Estepona

Basic data
Size: 136 Km²
Population: Approx. 45,000
Residents known as: Esteponeros
Monuments: Church of Ntra. Sra. de los Remedios, the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), Castle Walls, watch tower group.
Geographical situation: On the western Costa del Sol, at sea level, 81 kilometres from Malaga.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza Blas Infante, 1. 29680. 
Phone: 952 80 11 00 Fax: 952 793 977
Tourist Office: Avda. San Lorenzo, 1. 29880. Tel: 952 802 002
On the Internet: www.infoestepona.com


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The Clock Tower

Estepona is one of the most westerly towns on the Costa del Sol, situated between Marbella and Manilva at the foot of the Sierra Bermeja mountains. It is thus protected from the cold northern winds and maintains a mild climate all the year round. The town centre conserves its old, typically Andalusian style of architecture and town plan, balconies decorated with flower pots and whitewashed houses. Estepona is also one of the most important tourist towns on the southern coastline, with magnificent beaches and facilities, excellent hotels and restaurants. It has a very prestigious riding school, the Escuela de Arte Ecuestre de la Costa del Sol; a wildlife park (Selwo) that is among the best in Europe, and a host of sporting facilities for both water and mountain. The Phoenicians, Romans and Moors have lived here, and the area was probably first settled by the Phoenicians. The most important archaeological remains in Estepona are those of the river Guadalmansa area, where the remains of hot-springs, very likely dating from the time of the Roman city of Salduba, were discovered. The town was conquered by the Moors at the beginning of the eighth century, and a fortress called "Munt Nis" or the castle of Nicio, was built. Later, in the time of the Abderramán II Caliphate, another fortress was built, this time known as Estebunna. It fell to the Christians in a raid by Enrique IV of Castille in 1456, and from this time on the town became known by its present name, and the castle was re-built. For a time, during the reign of Juana La Loca, Estepona was part of the judicial area of Marbella, the population at that time being 600. On April 21st, 1729, Estepona was granted administrative independence in a Carta de Villazgo signed by King Felipe V in Sevilla, and the very documents pertaining to this signing are still in the municipal archives.

Places to be visited
Church of Los Remedios
With its interior recently refurbished, the Church of Los Remedios is in the Plaza of San Francisco. It originally formed part of the Franciscan Convent built at the end of the 18th century, but the religious community left on the proclamation of the Law of Disentailment (sale of Church lands) in 1835. The interior is divided into three naves separated by semicircular arches on pillars. The tower, built in 1795, has four storeys and is topped by a pyramidal spite with a ceramic roof. The most outstanding architectural element on the outside is the carved stone doorway, dating from the year 1772.
Hermitage of El Calvario
The hermitage of El Calvario is a small 18th century building, square at the base and arris vaulted with a simple exterior. The tower of the old parish church is the only element remaining from the primitive church, and was built in a peculiar form into the main building. It was built in 1818, at a time that other reconstruction work was also carried out on the whole. The 20 metre-high lighthouse was built in the 19th century.
Museums in Estepona
The Ethnological and Bull-fighting Museums
Situated in the Plaza de Toros, open Mondays to Fridays from 9 to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 to 2 p.m. In this museum we can see the tools and implements used in both farming and fishing in times gone by, since Estepona has a long tradition in both fields. More recently, the farmers of the area have been producing large quantities of citrus fruits, and also cultivating newer crops like avocado pears and aloe, more usually associated with tropical climes.
The Bull-fighting Museum is also situated in the Plaza de Toros, and this houses an interesting collection of posters, photographs, bull-fighting suits and other documentation that brings us back into the history of the art.
Municipal Paleological Museum
This museum holds a collection of the fossils from the Plioceno period, about four million years ago, found in the Estepona area.
Archaeological Museum
Here we can see archaeological remains from various periods, most of the pieces discovered quite by chance or during archaeological digs.
Where to eat 

El Albero. Mesón / Tapas. C/Real - Paseillo 952 805 034
El Amanecer. Fried food.  C/San Roque (Beside the bus station)
El Barquito. Fried food . C/ Los Reyes.
El Boquerón. Fried food. In the marina.
El Capote. Mesón / Tapas - C/ Viento.
Bistro del Puerto. International cuisine - 952 794 399 - Avda. España, 214.
Casa de Mi Abuela. Argentinian cuisine - 952 791 967 - C/ Caridad, 54.
Where to sleep 
Hotel Albero Lodge.  Tel: 952 88 07 00.
Las Dunas Beach Resort and Spa (5*) GL. Ctra. N-340, Km. 163. Tel: 95 2794 345  Fax: 952 794 825.
Kempinski Hotel (5*) GL. Ctra. 340. Km 159. Tel: 952 809 500.
Gran Hotel Playabella (5*).Ctra. 340. Km 165.Tel: 950 627 010.
Hotel Atalaya Park (4*). Ctra. N-340, Km. 169. Tel: 952 889 000 / Fax: 952 889 002.
Hotel Paraiso Costa del Sol. Ctra. N-340, Km. 168. Tel: 952 883 000 / Fax. 952 882 019.
Hotel Occidental Costa del Sol. Ctra.N-340, Km 164. Tel: 952 793 000 - Fax  952 802 652.
Hotel Club Diana Park.Ctra. N-340, Km. 169. Tel: 952 887 659 / Fax. 952 884 279.
Hotel Dobar (2*). Avda. España, 178. Tel/fax : 952 800 600.
Apartamentos Albayalde. Ctra. N-340, Km. 165. Tel: 952 885 959.
Pensión Europa. Ctra. N-340, Km. 157. Tel:  952 795 579.
Pensión El Pilar. Pza. Las Flores, 22. Tel: 952 800 018.
Camping Parque Tropical. Ctra.N-340, Km. 162. Tel: 952 793 618.
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)

The marina

FIESTAS 
The festival of Estepona’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, takes place on May 15th, in which the people head for the countryside and hold processions in the town later on in the day. The Feria and the Fiestas Mayores of the town take place during the first week of June in the feria grounds, and there is also feria by daytime in the town centre. Estepona also had another patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen, and the corresponding festival is on July 16th, which involves a procession aboard fishing boats on the sea, carrying the image of the Virgin on board.

GASTRONOMY
The cuisine of the area is typically Andalusian, with many products used from the surrounding countryside but with an emphasis on sea foods. Citric and tropical fruits are extensively used locally, along with sardines on the spit and a great variety of fresh sea foods and fish. The area is known for its excellent restaurants.

SIERRA BERMEJA 
Although Estepona lies at sea level, the greater part of the municipality is mountainous. The Sierra Bermeja mountain range is right behind the town, its highest peak being the Pico de los Reales, at 1,449 metres. This area is of important ecological interest, within which we find the exceptionally beautiful Paseo de los Pinsapos. This is a nature park filled with a species of fir tree very rare in Europe, the pinsapo. It is a favourite picnic area, and the drive up provides quite spectacular views over the coast and Africa.