Where is Estepona?
Estepona is served by the A7 Autovía which runs along the Costa del Sol. There is also a toll road, referred to as the AP7 Autopista, which provides faster travel along the route between Málaga and Estepona by-passing many of the urban areas along the route, such as Marbella. There are two toll stations en route and toll charges vary throughout the year. Normally you can travel from Málaga to Estepona for less than 10 euros in toll charges for a normal size car.
What To Do in Estepona?
Estepona is renowned for its beaches, which stretch along some 21 km of coastline. With 17 beaches to choose from, visitors can either relax in the sun or take part in numerous activities such as children's play areas, pedalos and beach volleyball. There is a great selection of chiringuitos along the Coast including Blue Dolphin on the approach to Estepona, Heaven Beach and more up-market ones like Tikitano or the Laguna Village complex which houses numerous shops restaurants and the stylish Puro Beach Club.
Punta Pinillos: 1.1oo meters with some dark sand, few facilities and fewer beach access make this one of the least visited yet so close to Estepona.
Padrón Beach:Many facilities such as locker rooms, facilities for disabled, showers, health care and a couple of bars with sunbeds and pedalos area.
Velerín Beach:Dark and volcanic sand, as virtually every area of Estepona. It has a rescue module, showers and snack bar, just after a right-hand lane that leads to a parking area next to a watchtower or beacon tower of Muslim era that we see so often in Costa del Sol shores.
Rada beach: in the centre of Estepona, 2 minutes East of Estepona Port. Most popular beach with all types of equipment. Handicap access. Dark sand.
The Cristo beach: Only 5 minutes West of Estepona Port. It is a small cove with lifeguards on station and also two "chiringuitos", beach front bar/restaurants. This beach is sheltered from the wind.
Bahía Dorada: Public transport near the beach, public phone, beach cleaning services.
El Castor: 2 km long dark sand and stone. It also has some facilities like showers, clothing, rescue module with hammocks and beach
Costa Natura:Really quiet and nudist area. Dark and volcanic sand and many facilities.Costa Natura is one of the most famous nudist beaches areas in Spain, and attract also national tourism.
Estepona Port and Seaside
Estepona has a fantastic promenade that runs the length of the town. There you can enjoy kids play areas, exercise equipment, statues, fountains, rides, restaurants and shops. Just 5 minutes from the town center at the western end of the seafront, you will find Estepona Marina/port which is a popular area for visitors to wander during the day and go out to eat. This is also the place for party goers to drink and dance in many different bars and discos. The port is also the location of the Estepona street market - a collection of stalls selling numerous textile and leather goods mostly. The market is usually on Sundays, but it travels around the Málaga municipality to areas like Puerto Banús, Marbella, Casares, Torremolinos, Fuengirola and more.
Most restaurants are located near the seafront, either along the main promenade adjoining the sea or along Calle Real. There are a number of small Plazas or squares next to Calle Real, on which numerous restaurants can be found. Estepona Port offers various restaurants and bars where you will be served everything from traditional Spanish to specialty regional cuisine. If you're looking for fast food, then there is a McDonald's restaurant at the edge of the town, close to Carrefour, and a small Burger King located along the main seafront promenade. Talking about nightlife in Estepona, you should definitely start it in the popular Plaza de los Flores and also visit the port.
In Estepona you can find a range of shops in the town center selling your usual household items, groceries and tourist gifts. The small local shops offer locally made produce and goods, but you can also find boutiques with contemporary international clothing brands. The Wednesday market featured clothing as well as food and vegetables and the Sunday market at the port is a place for "touristy" type of goods. For the early risers the fish market at the harbour is an interesting sight. A large variety of fish are auctioned off but you must be there by 6am as it tends to be finished by 7am.
Estepona port also has two supermarkets: Supersol, that provids fresh produce, meat and seafood and an Opencor, that is open 24 hours, where you can find a selection of convenience style foods. Fresh meat, fish and vegetables may also be purchased at the old, but recently renewed, indoor-market, in the centre of town.
The nearest large department stores are the La Cañada complex just off the north ringroad of Marbella or the El Corte Inglés department store in Puerto Banús, just before Marbella. Both can be accessed by traveling east from Estepona towards Málaga on the A7.
Estepona Golf, Gym and other sports
The Centro Deportivo Jose Ramon de la Morena is a sport and fitness complex with a gym and an undercover, full size swimming pool. Unfortunately it is not easy to find. Take the road from Carrefour towards Estepona. Turn right at the roundabout just before the promenade and then after about 200 metres, right again up Avenida de Toledo. The complex is up the hill on the left.
Golfing is one of the things you can do in Estepona, although there is a great range of different sports facilities there. Some of the world class golf courses in Estepona are Estepona Golf, Valle Romano Golf Club, La Duquesa Golf & Country Club, La Resina Golf & Country Club, El Paraíso Golf Club etc. If you do intend to use any of the courses do remember to bring your handicap certificate with you as it will be almost impossible to find a course which does not require it. The mild, dry winter climate make it a pleasure to play golf all through the year.
Horse lovers also have the pick of facilities in Estepona with several riding schools that teach students of all ages and abilities.
Estepona, like all other Andalusian towns, takes the opportunity to celebrate and party as much as possible. There are three main festivals:
1. San Isidro is celebrated on May 15th with processions and a party in the countryside
2. The local town festival celebrated during the first week of June in the fairground
3. The festival of the Virgen del Carmen is celebrated on the July 16th when a statue of the virgen is carried out to sea and back on fishing boats.
