Those visiting the Costa del Sol who want to stay somewhere a bit different and smaller than Málaga or Marbella will love the charming town of Estepona. One of the few towns in this hyper-developed area that have retained its classic charm, there are also many things to do in Estepona that make it a wonderful destination for more than just a beach holiday.
For those looking for an excellent place to base themselves on the Costa del Sol that has a quiet, laid-back vibe, a beautiful beach and lacks the high-rises and hyper-developed feel of many other areas in the region. That’s not to say that Estepona doesn’t see its fair share of international visitors – it certainly does – it simply hasn’t sacrificed the quintessential Andalucían feel.
So if you’ve decided that this lovely town is the place for you and are looking for the best places to visit in Estepona, then this guide should help you out.
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How Many Days in Estepona?
Many potential visitors wonder how many days to spend in Estepona in order to do the town justice. And if all you’re interested in is exploring the town and seeing the highlights, you really only need a day (if you’re being generous) to get a good feel for Estepona.
With one day in Estepona, you will have enough time to explore the old town, see some of the top sites and also get some beach time. Estepona is quite small and compact so you really don’t need a lot of time to devote to it.
That being said, if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday that incorporates a bit of exploration along with a bit of lounging on the beach, then how long you choose to spend in Estepona is really up to you. So long as you plan to spend one day dedicated to all of the things to see in Estepona, then you can honestly spend 3, 4 or more days in this town should you want.
There are also plenty of things to do near Estepona and within easy reach of the town. Those who want to explore more of Andalucía, the Costa del Sol and this area, in general, will find that Estepona makes for a great base.
Getting To & Around Estepona
Estepona is a relatively small town on the Costa del Sol – the region situated on the coast of Southern Spain in the Málaga province. The entire region is served by the Málaga-Costa del Sol airport which is located in, unsurprisingly, the city of Málaga – which also happens to be the largest city in the area.
There are a handful of buses daily that run directly from Málaga airport to Estepona if you’d like to rely on public transport during your trip.
If these direct buses don’t align with your flight time, you can also opt to grab a (more frequent) bus to Marbella and switch there or head to the Málaga city centre where you will find more frequent direct buses leaving. You can also organise a transfer from the airport.
In and around Estepona, there are local city buses that you can catch to get around, however, they can be a bit infrequent and somewhat unreliable.
If you are staying in Estepona for an extended period and you want some flexibility to explore at your leisure, then hiring a car is an excellent idea. While you don’t necessarily need a car in the centre of Estepona, it can be incredibly helpful if you’re staying a bit further out or want to go on a few day trips.
There are lots of car hire options across a number of different companies at Málaga airport and you can browse options on Rentalcars.com. The drive from Málaga to Estepona is about an hour to an hour fifteen, depending on the route you end up taking.
Best Things To Do In Estepona: A One-Day Itinerary
Whether you have one day to devote to your trip to Estepona or you want to do a few activities a day while spending the rest of your time relaxing and chilling out on your holiday, there are lots of things to see and do here and you’re sure to fall in love with this delightful coastal town!
Orchidarium of Estepona
An excellent first stop on any visit to Estepona is to the Orquidario de Estepona – the town’s Orchidarium. This is a lovely greenhouse botanic garden that is devoted to the orchid! Located in the centre of the town, this is a fascinating place to visit even if you’re not all that keen on flowers.
Entry into the Orchidarium is €3 per person and plan to spend about 30 minutes to an hour in there depending on how interested you are in the individual plants.
There are hundreds of different orchid varieties on display here and you really need to keep your eyes peeled as you can easily miss some of the tiniest and most beautiful of flowers.
There are a number of levels to the Orchidarium and there is even an indoor waterfall – really giving it a “jungle” feel. So if you’re looking for unique attractions in Estepona, you absolutely cannot go wrong with visiting the Orquidario de Estepona.
Wander the Historic Centre
As you make your way slightly downhill from the Orchidarium, you will find yourself wandering into the historic centre of the town. The Old Town of Estepona is compact but absolutely bursting with charm and it is absolutely worth spending a bit of time wandering around here and getting a bit lost.
Filled with classic white-washed buildings and winding, cobbled streets, it only takes a minute to fall completely in love with this delightful little town. Pay attention to each little avenue you pass – they’re all lined with flowers and each street has its own unique flower-pot colour!
Estepona’s old town is also well-signposted so you can easily find your way toward various points of interest as you stroll through the streets.
However, if you’re keen to explore with a bit more historic context, consider this guided tour of the old town which is a great option for those who like to explore with a tour guide.
