WHILE the cities of Marbella and Malaga are held up as the cities to visit on the Costa del Sol, Estepona offers sights and sounds to rival its neighbours, and has a much more tranquil ambience. It’s high time the town had its day in the sun.

With friendly locals and a vast array of tapas and drinking bars along its narrow cobbled streets, Estepona is the ideal town for a stroll.

Begin at the north end, in Avenida Andalucia where many of the residential buildings are adorned by enchanting murals. Continuing onto Calle Terraza, you’ll pass a glass-domed building with white facade – the Estepona Orchid House, where more than 1300 species of orchids are on show. 

Orchidarium
The orchidarium is home to a vast collection of wild flowers.
Photo: The Olive Press

Stop for coffee and pastries at nearby Tahona de Chana. The cafe has an ideal central location, but just before the hustle and bustle of bars. 

There’s a fish and seafood restaurant with a decent hearty Spanish menu opposite, but further down you’ll arrive at Estepona’s busiest plaza – the Plaza Antonio Guerrero – where both the Freiduria and La Taberna de Juan make perfect spots for a beer and a bite to eat.

Plaza
Plaza Antonio Guerrero is one of the focal points of the town.
Photo: The Olive Press.

From there, walk a few hundred yards down the road and to the right, and you’ll find the charming Plaza de Flores. The early afternoon, when it is quiet, is the best times to enjoy the peace and appreciate the full spectrum of colourful flowers around the ornate fountain. Later, the plaza is transformed into a hotspot for sangria-drinking Brits – on occasion, I have been one of them.

Plaza Flores
The Plaza de Flores is a great spot for a relaxing drink in the sun.
Photo: The Olive Press.

Veering left after the plaza, onto Avenida España, you are confronted by an endless succession of restaurants and ice cream parlours. Try El Rincon Toscano, a delicious and unpretentious Italian restaurant, or Mexa, an excellent Mexican with especially good food for vegetarians (make sure to get the jackfruit tacos).

Hipsters out there can get a flat white to go at Manila Café Bar, before entering into the old town and passing the stunning Parroquia Nuestra Señora De Los Remedios, a beautiful church with a distinctly Andalucian flavour.

Ready for refreshment? Drop into the Gran Vino, an excellent wine bar specialising in Italian wine. It’s the kind of place that will tempt you into acting like a connoisseur before being immediately sussed out as an ignoramus by the expert waiters. I can recommend the Valpolicella Verona. Or if cervezas are more your thing, then a few hundred yards further along, you’ll find El Capote on Calle Viento, a secluded bar that is great value for money. 

Estepona Streets
Estepona’s narrowed streets in old town make for the perfect afternoon walk.
Photo: The Olive Press

After that, head down to the beach. Despite the number of vehicles on the sand and the considerable maintenance work in preparation for the summer onslaught, the view of the sea remains glorious. Walking along this beach never gets old, especially hailing as I do from Hampshire where the closest thing we have to the costas is Bournemouth – I’ll say no more. 

Return to Avenida Andalucia, passing the understated but decent Cafeteria Delta, and finish at Parque el Calvario. The park makes a fitting end to a 5 kilometre walk that takes about an hour and a half and allows you to do more than scratch the surface of this traditional yet vibrant town.

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