The municipality of Estepona with 137.50 km2, extends in the southwestern area of the province of Málaga and is integrated into the region of Costa del Sol Occidental. It has 23 km of coastline and goes inland, encompassing a fertile valley furrowed by small streams and a mountainous area dominated by Sierra Bermeja, which reaches 1,449 meters at the Los Reales Peak.
Estepona limits to the north with the municipalities of Jubrique and Júzcar, to the northeast with the municipality of Benahavís, to the east with the municipality of Marbella, to the southeast and south with the Mediterranean Sea, to the southwest and west with Casares and to the northwest with the municipality from Genalguacil.
Estepona has a Mediterranean climate, mild throughout the year, and due to its proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar, its rainfall rate is higher than the national average, with strong east or west winds. These winds also determine the conditions and temperatures of the waters, with a mild temperature, waves and the presence of algae in the east, and cold water coming through the strait, from the high seas, calm or rippled sea and crystal clear waters in the west.
The population of the municipality of Estepona has a multicultural composition, with a large population of foreign origin, from different countries, with a notable predominance of British. Estepona city is located, along the coast, about 82 km from Málaga and 48 km from Algeciras.
Estepona lives mainly on tourism, it is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer, due to its Mediterranean climate and its beaches. Another important sector in its economy has been construction. In addition, it has a small fishing and agricultural activity.
In the municipality of Estepona there were already settlements during prehistory, as shown by the discoveries of flint tools and dolmens to the west of the town along the course of the Stream Vaquero.
However, the origin of Estepona city is still unclear. One of the theories says that its foundation could have been in the Phoenician era, under the name of Astapa, this land was a place where the boats that went between Cádiz and Málaga stopped. Although with greater certainty, its origin could have been Roman, since the existence of an important city with a natural port, make one think of the Roman city of Salduba, located next to River Guadalmansa, as the closest ancient settlement to the current one Estepona town. However, Roman remains have been found in the same urban area of Estepona, which could correspond to an important Roman villa of an industrial and defensive nature.
With the conquest of the Muslims, at the beginning of the 8th century, El Nicio Castle was built, located in the upper part. Later, with the reign of Abd al-Rahman II another fortress called Estebunna was built, that is when the Arabs called the city Astabbuna.
In 1342 there was an important naval battle in the waters of Estepona between Christians and Muslims. While in the 15th century, in the face of the Muslims' refusal to pay taxes, the Christians conquered the castle and the town in 1456. It is from this time that the well-known history of Estepona begins, with the reconstruction of the castle.
After the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada by Christian troops in the 15th century, Estepona became dependent on Marbella, Joanna of Castile (Joanna the Mad) ruling these kingdoms until the arrival of Philip V, when in 1729 he acquired the villazgo charter.
From the 15th century to the 19th century, there was hardly a demographic increase in Estepona.
In the last two centuries, demographics stabilized and began to grow slowly until the end of the 20th century, since then the population growth of Estepona is important and fast.
Estepona is a town very well adapted to tourism, so only by walking through its old town can you see the charm of a typical Andalusian town. Almost all of its recently remodeled streets have a pedestrian or traffic-restricted aspect, with quiet squares and white houses, adorned with flower pots with different colors on each street, as well as rosettes and stone drawings on the floor of the tracks. A unique place known as the “Garden of the Costa del Sol”.
Within the old town of Estepona, the Villa Neighborhood stands out, where the plot of the old medieval fortress, the germ of the town of Estepona, unfolds. In this neighborhood you will see buildings mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, among which it houses the most significant monuments, such as the Remains of the St. Luis Castle, from the early 16th century by the Catholic Monarchs, or the Clock Tower, also from the 16th century and remodeled at the beginning of the 18th century when a neoclassical bell tower was added. This tower belongs to the Church of Our Lady of Los Remedios, built in the 18th century. Originally it was a Franciscan Convent and its cover combines Marian, Franciscan and pre-Columbian iconographic elements.
Also within the Villa Neighborhood, are the Remains of the Roman Tower, from the 4th century. This Roman construction was part of a mausoleum in Estepona, of which an underground room with walls over a meter thick is preserved. This type of construction is typical of the Roman Empire and is associated with the spread of Christianity.
On both sides of the Villa Neighborhood are the Old Neighborhood and the Oven Neighborhood, where their buildings date from between the 18th and 20th centuries.
To the north of these neighborhoods are the New Square Neighborhood or Flowers Square, this is a large pedestrian plaza within the historic center of Estepona, with 19th century houses, a large central fountain and a garden full of flowers.
In the Flowers Square, you can find Las Tejerinas House, from the 18th century. This building is rectangular in plan, with a central courtyard, surrounded by columns, a doorway made up of a large opening highlighted by moldings on which a balcony is located, and the viewing tower with arcades on the upper floor. The use that has been given in Estepona today is of a cultural nature.
