Situated in the municipality of San Roque, Sotogrande is famous throughout the world for the luxurious lifestyles of its residents.
Sotogrande itself was the dream of an American entrepreneur, Joseph McMicking who wanted to build an idyllic environment in which to live. He visited the region in the 1960s and saw that the coastal area between Torreguadiaro and Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro was perfect. It had decent communications to Málaga and Gibraltar airports, fantastic views across the Gibraltar Strait to Africa and inland to the hills and was in the beautiful setting of the Rio Guadiaro valley and its estuary.
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Since then Sotogrande has grown to be one of the finest gated communities in the world covering over 4,000 acres. The rich, famous and the nobility own its villas and apartments, many of which overlook or, more recently, were actually built on purpose built islands in Sotogrande marina that is now considered the finest marina in the Western Mediterranean with berths for over 800 boats from just a few metres in length to super cruisers of 30 metres.
The marina is the first that you encounter when you sail east of Gibraltar so is a favourite for those fitting out to sail deeper into the Med. Support services include chandlers, a fuel bunker, lifting out facilities, restaurants and bars. Crews are never short of entertainment. Other sporting facilities include golf at any of the international courses in the area, polo, tennis and various water borne activities such as sailing, canoeing and wind surfing.
The history of Torreguadiaro
By the time Joseph McMicking came along the N340 as it had become known was a single-track tarmac road with dusty verges. The fishing village through which it passed had hardly grown, a collection of cottages housing the fishing families whose boats were drawn up in the sheltered bay at the eastern end of the village. Gradually, as Sotogrande expanded, so did Torreguadiaro. More modern houses and apartments were built, not to everyone’s taste but with stupendous views, and the roadside properties became restaurants and bars.
Torreguadiaro, as the name suggests is the location of one of the many torres or towers built between the 15th and 18th centuries to provide vantage points to warn the locals when marauding bands of Barbary pirates were making their way from their safe havens on the coast of Morocco. In fact Torreguadiaro has two torres, the first and newest is a rather grand affair visible from the boardwalk whilst the second, older, torre is gently crumbling at the western end of the promenade.
It has taken Torreguadiaro two thousand years to develop as far as it has today. During Roman times it was a tiny fishing settlement, famous in those days perhaps for being on one of the routes taken by the Via Augusta, a series of roads that went from Cádiz to Rome. The paved Roman road crumbled over the ages, only to be paved again in the early 20th century.
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