipal Museums: Carteia and Luis Ortega Brú exhibits.
    - CB Museum: largest collection of CB radios en Europe.

    Rural and Adventure Tourism:

    - Adventure tourism activities and rural accommodation at the Finca La Alcaidesa, nature area property of the
    regional government featuring 1,300 hectares of ideal natural habitat with wild olive trees, cork oak trees and pine trees.
    Nature trails, rope bridges, artificial rock faces, zip wire, horse riding routes, bicycle routes, four-wheel drive
    excursions, canoeing, orientation, survival, archery, environment education and eco-system interpretation. 18 th century
    house with 5 suites and 9 wooden cabins with a capacity for 76 guests.
    - Nature Trails in the Pinar del Rey, a municipal forest and park with 338 hectares and four marked nature trails, a
    nature centre with a Blue Flag, a visitor's centre and a recreational area with picnic and barbecue facilities. Adjacent to
    Los Alcornocales Nature Park.
    - Birdwatching in the Guadiaro River Estuary and the Torreguadiaro Lagoon, two wetland areas covering 27
    hectares and 2 hectares each. The Straits of Gibraltar is the most route for migratory birds between North Africa and
    Western Europe, it is an oasis for 144 different species of birds.
    - Whalewatching and Dolphinwatching in the Straits of Gibraltar from the ports of Tarifa, Algeciras or Gibraltar.

    The Borough Tourist Office
    Ilustre Ayuntamiento de San Roque
    Palacio de los Gobernadores, Calle Rubin de Celis s/n.
    11360 San Roque (Cádiz)
    Tel: (+34) 956 694 005 // Fax: (+34) 956 781 971
    E-mail: turismo@sanroque.es
    Web: http://www.sanroque.es/tourism

    Open from Mon-Fri, 8 am - 3 pm


    Sotogrande is a world famous residential area within the borough of San Roque and is often considered the top private resort in Europe. It is a true paradise for those who love tranquility, good quality of life and sport tourism.

    Sotogrande: The creation of the resort

    The creation of the Sotogrande area within the borough of San Roque came about through a series of fortunate circumstances in 1962. A marketing director for the airline Swissair decided to give away free tickets to a few loyal customers. One of these lucky individuals was Fredy Melian, an executive of the Ayala Corporation in Manila, Philippines, who decided to make the most of this opportunity by visiting Spain, the country of his forefathers.

    By chance, his boss Joseph McMicking called him the night before his departure to entrust to him an important task: to find a plot of land in the Mediterranean basin for the construction of a luxury resort. Although this meant that Fredy's holidays were over, it was a crucial step towards the creation of the globally renowned residential area of Sotogrande and one that would see Fredy soon rewarded with the leadership of the company.

    The goal was to find a large estate with at least one kilometre of coastline, as well as abundant water reserves and easy accessibility. The first option identified by Melian was to purchase almost the entirety of Isla Formentera in the Balearic archipelago. However, he decided to travel the length of Spain's Mediterranean coast by motorbike and he collected the proposals that he would take back with him to the Philippines.

    After meticulously studying the different options, Joseph McMicking and his nephews Jaime and Enrique Zobel decided to buy the Paniagua estate, situated in the borough of San Roque, very near to the Rock of Gibraltar.  In this location there was enough water available thanks to the Guadiaro river, a nearby airport in the British Overseas Territory and the option to buy the adjacent estates: Sotogrande, Conchudo and Valderrama.

    The authorities of the Franco regime didn't hinder McMicking's plans for Sotogrande, despite this being an era when foreigners were not permitted to buy land without the consent of the armed forces. Also, the location of the resort within a sensitive area miltiarily - if you consider the proximity to Gibraltar and Morocco - would've suggested a different attitude to the development but fortunately this wasn't the case.


    Royal Sotogrande Golf Club:

    A Championship course

    La Playa polo field:

    Pristine conditions

    In 1964, McMicking had already employed the world's foremost golf architect, Robert Trent Jones, and given him his choice of the estate's land for the first golf course. The resort would then be built around it.

    The first road in Sotogrande would become, what is now known as, the Paseo del Parque, the most emblematic avenue of the resort, This access route paved the way for the construction of the first bungalows on the fringes of the Royal Sotogrande Golf Club.

    The visionary McMicking opted to have underground electrical wiring and piping and designed the streets to match plans of American highways.

    The first polo field in Sotogrande was built in 1965. The mythical La Playa polo field was situated next to Real Club de Golf Sotogrande and El Cucurucho Beach Club. In 1971,  teams competed for the inaugural edition of the famous Sotogrande Gold Cup.

    Since the 1960’s Santa María Polo Club has become one of the most important polo clubs in Europe, where this equestrian sport can be enjoyed 365 days of the year. It is also the only polo club in the world to hold two ranking events on the international circuit every year: the Silver Cup and the Gold Cup.



