There is so much to love about Estepona, that it has been difficult to know where to begin but, after much consideration, we have chosen to tell you, in no particular order. Here are our Top 10 things to do in Estepona.
1. Explore Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja
The Sierra Bermeja mountains are certainly breathtaking. Observe them on a clear morning and you will see them in amazingly pure detail. Make the extra effort and view them from the top and you will be rewarded with incredible views for miles around.
Los Reales is unique because it is quite unusual for a such a high mountain, so close to the sea. It has its top at 1449m and it is only 10km inland. Making the spectacular drive up to the refuge which is near to the top, only takes an hour from the refuge. You can walk a short distance further and arrive at the top itself. Subsequently, you can just walk around near the refuge, which is a great place for a picnic, and taking photographs.
2. Follow ‘La Ruta de Murales Artisticos’
Estepona has been subject to an important rejuvenation plan known as the ‘Garden of the Costa del Sol Project’ and one of the very impressive and popular highlights of this is the route of street murals. These are spread all across the town and starting on a murals hunt is an entertaining and unique way to use an afternoon.
The Tourist Information centre has several maps that can be of help if you’re trying to find them all. The route was started in 2012 and the murals are painted on the sides of buildings dotted around the town, where they have remodelled the walls into awesome pieces of art. Some of them are breathtaking and really do profit from being seen in person to be fully appreciated. It was meant that they would rejuvenate some of Estepona’s forgotten neighbourhoods and also become a tourist attraction and they absolutely have done that. The murals are definitely a big talking point and I recommend you try them out if you have the chance.
3. Stroll around the markets
In Estepona, there is a street market in town on Wednesday, as well as another at the port on Sunday. Both markets are always bustling with people and they have a great ambience. There are stalls selling clothes, jewellery, toys, ceramics, bags, sunglasses and shoes among others but our two personal preferences are the fruit and vegetable stalls and those selling herbs and spices. The markets are a great place to have a wander and browse.
4. Visit the Orchid House
A recently built development in the old town centre is the Orchid House and Botanical Gardens which highlights as its centrepiece a huge glass dome which is home to the 15000m3 orchid house. Visitors follow a circuitous path which takes them through the exhibits, behind a waterfall and over a mini lake taking you up-close views of the orchids which offer some amazing photographic opportunities.
5. Estepona port
Estepona has a working fishing port where you can watch the boats return with their catch. The connecting Puerto Deportivo is the base to many bars and restaurants and is the place of a very popular market on Sunday mornings (point 3). The marina is a pleasant place to have a look at the boats moored in the harbour or to hire a boat if you are up for some sea-bound entertainment or just to go for a relaxing stroll. There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants in the port which are even more active at night. ‘Louie Louie’ is one of the favourite places to go and see bands. It is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy live music!
6. Go to the beach!
Estepona has some fantastic ones. They are clean and well maintained and some have Blue Flag status. There are some picturesque coves dotted along the coastline, such as the popular Playa del Cristo, as well as many more endless stretches of golden sand of beaches such as Playa de la Rada in Estepona centre. Surprisingly, Estepona is also home to Costa Natura beach which was the first official naturist area in Spain.
The paseo is a perfect place for a walk and it provides well for families. There are a few climbing frames on the beach, large chess sets, floating inflatable play areas and pedal boats to hire in the Summer and there is a giant playground with swings and slides and lots of climbing equipment on the paseo itself.
There are also many chiringuitos along the whole length of the paseo that try to lure you in with the delicious smells arising from their sardine boats. They are an excellent place to sit for an evening and you can have a drink while you watch your children play as the sun goes down. The views of Gibraltar and Africa just across the water can be surprisingly clear on fine days.
7. Visit Los Pedregales park
Los Pedregales park is a great open space and a good place for collecting pine cones for the fire in the winter! There are two parts to Los Pedregales park; there are the more developed parts with playgrounds, picnic tables and open-air barbecue facilities which are very famous with families and which can get quite busy at the weekend.
This is a good place to keep a birthday party or have a barbecue if you aren’t averse to carrying all your paraphernalia through a bit of overgrown terrain. And then there a wilder, undeveloped side of the park. You go in through the small side gate that has the Adana sign on it (the Adana rescue home for dogs is also through this gate and further up the mountain) where there are lots of pine trees and rocky paths leading down to a stream that rushes over the pathway at the bottom and which can be quite deep in the rainy season. Los Pedregales is great fun for bracing walks and rock climbing.
8. Estepona old town centre
One thing that we especially appreciate about Estepona is the fact that it isn’t one of those town centres that could be anywhere with faceless shopping streets full of the usual big brand shops. Instead, its charming little shopping streets are lined with small, independent shops and cafes.
If you venture off of the principal street and along some of the smaller back streets you will find some unspoiled squares edged with cafes which are a perfect place to sit, have a drink and people watch. The back streets of the old town are fun to stroll around or, cycle around. The amazing little houses that line these streets are beautifully decorated with colourful, wall attached plant pots. It really is a lovely place to be!
9. Selwo Aventura
Just outside Estepona, on the way to Marbella, is a one million-square-metre animal park. The attraction is so widespread that you’ll visit many of the enclosures on the park’s camouflaged off-road trucks as well as getting splendid views of exotic animals in semi-captivity.
There 2,000 animals here in all, and among them is “Kanvar”, the only Asiatic elephant born on Spanish soil. The adventure doesn’t stop there; Selwo Aventura also packs in camel rides, a petting zoo and trail with rickety suspension bridges and the largest zip-line in Europe. This definitely belongs on our Top 10 things to do in Estepona.
10. Do something active at the sports terrain
The sports terrain, which is opposite the fire station, is an enjoyable place where you can go with your children. You can also make use of the tracks, courts and wide open spaces there. You can ride bikes there or scooters around the tracks, play football, basketball or even just run around. In addition, you can also sit at the café and have a coffee. Somebody has to watch the bags, don’t they?!
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