Plaza de las Flores
The central meeting point of the Estepona historic centre is undoubtedly the Plaza de las Flores – or flower square. As the name may suggest, this main square is filled with beautiful local flowers that really give it such a delightful feeling.
The plaza is lined with open-air cafes and a number of public benches so you can choose how you’d like to enjoy this lovely spot. This is also home to the tourist information centre where you can pick up city maps and get some advice should you need it.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
Another major focal point in the old town of Estepona is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. This is a beautiful Catholic church located on a hill in the centre of the town and it is distinctive for its iconic bell tower with a beautiful tiled roof.
From a number of angles throughout the old town, your eye will be drawn to this church tower and it’s worth heading up and seeing the lovely church itself, as well!
Estepona isn’t all just historic, classic buildings. In fact, even in the old town, you can find plenty of incredible, city-sponsored street art that make the entire town feel like an open-air gallery. Known as the Murales Artísticos – artistic murals – there are countless pieces of beautiful art scattered across the city.
If you want to explore Estepona and maybe even get a bit away from the touristy centre and see where some locals make their homes, make sure to pick up a map of the murals from the tourist info centre (located in Plaza de las Flores) and check out some of these incredible murals. There are ranges of different pieces – including small artistic paintings and larger murals that take up entire building walls.
This is something that makes Estepona unique and it is perfect for art lovers looking for a unique thing to see and do in the town.
If you’re looking for somewhere great for lunch outside of the old town while searching for murals, then consider heading to Arrocería el Hatillo.
This local restaurant has a great menú del día (set menu) and an a la carte menu, as well. There are also plenty of local tapas bars and restaurants around and in the historic centre should you wish to find them.
Playa de la Rada
Of course, no visit to Estepona would be complete without visiting the beach and the main sandy stretch in Estepona – Playa de la Rada – is truly a wonderful beach.
This beautiful patch of golden sand stretches for over two kilometres and it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It’s a fantastic reason to visit Estepona in its own right if you’re looking to have a great beach holiday.
There is also a delightful seafront promenade that spans the entirety of the beach and is delightful to walk along. There are plenty of benches lining the promenade and also a number of life-sized chess boards if you want to engage your brain while enjoying the Mediterranean sunshine.
If you’d rather get out onto the water than lounge on the sand, then there are also a few options for you in Estepona.
For instance, this dolphin-watching adventure will have you spotting these playful creatures on Estepona bay. And for something a bit romantic, this sunset sailing cruise that leaves from the Estepona Marina is never a bad idea!
Have More Time?
If you have more than one day to spend here, then there are a lot of options available to you if you’re looking for some places to visit near Estepona.
Due to its location, Estepona makes for a fantastic base to visit Gibraltar as a day trip. There’s a lot to do in this British Overseas Territory and the border happens to be located only about a 30-40 minute drive away.
You can also opt to visit Gibraltar as part of an organised tour if you don’t want to bother with getting there yourself. For example, this full-day tour offers pick-up along the Costa del Sol (including Estepona) and a guided tour around Gibraltar.
If you want to visit somewhere inland, then the town of Ronda is an excellent idea. This is much easier to visit if you have your own vehicle, however, it is reachable in a little bit over an hour from Estepona. Ronda is famous for its imposing Puente Nueva (new bridge) and the historic bullring, however, it has more to offer than just these two sites.
For those who want to get active and don’t want to venture too far, then consider going for a hike on Sierra Bermeja, the mountain that overlooks Estepona. You can go on your own, or you can opt for a guided hiking tour if this sounds like something you would enjoy.
Where to Stay in Estepona
Hotel Boutique Casa Veracruz – This centrally-located boutique hotel is a great option for those looking for a wonderful place to stay in the heart of Estepona. They have a range of plush rooms on offer and there is even breakfast available daily. Click here to check availability
Hotel Mediterráneo Budget travellers looking to stay on the beachfront in Estepona will love this cosy hotel. They have a number of lovely rooms to choose from (some with sea views) and a great location in the town. Click here to check availability
Apartamentos Turísticos Casa de La Borrega – Those who’d like their own flat in Estepona will love these furnished holiday apartments in the heart of the town. Situated in a 16th-Century mansion, there are a number of flats to choose from with plenty of amenities and a great location in the town. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Estepona hotels!
Those wondering what to do in Estepona will find that there are plenty of attractions and things to fill their time when visiting this charming little town. Whether you’re solely interested in lounging on the beach or you’re keen to explore the town and surrounding area, there is something for everyone in Estepona.
Are you planning to visit Estepona? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!