A vibrant traditional town-turned-tourist-hotspot, Estepona is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Costa del Sol, and offers balmy weather, laid-back lifestyle and world-class attractions. From historic landmarks to scenic cobbled streets, Estepona reflects the heritage of the Costa del Sol region combined with tourist friendly theme parks, golf courses and amenities. The historic town centre offers authentic Spanish charm and culture, making it an ideal choice of Spanish holiday destination for 2019 / 2020.
Most popular hotels in Estepona
Pierre & Vacances Estepona
Estepona, Costa del Sol
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 0m
When to go
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Estepona’s historic city centre is a maze-like myriad of cobbled streets nestled amidst housing, punctuated with historic landmarks and picturesque churches. Estepona’s natural beauty and traditional ambience mean that many of your fondest memories from your trip will be of spending days exploring the winding alleyways, finding excellent little cafés and restaurants on your way. One of the most popular attractions in Estepona is the Plaza de las Flores, the focal point of the city’s social scene. In the square, you’ll find a number of excellent restaurants, bustling bars and cafés where you can stop off for a quick afternoon snack, or enjoy an evening drink. If you’re staying in a hotel in the old town area, you’re ideally positioned to make the most of the city’s best shops and leisure attractions. The city centre is chock full of quirky shops and quaint boutiques offering an eclectic variety of goods at reasonable prices. As part of the Costa del Sol, Estepona is renowned for its golf scene, with a number of well maintained golf courses scattered around the city and its surroundings. Some of the best courses in the area include El Paraiso, Valle Romano and Atalaya.
Estepona’s cuisine reflects the cuisine of the wider Costa del Sol, which is renowned for being fresh, flavoursome and hearty. The most iconic dishes in Estepona include traditional Spanish tapas, a tradition that involves serving numerous small dishes all at once so you can pick and choose the dishes you like. Some of the most iconic tapas dishes include bread, cold meats, salami, paella, olives and mussels. You’re also likely to find Spanish omelettes on most restaurant menus in Estepona, as well as paella, a rice dish that is typically served with meats and seafood. The Spanish are also experts at dessert, with some of the best-loved sweets in Estepona being churros, a type of crispy donut rolled in sugar and dipped into melted chocolate or marshmallow. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of sugary-sweet treats, though, as you’ll find numerous savoury dishes served throughout Estepona including eggs benedict, toasted bread with tomato, garlic and olive oil, thin sliced serrano ham and toasted sandwiches. Estepona, as with much of the Costa del Sol, also serves the Full English breakfast and American style breakfasts at many cafés, along with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Estepona’s beaches are ideal for families with children of all ages, as the coastline here has plenty of gently shelving beaches and calm waters for your kids to splash about in the sea. You can enjoy a kickabout on the sand, build elaborate sand castles or read in the sun, as the beautiful sunshine is tempered by a cooling sea breeze. The beach isn’t the only place for families to enjoy their holidays together in Estepona, though, as there’s a wide variety of parents and children close by. Some of the best family attractions in the area include Tivoli World, the main theme park in the area and one of the most popular family-friendly attractions on the Costa del Sol. There’s plenty to keep your family entertained here including live shows, rides, an outdoor theatre and a good choice of restaurants and bars with reasonable prices. If you’re keen to cool off in the water, head to the Aqualand Theme Park for its swimming pools and slides suitable for all the family. Another water themed attraction for families is the Sea Life Aquarium, where you can get up close and personal with your favourite marine creatures, including sharks and the eternally popular starfish. For land animals, there’s the Selwo Safari Park in Estepona itself and the popular Torremolinos attraction, Crocodile Park.
Action & Adventure
As with much of the Costa del Sol, most people come here to enjoy fuss free relaxation and to laze around on the beach. If you’re less beach bum and more adrenaline junkie, don’t worry, as there’s plenty of heart-pumping activities here, too. The naturally scenic surroundings of Estepona and warm climate make the ideal setting for most outdoor activities, including popular sports like tennis and volleyball. There are a number of manicured golf courses dotted across Estepona, so be sure to bring your clubs if you’re a keen player. You can take a walk along the countryside trails, venture off on a horseback ride or set off on bicycle to explore the local area, while taking in some pretty impressive views at the same time. The clear, calm waters just off the coastline make Estepona ideal for snorkelling and diving, with a number of schools and hire places in the town and at the harbour.
As you’d expect from an area that’s part of the ‘sunshine coast’, Estepona is famed for its idyllic coastline. Venture beyond the city’s scenic marina, with its great choice of restaurants and bars, and you’ll discover a stunning stretch of sand. Estepona’s beach is fantastic for families and couples alike, whether you’re visiting between June and September for some summer sunshine or are visiting for some winter sun. Del Cristo is one of the best options if you’re a family with young children, thanks to the great amenities, and safe sand and water conditions. If you’d prefer more variety, you can head up the coast to the north and you’ll come across a number of lovely beaches. Close-by Marbella offers a range of gorgeous beaches and has an exhilarating water sports scene including surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and paddleboarding. At Torremolinos, there are long stretches of sand and one of the country’s most iconic water parks, making it one of the best choices for families with children.
In Estepona you’ll find that there are two main nightlife areas that attract both visitors and tourists alike. Those looking for a lively night out will naturally gravitate toward the port and the town centre, where you’ll find a wide selection of places to get a bite to eat and reasonably priced drinks. One of the best places to head for nightlife is the seafront, with a variety of bars and restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood from earlier that day, as well as a good range of international cuisine. For a more sedate nightlife experience, you can enjoy drinks at one of the café terraces, enjoy a sociable evening meal with your loved ones, or head to the Plaza de las Flores to enjoy the scenic garden and its glimmering water features.
It goes without saying that for many couples, Estepona’s golden beaches and sun drenched weather are the ideal setting for a romantic getaway. As the waters off Estepona are calm and clear, and the sea provides a cooling breeze, you can spend your days lounging at the beach with a book in hand, taking romantic strolls on the sand or exploring the coastline for romantic little spots. The natural beauty of the surroundings means that however you choose to spend your time, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying an exciting and romantic adventure with your significant other. The Estepona Botanical Gardens are home to a number of lush green plants, more than 4,000 species of orchid and impressive rushing waterfalls. Taking a stroll around the historic quarters of the old town is a great fuss free way to spend the day, as you’ll come across a number of picturesque murals and beautiful architecture on your way. If you’re looking to pull out all the stops and impress your partner with a romantic gesture, book a horse and carriage ride for the most romantic way to get around, asking the driver to take you to one of the professional flamenco shows around the town.
Estepona was a hub of activity and trade long before the town evolved into a popular holiday destination, a fact that’s reflected in the scenic architecture and historic landmarks dotted around the old town area. There are a number of historic sites in Estepona and the surrounding area, one of the best being the Aqueduct de Saladavieja to the east of Estepona town. Located opposite another attraction, the Palacio de Congreso y Exposiciones, you’ll see a small stretch of aquaduct still standing amidst lush greenery.
Like so many other villages in Southern Spain, Estepona was the site of battles between Christians and Moors until it was eventually captured by Enrique IV of Castile in 1457, who ordered the building of a church which still stands today. Completed in 1472, the church is the oldest religious building on the Costa del Sol, although only the clock tower remains today. Thanks to significant restoration and development in the 18th century, a neo-classical dome was added to the structure. There are also several small museums in Estepona, including the Bullfighting Museum, the Etnografico Museum, the Palaeontology Museum and the Sound and Light Museum, all of which offer fascinating glimpses into the culture and heritage of Estepona.