Estepona is the Costa del Sol’s most westerly resort and lies 80km from Malaga airport at the foot of the Sierra Bermeja mountains. Originally a fishing village Estepona has developed as a mainly Spanish resort and has managed to avoid too many high rise hotels and apartment blocks. It has a much more Spanish atmosphere than many of the other resorts of the Costa del Sol with typical Andalusian whitewashed houses and balconies decorated with flowers. The houses are whitewashed and iron gates painted every year to maintain the feeling of a cared for town.
Locals can often be seen chatting outside these houses. In the old part of the town the streets are still cobbled whilst along the seafront runs a very pretty promenade lined wih palm trees and flowers. Some chiringuitos (beach bars) are to be found along this promenade.
The beaches in Estepona were originally of fairly coarse, grey sand but work has been done to improve them and they now tend to be a bit better than before. Of course all the usual beach and water activities are available such as jet-skiing, parasailing, diving and pedalos. If you have your own transport and want to find some quieter beaches with golden sand these can be found anywhere beyond Tarifa.
Estepona is a perfect resort for families and people looking for a quiet holiday away from the busy nightlife of some of the more commercialised resorts along the coast although there are some disco pubs around the marina. There are many traditional tapas bars around Plaza Las Flores and some excellent restaurants specialising in seafood and fish dishes such as sardines on the spit (espeto de sardinas).
Things to do in Estepona
There is plenty to do in and around Estepona. For the early risers the fish market at the harbour is an interesting sight. A large variety of fish are auctioned off but you must be there by 6am as it tends to be finished by 7am. The 18th century Church of Los Remedios in the Plaza de San Francisco was once a Franciscan monastery. The Torre Reloj (clock tower) has organised tours every Thursday starting from the tourist office. The bull ring, on the outskirts of the town, has four museums in it one of which has has an interesting collection of bullfighting memorabilia. Ronda, famous for its incredible gorge provides a fabulous day out. The little known town of Casares is a typical white Andalusian town set on a hillside and you can find out how to get there from the tourist office in Estepona.
The village of Manilva has some Roman sulphur baths which are interesting if somewhat smelly. For the kids there’s Selwo Aventura, a safari park where you can see animals such as tigers, lions and elephants, go on a camel ride, have a go at archery and walk on the overhead walkways.
Golf, of course, is a big pastime in this area. There are many world class Costa del Sol golf courses around Estepona some of which have 5 star hotels and sports facilities attached. The mild, dry winter climate make it a pleasure to play golf all through the year. If you do intend to use any of the courses do remember to bring your handicap certificate with you as it may be difficult to find a course which does not require it.
Estepona, like all other Andalusian towns, takes the opportunity to celebrate and party as much as possible. Three of its main festivals are San Isidro celebrated on May 15th with processions and a party in the countryside, the local town festival celebrated during the first week of June in the fairground and the festival of the Virgen del Carmen on July 16th when a statue of the virgen is carried out to sea and back on fishing boats.
Special Places to Stay Near Estepona
Just 4km south of Estepona Beach is the luxurious Gran Hotel Elba Estepona Thalasso Spa which is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. The hotel has a fine selection of rooms and suites with large balconies and sea views. Located some 6km from Estepona on the road to Marbella is the Barceló Estepona Thalasso Spa which is a spa resort which uses water that comes directly form the sea. A fine choice for families is the beachside Estepona Palace Hotel which lies just on the outskirts of Estepona. The modern rooms have balconies with sea views and the kids will love the pool area and entertainment.
Useful Estepona Spain Information:
The official website of Estepona’s town council.