Did you know?… Estepona, situated only a few kilometers away from Marbella’s jet set, has for many years been overshadowed …but now it’s decided to shine its own star and we’ve discovered exactly why!
The history of Estepona
Heavily marked by the presence of the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabian cultures, the town+ was founded during the Phoenician colonization, when it was known as Astapa; however, it was in Roman times that it really flourished. Like so many villages in southern Spain, it was fought over by the Moors and the Christians until it was finally captured by Enrique IV of Castile in 1457 but Estepona entered the twentieth century as a village of 9,000 farmers and fishermen. In 1997 Estepona was put on the world map, when it became one of the two dozen landing points for the FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe) round-the-world 27,000-kilometre undersea telecoms cable. The exact location is not public, but its adjacent landing points are Cornwall and Sicily – which is certainly a global achievement.
Having landed at Malaga or Gibraltar airport, Estepona is situated somewhat in the middle of those airports on the Costa del Sol, located in the province of Málaga and nestled on the Mediterranean. Estepona is steadily extending its promenade to Marbella and the Puerto Deportivo is the focal point of the town’s nightlife, especially at weekends and is also excellent for water sports. It is 137 square kilometers in size and backed by the beautiful Sierra Bermeja mountains, which reaches 1,449m at its peak.
Estepona offers around 21 kilometers of beautiful coastline, including two spotless blue flag beaches complete with lifeguards, Playa de La Rada itself with 3km of shore line is larger and more open; it is over 2.5 km in length, and runs from the marina past the Estepona Old Town to the beginning of the boardwalk. The slightly smaller Playa del Cristo, which is five minutes west of Estepona Marina, is a small, sheltered, cove with lifeguards in season and also some “chiringuitos” or beach front bar/restaurants, a car park, and children’s play area. As it is both sheltered from the east wind (locally known as Levante) and very shallow, it is very popular with families with primary-age children; this means that you need to come here early to get a seafront spot on the beach in July and August. There is also a sports marina and the location enjoys an incredible microclimate which is part of its magical charm. The seafront is decorated with restaurants, bars and play areas with all the necessary services and amenities for a comfortable day by the sea.
Estepona´s population is approximately 70,000 with a surprising number of expatriates making up the community of approximately 30% of the town’s population, with 111 different nationalities registered.
Whilst strolling and taking in the views of the Mediterranean, you’ll discover there is an excellent array of restaurants all serving local cuisine, also catering for the international palate offering everything from Chinese to traditional Fish & Chips! Wander over to the cobbled streets in the old town and you’ll discover even more charm especially if you’re inclined for that romantic dinner for two!
There is an excellent selection of restaurants on the cobbled streets of Estepona old town, serving authentic local cuisine and the port area is ideal if you fancy enjoying some locally caught seafood whilst taking in views of the Mediterranean. International visitors are well catered for too with Estepona offering everything from Chinese to fish and chip restaurants. At night you’ll dine al fresco while the squares vibrate with animated conversation and the sounds of local pastimes.
From fine dining to cheap and cheerful Estepona has so much to offer so maybe pay a visit to Etcetera, Darcy’s Delicatessen, Taberna Miguel, Mu Mu Asador Argentino and La Tarantella just to keep you going.
Places of Culture
Are you’re looking to find a hotspot like other areas of the Costa del Sol, then Estepona is not a nightlife magnet but what it does have is refined style, with great selection of vibrant bars and restaurants …perfect for those seeking something of a more low-key and high-end leisure scene.
Spain enjoys many local and national cultural celebrations all year round, which as a tourist is a great way to join in and mingle with the locals and get a feel for authentic local traditions.
With the benefit of the most spectacular taking place in the warmer months, starting in May with the San Isidro Labrador celebrations, followed by the San Juan summer solstice party on June 23rd, then in July the annual Fiesta Mayor and culminating in July & August with the Virgen del Carmen and Virgen de los Remedios religious celebrations.
Estepona’s old core is one of the loveliest on the Costa del Sol, and is a slice of life in a typical Andalusian town. Travel down the cobblestone streets decorated with geraniums and investigate the Castillo de San Luis, a fortress constructed by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs at the end of the 15th century, and Plaza del Reloj (Clock). This endearing little plaza has a bell-tower that is the last remaining part of the original Iglesia de los Remedios, which was destroyed in an earthquake in the mid-18th century. It’s a never-ending maze of discover here!
Imagine being able to discovering 3 waterfalls falling in unison during a special show every hour and in doing so, help recreate the environment of tropical forests of Southeast Asia and South America, part of Hispanic history and being one of the attractions on show at the Orchidarium. A true delight for amateur botanists, this has been in existence since around 2015, but has already become both a landmark and one of the western Costa del Sol’s top attractions. With three modern glass domes, the tallest has a striking elliptical shape and reaches a height of 30 meters.
Plaza de las Flores is a satisfying place to be at any time of day: Early in the morning you’ll have it almost to yourself and can bask in the tranquility as the town just begins to stir and then in the afternoon, unless you’re enjoying the usual siesta (nap), you can retreat to the shaded benches below the orange trees and admire the fountain at the center, decorated by a beautiful flower bed.
Due to its climate Estepona is an all-year round resort, enjoying a large number of golfers visiting throughout the winter months. There again you might be spoilt for choice when you see what’s on offer – Surfing, Snorkeling, Boat Rental, Sunset Boat trips, Paddle boarding, Dolphin & Whale watching, Site Seeing in Malaga & Gibraltar, Walking & Biking tours, Mountaineering and for that all jungle feel there is the adventure of visiting Selwo Safari Park, close by. If you want to take it slow, then the paseo is simply perfect for strolling along and letting your cares fly up into the clear blue skies.
And finally …
Nestled along flower-lined alleys or tucked away in charming little plazas, places in Estepona are as good as they’re varied, enhanced by myriads of flowers, restaurants with attentive service, tastefully appointed interiors and most importantly excellent value for money, you’ll discover why it is the hidden jewel on the Costa del Sol.