The best things to do in Estepona, Spain

by Jan

Are you planning a trip to Spain and wondering what are the best things to do in Estepona?

Estepona is a picturesque town on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.   It is a traditional Andalusian town, with a good mix of culture, beaches and entertainment.

This guide will help you discover the best things to do in Estepona and help you plan how to see the highlights of Estepona.

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Where is Estepona?

Estepona is located in the south of Spain on the Costa del Sol.  It lies at the foot of the Sierra Bermeja mountains in the Andalucian province of Malaga.

Just 30km up the coast from Estepona is the popular, upscale resort of Marbella.  

Estepona has a picturesque, white-washed old town, with distinctive coloured flower pots.  It has retained its charm and traditional Spanish character and is growing in popularity as a seaside destination.

However,  Estepona is less known that its neighbour, Marbella and is consequently less crowded, making it a fantastic holiday destination.


Map of Estepona's location relative to Gibralta and Marbella

How to get to Estepona

Estepona is well-connected to many European cities, so travel there is quite simple.

By air:  The nearest airports to Estepona are Gibraltar and Malaga.  However, you can only get to Gibraltar airport from the UK. 

From Estepona airport, the easiest option is to take a taxi or hire a car.  Estepona is about an hour’s drive from Malaga.  This is a scenic drive along the A-7 coastal route (Mediterranean motorway), where you’ll have a choice of a toll route or free motorway.  Estepona is about or 40 minutes from Gibraltar airport, from which you take the A-7 in the other direction.  It .  Alternatively you could take a bus or luxury coach to Estepona, 

By train:  There is not a train station in Estepona, so this is not a simple option.  However, you could take a train to Fuengirola, then get a bus.  Fuengirola is about 66km away, on the other side of Marbella.

By bus:  The main bus line to Estepona is with Autocares Portillo, which cover many destinations across the Costa del Sol.

If you are flying with easyJet flights, watch out for the latest hand luggage restrictions.  Your basic allowance now only includes an under seat flight bag.  I bought this new bag from 5 cities on Amazon, which meets the maximum allowance.

How to get around Estepona

The best way to explore Estepona is on foot.  The majority of the Old Town is pedestrianised, so you can easily immerse yourself in the winding streets and stop at one of the plazas for tapas or drinks.  In the evening it is easy to get a taxi.

Accommodation in Estepona

You’ll find accommodation to suit all budgets in Estepona. 

If you are looking for a luxury hotel, try Hotel Silken El Pilar or Hotel Estepona Plaza, both of which are near La Rada Beach.  If you want family accommodation in Estepona, check out Globales Playa Estepona, a large resort with 3 swimming pools and water slides.

If you prefer self-catering accommodation, Casa del Patio and Casa Azul are both popular apartments in the centre.

What is the weather like in Estepona?

Estepona has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters.  The hottest month in Estepona is July, with an average daily temperature of 28 degrees.  The peak season for visitors is June to August, so expect more tourists in these summer months.

If you go in the shoulder months, you can usually expect warm, sunny weather, so Estepona can be a good destination for winter sun.  However, it can be windy at times.

Is Estepona good for a weekend break?

Estepona is a great destination for a weekend getaway.  It is easy to get to from Gibraltar or Malaga airport and there’s a good choice of accommodation to suit all budgets.  Although it is quite a big town, the historic Old Town is compact, making navigation easy once you’re there.

The main attraction is that Estepona is extremely pretty and offers plenty of things for visitors to do.  

So if you are thinking of booking, let me tell you the Estepona’s must see attractions.

13 best things to do in Estepona

Hit the beach

Beach hut on Estepona beach, Spain

At the top of our list of things to do in Estepona is go to the beach.  Estepona is renowned for its 21km of coastline and two Blue Flag beaches, which make it an extremely family-friendly destination.

The largest beach in Estepona is the Playa de la Rada beach, which is directly in front of the town.  It is a 2 ½ km long, sandy beach.  Unsurprisingly, it can get busy at peak season.

If you want somewhere less crowded, head slightly further south to the Playa del Cristo beach.  This blue-flag beach has golden sand and shallow water, making it ideal for children.  Additionally, there are some small play areas for when they’ve had enough of the sand.

For adults, sun loungers and shades are available for rent!

Stroll along the Paseo Maritimo

If you don’t want to go on the beach, take a stroll along the 3-mile palm-lined promenade,  Paseo Maritimo. This walkway is perfect for a beach side walk, cycle or even a jog!

On the way, stop for refreshments at one of the many chiringuitos (Spanish beach bars), which serve refreshments along the promenade.  Many of these beach bars serve traditional Spanish food, such as fresh fish, paella and seafood, at reasonable prices.  They also sell sangria and cocktails.

Some of the most popular Chiringuitos in Estepona are Chiringuito Guayaba Beach, Chiringuito Bahia Beach, and Chiringuito Africa Beach.  You could also try Chiringuito Paco, a restaurant on the beach with amazing views of the sea.

