Nestled in the Western corner of the Malaga province, Estepona is one of the most appealing holiday destinations on the Costa del Sol. Its chilled beach vibe and proximity to Malaga airport make it the perfect choice for a family getaway.

Back in the 1970s, Estepona was little more than a sleepy fishing village. Despite undergoing significant development over the intervening years, it has lost none of its small-town charm. With its flower-filled parks, spacious promenade and pristine old quarter, it remains one of the most picturesque towns on the coast.

But Estepona is more than a pretty face. It also provides culture in spades, with museums, art galleries and ancient ruins all contained within the town. Known as the “Garden of the Costa del Sol”, it doesn’t feel like a typical urban setting, either: the town is home to numerous parks and even a spectacular, glass-domed orchid house.

Then there’s the coastline to consider: 21km of clean, sandy beaches fringed with soaring palm trees. There’s also a working fishing port and an upscale leisure marina where it’s often possible to spy a glittering super-yacht or two.

Estepona is also a dream location for any foodie, with a diverse range of tapas bars and restaurants on offer – many of them blessed with fabulous sea views.

1. Visit the orchid house

The Orchid House, Estepona

After just 5-minutes spent wandering the streets of Estepona, visitors will realise that it’s a town full of flowers. From its colourful parks to the lovingly tended window boxes of its residents, there are no shortage of beautiful blooms on display.

So great is Estepona’s love affair with flora that it’s devoted an entire building to orchids. El Orquidario de Estepona is 160,00 square foot botanic garden housed beneath three glass domes in the town centre.

Inside, the tropical park is spread over 2 floors and nurtures over 2,000 species of orchid in a myriad of colours, along with vertical gardens and an impressive 17-metre waterfall. Visitors can admire the stunning array of plants from a walkway angled behind the cascading water, which arches a series of pools beneath.

Entrance fees start at €3 for adults €1 for children aged 4-11 years, with children under 4 going free.

C. Terraza, 86, 29680 Estepona, Málaga. Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 – 13.00 & 15.00 – 18.00 hours. Sunday: 10.00 – 14.00 Mondays closed

2. Take a walk on the wild side at Selwo Aventura

Selwo rope bridge

The sprawling safari park, Selwo Aventura, is located a 15-minute drive outside Estepona en-route to Marbella. Covering over one million square metres and containing upwards of 2,000 animals, this park prides itself on closely replicating the natural environment of its furred and feathered residents.

White rhinos, Bengal tigers, zebras and giraffes are just a few of the creatures which call Selwo home – along with birds such as the hornbill, ibis stork and crane. The best way to spot these animals is in one of the park’s camouflaged off-road trucks, which will allow you to get up close to a magnificent beast or two as they roam their vast enclosures.

As things to do with children go it’s a hit for all age groups. There’s also a petting zoo for the younger children, along with trampolining and archery activities. For adrenaline junkies, there’s also the longest zip-line in Europe, which runs for 116 metres above the park’s central lake.

Autovía del Mediterráneo, Km. 162, 5, 29680 Estepona, Málaga. Opening Times: 10.00 – 18.00

3. Explore the picturesque old town

Pretty andalucian town, Estepona

Estepona’s historic centre – or casco antiguo – offers visitors a slice of quintessential Andalucia. White townhouses line narrow cobbled streets, their walls splashed with bougainvillaea vines and pots of tumbling geraniums.

There’s also a range of tapas bars where visitors can stop to quench their thirst and enjoy a local delicacy or two. Casa del Ray is located in the heart of the old town and is known for its fabulous tapas and extensive wine list. Diners can choose to eat on the terrace or the interior courtyard, which is particularly charming at night.

Don’t leave without trying a portion of the mouth-watering shrimp croquettes or the fresh tuna tartare with creamy dill mayonnaise.

C. Raphael, 7, 29680 Estepona, Málaga. Opening times: 12.00 – 00.00 daily

4. Take a wander in Parque del Calvario

The Calvario Park is the largest public garden in Estepona. Located a five-minute walk from the orchard house, it is a tranquil and verdant space populated with numerous water features, including a lake, jet fountain and waterfalls.

Along a series of lavender-edged pathways, visitors will also find a children’s playground, shaded benches and glorious blooming wisteria bushes in the spring. In the summer months, the area encircling the lake provides a stage for numerous open-air concerts.