    Tennis Hotel Sotogrande:

    The first accommodation

    Sotogrande Marina:

    A journey to exclusivity


    This fabulous hotel was opened in 1965 in the early days of the celebrated resort of Sotogrande. It was built by Sotogrande S.A on the orders of its founder Joseph McMicking.

    The planning on the initial project was taken on by the reputed Madrid architect José Antonio Corrales Gutiérrez, nephew of another important architect, Gutiérrez Soto, who designed the club house of the Real Club de Gold Sotogrande and the first bungalows in Sotogrande. His work was declared as a point of cultural interest of the historical heritage of Andalusia.




    The project to create a marina was being planned from the very beginning of the resort, however it would only be opened in July 1987. Adminsitrative concessions from the state were requested in order to create the Sotogrande Port Supervisory Body and construct the first buildings and moorings. Juan Miguel Villar Mir (ex Finance and Public administration minister of the first post-Franco democratic government of Spain) and the head engineer, José Cano, spearheaded the project. Currently the director of Puerto Sotogrande S.A. is Ramiro Fernández Gonzaléz-

    From the early days of Sotogrande, the idea of building a "Mini Venice" - a marina with artificial islands - was being discussed and it was with this goal that Sotogrande S.A purchased the suitable land on the left bank of the Guadiaro estuary. In the early 1990s the decision was taken to build a small lakeside town with luxury apartments nestled on islands and riverbanks, which is what can now be appreciated in the Marina area.



    Valderrama and the 97 Ryder Cup:

    Recognition of a world-class destination *****


    When we talk about world-leading golf clubs, a select few courses come to mind: Saint Andrews, Augusta, The Belfry and without doubt,  Valderrama.

    This San Roque course can be proud, not only of being the number one golf course in Continental Europe every year since 1989, but also of being one of the best worldwide according to top professionals and golf journalists.

    The tournaments Valderrama has been hosted are impressive: host of the 1997 Ryder Cup, host of the Volvo Masters (1986-1996 and 2002-2008), venue for the WGC American Express Championship (1999-2000) and the Andalucía Masters (2010-2011).

    It is a unique natural enclave that is, for many, the masterpiece of the prestigious US golf architect Robert Trent Jones. Built in 1974, the course was originally called New Sotogrande and later, in 1981, it was called Las Aves (The Birds).

    In 1984, Jaime Ortiz Patiño purchased the course to turn it into a professional course capable of hosting golf events of the highest level. Robert Trent Jones was asked to come back and redesign the original layout. Mr Patiño also decided to change the name of the club to Valderrama after the old country estate that was situated here previously.

    The result is a course that would provide a testing challenge for any golfer. The fairways pass through an area containing over three thousand cork-oaks, two thousand stone pines and some five hundred olive trees, Two lakes were created and almost ten million hectares of land for construction was added around the playing area.

    The fairways, greens and holes of Valderrama are silent testaments to a series of golf events that for some time have formed part of the history of professional golf in the modern age.



    The perfect tourist destination of today and tomorrow.

    Nowadays Sotogrande has 4 of the 9 golf courses in the borough of San Roque: Valderrama (number one in continental Europe), Royal Sotogrande Golf Course (number 7 in continental Europe), Almenara Golf and La Reserva Golf Club.

    In addition, 6 of the 9 polo fields of Santa María Polo Club are situated in this residential area.

    That's not to forget the other top class sport facilities nearby such as the Sotogrande Marina, which is perfect for those that love sailing and nautical sports, and includes the Real Cub Marítimo de Sotogrande amongst it's state of the art facilities.

    There are also tennis and padel clubs: Sotogrande Racquet Center and El Octógono, an equestrian centre, Centro Hípico Sotogrande, and two beach clubs, El Cucurucho and El Octógono.

    Furthermore, Sotogrande is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the borough of San Roque: Hotel Almenara ****, Hotel Sotogrande **** and Hotel Club Marítimo Sotogrande ****. Almenara also has its own spa and wellness centre: Sotogrande Health Resort

    Finally, in a commerical sense, Sotogrande and the surrounding Guadiaro Valley area has a range of shops and other businesses for tourists and residents in the following locations: Puerto Sotogrande, Supercor/ Sotomarket shopping centre, Paniagua shopping centre/ Plaza Blanca, Mar y Sol shopping centre and in Pueblo Nuevo the Sotovila shopping centre.

    Sotogrande has undoubtedly become a model resort for residential tourism and a paradise for those that are looking for a holiday destination synonymous with quality and tranquility, far away from mass tourism and the consant flashing of cameras.


    Information Centre and Sotogarnde S.A. Reservations

    Hotel Almenara Tel: 902 181 836

    Sotogrande estate agency: 956 790 224

    Official Sotogrande web page

    More information:

    San Roque borough tourist office

    Tel: +34 956 694 005

    Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 8.00am until 3.00pm (8.00am to 2.00pm from July 15th - September 15th)