San Roque is located between two continents: Europe and Africa; two seas: the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; and three cultures: the Andalusia, the British and the Arab.
San Roque is located to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, in the Estrecho de Gibraltar and over a hill from where it is discerned the Bahía de Algeciras, Gibraltar, el Estrecho and further on; Africa.
In the tourist resort of Sotogrande you can play sports traditionally considered “élite” like polo or sailing and the most popular, the golf.
San Roque has eight golf courses, in all 162 holes in more than ten millions square metres of tourist ground.
San Roque is a town with a exceptional environment where you can enjoy its beaches or large inner spots.
Due to its strategic location, the town has excellent communications, to only an hour from the International Airport of Málaga and to fifteen minutes from the Airport of Gibraltar by the Motorway of La Costa del Sol and the sea port of Algeciras, with regular ferries and catamarans to Ceuta and Tánger (Morocco).
The average temperature in San Roque is 20 ºC and it has 300 sunny days a year.
Because all these things, San Roque with its past, present and future offers all the visitors can imagine. ¡Its cultural, natural and tourist patrimony supports it in that respect!
Because of all this, a stay in San Roque will be an unforgettable experience and you will come back time and time again, because it is easy to get San Roque, the difficult is go away…
As regards the history of San Roque, we can say that different old cultures settled down in the present municipal district: Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. In this place there was found Carteia, the first Latin colony in Spain, founded in 171 B.C. in the location of a town with an important port.
The town was occupied by the Muslims with their arrival to the Peninsula until a short time before the conquest of the kingdom of Granada, specifically in 1462.
The Noble and Most Loyal town of San Roque, where resides the one of Gibraltar, is founded officially in 1706. However, this typical White town from Andalucía was settled by the Spanish inhabitants from Gibraltar the August 4, 1704.
The founding was a historic landmark without unprecedented: a powerful Anglo-Dutch fleet, commanded by the admiral Rooke seized the Plaza de Gibraltar and hoisted the Anglo-Saxon flag during the War of Spanish Succession.
Five hundred proud Spanish Gibraltarians rejected the British offer to stay in the town, leaving en masse and settled down in this hill, where there was the old Hermitage of San Roque that dated from 1508.
The inhabitants from the Rock brought with their all the possessions they could and their valued relics. We can see some examples about the legacy of the Spanish Gibraltar such as the Pendón de Gibraltar (1502), given by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs where there were granted the titles, authorities and coat of arms to Gibraltar. Besides the Church Santa María la Coronada houses many images from the XVI century to the XVIII century brought from Gibraltar. There also are kept the church archives of Gibraltar from 1556 to 1704 in the temple. The Historic Archive has the municipal archives of Gibraltar Town Hall from 1502 to 1704.
Monuments in San Roque
Alameda Alfonso XI
Cuartel Diego Salinas
Chapel Ntra. Señora de la Visitación
Church of San Roque
Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church
Plaza de Armas Square
Caida or Quebrada Watchtower
Nueva de Guadiaro Watchtower
San Roque Gastronomy
The gastronomic in San Roque is very varied; you can taste high quality meats, game, fishes and shellfish from the nearby ports.
How to get there
From Cádiz you can get San Roque through the National 340. From Málaga you can also get here through the same road although you can take the Toll Motorway AP 7 that links Estepona with Sotogrande.
By Plane: The airport of Málaga is located to 90 minutes and the one of Gibraltar to 20 minutes.
Distances from San Roque
Cádiz 131 km
Marbella 70 km
Málaga 125 km
Gibraltar 12 km
María España Drinking Fountain
This 18th century drinking fountain is one of San Roque´s timeless symbols. The name appears in old songs and legends. The vision of the fountain is linked to oldfashioned water carriers, who would put their water pitchers brimming with fresh spring water on their donkeys´ backs and supply it to the inhabitants of the City of San Roque.
The fountain has always been a recreational area for the locals, a resting place for walkers and the inhabitants of the Arca Mountains when they came to the town centre. The town folk, who identify so well with the fountain, were ones who gave the place its name, against the wishes of the Mayor who had wanted his name to be used.
El Chorro Fountain
The Bull Ring
The Bull Ring was built in 1853 and is the oldest one in the province of Cadiz and one of the oldest in Andalusia. The Bull Ring is one of the only ones without a “callejón”, an alleyway and barrier behind which the matador takes refuge. It is said that the reason why it was not built was that the architect, a local mathematics teacher, made a mistake with his calculations and there was not enough room for one.
Two bullfights were planned for two matadors. Cayetano Sanz and Francisco Vilches “Lilly”. The first on took place on 20th August 1853. During a series of bullfights held in 1885 a member of the matador´s support team, Mariano” El Tornero” died in the Bull Ring. In 1946 the Mexican apprendice bullfighter also died in the Bull Ring. The building became Council property in December 1993. In 2002 the Bullfighting Museum was inaugurated.
Third Centenary of the Foundation of the Very Noble and Most Loyal City of San Roque
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 this typical white-washed town was 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 Admiral 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 in mass. 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 their 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 (Joan 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 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. The 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 Govermor´s Palace (18th century) and the Bull Ring (1853), the oldest one in the province of Cadiz 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 (modern bullfighting) was invented in 1720. The city offers four museums at present: Carteia Archaeological Museum, Luis Ortega Brú Sculpture & Iconography Museum, the Bullfighting Museum, featuring local bullfighting history and the CB Radio Museum.
The highlights of the festival season are Holy Week, declared an Event of Andalusian Tourist Interest and the Royal Fair. The Magna Procession on Good Friday is the most outstanding parade. This procession is unique in Andalusia because it is the only one held annually and includes fourteen different statues. The other big festive date is the Royal Fair in August, which comes to an end with the Toro del Aguardiente Bull Run, dating black to 1649. San Roque is the Historical Centre of the Gibraltar Area.
A city tour is a must on your first visit to the area.
The New Saint Roque Chapel
The new Saint Roque Chapel was erected in 1801 and has neoclassical architecture. The shrine houses a statue of Saint Roque. In the fouth week of April the Saint RoqueProcession is held, when people carry the image of Saint Roque on a float. The statue is taken from this temple to the Pinar del Rey Pine Woods and vice verse.
During the Spanish War of Independence the temple was sacked by the Napoleonic troops and the statue of the Saint was destroyed. This image was replaced in 1833 by another one donated by a captain from San Roque called Juan Rojas, who was stationed in Seville, At the time this city was suffering from a cholera epidemic, so Captain Juan Rojas vowed to make the effigy if he and all of his family recovered from the disease. That is what happened and the new image of Saint Roque was placed in this popular chapel.
Our Lady of Visitation Chapel
Our Lady of Visitation Chapel dates back to the 18th century. This temple houses the image of the Nazarene recovered from Gibraltar. Amongst the images inside, the statues of Our Lady of Anguish and The Most Blessed Mary of Sorrows, which are paraded during Holy Week, stand out the most. In the building next door, the Charity Hospital was founded in 1776 by an order of the same name substituting the one in Gibraltar. The sister´s mission was caring for poor sick people and raising orphans in the whole area. The sisterhood went through hard times during the Great Siege and the French occupation.
In 1909 the building was in ruins, but thanks to donations made by local people the parish priest. Manuel Aranda Ureba managed to rebuild it. That very same year the Charity Sisters returned to run the hospital and were substituted by the “Buen Consejo” Franciscan runs in 1913. The nuns left in September 2001.