Estepona is a popular international tourist destination, with a wide range of hotels and interesting leisure and sports facilities. It has a very well-kept historic center, beaches and a significant number of second homes.
Regarding the tertiary sector, in 2019 there were 20 hotel establishments with 5,900 hotel beds. It has several five-star hotels such as Kempinski Bahía Beach, Elba Estepona Gran Hotel, Healthhouse Las Dunas and Senator Banús. Linked to residential tourism there is an important construction activity. At the beginning of 2020 in Estepona there were more than 5000 units for a second residence in the project, ahead of other municipalities on the Western Costa del Sol.
The port of Estepona is a port only for sports and fishing use, so there are no services for the regular transport of passengers. It is managed by the Public Agency of Ports of Andalusia, dependent on the Junta de Andalucía.
During its history, Estepona has been linked to its status as a coastal town, the scene of naval battles due to its proximity to the Strait. Along the coast, the Romans inhabited the current term of Estepona, and since the Middle Ages it was a frontier land between Taifa and Kingdoms.
The old town of Estepona preserves the essence of the typical Andalusian town relatively well, with pedestrian streets, whitewashed facades adorned with flowerpots, as well as rose windows. Most of the narrow streets and small, one-storey, houses were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and until the mid 1950s many had no running water or sanitation.
In the Plaza del Reloj there is the tower of the destroyed Iglesia de la Fortaleza, called the clock tower, from the 15th century. The origin of the tower is Arabic, a period during which it was probably a minaret of a mosque. After the takeover of the town by the Castilians, the mosque became a church, with the tower as a bell tower. Its neoclassical dome, decorated with garlands, scrolls and bucraniums, was added in the 18th century. In addition, in this neighborhood are the Casa de los Algibes, current archaeological museum, and the municipal food market.
The complex of littoral beacon towers. Some are prior to the 15th century and others are later. It is a coastal defense and surveillance system that lasted until the 19th century, made up of seven beacon towers: the Arroyo Vaquero tower, the Saladavieja tower or old trap, the Padrón or Paredón tower, the Velerín tower, the Guadalmansa or Desmochada tower , Torre del Saladillo and Torre de Casasola or Baños.
The Castillo de San Luis, built by order of the Catholic Monarchs at the beginning of the 16th century in order to reinforce the town’s walls and facilitate its repopulation.
The ruins of the Castle of El Nicio, from the 9th century, of which the walls are preserved. It was very important during the rebellion of Omar ibn Hafsún against the Cordovan emirs, being finally conquered by the emiral troops in the year 923.
The Roman villa of Las Torres.
There are five museums in Estepona:
- Municipal Museum of Estepona
- Archaeological Museum of Estepona
- Father Manuel Cultural Center
- House of Las Tejerinas
- Open air museum of Santiago de Santiago.
Gastronomy and best restaurants
The gastronomy of Estepona is based on typical Andalusian dishes, with preference for products from fishing such as skewered sardines, fried anchovies, some salted fish or swordfish. Goat cheese also stands out, due to its agricultural activity.
Another of Estepona’s most exquisite products is the well-known Padrón trout. The Padrón trout is a unique species on the Costa del Sol. Raised in the rich reed beds of the Padrón River, the Estepona trout, as it is also known, is the main ingredient in one of the richest dishes of Estepona gastronomy, the Padrón trout “fritá”.
Most restaurants are located near the seafront, either along the main promenade fronting 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.
There are no Michelin list restaurants in Estepona.
Estepona’s small and medium-size local shops, particularly in the old town, offer locally made produce and goods. The recently renovated indoor market in the town centre has stalls offering fresh meat, fish and vegetables. Boutiques in the main town centre offer contemporary international clothing brands and other goods.
Typical of Spanish towns of this size, a market is held in the main square (on Wednesdays), featuring clothing as well as food and vegetables. Estepona port also hosts a Sunday market for “touristy” goods.
There are no large shopping complexes in Estepona.
Estepona has over 20 km of coastline, and 17 different beaches. Most of these are immediately next to the various hotels and residential complexes outside the town itself. The nearest beaches to the town are the Playa del Cristo, and the Playa de la Rada.
Arroyo Vaquero and El Cristo beaches have Blue Flag (2020). In addition, Estepona has a promenade on which, currently, a part of it has been recently built to make it in better and more attractive conditions, called the littoral corridor, in many wooden sections and with bridges, that practically runs along the entire Estepona coastline, with the intention of joining this corridor with other municipalities. The Estepona Marina has 447 moorings and is equipped with entertainment venues and a market on Sundays.
How to get to?
The nearest international airport is in Malaga, 1 hr 4 min (90.5 km) via AP-7
From Seville 2 hr 24 min (227 km) via E-5 and A-381
From Madrid 5 hr 59 min (619 km) via A-4
Area: 137 sq. km (municipality)
Coordinates: 36°25′59″N 5°07′59″W
Population: 70 228
Time: Central European UTC +1