The choice of holiday destination on the leisure-orientated Costa del Sol with its rich history is not an easy one. Exclusive hotel facilities, endless beaches or maybe a more original cultural experience? Why not opt for the best of both worlds? Less than half-an-hour's drive west of Marbella this is possible in the former fishing village of Estepona, which has blossomed into one of the most popular beach destinations on Spain‘s sunshine coast.
The blue sky shines in a typical Andalusian azure over the white and terracotta of the houses. Whitewashed houses line the winding, cobbled streets and in the evening, the whole town congregates in the squares and in the countless tapas bars. The combination of the cheerful atmosphere and traditional architecture conjures up a true Andalusian atmosphere in the centre of Estepona.
Despite the unspoilt appearance of the harbour town, the selection of hotels, guesthouses and apartments in and around Estepona is remarkably large. In recent years, the budget and long established options have been complemented by high class hotels, but of course only outside of the picturesque old town. Extending for about 15 kilometres east of Estepona in the direction of Marbella are the latest luxury resorts, as well as several top quality golf courses! An excellent opportunity to improve your handicap.
With the luxury, everything modern and leisure facilities out of sight but within easy reach, you can immerse yourself into the old town of Estepona where you will find a concoction of Spanish joie de vivre, crowds of people and small and quaint shops. The hours of browsing, trying things on and shopping fly by very quickly, because in comparison to the two cities in the region, Marbella and Málaga, Estepona is a truly affordable alternative. The weekly market on Wednesdays at Avenida Juan Carlos is the best place for buying local specialties, while the Sunday market at the harbour is better for crafts and special items.
However, even children and teenagers can easily be kept entertained in Estepona and its surroundings. The Selwo Aventura Safari Park with its elephants, big cats and rare plants attracts more than four million visitors a year and has taken up the cause of preserving endangered species. The park combines environmental awareness with leisure activities by offering trips in a safari bus through the extensive grounds together with an education programme and camps for children and school groups.
In the many restaurants and bars here everybody is made welcome and the liveliness and easy going atmosphere in the old town is created by all the generations, although the street concerts of the Plaza del Reloj are a must for families and young couples alike. If this gets too much for you, then it is no problem to take your partner for a romantic stroll by the sea, as only a stone’s throw away from Estepona is the long, well-kept promenade where you can fully enjoy each other's company. While during the day north Africa‘s Atlas mountains rise out of the mist on the horizon, when night falls the lights from the African continent twinkle like fallen stars in the distance.
During the day, however it is busy rather than peaceful here. The beach of Playa de La Rada, which is over two kilometres long and very close to the old town, is one of the most popular spots and is perfect for swimming and lazing around. Playa de la Rada is only one of 17 very different beaches around Estepona, which extend for more than 21 kilometres. Another good example is Playa El Cristo which attracts the residents of Estepona to its sheltered bay especially when the Levant, the easterly wind, blows. With its fine, dark brown volcanic sand, its shallow entry into the water and always gentle waves, Playa El Cristo is ideal for families with young children and for older visitors. As with many beaches around Estepona, this beach has a Blue Flag, a seal of approval for particularly high quality and environmentally friendly beaches.
On most of Estepona's beaches there is also a large range of water-sports. From banana boats to stand-up paddling, everything is on offer here. Estepona is a Mecca for sun-worshippers and water-lovers and with guaranteed sunshine. Surrounded by the Sierra Bermeja mountains, the micro-climate here gives visitors an unbeatable 325 sunny days per year.
"Feel-good beach with several beach clubs"
"Informal beach for relaxation"
"Convivial town beach with a family atmosphere"
"Large sandy beach with lots of open space"
"Cocktails on your sun bed and traditionally prepared fish"
"Relaxed idyll between nature and luxury"
"Vast range of children's activities and traditional fish restaurants"
"Spacious urban beach with lots on offer for kids"