The park also contains a restored Hermitage building – Erimta del Calvario – which dates back to 1829. The chapel was destroyed in the civil war and later rebuilt in 1936. Although it’s mostly kept locked, visitors are welcome to wander up and admire it from the outside, or peek through its windows to catch a glimpse of the interior.

Av. Andalucía, 41, 29680 Estepona, Málaga. Opening hours: 09.00 – 00.00

Estepona Villa with Pool

5. Hire a boat

Estepona marina

With its silky-smooth Mediterranean waters and excellent year-round climate, Estepona is an ideal location for a spot of sailing.

Whether you fancy exploring hidden coves, indulging in some open-sea swimming or visiting neighbouring towns such as Marbella and Sotogrande, hiring a boat provides a stylish way to get from A to B.

Chartering a boat also allows you glimpse the vibrant marine life typical to this corner of Spain. Sail from Estepona into the seas between Gibraltar and Ceuta – the Spanish enclave in North Africa – and you may be lucky enough to glimpse pilot whales, dolphins and even orcas.

Local companies such as Sotoboats offer a range of vessels – from fishing boats to luxury yachts – for both half-day and full-day charters. Many come equipped with sea toys such as paddle boards, snorkels and sea bobs, and catering and refreshments can also be arranged on board.

Real Club Nautico, Puerto Deportivo de Estepona, 29680 Estepona – Málaga.

6. Hike in the Natural Park – Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja

Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja

There’s more to Estepona than its beautiful coastline; the surrounding area also contains the Sierra Bermeja natural park. Dominated by the Sierra Bermeja mountain range, this area of rugged natural beauty is located an hour’s drive beyond Estepona and is crisscrossed with hiking trails for walkers of all fitness levels.

Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja is one of the most popular routes for families or those looking for a casual stroll. This 2.1-mile loop stays fairly flat throughout and offers stunning views of the Med and surrounding mountains.

The best way to access the park is by car.  Follow the Avenida de Andalucia in the direction of Genalguacil (MA 557). Turn left at the Peñas Blancas sign about half an hour outside of Estepona, then left at the sign for Los Reales.

7. Go for a stroll along the promenade

Estepona promenade

The recently completed Paseo Marítimo runs along the length of Estepona from La Rada beach to the fishing port. A 2.6-million-euro project commissioned by the mayor in 2020, the promenade means that visitors can now stroll from one end of town to the other along the scenic seafront.

The promenade is often at its busiest early evening, when locals and visitors alike step out to enjoy the sunset. This is best seen from a clifftop wooden walkway on the coastal path leading to Marbella. From here, it’s even possible to glimpse the Strait of Gibraltar on a clear day.

There’s no shortage of bars and restaurants populating the promenade, so should you fancy walking its entire length, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for a refreshment along the way.

8. Stop for a coffee on Plaza de las Flores

Pretty Plaza de las Flores, Estepona

One of Estepona’s most popular meeting spots, Plaza de las Flores is an idyllic square framed by fragrant orange trees and beds of bright geraniums. Fanning out from the stone fountain at its centre are a selection of cafes and tapas bars, making it the perfect spot to kick off the day with a coffee.

Plaza de las Flores, 29680 Estepona, Málaga

9. Casa de las Tejerinas

Casa de las Tejerinas in Estepona

The square above is also home to Casa de las Tejerinas. This handsome building was once owned by the Tejerina sisters, who later donated it as a charity hospital for the poor. From the 1970s until 2010, the 18th-century building served as Estepona’s Cultural Centre, before being converted to its current purpose as a Tourist Office and art gallery.

The art gallery features contemporary work by predominately local artists such as Dadi Dreucol, Enrique Brinkmann, Chema Lumbreras and José Carlos Casado. Admission to the public is free.

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9.00 – 20.00. Saturday: 10.00 – 14.00 / 16.00 – 20.00. Sunday & Monday: Closed

10. Soak up the sun on Playa DE LA Rada beach

Playa de la Rada, Estepona

Estepona is a beach lover’s paradise, with over 13 miles of coastline to enjoy. One of the most popular beaches, Playa de la Rada, is only a short walk from the town centre and is a firm favourite with families.

A wide swathe of sand fringed with towering palm trees, Playa de la Rada is also populated with a variety of beach bars – or chiringuitos – where you can seek refuge from the summer sun and enjoy a cold beer and some fresh seafood.

