Here's Why You Should Visit Estepona, Spain, Before Everyone Catches On

Estepona, Costa del Sol; courtesy Encar Novillo
Estepona, Costa del Sol; courtesy Encar Novillo
Mark Nayler

Often overlooked in favour of nearby Marbella, the gorgeous town of Estepona is one of the Costa del Sol’s hidden gems. It boasts one of Andalusia’s prettiest old quarters as well as some of Málaga’s best beaches and seafood restaurants – all reasons why you should visit before the rest of the world realises just how beautiful Estepona is.

“Underdog” Status

One of the joys of visiting Estepona for the first time is the feeling of having discovered an “underdog” destination – in this case, a town frequently passed over in favour of more famous and glitzy coastal neighbours such as Marbella and (to a lesser extent) Fuengirola and Torremolinos. This is not to say that Estepona is behind when it comes to tourism, because it caters for foreign visitors just as well as the rest of Málaga’s stunning coastline. But, unlike many of the Costa del Sol’s other towns, it has managed to retain its identity as an unmistakably Spanish pueblo blanco, replete with its own unique ambience and style.

A typical street in Estepona’s old town; courtesy Encar Novillo

Old Town & Flowers

Plaza de las Flores in Estepona’s old town; courtesy Encar Novillo

Quieter Beaches

The Costa del Sol is world-famous for its beautiful beaches, which means that the most popular of them can become unbearably busy during summer. This is especially true in the tourist magnets of Marbella, Torremolinos and Fuengirola. But due to Estepona’s lesser fame even its main beach, Playa Rada, is less crowded than those of the other Costas, even during July and August. Rada also backs onto a line of lively chiringuitos and classy seafood restaurants and from its centre it’s less than a ten minute walk into the heart of the old town. Other notable stretches of sand near to Estepona are the Playa Costa Natura nudist beach (10 minute drive from town) and Playa El Cristo (5 minute drive or 15 minute walk from Estepona’s bullring), which can get a little busy in the summer but is situated in a lovely little cove and has two great chiringuitos.

Playa Rada, Estepona, Spain

Playa Costa Natura, Estepona, Spain

Playa El Cristo, Estepona, Spain

Seafood Restaurants

Estepona has a varied culinary scene and, unlike many other Spanish towns its size, offers some excellent Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants. Yet it would seem a shame to come here and not dine out on some of the freshest and best-cooked fish in the Mediterranean, served at superbly-priced seafood restaurants and ludicrously cheap tapas bars. Consistently – and deservedly – praised are La Escorella, a portside restaurant which literally takes its daily fish order straight from the boat, and Restaurante El Pescador, which serves some of the biggest, juiciest mussels and best black-rice paella you’re ever likely to try.

All of which means that you should hurry to Estepona before the rest of the world wakes up to how much this lovely town has to offer. And in the meantime, don’t tell anyone you’ve read this article.

La Escorella, Calle Puerto Pesquero, s/n, Estepona, Spain, +34 952 80 63 54

El Pescador, 1 Avenida España, Estepona, Spain, +34 952 80 43 93

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