Close to the Flowers Square are the St. Francisco Neighborhood and the Montecillo Neighborhood, where 19th century houses predominate.
In the eastern area of the old town are the Palmar Neighborhood and the New Neighborhood, structured by the old Marbella road. Some neighborhoods with an agricultural tradition, which developed in Estepona between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Approaching the coast of Estepona, you will see the Punta Doncella Lighthouse, from the beginning of the 20th century. A lighthouse consisting of a tower 20 meters high and 31 meters above sea level, with an octagonal carved stone plan.
Also, spread along its 21 km of Estepona coast, you can find the different Almenara Towers of Muslim and Castilian origin that were used by the Christian inhabitants after the conquest of these lands by the Muslims. They were used until the 19th century to prevent pirates from raiding and looting, making smoke signals during the day and luminous during the night, in order to quickly warn in case of an enemy landing. This line of defense is made up of seven towers that receive the following names: Stream Vaquero Tower, Saladavieja Tower or Celada Vieja Tower, Padrón Tower or Paredón Tower, Velerín Tower, Guadalmansa Tower or Desmochada Tower, Saladillo Tower and Casasola Tower or Baths Tower.
Near the Town Hall, you will see the Bullring of Estepona, built in 1972 and the first asymmetrical bullring in the world. It is designed to ensure maximum shade and comfort for spectators. Its distribution favors the celebration of all kinds of sports competitions, cultural shows, concerts, etc. In its facilities it houses several municipal museums.
Leaving the urban core of Estepona, you will find elements as old as the Corominas Dolmens in the St. Isidro Labrador - Los Pedregales Park. It is the first grouping in the dolmen necropolis of the Costa del Sol. The dolmens, found in the Corominas Reserve, are 5000 years old and were covered by stone slabs, part of which have been preserved the ring perimeter of large stones. Inside, remains of several dozen burials were exhumed, ceramic vessels, stone tools, arrowheads, axes and personal ornaments of the people buried in the tombs, which are exhibited in the Corominas Prehistoric Necropolis, a museum of Estepona. Several tombs from the bell-shaped period, some 4,000 years old, were also excavated at the site.
Also close to St. Isidro Labrador - Los Pedregales Park, are the Castillejos, located on top of a hill. They are the remains of a fortification of prehistoric origin, rebuilt by the Muslims in Estepona.
Finally, in the northeast part of the municipality of Estepona, the ruins of El Nicio Castle, from the 9th century, are located. Of this castle the walls and several towers are preserved and it was very important during the rebellion of Umar ibn Hafsun against the Emirate of Córdoba.
The municipality of Estepona has a great list of things to do when visiting. From carrying out cultural routes through its city centre, to relaxing on one of its beaches.
Once you have seen all the elements of the cultural heritage proposed, the easiest thing is know the art that the streets of Estepona hide through three cultural routes, each focused on a different discipline.
Continuing in the cultural field, you can learn about the history of Estepona, the development of the municipality and art in general, thanks to the different museums that the city has.
Next to the River Guadalmansa mouth is Las Torres Roman Villa Interpretation Centre. It contains the remains of an ancient Roman villa, which was active between the 1st and 5th centuries.
Within the urban plan of Estepona are museums such as the Estepona Provincial Council Art Museum (MAD). It is located in Las Tejerinas House, right in the Flowers Square. It displays contemporary works of art, specifically paintings of the 21st century by established national artists.
Inside the municipal building located in Blas Infante Square is the Archaeological Museum. The pieces exhibited in it come from private collections and archaeological interventions carried out in recent decades.
In the dependencies of the Bullring of Estepona, there are four museums. One is the Ethnographic Museum, where more than 2000 objects, utensils and tools of ethnographic interest are displayed that reveal the way of life, custom and economy of the Costa del Sol Occidental region in recent centuries. It is structured in various themed rooms, arranged based on the functionality of the tools.
Another is the Paleontological Museum, a benchmark in Europe for presenting the Pliocene collection of marine molluscs from the Málaga, Vélez-Málaga and Estepona basins (5 to 3 million years B.C.), which constitutes an important scientific collection.
Obviously, in bullring is the Bullfighting Museum, where a multitude of objects related to the bullfighting are exhibited, such as photographs of important bullfighters from all eras, bull heads fought on memorable evenings, a complete collection bullfighting posters and various costumes of lights donated by the best bullfighters in Spain, among other things.
Ending with the facilities of this place in Estepona, you can visit the Image and Sound Museum, with various rooms that take a tour of the history of cinema, music and comics.
Finally, in the St. Isidro Labrador - Los Pedregales Park, you can visit the Corominas Prehistoric Necropolis, a kind of museum that contains inside the findings that were found in the Corominas Reserve, which were moved here for their conservation. It is located in a building under a burial mound, which recreates the megalithic funerary architecture.
