Spot on a Region: Estepona
Costa Del Sol, the thin line of the mesmerizing seaside, shelters one place away from fuss. Charming and vibrant, Estepona is a city located not far from the famous Marbella. Located on the very edge of the Costa Del Sol region, it is a perfect place to spend a sunlit holiday or live every day without any rush.
First settlements in this area are dated back to prehistoric times. However, the most eventful time for Estepona was in the 14-15th centuries. Since its coastal location had strategic and economical weight, the city became a part of some historical disputes. One of the most famous ones is the Battle of Estepona where one of the biggest fleets of Aragon Kingdom was destroyed. However, these clashing times are long gone and today Estepona is the place to lose the flow of time and forget about any troubles.
The pace of life and rich history of Estepona makes it a perfect destination for various tastes: from active travellers looking for adventure to the seekers of rush-free vacations.
Like many other old European cities, Estepona is cosy and welcoming. Narrow streets, cobblestone roads and old buildings give the city an authentic vibe of the Spanish spirit. One of such cosy streets will lead you to the historical centre of Estepona which is also called Centro Historico. Soaked in blooming flowers, the central part of the city is also home to the Castillo de San Luis fortress, which was built back in the 15th century. There is also Plaza del Reloj, a clock tower which is the last original part of Iglesia de Los Remedios that was unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in the 18th century. Apart from gazing at the fascinating architecture, you have a chance to enjoy beautiful music performed by Estepona’s official Concert Band. They occasionally play in the outdoor pavilion surrounded by pine trees.
Flowers are yet another jewel in the crown of Estepona’s appeal. More than 5000 flowers are nested in the Estepona Orchidaraium. The biggest collection of orchids in Europe (over 1300 species!) is located in the mesmerizing building which you won’t miss. Three glass domes, the highest of which is 30 meters, cover this kingdom of flowers. Besides the main display, there are 3 waterfalls that flow in unison as part of the hourly show.
Yet another archaeological sight worth mentioning is Corominas Necropolis. Located to the north of the city, it is a place worth your time, whether you are an archaeological enthusiast or not. The site is a museum that displays tombs dating back to the Stone Age, which are around 5000 years old. Alongside these almost untouched by time tombs, there are also fascinating items that were found during the excavation such as jewels, arrowheads, work tools of the time, ceramics etc.
The museum works almost all year round; however, if you plan to visit it, you should book it in advance since it’s a pretty popular tourist destination.
While wandering around the streets of Estepona one should definitely follow the route of murals. Ruta de Murales Aristicios is a combination of hypnotic and curios murals. These beautiful artworks decorate more than 20 buildings. Some of them use multiple buildings as canvas, creating stunning optical effects and charming panoramas. One such trompe-l’oeil covers 6 buildings and is the biggest mural in the whole Spain.
For fans of more active leisure, Estepona has something to offer as well. While the air compels a long stroll, there are plenty of more active things to do “on-foot”.
Estepona is famous for its golfing ranges and is one of the major golf destinations in Spain. Whether you are an avid player or have always wanted to give gold a try, this region has a lot to offer. From courses for beginners to advanced lessons and countless ranges to put your club in business, Estepona will satisfy any skill level and budget.
There are more than two dozen different ranges, one of which is Valderrama Golf Club (located in Sotogrande not far from Estepona). Annually, this site hosts the Volvo Masters tournament.
The city is surrounded by the breathtaking nature of the south of Spain, where Mediterranean beauty is joining with the coarse charm of neighboring Africa. Natural Park Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja is one of the brightest jewels in the natural landscape of the region. Hills and mountains make up beautiful landscapes and perfect routes for hiking and picnics. As an alternative for exploring on foot, there are different companies that organize horseback riding.
Estepona’s shore location gave it its historical significance through the ages, and it hadn’t faded till this day. Estepona marina is one of the biggest harbours in Spain, which welcomes hundreds of ships annually. The harbour attracts sailors around the world to visit this city, and you can easily meet here both regular vessels and upscale yachts. Besides, the marina creates a perfect promenade where top-notch restaurants and bars are located.
Costa del Sole of course indulges every visitor to spend some time under the sun. Among the most famous ones are La Rada and Cristo Beach. Such places will greet you not just with warm sand and gentle sea but with numerous places to spend some time in the shade. Dining options mixed with attractions and harbours create an outstanding place for the whole family leisure. Though, these beaches can sometimes get crowded since they are a popular tourist destination. Therefore, you could lay your eye on more distant yet more pristine and quiet options outside the city or on its outskirts. However, even centrally located beaches never even remotely get as busy as Marbella beaches.
As anywhere in Spain, you will notice that cuisine is a part of the local lifestyle. Yet, Estepona has its own traditions to offer as it is a part of the Andalusia region. The local cuisine is blooming with fresh ingredients both from the sea and soil. One should definitely try local tapas, gazpachos and casseroles. Additionally, the region has its own unique wines which are on the “must-try” list for everybody.
Since it’s quite a warm region and locals are never in a rush here, the same is true with dining habits. Most of the places open after 11 a.m. and lunch is usually the main meal of the day.
The climate around here is subtropical Mediterranean. This means that Estepona is a mostly warm, sometimes hot place. Winters are mild and summers are dry-hot with almost 300 days of sun. Precipitations are a rare occasion in Estepona and the annual average temperature is 19oC. In summary, such a climate makes Estepona a perfect year-round place for a holiday, especially taking into account that in winter you can go skiing in the northern part of the country.
Whether you chose Estepona for a short visit or as a place to move your life to, it will overwhelm you with its beauty, warmth, delicious cuisine and pleasant spirit of a slow pace of life. As a quiet alternative to a surrounding fuss but still in reach of some upbeat places, Estepona could become your second home, one you always dreamt of.