Estepona is about 30km further west than Marbella and so therefore a bit further away from Malaga airport. It’s often considered to be the poor version of Marbella and whilst it does not have the same glitz and glamor of its famous neighbor it is, actually, very similar in many ways.
It has a lovely old town which has been vastly improved in recent years with the town hall spending a lot of money making the streets and squares really beautiful. It retains a very Spanish feel to it particularly at the beginning of July when they hold Fiesta y Feria week – a week long carnival of dancing and eating in very Spanish style.
It then has a very long promenade with a huge beach lined with bars and restaurants. It has its own leisure port (Puerto Deportivo ) and marina full of cafes, restaurants , bars and small shops.
Places to visit
Within a short drive there are no shortage of lovely, traditional white villages the best being Casares. There is also the village of Manilva, where there are some amazing roman sulphur baths.
Beaches in the Estepona Area
The beaches in the Estepona area have greyish sands unlike those in the Marbella area or further west in Tarifa.
The main beach running the entire length of the town has numerous restaurants and bars all along it. Other beaches of note in the area are:-
Velerín Beach – a fairly quiet beach with one or two restaurants.
Cristo beach – 5 minutes West of Estepona Port. It is a small cove with two “chiringuitos”, beach front bar/restaurants.
Bahía Dorada – another quiet area.
Costa Natura- the original nudist beach on the Costa del Sol.
Estepona is a golfer’s paradise with courses such as El Paraiso, Valle Romano and Estepona golf. Further west but within a 20 minute drive are the premium courses on the coast such as Sotogrande, Valderrama (host of the 1997 Ryder Cup), La Reserva and Finca Cortesin.
There is a sport and fitness complex with a gym and an undercover, full size swimming pool in the port area.
There are several horse riding centres where you can ride up into the beautiful Sierra Bermeja mountains.
How to Get to Estepona
It’s a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Malaga airport on the A7 toll road or slightly longer on the free coastal road. There is a good direct bus service from the airport.
Restaurant and shopping facilities
Estepona has, literally, hundreds of restaurants in the old town and many more on the promenade and marina areas.
For breakfast try churreria y chocolate, a light donought type pastry served with hot chocolate source. There is an excellent Churreria towards the southern end of the town in Calle Real (one block back from, and parallel to, the promenade) – get there before 11am as they sell out early.
The town centre/old town has a range of shops selling your usual tourist gifts and locally made produce and goods along with boutique clothes shops. The Wednesday market is a great place for cheap clothing as well as food and vegetables and the Sunday market at the port is a place for tourist gifts.
Estepona port has two supermarkets one of which is open 24 hours a day.
The nearest large department stores are at the La Cañada shopping centre just off the main A7 road above Marbella or the El Corte Inglés department store in Puerto Banús.
For market lovers there is a covered market which sells fresh food daily and is located on Calle Villa which opens early in the morning up to around 14.00 each day except Sundays.
There are two tourist offices in the town.
Oficina de Turismo Centro
Plaza de las Flores s/n
Winter Timetable: Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm & Saturdays form 10 am to 2pm.
Oficina de Turismo Puerto
C/ Torre Almenara s/n
Winter Timetable: Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm.
For the kids
The Estepona area is great for families. Some of the things to do are:
Los Pedregales park – this is one of Estepona’s secrets. Paths wind their way between the natural outcrops and the flowers, shrubs and herbs that you would expect to find in the more remote regions of Andalucia surround you. Perfect for those who cannot walk far yet enjoy the wild. There is a large children’s play area and a small shop selling ice cream, drinks etc. There is also a delightful stream running through the park that is ideal for paddling. Older children may appreciate a game of patanka in the purpose built patanka pit or a game of football on one of the grass areas.
Selwo Safari Park houses 2000 animals in semi-wild conditions. Only 20 minutes drive away from Estepona Port (and on the public transport route). There 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. A great part of the circuit there is made in all-terrain trucks, although there is lots to see on foot, so its recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Within the town itself you will find mainly old, traditional houses although some of these have been converted into apartments. A lot of North Europeans look for such houses thinking that they will provide a quaint, traditional house. This is true, but these houses were built many years ago for Spanish people to live in and not for tourists. Consequently, they tend to be dark inside (to combat the heat) with little outside space unless they have a roof terrace. The walls tend to be extremely thick making alterations very difficult. A small house in need of reform will typically cost around €130,000 but for something of a reasonable size and modernised expect to pay €250,000 upwards.
On the outskirts of the town yet still walking distance to the old town there are some more modern and traditional holiday style properties starting at €100,000.
There are some very luxurious beachfront apartments near the marina starting at over €1m.
Alternatively, outside the town are a number of complex’s areas where a variety of properties can be found.
Towns/areas within the Estepona municipality include: -
New Golden Mile