Location of Estepona
|• Mayor||José María García Urbano|
|• Total||137 km2 (53 sq mi)|
|• Land||137 km2 (53 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.00 km2 (0.00 sq mi)|
|• Density||399/km2 (1,030/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Estepona is a town and municipality in the comarca of the Costa del Sol, southern Spain. It is located in the province of Málaga, part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Its district covers an area of 137 square kilometers in a fertile valley crossed by small streams and a mountainous areas dominated by the Sierra Bermeja, which reaches an elevation of 1,449 m at the peak of Los Reales.
Estepona is renowned for its beaches, which stretch along some 21 km of coastline. It is a popular resort and holiday destination.
Due to its natural environment, surrounded by the sea and the mountains, Estepona has a micro-climate with over 325 days of sunshine per year.
Estepona is a popular year-round holiday destination; it has two EC Blue Flag beaches, a modern sports marina with many tapas bars and restaurants. The white-walled town centre has many shops and picturesque squares. In the early 1990s, the Walt Disney Company chose Estepona as the original site for its Eurodisney project, but Paris, France was later awarded the installation.
The area has been occupied since prehistoric times; stone-age tools and dolmens have been discovered. Romans occupied the area, but a seaquake destroyed their town or villa in the 4th century. Archeologists have unearthed some foundations and ceramics, although the disaster's effects (together with massive redevelopment in the 1960s) make further finds unlikely. References to 'Salduba' or 'Silniana' as an important natural port in old documents may refer to this town, or possibly Marbella's San Pedro Alcantara district.
The name 'Estepona' probably comes from the Moorish Astabbuna or Al-extebunna. In 1342, the Battle of Estepona took place in the Bay of Estepona between the fleet of the Kingdom of Aragon and that of the Marinid Dynasty, with the victorious Aragonese fleet subsequently destroyed near Gibraltar, but Christian forces ultimately winning the Siege of Algeciras. Aben al Jhatib, writing in the late 14th century, mentioned the town as being in a state of decay, living on its reputation for culinary delicacies, with its monuments deteriorated. Henry IV of Castile captured the town from the Moors in 1457. A church was built over what had been the town mosque, and a town grew around it, although it too was subsequently destroyed and all that remains is the old clock tower (and the nearby Simon Fernandez school). San Luis castle was built for coastal defense against Berber pirates.
In 1502, the town (or the 25 Christian families resettled from northern Spain) received its first charter. However, it was governed as an administrative district of Marbella until 1729. Philip V of Spain then granted Estepona its own town charter. As the 20th century began, Estepona had 9000 residents, mostly farmers and fisherman.
Gibraltar Airport is the nearest international airport serving Estepona. It is 45 km away and has direct flights to Manchester, London Gatwick and London Luton. Málaga Airport is the next nearest international airport serving Estepona and is located approximately 80 km away. Estepona is served by the A7 Autovía which runs along the Costa del Sol. There is also a toll road, referred to as the AP7 Autopista, which provides faster travel along the route between Málaga and Estepona by-passing many of the urban areas along the route, such as Marbella. There are two toll stations en route and toll charges vary throughout the year. Normally you can travel from Málaga to Estepona for less than 10 euros in toll charges for a normal size car.
Estepona Port and Marina is a working fishing port offering restaurants and bars. The port features daily auctions for a wide variety of seafood. The port is also the location of the Estepona street market - a collection of stalls selling numerous textile and leather goods mostly. The market is usually in Estepona on Sundays but it travels around the Málaga municipality to areas like Puerto Banús, Marbella, Casares, Torremolinos, Fuengirola and more.
Places of interest
Puerto Banús is an upscale community about 30 minutes drive away from Estepona Port with a large number of designer stores.
Selwo Safari Park is styled after African safari parks and houses 2000 animals in semi-wild conditions. It is a 20 minute drive from Estepona Port on the public transport route.
Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos de Estepona is the exhibition and congress centre of Estepona, located opposite the supermarket on the eastern edge of Estepona - closest to Marbella. This centre is home to nearly all of Estepona's organised events including product presentations, fairs, commercial exhibitions, concerts and more.
"Playa del Cristo", or Christ Beach, is five minutes west of Estepona Port. It is a small cove with lifeguards on station and also two "chiringuitos" or beach front bar/restaurants. La Rada Beach is 2 minutes east of Estepona Marina and at over 1.5 km in length runs from the marina past Estepona's old town. There is also a popular naturist/nudist beach of Costa Natura to the west of Estepona, which was the first official naturist site in Spain.
Restaurants & eating out
Estepona is not known for the "night club" culture found in some areas on the Costa del Sol, but does have a wide variety of bar and restaurants. Dining choices emphasise locally-caught seafood, and range from local Spanish cuisine to other Mediterranean cuisines, including Italian and French. Many restaurants have terraces allowing diners to eat al fresco (outside) during the late evening.
Most restaurants are located near the seafront, either along the main promenade fronting the sea or along Calle Real. There are a number of small plazas or squares next to Calle Real, on which numerous restaurants can be found.
Estepona's small and medium-size local shops, particularly in the old town, offer locally made produce and goods. The recently renovated indoor market in the town centre of has vendores offering fresh meat, fish and vegetables. Bboutiques in the main town centre offer contemporary international clothing brands and other goods. Typical of Spanish towns of this size, market is held in the main square (on Wednesdays), featuring clothing as well as food and vegetables. Estepona port also hosts a Sunday market for "touristy" goods.
There are no large shopping complexes in Estepona. The main food stores are the hipermercado complex at the edge of the town, a smaller express store in the middle of the town and several supermarkets. Two supermarkets in the port area feature fresh produce, meat and seafood as well as convenience style foods. The nearest large department stores are the complex just off the north ringroad of Marbella, and the department stores in Puerto Banús, just before Marbella. Both can be accessed by traveling east from Estepona towards Málaga on the A7.
Cycling and tennis are popular in Estepona, with many road races held in the area, and three major tennis clubs. The many golf courses around Estepona include:
- Estepona Golf
- Valle Romano Golf Club
- La Duquesa Golf & Country Club
- La Resina Golf & Country Club
- El Paraíso Golf Club
- Finca Cortesin - Home of the VOLVO World Match Play Championship 2009, 2010 & 2012
- Dona Julia Resort
- The Town Clock Tower.
- The San Luis Castle.
- The Church of Los Remedios.
- The Original Bullring.
- San Isidro Labrador, agricultural religious celebrations on the 15th of May.
- Ferias y Fiestas mayores, annual town festival at the beginning/start of July.
- Quema de los bigotes de San Juan, traditional solstice-night celebration of the 23 June.
- Virgen del Carmen, fishermen religious celebrations on the 16th of July.
- Virgen de los Remedios, religious celebrations on the 15th of August.
- http://www.andalucia.com/estepona/history.htm citing David Wood and Chris Wahn, In Search of Andalucia (2003) which can be purchased through the website.