Estepona used to be a small, simple fishing village. Today, it's one of the most attractive destinations on the Costa del Sol. It might lack the nightlife and the buzz of nearby Marbella, but it certainly doesn't lack the appeal. if you're looking to experience some authentic Andalucian charm of Spain without having to fight your way through crowds of tourists, it's ideal. If you're planning a visit, be sure to leave plenty of time in your itinerary to enjoy these 20 best things to do in Estepona, Spain.
20. Read some poetry on the Ruta de la Poesia
The Ruta de la Poesia takes you on a poetic journey through Estepona’s winding streets. Scattered along the route are 39 plaques engraved with poetic verses from a huge variety of Spanish and foreign poets, including the Polish poet Wisława Szymborska, the French poet and novelist Victor Hugo, and the Andalusian poet Ángel Garcia López. Before you start, pop by the tourism office to pick up a guide containing details of the route and some handy background on the plaques you can expect to see along the way.
19. Check out the artifacts at the Museo Arqueológico
If you want to find out a little more about the history and the evolution of Andalucian architecture, be sure to stop by the Museo Arqueológico. Located in a lovely little square in the former town hall, the museum boasts a fantastic assortment of artifacts, some of which date back to the Paleolithic era. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for its most valuable piece - a tiny, 2-inch clay figure called the ‘Venus of Estepona’ that was discovered at a local hospital in 2011. At 5000 years old, it's not the oldest piece in the museum, but it's certainly the most charming. The best thing of all? There's no charge for admission.
18. Go to Purobeach
Named as one of Estepona's top attractions by Lonely Planet, Purobeach is an upscale beach club that's about as exclusive as Estepona gets. It's actually set a little outside the city in Laguna Village, but considering it's only 5km away, it makes for a very easy day trip. The price of admission is steep (expect to pay around €35) but worth it, with access to sunbeds, private nomad-style tents, the bar, pool, spa experiences, and nightclub all included in the price. If you get bored of Purobeach, you'll find plenty of other distractions in Laguna, including a vast array of beachside bars, restaurants, and shops, all set around gorgeously landscaped grounds complete with pretty fountains and waterways.
17. Admire the art at Colección Arte Garó
If you want to check out some of the finest art in Estepona, be sure to visit Colección Arte Garó. Spread over three floors, it boasts six centuries' worth of art to admire.
16. Visit the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
Named as one of the top things to do in Estepona by The Flyaway Girl, the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is a great place to head for an hour or two of quiet reflection. Originally built as part of the old convent of the Terciarios Franciscanos in the 18th century, the church features a stunning array of architectural styles, with elements of Baroque, Marian, Franciscan, and colonial styles scattered throughout. The interior is just as gorgeous. If you happen to be around during Easter, be sure to join in the huge celebrations that take place there.
15. Admire the blooms at Orchidarium
It may have opened as recently as 2015, but already, Orchidarium has earned itself a place among Estepona's top attractions. Architecturally, it's a wonder, featuring a 98 feet tall glass dome that rises starkly against the whitewashed buildings that surround it. At its side sit two smaller domes measuring 16 and 6 meters in height respectively. But no matter how impressive the exterior is, it's nothing competed to what's going on inside. As soon as you walk through the doors, you'll be hit by the fragrance and the sight of one of Europe's largest collections of orchids. The house boasts 8000 species in total, along with a 98 feet high waterfall that begs to be photographed. Entrance is a very reasonable €3 per adult.
14. Admire the street art on the Ruta de los Murales
If the art collection at Colección Arte Garó is too tradiational for your taste, take a wander along the Ruta de los Murales instead. The route was designed in 2012 to celebrate the numerous murals scattered around the city. It now features more than 60 murals, with more being added all the time. Key pieces to look out for include the Día de Pesca, or Day of Fish, an epic 1,000 square meter mural spread across six façades that ranks as the largest mural in Spain.
13. Taste the high life at Estepona Marina
Estepona might be all about old-school charm, but it's got a contemporary side too. If you want to check out its more upscale offerings, take the advice of The Crazy Tourist and hit up the bars and cafes of its super-swanky marina. A favorite with the city's hippest, richest, and most bejeweled, it's a great place to spend a few hours people watching and admiring the yachts bobbing around the water. Visit on Saturday to check out the handicrafts and leather goods at the Tourist Market.
12. Visit Casa de las Tejerinas
Casa de las Tejerinas is named in honor of the two sisters - Carmen and Francisco Tejerinas - who gifted their home to Estepona after their deaths so it could serve as a hospital. It did, and a very good one at that, but these days, the nurses are gone and the house is now used as an exhibition and lecture space. It's a great place to spend a few hours regardless, but if you happen to visit during one of the regular literary or art events, so much the better.
11. Tuck into some fish
If there's one thing that Estepona has in abundance, it's fresh fish. Actually, make that two things - fish, and people who know how to cook that fish to perfection. The town is peppered with some of the finest seafood restaurants on the Mediterranean. Some are traditional, some are contemporary, and all are delicious. Whether you're in the mood for some light tapas or a gut-busting meal, you'll have no problem finding something to suit.