Playa Rada can get busy in high season, but as the largest beach in Estepona, there is always plenty of space to spread out. Public toilets and wash stations mean you can comfortably spend the entire day here. There are also sun loungers for hire with parasols to provide some welcome shade.

11. Check out some Urban Art

Urban art murals in Estepona

Although the houses of Estepona’s historic centre are known for their pristine paintwork, you will find the walls of other buildings decorated with unique and colourful street art.

Various vast murals can be seen around the town, the work of local artists such as Ana Cecila Salinas. At last count, there were 23 murals dotted throughout Estepona, but new art is constantly appearing as more artists are commissioned. One of the most eye-catching pieces is a highly realistic trompe-l’oeil image covering six apartment blocks, making it the largest mural in Spain.

Art enthusiasts wishing to check out the full range of Estepona’s murals should head to the tourist office on Plaza de las Flores.  Here you will be provided with a detailed itinerary pinpointing where to locate each of the works.

12.  Have a cocktail in the Marina

Estepona marina

Estepona’s stylish marina is located between La Rada and El Cristo beach. Built on what was the original fishing harbour, it is now home to several bars and restaurants and has a buzzing atmosphere.

It’s a great spot to head in the evenings, where you can settle down for a cocktail at a waterside bar such as Reinaldo’s (which has Happy Hour from 20.00 – 21.00 every day) and admire the gleaming super yachts moored nearby.

There’s also a market to check out on Sunday, where various stalls are set up in the marina selling handicrafts and leather goods.

Reinaldo Café Bar, Urb Puerto Deportivo, 24 29680, Estepona.

Open Hours: Mon – Sat 10.00-02.00. Sundays Closed

13. Visit the Prehistoric Dolmens

There’s plenty on offer for history buffs in Estepona, including the Prehistorica de Corominas museum – which contains the carefully conserved remains of an ancient burial site.

Venture underground at this futuristic museum and you will find five small dolmens (standing stones) dating from 3,000 BC. Displayed beneath a domed ceiling with fibre optic lighting, visitors can also see pottery vessels, stone tools, arrow heads, axes, personal ornaments, necklace beads and perforated seashells.

The majority of artefacts in the museum were actually unearthed nearby at Cero de Corominas when AP7 toll motorway was being constructed in 2011. They were then carefully transported to Estepona and reconstructed for public display.

The museum offers guided tours in English at 10.00 Tuesday – Sunday. The tour lasts approximately 1hr 15 minutes and must be booked in advance, either by WhatsApp on +34 675 942 975 or via email at Prices start at €5 for children and €12 for adults.

Parque San Isidro, Pedregales, 29680 Estepona, Málaga. Opening hours: Open every day 11.00-13.00


Sardines being cooked on the beach

Estepona is known for its seafood, and many of the town’s restaurants have menus dedicated exclusively to its fabulous fresh produce. Local dishes include espeto de sardinas – sardines cooked over fire on cane sticks – and boquerones en vinagere – pickled anchovies doused in lashings of olive oil and garlic.

From Playa Rada to the marina, visitors will be spoiled for choice when it comes to seafood restaurants, but El Pescador is considered one of the best by discerning locals.

Everybody knows that seafood tastes better by the sea, and there’s no finer way to enjoy it than on this stylish restaurant’s beachside terrace with its dreamy sea view.

Inside, crisp white tablecloths and an understated colour palette create a soothing vibe. The menu is similarly simple and focusses on letting the star ingredients shine. Diners can choose between grilled king prawns, steamed mussels and fresh clams, along with crowd pleasers such as fried fish platters and oven-baked seabass.

Paseo Marítimo Pedro Manrique 129680. Estepona. Málaga. Opening hours: Open every day 13.00-16.30 / 19.00-00.00


One of the most colourful yet overlooked attractions in Estepona is the set of rainbow steps located just off Avenida del Mar.

Known as the Escalera Arco Iris, these 90 steps were originally built to link Estepona town to the country road above. Over the years, this quiet rural community has burgeoned into a large housing estate, which can be seen from the top of the steps along with views of the Sierra Bermeja mountain and the northern quarter of Estepona.

Traversing the steep staircase is sure to get your heart racing, but the climb is worth it for the views from the top.

Want to explore Estepona for yourself? Check out our collection of Estepona based villas here.



Rebecca Nayler

Rebecca is the Guest Experience Manager at the Luxury Villa Collection. A lover of all things Spain, she is dedicated to helping clients plan their dream trip and experience unforgettable travel moments.

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