Are you on Costa del Sol and have already seen all popular destinations like Ronda, Malaga, Caminito del Rey, or Marbella? Or are you just planning your next trip and looking for some less popular places? Yes? Great! Today we’ve got for you an amazing Andalusian hidden gem! Well, not that hidden, but so far definitely less popular and overcrowded than other places on the coast. Sounds interesting? If so, then let’s go and discover the best things to do in Estepona, Spain in one day.
Interesting fact. Not that long ago, only in the 60s, Estepona was a little fishing village and since then it developed into one of the biggest cities on Costa del Sol. But nonetheless, the old part of town kept its charm, and strolling along it feels like stepping back several dozens of years back.
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Estepona, Spain FAQ
Of course! For now, Estepona still isn’t a very popular tourist spot in Andalusia and that makes it an amazing destination, especially if you hate crowds. Whether you are into history, architecture, food, lying on the beach, or just wandering among charming streets – you’ll find something for yourself in Estepona. This city is a great destination for holidays, weekend getaways, and one-day trips from nearby cities like Malaga, Gibraltar, or Marbella. For us, Estepona became one of the favorite cities in Andalusia.
Estepona is best known for its charming white old town full of colorful flowers, as well as its lovely sandy beaches that stretch for about 20 km of coastline.
Hard to say, it depends on your preferences. Both places are very beautiful, but also they are quite different. Nerja is a typical small Andalusian white village, while Estepona is a bigger city with a charming white old town and a higher number of attractions. Nerja, although smaller, is more popular and is located in a more picturesque spot. We prefer Estepona as for us it has more charm and we found it more interesting and unique than Nerja (which is “just another” white Andalusian village). But it’s best to visit both places and form your own opinion.
Yes, Estepona is a good holiday destination. It has beautiful beaches which are perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. Although remember that summer months are really hot in Andalusia, and temperatures easily go over 30°C.
We visited Estepona in January and it was very quiet back then, we came across only a few tourists. As for the weather, it was quite warm, about 17°C. It’s the perfect time for a visit if you want to discover the charms of Estepona in peace and quiet.
Best Things To Do In Estepona, Spain In One Day
Estepona Old Town
Exploring the old town without a doubt is the number one thing to do in Estepona. In our opinion, it’s one of the prettiest old towns along the entire Costa del Sol. While walking through its streets, between white houses generously decorated with various flowers in colorful pots, you can feel the typical Andalusian town vibe. Just lose yourself in the labyrinth of streets and discover what each of them has to offer.
Fun fact: for some reason, each street has different colors of flower pots! Also, Estepona’s old town streets are mostly traffic-free which is also a huge advantage. Ideal for snapping that perfect “old” photo!
In the old town, you’ll find places of interest like Plaza de las Flores, Castillo de San Luis, Plaza del Reloj with Reloj Tower, or Church of Our Lady of the Remedies.
Plaza de las Flores
It feels like all town streets eventually lead to the charming Plaza de las Flores. It’s Estepona’s main square, surrounded by white buildings and many orange trees. Early in the morning, you’ll have it almost to yourself, and later on, you’ll be able to grab a seat on one of the many terraces and enjoy delicious coffee and tapas.
In Plaza de las Flores, you’ll also find a fountain with brightly colored floral adornments, and Casa de las Tejerinas which once was a House of Culture (es. Casa de la Cultura). Currently, it houses the Tourist Office and an art gallery – Museo de Arte de la Diputación de Estepona. Be sure not to miss this one of the best things to do in Estepona!
Torre del Reloj & Plaza del Reloj
Torre del Reloj (eng. Clock Tower) is one of the most important Moorish monuments in Estepona and one of the most recognizable town landmarks. Torre del Reloj is the only survivor of the former church which was built in 1473 and then destroyed in 1755 by the earthquake. Plaza del Reloj is a place where many events take place.
The Church of Our Lady of the Remedies
The Church of Our Lady of the Remedies (es. Parroquia Nuestra Señora De Los Remedios) is located only a few minutes walk from Plaza de las Flores and Torre del Reloj. It’s the oldest catholic church in Estepona. It was built in the 18th century and it was used as a convent by the Franciscan Friars until 1835 when the monks abandoned the building due to the Disentailment Law.
Ruins of Castillo de San Luis
The ruins of Castillo de San Luis are located about 150m from Plaza de las Flores. Castle was built in 1457 by Spaniards on the ruins of the Moorish castle. Currently, little left to see, but you can walk around the remaining sections of the castle walls. Right next to the ruins, you’ll find Plaza Casa Cañada, where you can take a short break before discovering even more great places in Estepona.
Estepona Archeological Museum
The Archeological Museum is located in the old part of the town, on the Plaza Blas Infantes. The building once served as a Town Hall, and still is known as “The old town hall”. Currently, the museum holds more than 400 pieces of Estepona’s past. The most peculiar is one called “Venus of Estepona” – it’s a little clay figurine, estimated to be over 5,000 years old. Entry is free.
Ruta de los Murales Artisticos
While the old town is popular for its old white houses and plants in colorful pots, the newest part of Estepona is known for its murals adorning many buildings. Murals are by local artists (like Dadi Dreucol), but also by internationally renowned artists such as Vyacheslav Gunin.
Currently, there are about 60 murals, and you can see them all by following the Ruta de los Murales Artisticos. Murals cover quite a large area so it’s a good idea to pick up a map at the tourist office. In our opinion, finding the best murals is a must-have thing to do in Estepona.
Parque de la Constitucion
Parque de la Constitucion is located in the north of Estepona, very close to some murals from Ruta de los Murales Artísticos. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a quick break in the shades of the trees, watching the large fountain playing with the water in changing patterns. There’s also an iron sculpture with figures adding/removing words from the pages of the book. Important words like truth, education, freedom, happiness, or justice are being added, while “ignorance” is being removed.
Beaches in Estepona
Costa del Sol in Spain is world-famous for its beautiful beaches, and you can also find them in Estepona. Some have a Blue Flag certification (like Playa del Cristo and Playa Arroyo Vaquero).
Playa de la Rada is Estepona’s main beach, located closest to the old town, and stretching for about 2.5km. Playa del Cristo is a dark-sand beach located close to the marina, it’s very popular among families. If you’re interested in nudist beaches, take a look at Playa Costa Natura, which is located only a 10-minute drive from Estepona. Playa de Guadalobón, Playa de Punta Plata, and Playa Arroyo de las Cañas are other beaches in Estepona that might interest you.
Paseo Maritimo Promenade
Paseo Maritimo runs all along Playa de la Rada. If you start walking from the Estepona center, you’ll end your walk at the marina. There are many beach bars and restaurants along the promenade, offering a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood dishes, as well as international cuisine. Paseo Marítimo is also a great place for jogging and cycling.
Estepona Marina is located between Playa de la Rada and Playa del Cristo, at the end of Paseo Marítimo Promenade. There you can admire yachts while eating delicious fresh meals. Also, you can rent a boat or take a sailing trip, as they are available from the marina on a daily basis. Marina is also a place where the Sunday craft market in Estepona is taking place.
Iglesia de la Ascension – Orthodox Christian Church
Iglesia de la Ascension is a place that we noticed while driving the car to Estepona and as we found out later it’s the first Orthodox Christian Church in Andalusia and the third in Spain. It was supposed to be open in the second quarter of 2020, but when we arrived there it looked abandoned and was locked uptight. In the area, you can find a temple, a nine-meter-high bell tower, and a cultural center.
Other Things To Do In Estepona, Spain
Estepona bullring is located above the marina, at the western end of the Paseo Maritimo. It was built in 1972 by architect Juan Moro Urbano. Bullring has a very unique construction – its asymmetrical design ensures that even the very top row of seats can be accessed without steps. There is no other such bullring in the whole of Spain.
Bullfights aren’t popular these days, but the site is used for its original purpose once or twice a year. The rest of the time, Estepona Bullring serves as a concert venue.
The Orchidarium, eng. Estepona Orchid House, has been around only since 2015, and it’s already one of the most popular attractions in Estepona. The new mixes with the old, as the orchidarium building is quite a surprising piece of modern architecture, more suited for Benidorm than Estepona. Inside you’ll find one of the largest collections of orchids in Europe, with 1300 different species.
Price: €3 normal; Children between 4-11: €1 (May 2023)
Parque del Calvario
Close to Estepona Orchidarium, only a 5-minute walk, Parque del Calvario is located. Many called it a hidden gem or a secret garden. It’s home to lush vegetation, a pond, a fountain, and even a children’s playground. There you can sit and relax and appreciate a slice of nature in the town center.
Parque del Calvario is also home to Ermita del Calvario, a hermitage building that dates back to 1829, destroyed during the Civil War, and restored to its former glory in 1936.
How to get to Estepona, Spain?
Where to park in Estepona?
Estepona offers many paid parking lots in the city, but if you want to save some money we recommend this parking lot, located very close to the city center.
Airports near Estepona
The closest airports to Estepona are located in Gibraltar (55km away) and Malaga (80km away). From each of them, you can reach the city by bus. You can check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Estepona by bus
From many places, you can very easily get to Estepona by bus. There are many direct and usually cheap connections from many places like Malaga, Ronda, Gibraltar, Sevilla and Tarifa. Please check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Estepona by train
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Estepona. The closest one is located in Malaga, about 60km away, and from there you can take a bus to Estepona. You can check out a map of available train connections on acprail.com website.
Things To Do In Estepona, Spain In One Day – Summing up
Estepona is a really beautiful and unique city, isn’t it? It’s quite a shame that it’s slightly forgotten and in the shadow of other big names like Malaga, Ronda, or Marbella. But who knows, maybe it will change in the future! Also, as you can see now, there are many things to do in Estepona, for all kinds of travelers. So no matter if you’re looking for sandy beaches, a charming old town for a lazy stroll, art, culture, or history… Estepona has it all. Enjoy your time in this beautiful Andalusian city and let us know if it stole your heart.
Our opinion about Estepona
There are not so many places that really impress us and steal our hearts but Estepona did it. We really loved that city and enjoyed our time there. After seeing many typical Andalusian white villages Estepona was a breath of freshness. We loved that the old part of town kept its charm, but people enriched it with many colorful details. We also really liked the part about following and admiring the murals.
For us, a visit to Estepona was a one-day trip from Mijas Las Lagunas, where we were living for a few weeks. We visited the city in January and during that time it was very quiet which was a big advantage for us. During one day we managed to visit all the places we had on our list, and it took us about 8 hours.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Estepona?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Estepona:
Where to sleep in Estepona?
Hotel Mediterraneo is a modern beachfront hotel located in Estepona. The hotel features a range of room types, including standard rooms and spacious suites, all with contemporary furnishings and amenities. Guests can enjoy a variety of on-site facilities, including a restaurant, bar, outdoor swimming pool, and fitness center.
Hotel Boutique Casa Veracruz
Hotel Boutique Casa Veracruz is a charming boutique hotel located in the historic center of Estepona. The hotel features elegantly decorated rooms with a combination of modern and classic style. Guests can enjoy the hotel's rooftop terrace and stunning views of the town and sea. The hotel is just a short walk from the beach and the promenade.
Apartamento Frente A La Playa
Apartamento Frente A La Playa is a beautiful beachfront apartment that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The apartment features modern furnishings and is equipped with all the necessary amenities to make your stay comfortable. Guests can enjoy the convenience of having the beach just steps away and can easily explore the nearby attractions.
H10 Estepona Palace
H10 Estepona Palace is a luxurious beachfront hotel located in Estepona. The hotel features spacious rooms and suites with modern amenities and stunning sea views, as well as an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, and spa. Guests can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at the on-site restaurant and a drink at the poolside bar while taking in the panoramic views of the sea.
Hotel Silken El Pilar Andalucia
Hotel Silken El Pilar Andalucia is a charming hotel located in Estepona, Spain. The hotel features comfortable rooms equipped with modern amenities and a balcony offering beautiful views of the sea or the mountains. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center during their stay.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com
Estepona, Spain - Map of places
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