Estepona is the coast’s rising star. For many years this charming and quintessentially Spanish town suffered from being perceived as Marbella’s poor relation. However, thanks to a visionary Mayor, Estepona has become one of the most sought after residential locations. Both the town and the wider municipal area offer some of the best residential developments, plus a gamut of highly regarded restaurants, bars hotels, hospitals and schools, plus access to a range of outdoor activities to suit every age group, including some of the coast’s top golf courses.
The municipality of Estepona stretches from where it borders with the municipality of Marbella at what is known locally as the ‘Benahavís roundabout’ in the east to Manilva in the west. The area includes what is known as the ‘New Golden Mile’, which is one of the more popular and affluent areas of the Costa del Sol.
Added to this, the Sierra Bermeja mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Estepona and the town’s picturesque port attracts locals and holidaymakers alike. The flower-lined streets at the centre of the town give it an authentic Spanish ‘pueblo’ feel and its Blue Flag beaches, not to mention the new theatre and orchidarium, all contribute to making Estepona a fantastic place to live as well as an ideal holiday destination for all the family.
Finding the right school is a critical part of relocating to the coast and there are several international schools within easy reach of Estepona. Mayfair Academy takes children up to sixth form, whilst the International School Estepona
caters for children from 2-12 and both offer the British curriculum. Sotogrande International School provides primary and secondary education, plus boarding. Also, depending on your exact location within the Estepona area, it is a short drive to Laude San Pedro School that like Sotogrande International School offers primary and secondary education to 18 years of age and both a Spanish and British curriculum. Colegio Atalaya is a brand new bilingual school on the eastern border with Marbella, providing families with yet another option. Parents seeking a private Spanish speaking school have access to Colegio San Jose in both Estepona town and Guadalmina near San Pedro de Alcántara.
The security of access to medical care is priority for everyone moving to the coast and whilst the public health system in Spain may differ from what you are used to in your home country, the private healthcare infrastructure along the coast is well developed and most new residents will find that they are well provided for.
Membership of Sanitas for example gives you access to every kind of healthcare from general practitioners and dentists to hospitals and specialist consultants. The Estepona area has the excellent Hospiten on the New Golden Mile and the Clinica del Rio in Estepona town.
The Costa del Sol hospital in Marbella is the nearest public general hospital where you will find translation services are available on request. Access to public healthcare is usually provided at ‘ambulatorios’ and non-Spanish residents can use these for medical emergencies on production of your passport and a European health Insurance card from your country of origin.
Estepona main attractions
Two unmissable attractions within Estepona town are the Ruta de La Poesia and the Ruta de Murales Artisticos. The former is, as you might have guessed, ‘The Poetry Route’ that takes you on a journey around the town’s porcelain-tiled homes with poetry inscriptions. Currently, the town hall is developing this with poetry by local and international writers. Estepona’s murals have become one of the town’s trademarks and this street art brightens it up immensely. If you’re searching for children’s entertainment then Selwo Aventura is a ‘zoo’ with a difference and sure to captivate the adults as well as the youngsters.
Much of Costa del Sol life revolves around the beach and Estepona is blessed with at least 20kms of excellent ones including the Blue Flag La Rada beach that is a mere pebble’s throw from the centre of the town. Stroll along its beautiful promenade and you’ll understand why it’s a local favourite. Playa del Cristo is another fantastic beach with two popular chiringuitos (beach bar/restaurant) and to the west, naturists are catered for at the Costa Natura resort, which has the honour of being the first official naturist site in Spain.
You will be spoilt for choice in Estepona. No visitor to the town should miss a dinner at Robbies that serves up fresh local produce in style. Esquina del Arte is an excellent choice for taps and a glass of wine, whilst the Casa del Rey is an Estepona institution. The Kempinski Bahia Estepona is a five star hotel to the east of the town and offers a range of top class restaurants ranging from authentic Spanish to Italian. And the sophisticated Villa Padierna Palace Hotel is a world-class venue with seven top quality restaurants to explore. On the New Golden Mile, you’ll find everything from Japanese teppanyaki to an excellent choice of Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants, plus Peggotty’s, one of the best British fish and chip restaurants on the coast.
The splendid golf courses in the Estepona area are a big attraction. Golfers can choose from Atalaya Golf, El Paraiso and Villa Padierna in the east to Finca Cortesin and Estepona Golf in the west. Finca Coresin also boast a hotel, restaurant and spa as well as being a course that hosts major competitions.
Horses are at the heart of Andalucia so it is not surprising that the area offers an above average number of riding schools plus livery facilities for residents with their own mount. Estepona boasts the Escuela Arte Ecuestre, one of the top places to ride on the coast and Riding Fun in the Sun is an excellent choice for keen trekkers.
Estepona town offers some excellent boutique shopping for fashion, shoes and interior decoration. It has a weekly market on Wednesdays that is one of the largest on the coast and the port has a small Sunday market packed with jewellery and everything under the sun. It’s a great place to spend a Sunday morning.
The area also has numerous supermarkets, including the international chains Lidl and Aldi, plus the local supermarkets Mercadona and Supersol. Locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables are available at markets and in small corner shops in the town, and you’ll find locally-sourced fish in both the supermarkets and the fish shops. Meat is available in the supermarkets and at butchers.
Estepona has a main bus station and the 79 bus takes you from there to Marbella bus station with many stops en route where you can connect with routes to Málaga. The local L2 route also serves Estepona residents living along the New Golden Mile stretch. The nearest airport is Gibraltar, but using the motorway you can reach Málaga airport in just under one hour.