Beaches and coastlines
There are eight beaches to choose from, all of which are easily accessible from Estepona. Playa de la Rada is the closest to Estepona town. This 2.6 kilometres beach is bordered by a modern promenade catering for all of your day-at-the-beach needs. The sea itself is something of a hub of activity too, with plenty of opportunities to windsurf and kayak. If you take a stroll along to the west end of the bay, you’ll find the lighthouse and marina.
Situated just outside the town of Estepona, El Cristo beach is set in a sheltered cove – making it ideal for children with its calm, shallow waters. It also has more hours of sunshine than other beaches nearby, making it a firm favourite with serious sunbathers. There’s also a lifeguard station, showers and two really good beach bars that play music across the golden sands.
Interestingly, you’re not far from Spain’s first naturist beach complex – Costa Natura – but because it’s members only, you’re not going to accidentally stumble into it.
As you’d expect from most Spanish tourist towns, Estepona has a wide variety of eateries. What makes this place special though, is the authentic tapas restaurants you’ll find tucked away down the cobbled streets in the old town.
These hugely welcoming, often family-run, restaurants offer a relaxed vibe and great food at amazing prices. Seafood and fish restaurants are popular in the area and can be found in both the old town and along the beach. For views, head to the port, which has a great selection of restaurants overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There are Chinese and Indian options here, as well as some home comforts, such as battered fish and chips.
People visiting on All Inclusive Costa del Sol holidays are often tempted to stick to eating at their hotels – and rightly so, with such great food on offer. But don’t be shy of exploring the brilliant local restaurants available nearby, which have plenty of deliciously affordable options.
For late night dancing holidaymakers should make their way over to Marbella, one of the most famous holiday resorts Costa del Sol has to offer, with its classy cocktail bars and lively nightlife. In contrast, Estepona is more about long evening meals and sampling the local sherry. You might like to hunt down one of the resident bodegas in the old town to enjoy the locally sourced and reasonably priced wine.
The bars in the old town are often cheaper than those by the marina because they’re geared towards the locals. If you are looking to get your glad rags on and head out though, try Bar Caleu. This three-storey drinking establishment is open late, has a wide drinks menu and plays Spanish music in a sophisticated setting. Down by the marina you’ll find a Flamenco bar and an Irish pub – something for every mood.
Most of the shops can be found on Calle Real and Calle Terreza, where there is everything from bakeries to designer boutiques. It’s not the best spot if you’re looking for something specific, but it’s brilliant for random purchases. A few miles out of town, the Laguna Beach Village complex has a range of luxury shops and designer brands.
One of the real draws to Estepona are the markets. The largest market, ‘Mercadill del Puerto’, is held on a Sunday morning by the marina in the same place it’s been for 30 years. It is a great place to pick up leather accessories, arts and crafts, gifts and clothes. There’s also a Sunday flea market in the Estepona Bullring and a handicraft market on Saturdays at Plaza Begines. Be warned, you may want to take an extra suitcase.
Estepona is a great base to explore the Costa del Sol and wider Andalusia region.
A 30-minute drive away in Marbella, you can explore the old town with its rambling streets, Spanish bars and traditional architecture. Like Estepona it has both a marina and an old town to discover, but on a larger scale. Further inland, and if you hire a car, you can explore the great outdoors at the scenic Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra de Grazalema natural parks. Here you can go walking or horse trekking through the Spanish mountains.