Once a small fishing and farming village, Estepona is now a bustling community and thriving tourist destination. Although extremely popular with visitors, it has managed to retain much of its local Spanish charm and offers a more traditional holiday experience than its more glamorous neighbours further along the coast.
Estepona’s coastline stretches over 21 kilometres and includes some of the area’s best beaches, with expansive sandy areas, clean water, tiny coves and first-class facilities.
The attractive town of Estepona spreads from the sea up the hill towards the ruins of the Castillo de San Luis. The Old Town winds through steep, cobbled streets that take you back in time to a more authentic Spain… architecture and traditional houses, including the Church of Our Lady of Redemption (used from 1725 as a monastery), the remains of the Castle Wall (dating to the 15th century), the Clock Tower and the remains of the Costa del Sol’s oldest ecclesiastical building.
There is nothing overly pretentious about Estepona: numerous street cafés and tapas bars still serve traditional Spanish delicacies and specialty regional cuisine at amazingly low prices. Estepona has a wonderful promenade, bustling with life both day and night, and a charming port located just five minutes from the town centre. The working fishing port has a large fleet and is well worth a visit in the morning to watch the returning fishermen auction off their catches.
Estepona has several excellent museums: the Museum of Archaeology, Bullfighting Museum, Local Museum, which includes a range of old farming and fishing implements and tools, and Museum of Palaeontology, with over 2,000 fossils from 600 species.
There are no large shopping complexes in Estepona but there is a wide variety of boutiques, souvenir shops, delicatessens, stationers and bakeries in the town centre. On Wednesday mornings Estepona has a huge open-air town market selling fruit and vegetables, clothes, shoes and general house-wares. On a Sunday morning Estepona’s tourist market in the marina sells most products: gifts, leather, shoes, “faux” designer gear, music, jewellery, etc.
Just to the east of Estepona is Laguna Beach Village, an upmarket shopping area with exclusive stores selling top designer brands, as well as the sumptuous Puro Beach Club.
Attractions near Estepona include Selwo Safari Park, a vast outdoor wildlife park where visitors can see more than 2,000 animals representing over 200 species, during a 4×4 off-road safari trip, and also enjoy a hands-on petting zoo. Further west, three kilometres inland from the village of Manilva, are some remarkably well-preserved Roman sulphur baths.
Estepona is located at the Costa del Sol’s western end, at the foot of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range. It is just off the A7 motorway, 33 kilometres from Marbella, a one-hour drive from Málaga’s international airport and 35 kilometres from Gibraltar.
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