Quite tangibly Spanish but at the same time surprisingly sedate, while the approach to Estepona from the east is all dramatic twisty roads, large and luxurious hotels and sumptuous beach clubs, the town then appears to retreat from view. With the brilliantly swift toll road doing a great job at diverting the traffic around the rear of the town, the coastal road also gives Estepona a bit of a wide berth, and the industrial parks that characterise its rear end do little to entice the otherwise oblivious tourist to the charms that lie within.
Either side of Estepona there are to be found some of the Costa del Sol’s finest hotels. Behind Estepona there is one of the coast’s tallest and most striking mountains – a crimson red, perfectly conical mound of rock that glimmers in the sunlight at the heart of the Sierra Bermeja and really draws the eye. Even if you turn your attentions toward Estepona as you drive past, the distant silhouette of Gibraltar in one direction, or the awe-inspiring sweep of the northern Costa del Sol in the other, instantly grabs the eye.
Estepona, for its size (only Marbella is larger on the Costa del Sol), attracts relatively few tourists. While some may cite its distance from Málaga airport as a contributing factor for this, Estepona is only 11km west of San Pedro, and en route to Gibraltar, Sotogrande and Algeciras.
Nonetheless, as soon as you actually enter Estepona proper, any doubts about its appeal are immediately banished. Fronting a wide, sweeping beach that stretches the length of the town, Estepona’s charming boulevards, beautiful plazas and inescapably Spanish atmosphere act as a breath of fresh air. While much of the Costa del Sol is easily-definable, Estepona has an authenticity to it that many other resorts struggle to match.
The town is a former fishing village that has grown organically over centuries, rather than rapidly over decades. As a result, it has a settled air to it; a laid-back sense of contentment, a thriving business hub, a fully-functioning industrial network and an important fishing harbour