A guide on what to do, where to go and how to plan a visit to Estepona
The Garden City of Costa del Sol
Just 26 kilometres northeast of Sotogrande is Estepona. The town has been popular with the Spanish as a holiday destination for decades and has retained its ‘Spanish feel’ despite increasing numbers of resident expats. In the early 21st century the mayor invested in the town creating pedestrianised streets in the ‘old town’ and beautifying them with plant pots. Flowering plants decorate all the central reservations and roundabouts on the roads through town, and no opportunity has been lost, no space considered too small, to establish a planter full of blooms. Continuing the floral theme the, now world-renowned, Orchid house opened in 2015. Estepona is becoming known as the ‘Garden City of the Costa del Sol.’
Continuing the beatification of the town, local and national artists have created modern and classical sculptures, over 50 murals and dozens of poetry wall plaques that surprise the pedestrian at every turn. The Tourist Information Office in Plaza de las Flores supply town maps that include the mural route and the sculpture discovery path.
Remains from Ancient Times
There has been a settlement on the site since before Roman times. The foundations of a Roman mausoleum, discovered during street renovations near the old food market, are now preserved, and the discovery of a Roman tannery briefly brought the building of a new hotel to a halt while the archaeologists moved in.
Close to the mausoleum a good part of the Mediaeval town wall and some of the Castillo de San Luis is visible. Overlooking this part of town is the 15th-century clock tower, La Torre del Reloj. Nearby is the church of Nuestra Senora de Los Remedios that dates to the 18th century. The church is a curious mix of architectural styles, rococo and colonial. It is built from the local, iron-rich, sandstone which explains the pieces of iron ore still embedded in the walls.
It has a distinctive blue and white tile roof on the tower that is visible from all over town. Outside the centre of the town, on the eastern side, just beyond Carrefour supermarket, are the preserved remains of an aqueduct built over 1000 years ago that fed water from a well to the fertile valley that is now overgrown.
Estepona has a surprising number of attractions, museums and galleries for a small town. Take a safari in the Serengeti at Selwo Aventura or book a guided tour to see the Dolmenes de Corominas (details at the Tourist Office). The Museo de Arte de la Diputacion de Estepona, known inevitably as the MAD Gallery, opened in 2018 and exhibits paintings from Spanish artists, concentrating on those from Malaga. It is conveniently situated in the same building as the Tourist Information Office. Then there is the Archaeological Museum in a beautiful square in the old town, and a Paleontological Museum, a Bullfighting Museum and Ethnographical Museum all housed in the bull ring at the western end of town.
If all that culture makes you hungry, then stop by the Mercado San Luis . The old market hall, unable to compete with out of town supermarkets, has been converted into a food hall. The concept is simple. You choose whatever food you want from any number of stalls, choose your drinks, choose where you sit and pay for it all in one go. It can be a bit of a scrum, particularly at lunchtimes. If you prefer something more refined, then La Casa del Rey nearby may suit. If you enjoy fish, then La Rada on the paseo is the place to go.
The flower-bedecked paseo fronts onto the town beach, La Rada that is often awarded a blue flag, although sadly not in 2019. The distinctive aroma of sardines tempts you into any of the traditional chiringuitos that sit on the sand, all accessed from the paseo.
At the western end of the town are the port and marina.
Things to do in Estepona
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