The St. Isidro Labrador - Los Pedregales Park, where you will find yourself after visiting the last museum, can be a good starting point to start discovering the natural environment of Estepona. This park is located in Sierra Bermeja, about 8 kilometers from Estepona city, it has an extension of 30 hectares, delimited in its southern and eastern part by a fence made of stones from the area. Inside you will find a network of roads, the museum of the Corominas Prehistoric Necropolis and the Hermitage of St. Isidro Labrador.
Another park in Estepona is the Orchidarium Botanical Park, with about 16,200 m2, consisting of an orchidarium, a botanical itinerary and an access square based on a large 17-meter-high waterfall. The orchidarium has more than 5,000 plants of more than 1,300 species of orchids from around the world. It represents the largest collection in Europe and one of the largest in the world.
In addition to these parks, you can take one of the Estepona hiking routes, which cover the entire natural environment of the municipality. These routes run both through the mountains, visiting the different corners of the part of Sierra Bermeja that belongs to the municipality of Estepona, as well as along the coast, showing you the different beaches that the municipality has. Two of the routes that pass through the municipality are in charge of connecting towns through nature routes and that are found within the network of trails of the Great Path of Málaga.
Apart from the beaches that you can visit thanks to the last stage 30 of the Great Path of Málaga, Estepona has more beaches that you will want to visit. Estepona beaches are:
These beaches will give you the opportunity to relax, take a bath, sunbathe or do some type of sport, either in the water or on the sand. In addition, to practicing different sports, Estepona has a large number of facilities for each of them.
One of the most practiced sports on Costa del Sol is golf, for this Estepona has seven golf courses, one with 36 holes, three with 18 holes and three with nine holes.
In addition, the fairground itself has become a Fair, Sports and Leisure Venue, as it has a main booth and twenty others destined for associations, football pitch, basketball courts, volleyball courts, bio-healthy circuit, an athletics area, ping pong, giant chess, etc.
Next to the fairground, you can demonstrate your driving skills on the Karting Track in Estepona. These facilities have two tracks, one for children and one for adults. It has up to 1160 meters of rope and 8 meters, minimum width.
Within the professional facilities you can find the Estepona City Athletics Stadium. This stadium has an artificial grass football pitch inside the athletic track and has free parking for 1000 cars. The covered stands have a capacity of approximately 1,800 spectators.
In addition to all the facilities, there are other places for practicing sport and leisure in Estepona, such as: diving school and diving trips, excursions and sea routes through the waters of Estepona by catamaran or by boat, sailing school, boat rental, sport fishing, guided tours throughout the town, kitesurfing courses, motorized and non-motorized water activities such as jet ski riding or jet ski excursions, flyboard (motorcycle with a hose and a board with boots to make you fly), kart&fun track, paintball, horseback riding, gyms, spas, indoor pools, dance schools and many more.
Before finishing the practice of sport in Estepona, it is important to review the Costa del Sol Equestrian Art School, located in a beautiful spot between Sierra Bermeja and the sea, it is one of the most important equestrian centres in Spain and Europe. It is rated by the Andalusian Equestrian Federation with the highest official rating of four stirrups. In it, horse riding classes are taught by specialized instructors who give courses from beginner to riders aspiring to compete with their own horse. It consists of a dressage and a covered track with more than 1,200 seats, a 7,000 m² competition area, stalls with 148 boxes and a walker. It also has a blacksmith shop, a veterinary clinic, a saddlery, an equestrian store and a reception. In addition, a celebration area, a prestigious restaurant and parking area.
This school has become a meeting place for families, who travel to the area to enjoy nature. In addition, in May the place of celebration of the Pilgrimage of St. Isidro Labrador, patron saint of Estepona.
The area is also enabled for activities such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, etc. It has seven wooden cabins, a swimming pool, barbecues, a restaurant, a children's play area, a petanque area, etc. In addition, it has spectacular views of Gibraltar and the African coast.
Regarding leisure, Estepona provides you with places such as the Selwo Aventura Park, located on Costa del Sol highway with a natural area of 100 hectares, where more than 2000 wild animals, belonging to more than 200 different species, live in semi-freedom in harmony with the environment. The living conditions of the different species have been reproduced to simulate, as far as possible, their natural habitat. Here you can explore the different ecosystems on foot or by jeep, seeing how animals live.
Another leisure place is the Estepona Marina, close to the town center, with 447 moorings for boats up to 35 meters in length. Within the same enclosure of the port you can find different commercial and restaurant premises and a playground.
In addition, the wonderful appearance of Estepona city centre means that a large number of businesses of recognized and prestigious brands are concentrated, creating a shopping and leisure area in Estepona city centre.
As if that were not enough, the municipality of Estepona has a large number of celebrations throughout the year, so there will be no place for boredom. You can match your visit by adjusting the dates to the holiday that interests you most.
Following a chronological order of the year, the first celebration in Estepona is in February and it is Carnival. In this party, troupes and chirigotas parade through the streets of Estepona city centre. During its celebration, costume contests and group performances are held.
During a weekend in March or April, “Estepona Vive sus Calles” is celebrated, which takes place in the streets of Estepona city centre, with cultural, sports and gastronomic events such as music concerts, theater, the tapas route, competition for ham cutters, urban race, flamenco, dance, etc. Also between the months of March and April, depending on the year, Holy Week takes place nationwide. In Estepona, the religious processions of the local brotherhoods walk the streets of the city with great emotion and monitoring, which the inhabitants of the town live with great intensity.
Two events related to St. Isidro Labrador, patron saint of Estepona, are held in May. The first is the Pilgrimage of St. Isidro Labrador, on May 7 in the St. Isidro Labrador - Los Pedregales Park. Attendees celebrate a meal in the field with family or friends, in contact with nature. This day the herd of verdiales goes up to the hermitage singing and dancing, while the bells ring. The second is the St. Isidro Labrador Feast, in mid-May. On May 15, St. Isidro Labrador is taken out in procession through the typical streets of the city, decked out for the occasion. For five days, the neighbors and visitors enjoy the parties and, in addition, a series of activities related to the work of the countryside are developed such as cattle competitions, countryside soup tastings, wine competitions, shooting contests, wild bird exhibitions, horse riding and dressage exhibitions, ax and chainsaw handling competitions, etc.
The second fortnight of June is the Estepona Medieval Fair, during a weekend in the city centre it goes back to the medieval times and the Estepona Medieval Market is celebrated where a wide variety of handicrafts is offered. Here you can closely observe chocolatiers and potters, as well as acquire glass, spices, medicinal plants, objects made from esparto grass and much more. You can enjoy Arab cuisine or an Arab pastry in a tea shop, try breads, cheeses and many more freshly-made delicacies at the stalls. All this accompanied by shows, storytellers, jugglers, musicians, falconry, fire eaters and Moorish dancers.
Giving way to summer is the St. John's Night, between June 23 and 24. In it, the burning of the "juas" takes place and the residents gather on the beach at midnight to get their feet wet and touch the water, which, according to tradition, is lucky for the whole year.
The first week of July you can enjoy the Estepona Fair. For six days and six nights the whole city is involved in a party. The first day begins with the parade of giants and big heads, accompanied by the brass band; the proclamation also takes place and the “Real de la Feria” is inaugurated. Throughout the week there are a series of activities in the official booth, such as a children's party, a party for the elderly and performances by orchestras, flamenco groups and renowned artists.
On July 16, the Virgin of Carmen's Day takes place, which is celebrated in Estepona with a seafaring procession, in honor of its patron saint. The procession leaves the Church of Our Lady of Carmen and continues along the promenade, to the seashore, where a multitude of people and boats of all sizes congregate for the occasion, who come to receive the virgin. The head of the procession enters the water, while they sing "La Salve Marinera" to it. Then they lift the virgin and put her on a boat, which continues its procession through the sea, followed by all the crowded boats. Once back on land, he continues his journey along the promenade, until he returns to settle in his hermitage.
In August, Tourist Day is celebrated at the beginning of the month through the streets of the center of Estepona. The program varies every year and may include parades, concerts, flower delivery, tastings of local products or flamenco shows. Also, on August 15, the Virgin St. Mary of Los Remedios' Day takes place, where the residents of Estepona take the procession of the Virgin St. Mary of Los Remedios, through the most emblematic streets of the city centre accompanied by the musical group that bears his name.
During the summer, between the months of July and August, the Book Fair is held. For this fair, book stands are set up on the promenade in Estepona where they are sold at a lower price than at other times of the year.
To end the party calendar, Estepona offers you for a week in September the Costa del Sol Horror and Fantasy Films International Festival. The most recurring theme at the festival is especially horror. It is organized by the Estepona City Council Culture Delegation and the Unicornio Association, and it is attended every year by internationally renowned actors and actresses.
The gastronomy of Estepona is based on typical Andalusian dishes, with products mainly from fishing, such as sardines, anchovies, swordfish or Padrón trout, a type of trout unique to Costa del Sol raised in the cane fields from the River Padrón, it is also known as Estepona trout. The goat cheese also stands out.
Among the typical dishes that you will be able to taste in Estepona are the Padrón trout fritá, the sardine spit and the fried anchovies among the products related to the sea. Thanks to its past agricultural activity, we must not forget dishes such as countryside soup, gazpacho and chilled garlic and almond soup.