Before the crowds came to the Costa del Sol, Estepona was one of the first Spanish resorts to attract foreign tourists. While its surrounding modern towns were built at speed, Estepona quietly held on to its time-honoured traditions that date back to the 4th century.
During the Moorish occupation of Spain, Estepona flourished due to its location on the Strait of Gibraltar and was renowned for its culinary delicacies.
If you visit today you will discover a picturesque old town adorned with flowers and a seemingly endless palm-fringed coastline. These and many more delights, make Estepona one of the prettiest towns on the Costa del Sol. Still having that cosy old fashioned feel, Estepona is the kind of place where you can sit and smell the orange blossoms in Plaza de las Flores while enjoying listening to the birds sing.
On a clear day you can make out the Atlas Mountains, Rock of Gibraltar and when the sun sets, thousands of twinkling ‘stars’ as the lights go on in Africa.
With no larger hotels in town and narrow winding cobbled streets, Estepona appears to be more suited to horses than it is for cars. Away from the Old Towns confusing lanes and alleyways, there is more to Estepona than you would at first think.
Beach lovers will be in their element with nearly all of Estepona’s beaches having Blue Flag status. Just to the west of town in a sheltered cove, you will find El Cristo Beach. This Blue Flag stretch of fine sand gently slopes into the sea, making it ideal for families with young children. There is also a couple of chiringuitos where you can practically dine on the beach.
Estepona is just under 65 kilometres from Malaga airport, which is useful as this airport does seem to offer international flights with more competitive air fares. And as getting from Malaga airport to Estepona by transfer, now only takes around 1 hour, you will no doubt be out and about exploring the area before you know it.
Things to do in Estepona
Located in one of Estepona’s prettiest squares, in a stately looking building that used to be the town hall, the Estepona Archaeological Museum contains over 400 fascinating artefacts dating back to Palaeolithic times. This well preserved display lends itself to an interesting couple of hours of musing, whilst sheltering from the summer heat.
One of Estepona’s most popular attractions, the Orchid House Opened in 2015. Today it contains the largest collection of orchids found anywhere in Europe. There are three small waterfalls that are actually used to regulate the temperature for the botanical gardens and when flowing, really do set a tranquil scene when browsing.
Ruta de Murales Artisticos
To get to know Estepona inside and out, there is no better way than spending the afternoon navigating the Route of the Murals. Back in 2012 Estepona decided to spruce up the town and at the same time create a tourist attraction by creating works of art on the sides of buildings. While all of them are very imaginative, some are spectacular and you won’t be alone in wanting to grab a selfie with each one you find. Stop by the Estepona tourist office in the Plaza de las Flores and pick up a free map of the route.
Hike Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja
Located just 10 kilometres inland from the sea, the 1,449-metre mountain is a great place to have a family picnic surrounded by nature. This is a great family day out with older children and you’re sure to spot some of the local wildlife. If you are going to hike the final 1.5 kilometres from the car park at the refuge, be sure to wear sensible shoes and take plenty of water.
Estepona is not only a great destination for your next trip, it is a perfect location within reach of many other brilliant destinations in Spain that you can also tick of your bucketlist.
Located less than an hour’s drive, the Rock of Gibraltar a little piece of the UK that has been a British overseas territory since it was ceded to Britain in 1713.
Ride the cable car from the waterfront and marvel at the Barbary apes while admiring the spectacular views. These bold apes are really what most of us would call smaller monkeys, and you’ll be entertained for quite a while with their mischievous antics.
Tarifa is the place to go if you are looking for unspoiled beaches and a laid back vibe. In recent years Tarifa has become a mecca for kitesurf enthusiasts thanks to constant winds that allow them to pursue their sport.
If you are up for it, you can sign up for lessons at one of the many kitesurf schools in town. Just down the road in Baelo Claudia Bolonia, is the opportunity to seesome antiquated culture with the intriguing Roman ruins on display.
From its authentic old town to the modern attractive marina, Estepona has much more to offer than sangria and sand. The year round balmy Costa del Sol weatherprovides the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and explore.
Just be sure to carefully plan your travel itinerary in advance to get the most out of this often overlooked gem.