We consider several aspects of `confining strings', recently proposed to describe the confining phase of gauge field theories. We perform the exact duality transformation that leads to the confining string action and show that it reduces to the Polyakov action in the semiclassical approximation. In 4D we introduce a `θ-term' and compute the low-energy effective action for the confining string in a derivative expansion. We find that the coefficient of the extrinsic curvature (stiffness) is negative, confirming previous proposals. In the absence of a θ-term, the effective string action is only a cut-off theory for finite values of the coupling e, whereas for generic values of θ, the action can be renormalized and to leading order we obtain the Nambu-Goto action plus a topological `spin' term that could stabilize the system.