10. Visit the bullring
Even if bullfighting leaves you cold, a visit to Estepona’s bullring should be considered a must-do. Built by architect Juan Moro Urbano in the early 1970s, its asymmetrical design ensures that even the very top row of seats can be accessed without steps. The end result is a slightly peculiar, very unique construction unlike any other bullring in Spain. Bull fights are rare these days, and the site is usually only used for its original purpose once or twice a year, The rest of the time, it serves as a concert venue. On Sunday, it hosts a craft market that's well worth a couple of hours of your time.
9. Explore the Bullfighting Museum
Over the last couple of decades, bullfighting has become an endangered sport in Spain. It still, however, occupies a place in Andalusian culture and history. Regardless of your opinions on the practice, you'll need to swat up on it if you want to fit in. The best place to do your homework is at the bullfighting museum in Estepona’s bullring. Learn more about the ancient tradition via the museum's huge collection of artifacts and memorabilia. That's also an exquisite collection of very lavish trajes de luces worn by some of Spain's most fabled matadors to check out.
8. Admire the fossils at the Paleontology Museum
Estepona’s bullring is home to not one, not two, but three excellent museums. The first is the bullfighting museum, which offers an intriguing glimpse into the culture and history of the ancient tradition. The second, the excellent Paleontology Museum, is no less visit-worthy (the third, the Ethnographic Museum, is also a must-visit, but we'll come to that shortly). Among its exhibits is one of the largest fossil collections in Europe. If you've got even the vaguest of interests in history or geology, you'll want to check out the collection of sea urchins gathered from the bed of the Guadalquivir river (which counts the largest sea-hedgehog in Spain amongst its treasures), its sea cow fossil (the only one ever discovered in Andalusia), and its huge assortment of ancient marine invertebrates. If you struggle to pack it all into one day, just come back tomorrow - entrance won't cost you a cent, so you won't be out of pocket no matter how many visits you make.
7. Learn about Esteponian culture at the Ethnographic Museum
Estepona boasts a huge variety of museums, with the Ethnographic Museum standing out as one of its best. Its collection of over 2000 artifacts tell the story of how agriculture and fishing have helped shape and define Esteponian history and culture. It features a series of themed rooms, each boasting a wide array of historic equipment that's proved key to both industries over the years. Like the rest of the museums in the bullring, entrance is free.
6. Soak up the rays at Playa Rada
If you want to enjoy some relaxing time in nature without venturing too far from the city, head for Playa Rada. Located an easy 5-minute stroll from Plaza de las Flores, it's a gorgeous stretch of sand, with pristine golden sands lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters. Thanks to the fame of its neighboring beaches in Marbella, Fuengirola and Torremolinos, it rarely gets overrun with tourists. If you get peckish, you'll find plenty of chiringuito bars lining the beach that do a fine line in beer, tapas, and seafood.
5. Marvel at Torre del Reloj
Estepona is home to a score of Morrish monuments, with Torre del Reloj ranking as one of its most significant. Located in the Plaza del Reloj, the towering clock tower is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. It forms the only surviving part of the old Church of Los Remedios, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. With its rounded red and white tower, it's an arresting sight, especially in spring and summer when its wall spring beautiful displays of colorful flowers.
4. Explore Parque del Calvario
Buried deep in the heart of the city is a secret garden. Parque del Calvario is a hidden gem, with gorgeous flowering plants and lush vegetation. It's also home to Ermita del Calvario, a hermitage building that was destroyed during the Civil War but restored to its former glory in the mid-1930s. It's usually locked, but you can still get a glimpse of it through the iron bar gate.
3. Soak up the atmosphere at Plaza de las Flores
If all roads lead to Rome, then all winding lanes lead to Plaza de las Flores, at least in Estepona. The old town's main square is unmissable, blessed with an Andalucian beauty that needs to be seen to be believed. Grab a seat on one of the sunny terraces, breathe in the fragrance of the orange trees, and enjoy some first-class tapas as you admire the gorgeous central fountain and its brightly colored floral adornments.
2. Stroll along the Paseo Maritimo
As chimptrips.com says, the palm-lined promenade of Paseo Maritimo is a lovely place for a beachside stroll, a cycle, or even a jog. There are plenty of benches scattered along the walkway for when you need to take a rest, along with vendors selling a selection of hot and cold drinks. The best time to visit is during sunrise, but even if you can't drag yourself out of bed in time, the colorful blooms and lush vegetation that separate the promenade from the road are worth a visit at any time of the day.
1. Explore the Old Town
As The Culture Trip points out, there is no better way to familiarize yourself with Estepona’s charm than by getting lost in its oldest quarter. Stretching all the way from Avenida Andalusia to Avenida Juan Carlos I, it's a riot of color thanks to the vibrant flower pots adorning the facades of its whitewashed houses. Even in peak season, the streets remain blissfully quiet, leaving you free to wander around and soak up the beauty in peace.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn