About this Estepona Area Guide
Below you’ll find the Realista Estepona Area Guide. It gives you a general overview of the area, its attractions and weather. You’ll also find information about restaurants, shopping and beaches in Estepona.
Where is Estepona?
Estepona is located at the western end of the Costa del Sol between Marbella and Manilva.
What’s Estepona like?
Unlike some resorts on the Costa del Sol, Estepona has remained true to its fishing village origins and kept its typical Andalusian ambiance. The municipality stretches for over 21km along the Mediterranean and includes some of the best and quietest beaches on the Costa del Sol. Estepona also boasts some spectacular scenery including Los Reales mountain range to the north. The highest peak resort rises to 1,449m above sea level, one of the highest in the province and these mountains are home to the extremely rare pinsapo pine tree.
Estepona town has been extensively upgraded in recent years and now ranks as one of the prettiest resorts at this end of the Costa del Sol. Many of the streets are pedestrian and flanked with white-washed houses decorated with colourful geraniums.
The seafront promenade stretches for several kilometres and provides a pleasant walk-way next to the town’s blue-flag beaches. At the west end of the town is Estepona Marina, home to the fishing fleet and shops and restaurants plus a Sunday market. Estepona has excellent amenities and facilities including health centres, private hospitals, schools (including Colegio San José, which usually tops the list of Andalusia’s best schools) and sports centres.
Estepona west – to the west of the town are several low-rise residential developments including Valle Romano and Costa Galera. Some of the resort’s best hotels such as Hotel Fuerte Estepona and Thalasso Spa Elba are found here as well as the naturist resort of Costa Natura.
Estepona east – between the town centre and San Pedro de Alcántara lies the area known as the New Golden Mile. This stretch of coastline is home to a succession of high-end developments – for example, Alcazaba Beach, Los Granados del Mar, Dominion Beach and Mar Azul – and luxury hotels such as the Kempinski Hotel Bahia, Healthhouse Las Dunas and Senator Banus Spa plus world-class beach clubs. Many of the hotels and residential developments in this part of Estepona boast front-line beach positions and provide communal facilities that are, in some cases, second to none.
To the north of the A7 highway, but still within easy reach of the beach lie several of the most popular developments in Estepona. These include Cancelada, Benamara, Atalaya and El Paraiso. All are low-rise and include a selection of apartments, townhouses and villas, all within easy reach of shops and other amenities. Several good hotels are located here such as the Occidental Estepona Thalasso & Spa and Hotel TRH Paraiso while slightly further inland is the world-famous Villa Padierna resort and hotel.
How big is it?
The municipality of Estepona has a size of 137km² and ranks among the largest resorts on the Costa del Sol along with nearby Benahavis.
What’s the population of Estepona?
Around 67,000 people live in Estepona, the largest town at the western end of the Costa del Sol.
How many foreigners live in Estepona?
Just under a quarter of Estepona’s population is foreign with British citizens making up the largest group (4,460).
What’s the weather like in Estepona?
Like the rest of the Costa del Sol, you can expect good weather in Estepona throughout the year. The resort enjoys over 320 days of sunshine a year and the average temperature comes in at 19 degrees.
How do I get to Estepona?
Very easily. The resort has excellent connections via both the A7 highway and the AP7 motorway from Malaga and from Algeciras. Public transport includes a good bus service between Malaga Airport and Estepona, and regular local buses connecting Estepona with Marbella.
How far is it to Malaga Airport from Estepona?
Malaga Airport is 82km from Estepona centre. Allow slightly under an hour to get there. Developments such as Benamara and Atalaya to the east of Estepona are around 70km from Malaga Airport with a journey time of around 50 minutes.
How far is it to Gibraltar Airport from Estepona?
If you’re travelling to Estepona from the UK it may be worth looking at flights to Gibraltar. The distance between Gibraltar Airport and Estepona is 45km and the journey takes around 45minutes, although you should allow extra time for border controls.
How far is it to Marbella from Estepona?
Marbella lies 20km to the east of Estepona, and within only a 20 minutes’ car drive along the coast road.
What are the main attractions in Estepona?
While it might be small, there are plenty of things to do in Estepona and this is a great holiday destination for all ages and tastes.
Top of the list of attractions in Estepona have to be the resort’s beaches (see below) and its scenery. The stunning Los Reales mountains provide excellent walking opportunities with trails to suit all abilities, and all offer panoramic views of the coastline, the Mediterranean and Africa on the horizon.
In Estepona itself one of the loveliest things to do is stroll round the town centre exploring the maze of pretty streets and squares. The central Plaza de la Flores is one of the most attractive with traditional façades and fountain plus lots of flowers. The town is also home to nearly 30 giant murals. They depict a range of topics from abstract to everyday, but all are stunning and many include clever trompe l’oeil.
As well as murals, Estepona also has an extensive collection of sculptures, showcased around the town. There are over 25 in different locations and range from the life-like Monument to the Tourist on the seafront promenade to the unusual Dragon in the Sunshine in the Calvario Park.
The town centre includes several museums such as the Archaeology Museum where you can see the Venus of Estepona statue that dates back more than 5,000 years as well as some interesting Roman mosaics. The Orchidarium with its spectacular glass domes and waterfalls is home to over 5,000 orchids and ranks as one of the biggest attractions in Estepona.
Families on holiday in Estepona flock to Selwo Aventura, one of the biggest theme parks on the Costa del Sol and a great day out. Selwo is home to dozens of animals from different eco-systems around the world including big game and tropical birds. Visitors get to see all the animals close-up as they make their way through the park.
Golfing fans are in for a treat since there are no less than eight golf courses in Estepona. These include the established El Paraiso Golf Club and Estepona Golf plus the up-and-coming Valle Romano course. Estepona is also within easy reach of the many golf courses in Marbella and Benahavis, and just a short drive from the world-famous Valderrama Golf, host of the Ryder Cup. And Finca Cortesin Golf is just a 10-minute drive to the west of Estepona, famous for being host to the Volvo World Match Play Championship in recent years.
Estepona also offers a range of water sports including sailing, jet ski-ing and scuba diving. Many of these activities are based at Estepona Marina.
What are the beaches like Estepona?
Estepona boasts some of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol including three with blue-flag status in 2016. All the beaches are well-maintained and provide facilities and life-guard services in the holiday season. Beach bars and restaurants are located on most beaches and many open all year-round.
Between them, the 17 beaches in Estepona offer something for everyone:
Family-friendly beaches in Estepona – the most popular with families are La Rada and El Cristo, both in the town centre.
Beach clubs in Estepona – Laguna Village is home to Purobeach, one of the best beach clubs on the Costa del Sol and located just to the east of the town centre. Other beach clubs include Sonora Beach, TikiTano Beach and Heaven.
Quiet beaches in Estepona – some of the quietest beaches on the Costa del Sol are found near Estepona, particularly on stretches on El Saladillo and El Castor, both to the east of the town centre.
Beaches for kite surfing in Estepona – on windy days, kite surfing conditions are excellent at several beaches in Estepona. One of the best is at El Saladillo where there are two kite surfing centres.
What cultural activities are there in Estepona?
Estepona has a year-round cultural programme featuring concerts, dance, theatre and other events. Like other resorts on the Costa del Sol Estepona also celebrates several fairs throughout the year, the highlight being the San Isidro Fair that takes place in mid-May. The week-long festivities include an agricultural fair, a horse show, procession and a funfair.
What about eating out in Estepona?
In recent years, a number of new restaurants and tapas bars have opened in Estepona centre. Some of the best include La Bulla Gastrobar, Taberna Miguel, La Casa del Rey and Restaurante Sur, an Argentinian restaurant.
There’s also a good choice of beach bars and restaurants where you can dine on freshly-caught local fish and seafood. Some of the best are Restaurante La Rada, El Pescador and La Escollera in Estepona Marina.
The resort is also home to several renowned restaurants. These include El Palangue, Kabuki Raw (with a Michelin star) and La Alcaria de Ramos. And as you’d expect, many restaurants in Estepona offer international cuisine and rank as favourites among expats on the Costa del Sol. Popular venues include Robbies, Masala Fine Indian Cuisine and Peggotty’s, one of the most famous restaurants on the Costa del Sol for the British classic fish and chips.
What’s a typical local dish?
One of the most typical things to eat in Estepona is sopa campera, a soup made with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and asparagus, bread and a dash of mint. Some recipes include potatoes and/or clams. The soup is accompanied by melon, grapes or oranges.
How about shopping in Estepona?
Estepona offers good shopping, particularly in the town centre where there are lots of unusual shops. Several supermarket chains such as Mercadona, Aldi and Carrefour have stores in Estepona and the surrounding districts where you’ll also find a good choice of shops serving expat residents. For a wider choice, nearby Marbella has a good selection of high-street stores and shopping centres.
Population stats (2015)