Estepona (Málaga, Andalucía)
Transport options to arrive: Bus, Plane, Boat, or Car
Due to Estepona’s location, you could fly into the Gibraltar or Málaga airports if you are traveling internationally. However, if you are coming from elsewhere in Spain we would probably recommend taking a bus or car. There are plenty of options for busing up and down the Costa del Sol as well as a handful of different routes you can drive if renting a car or traveling with Bla Bla Car. If you’re lucky enough to have (or know someone who has) a boat, you could even arrive at Estepona’s port by that means!
Recommended time of year to visit and length of visit: 1-3 days, early or late summer
The town is considered to have a hot semi-arid climate meaning that you can comfortable enjoy visiting Estepona almost year-round. Winter days are generally only 15°C (59°F), but summer days are frequently as hot as 35°C (95°F). Unless you’re used to the heat, May and June or September and October may be the best time to visit Estepona while still being able to enjoy the summery beach life. You could enjoyably fill a weekend or even see most of the town in a day trip, staying long if you’re looking for a low-key relaxing holiday.
Fun Fact: If you’re interested in seeing Las Fallas in Valencia but missed the date or wanted to go to Las Hogueras in Alicante but lodging was too expensive, you’ll find Estepona has the perfect solution for you! The town is known for its Quema de los bigotes de San Juan tradition which is very similar to the San Juan celebration (linked above) in Alicante. All of the intrigue of this very Spanish tradition on a smaller, more affordable, and more local scale.
Estepona is a very chill little town and therefore the perfect weekend escape if you’re looking to just kick back and not necessarily check off a ton of tourist attractions (they have some for sure, but I personally recommend taking it slow with these favorites):
Top three must-sees:
1. Wandering the Centro Historico: The town council in Estepona has invested a lot of money into revamping and embellishing the already-beautiful Old Quarter of the town, most of which was built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wandering without a specific destination through these picturesque, colorful, flowerpot-lined streets is always a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
2. Ambling along the Paseo Marítimo and the like: The Paseo Marítimo is the paved boardwalk that follows La Rada beach and is abundantly lined with plants and trees meaning you can take in the waves and beach vibes while almost forgetting the busy street on your other side. If you enjoy artistic street art, you may also want to look into doing a Ruta de Murales Artisticos (an artistic mural route) which the tourist office in Plaza de las Flores will happily advise you on. Finally, if you’re a lover of such walks and willing to get out to nearby Marbella, the Avenida del Mar stroll is filled with ten unique Salvador Dalí sculptures which will not disappoint.
3. Relaxing on the beach: Personally, a trip to somewhere like Estepona is not complete until you take a few hours to just bask in the sun! The coastal town actually boasts 17 beaches, but two come up on everyone’s list—Playa La Rada and Playa del Cristo. You can easily get out the La Rada beach at anytime of the day as it is the vast, very centrally located strip of sand (right there with the Paseo Marítimo). If you’re looking for something even more beautiful and hidden, though, Playa del Cristo is where it’s at! This beach is known for its crystal clear, calmer waters and is located in a cove just a 15 minute walk from the port of Estepona. However, be advised that this beach is the top choice for families with small children so it will get filled up early in the day.
One thing to eat: Lunch at Bar-Cafetería-Heladería Vitin
I think that it goes as a given if you’re in this region of Spain (especially in the summer) you should get yourself some gazpacho or ajoblanco (two different versions of cold, Andalusian soup) and some fresh seafood. Beyond that, my recommendation is to enjoy a lunch (breakfast, dinner, or ice cream) at the Bar-Cafetería-Heladeria Vitin. The locale is perfectly located in Plaza de las Flores but prices aren’t outlandish and even the basic bocadillo sandwiches are filling and tasty. Something for even the pickiest of eaters at this place!