Church of Los Remedios is an 18th century church that is located in the Plaza de San Francisco. Once it was a Franciscan monastery, the hermitage of Vera Cruz and later it became for a time the hospice of La Purisma. The church is an odd mixture of American colonial architecture and rococo, and in the entrance archway stands a statue of the Virgin Mary with a relief showing the sun, moon and stars. The effect is curious and not entirely satisfying, although this is undoubtedly an impressive building in many ways.
Watchtowers - There are numerous watchtowers along the coast of Southern Spain. Some of Moorish origins others from the Christian re-conquest but all with the purpose of looking out for invaders from the South. They have lasted the centuries with remarkable strength. Estepona has seven such towers that remain to this day.
The Town Clock Tower aka the Torre Reloj organisers tours every Thursday starting from the tourist office.
The bull ring, on the outskirts of the town, has four museums in it one of which has an interesting collection of bullfighting memorabilia. Whether you agree with the sport or not the museum presents a colourful spectacle. Of course the ring is still used for its original purpose and from the museum you can see the underground passages, doors and rope and pulley systems used to control the bulls. Very much like the gladiatorial pits beneath the Roman theatre at Medina.
Museum of Palaeontology is a place not to be missed. Its the bull ring at the west end of town. Pride of place goes to the 2000 or so fossils representing 600 species of flora and fauna dating back to the Pliocene era, all from the Estepona area. The collection is so complete that it is possible to see the evolutionary paths taken by individual species, even their original colouring is retained in some examples. Other fossils are from Andalucia and the rest of the world and together show evolution as a whole from the earliest life forms to those of the present day, well almost. Scientists and enthusiasts from all over the world arrive here to study the exhibits. The museum is rightly considered to house one of the most important collections in Andalucia and Europe and is well worth a visit, only space prevents me eulogising.
Orange Square has had a number of names over the years, beginning as Plaza Real, it became in turn Plaza de la Constitución, Plaza de José Antonio and finally (at least for now), Plaza de Las Flores. In the square you will find the Casa de la Cultura, which is itself worth a visit, and contains a good library. Until forty years or so ago, the building was a hospital - the Hospital de la Caridad de las Madres Carmelitas Terciarias.When the square was being renovated in the 1980s, fragments of Roman and Moorish pottery were uncovered, confirming that the original town had not been limited to site of the later castle alone. It became so after the Moorish defeat, and the site around Plaza de las Flores was not inhabited again until the end of the 18th century, when the town began to grow once more, breaking out of the castle walls to spill down the hillside like a slow stream of lava.
La Ermita del Calvario is located in a little visited section just outside (inland) of the town. The hermitage building was built at the beginning of the 19th century, with records dating back to 1829.It is believed that this hermitage was at first constructed for lepers who were encouraged to reside out of town. Since 1875, however, the site was established as a sacred building.
The San Luis Castle There is little left to see of the great castle which once stood at the heart of Estepona, and what remains is not now readily apparent, but it is possible to trace the ruins around the high ground. Its construction followed the seizing of the town in 1457 by Enrique IV. He also built new defensive towers along the coast, since, although they had been expelled from Estepona and their domination of the Peninsula was effectively over, the Arabs - mainly Berbers - were still perceived a problem. Pirate raids were not uncommon and if not wildly destructive, at least a great irritant.
From the college, head for the indoor market and the Plaza Casa Cañada, where a small garden has been laid out beneath the walls for visitors to rest among the flowers. The centrepiece of the garden is a rusting old cannon, which was once part of the castle's defences. The existing walls probably date from the 16th century, though they may incorporate some earlier stonework, possibly Moorish.
To see more of the castle, walk around the actual calle Castille, where the wall meets the road. What is left is either hidden by 19th century town houses, or has been blasted away to facilitate the construction of a block of flats. From the flats, a path winds back to the plaza and garden behind the market.
Casares is the little typical white Andalusian town set on a hillside and you can find out how to get there from the tourist office in Estepona.
Kids and Family Fun
Los Pedregales park is a family day out so load the car with kids, football, dogs, barbeque, food and a good book. You will not be disappointed. Do not worry that it is getting late on in the year the park is incredibly hot during the summer. Autumn, preferably after the first rains, when it is cooler, is the best time to appreciate the foliage.
Los Pedregales park is one of Estepona's secrets. Set in the foothills of Los Reales the park preserves the natural fauna and flora of the area. Paths wend 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. For those looking for an inexpensive retreat then check out the camping site or the new purpose built wood chalets.
To keep the kids amused there is a large children's play area and a small venta from which you can buy 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 smooth grass areas.
Hardy types, on warm days, can also take advantage of the new swimming pool and paddling pool that was finished this year. For those who want a bit of culture, newly opened this year is a replica of a Bronze Age dolmen. The original was found during the excavations for the toll road a couple of kilometres away and it was carefully moved to Los Pedregales and reconstructed to house a small museum. Dotted around the park are barbeque areas. If you do not have your own use one of the brick built affairs provided for you. Settle down beneath the shady trees and just enjoy the peace.
How to Get There: From the west take the A7 to the Marina Casares roundabout and turn left signposted Casares. After a few kilometres take the road right signposted Estepona. The entrance is a few kilometres on the left. From the east take the A7 to Estepona and leave at the exit for the poligono. At the roundabout at the top of the slip road bear right on the road signposted Casares. The entrance to the park is a few kilometres on the right.
San Isidro Ladrador is the municipal park, known to locals as Los Pedregales. It is situated at the foot of the Sierra Bermeja mountain and has good open air facilties that include a rural complex, camping, BBQ areas, artificial lakes and delightful forest paths.
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. 902 190482
Official website www.estepona.es
Map of Estepona
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