Go to the Marina

Another good place for a waterside stroll is at Estepona Port, on the western side of town.  Here you’ll find a modern marina, where you hire a boat or go on a fishing trip.

Estepona Marina is a vibrant area of town, with a fabulous choice of bars, cafes and restaurants, which stay open late.

At the weekend, stop by for the Sunday market, which offers a selection of local goods and handicrafts.

Explore Estepona Old Town

One of the best areas to visit in Estepona is the Old Town, centre historico de Estepona.  You’re bound to love this charming historic zone, with its labyrinth of cobblestone streets, boutiques and tavernas.

The narrow streets of Estepona’s Old Town are lined with white washed houses, each adorned with colourful pots and hanging baskets.  Each street has its own colour, so all the pots are co-ordinated.  

Estepona Old Town, Spain

Climb the steps to the Clock Tower

Steps to Estepona Clock Tower, Spain

As you wander around Estepona’s old town, you will come to the Torre del Reloj.

This neoclassical bell tower was originally added to the church of Los Remedios.  However, an earthquake demolished the church in 1755.  Today, only the tower remains.

Orquidario de Estepona

Located in the heart of Estepona, one of the must-see attractions is the Orchid House (Orquidario de Estepona).

The Estepona Orchidarium has a diverse collection of over 1300 orchid species from around the world.  They grow in a natural habitat with 3 waterfalls under 3 glass domes and come in all shapes and sizes.  The Orchidarium is divided into 3 levels, with different microclimates, which encourages the growth such a varied botanical collection.

Estepona’s Orchid House is the ideal place to visit in Estepona if it rains.  Even better, admission is only 3 Euros for adults and 1 Euro for children.

Follow La Ruta de Murales Artiscticos

If you enjoy art, head for La Ruta de Murales Artiscticos.   This route has over 50 murals, which decorate the facades of buildings.

The paintings are spread throughout the different neighbourhoods in Estepona, so download a map before you go.  In addition to the wall art, you’ll discover a collection of interesting sculptures dotted around the town.

As well as wall paintings in Estepona, you will find decorated, tiled plaques on the walls of some quarters.  These have been hand-painted with famous poetry, translated into Spanish.

Take a hike on La Sierra Bermeja

If you are looking for change from the beach, you could head to the mountains.  La Sierra Bermeja is the mountain range that dominates the landscape behind Estepona.

It is a steep drive up the mountain and takes about an hour.  Once here, you can follow one of the hiking trails or just enjoy panoramic views over the Andalucian countryside.  Take a jumper, as it is far cooler than by the coast.

Visit Plaza de las Flores

The Plaza de las Flores is a quaint square in Estepona’s old town, with beautiful flowers surrounding a central fountain.

You’ll find a good choice of bars and restaurants, so you can sit and watch the world go by.  You can also find Estepona’s tourist office here.

Cafe on Estepona street, Spain

Go canyoning on La Sierra Bermeja

If you’re looking for adventure experiences near Estepona, you could try a guided mountain bike trip  in La Sierra Bermeja Natural Park or a canyoning adventure in the Guadalmina River.  For this fun experience, you’ll get to navigate down the mountain using a series of ropes, rappels, water slides, and pools.

Enjoy a dolphin-spotting cruise

For nature-lovers, one of the best things to do in Estepona is sign up for a dolphin watching sailboat cruise. The cruise lasts 2 hours and takes you around the stunning Estepona Bay on the lookout for dolphins.   

Plus, if you take your snorkel gear, you can check out the wildlife under the turquoise waters.

Try the Tapas

Of course, one of the best things to do in Estepona is to sample some Spanish cuisine.

The food in Estepona is amazing and there is something to suit everyone’s taste.  You can find modern European food, traditional Andalucian dishes and of course, plenty of seafood specialities.

On of our favourite restaurants in Estepona was La Bulla on the Av. Espana.  This offers an amazing dining experience with Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine.

Trace the castle walls

Castillo De San Luis, Estepona, wooden door, Spain

Estepona has a rich historic past, which is still evident around the town. 

Although little remains of the Castillo de San Luis, you can walk around a section of the castle walls near St Luis market. The Spanish Catholic monarchs constructed this fortress in the 16th Century. It replaced the Arabian fortification which had previously stood here.

In total, Estepona has seven watchtowers, representing the coastal defence system that lasted there until the 19th Century.

Pin for Later: The best things to do in Estepona, Spain

An image of a typical Estepona street in Spain, steps and hanging baskets either side

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1 comment

Avatar for Jan
Ana 18th October 2020 - 9:47 am

Would love to visit Estepona. We are planning the trip to south Spain and we are definitely adding Estepona to the list 😉
La Ruta de Murales sounds really cool and also poetry on the walls 🙂


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