Estepona has a magnificent location as it offers beach and mountains, everything is at hand from the town itself. The city has different alternatives to enjoy walking, such as the route of the murals, the coastal path or simply stroll through its streets decorated with flower pots. But if you still feel the need to get to know the surroundings better, we recommend you to visit some of the charming villages nearby, less than 1 hour by car.
When the sun goes down in Estepona, the one that almost doesn’t allow you to leave the house, we suggest you to visit one of these wonderful villages. The first thing we like to do is to go to the Tourist Office of the town located in the Casa de las Tejerinas and get recommendations, but it is always better to bring something already studied.
Plan to spend a different day in the surroundings of Estepona.
Beautiful villages less than 1 hour drive from Estepona
|Castellar de la Frontera
|Jimena de la Frontera
Casares is one of the Malaga municipalities bordering Cadiz. At the entrance of the village there is a large building where you can park your car and enjoy the narrow streets on foot (you don’t want to drive through these streets without knowing them well), this parking is free.
Getting lost in its whitewashed houses and climbing up the castle to see the views, it is enriching for the soul. And if you want to enrich your body, don’t miss their casareña soup or the mountain rabbit. You can also choose to eat like a king at Sarmiento Restaurant (I advise you to book in advance).
In this small town of about 6,000 inhabitants was born Blas Infante, he is the father of the homeland of Andalusia and who wrote the lyrics to the Andalusian anthem. For us, Andalusians, he was a very important person who defended our land and ended up shot in 1936.
While you’re at it, take a dip in the cold baths of the Hedionda. They are Roman sulfur baths from the first century that are currently being renovated. To enter you need to make a free reservation from the City Hall website. Dare and feel like a Roman!
If you are in Estepona, you have surely heard of Marbella and its port. Although Esteponeros have our differences with our neighboring town, we can not deny that Marbella is a town that has a lot of charm and as its name suggests has a mar-bella. This city still preserves the glamour and great luxuries for which it is well known.
The historic center is very nice, with cobblestone streets and full of color thanks to the bougainvillea and geraniums. We recommend you to take a walk and discover small squares, in particular the Plaza de los Naranjos, where to stop and enjoy a coffee. One of the most charming historical monuments is the Chapel of San Juan de Dios, which was ordered to be built by the Catholic Monarchs. It is located between alleys.
Its Paseo Marítimo, the Avenida del Mar, is almost an open-air museum where you will find sculptures by Salvador Dalí. The atmosphere on the promenade is always very lively and pleasant. Another thing to visit are the Walls of Marbella Castle or walls of the Alcazaba that have been declared of Cultural Interest.
A refreshing and pleasant place to stop for tapas is the Alameda Park. It is a park full of trees and ceramic benches. If you like glamour and luxury, you have to visit Puerto Banús, where you can see dream yachts, luxury sports cars and exclusive stores.
Of course, its beaches are also recommended, in particular, the Casablanca beach or El Cable beach. Or if you go with children, Hermosa beach is perfect to visit as it is one of the shallowest in the city.
If you are looking for a plan in Marbella, here we propose one.
3- Castellar de la Frontera
Castellar de la Frontera is located within the Natural Park of Los Alcornocales, forming part of the Campo de Gibraltar. The population of Castellar is divided into: Castellar Nuevo and Castellar Viejo.
Undoubtedly, the most impressive thing is to see Castellar Viejo inside the castle built in the 12th century. You will enter a medieval village in a very good state of preservation. The streets transmit Andalusian style for its white houses and on the other hand stone facades with Castilian style. The Alcazar, which houses a hotel, can be visited from inside the fortress, going up to the terrace you can see the rock, Ceuta and Morocco. Between the Church of the Savior and the Alcazar an elevated passageway was built, which is known as the algorfa, this architectural element is not very common. Don’t leave Castellar Viejo without having your picture taken at the balcony of the amorous.
Over the hill, near the railroad station, you can see the Almoraima Tower which is of Muslim origin. The almenara tower or watchtower is located in a unique setting that will give you views not to be missed. The Convent San Miguel de Almoraima, currently a hotel where you can also eat or have a coffee in the fireplace, keeps the original infrastructure where the Barefoot Mercedarian Monks lived.
Another reason to visit Castellar is because in the Iglesia Divino Salvador of Castellar Nuevo you can see an image of the Cristo de la Almoraima.
If you travel with children do not forget the Castellar Zoo. It is a veterinary clinic as well as a rescue center for tigers, lions and snakes. You will be able to live a very close experience with the animals.
4- Mijas Pueblo
One of my favorite white villages is Mijas Pueblo. Its streets full of flower pots will make you want to photograph thousands of corners. Near the Plaza de la Virgen There is a free parking lot where you can leave your car and just below the viewpoint of this square there is another public parking lot that costs 1 euro per day.
The symbol of Mijas is the donkey-taxi created in the 60s. In the Plaza Virgen de la Peña has a bronze statue of this animal and a magnificent panoramic view. Donkey rides are still offered today, and those in charge assure that the animals are in perfect condition, so we leave it up to you to decide whether to give it or not.
Even if there is an elevator to go up to the Plaza de la Constitución, I recommend you to go up the stairs and be a good tourist! Once you get to the square, get lost in the handicraft stores and have a refreshing drink in the bars. From here, straight to the Calle Muro, decorated with blue flowerpots. At the end of the street turning left follow the Paseo de la Muralla and marvel at the panoramic view. The Parque de la Muralla is a good place to rest.
In the Immaculate Conception Church you will be able to see 8 baroque style frescoes. This church was built on the site of a former mosque in the 16th century. In front of the church is located the Plaza de Toros, whose peculiarity is that it was built in an oval shape.
If you like to walk, we recommend you to go up a path through pine forests up to the Ermita del Calvario, whose location is unbeatable. You can also visit the Hermitage of San Sebastian which has a clock from the early 1900s on the facade or the Virgen de la Peña Chapel which is excavated in rock, where the patron virgin of the village is protected, and there is another viewpoint where you can relax.
5- Jimena de la Frontera
Another of the villages in the region of Campo de Gibraltar that we recommend you to visit is Jimena de la Frontera which is located within the Natural Park of Los Alcornocales and was declared a Historic Site in 1983.
The village invites you to discover it by strolling through the streets. The tourist office is located in the Misericordia Church which was built over a mosque.
El Castillo of the 7th century is the most remarkable. The Alcazar is reformed from the Christian era and the moats and bastions are preserved. The views from the hill, in the castle, are incredible panoramic views of the village and from where you can see Gibraltar. A fundamental part of the alcázar during the period of the rule of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in the 15th century is the Tower of Homage.
Other buildings of interest are the Santuario de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles; the bell tower of the old church of Santa María la Coronada, the Baño de la Reina Mora; the Reales Fábricas de Artillería or the Iglesia de la Victoria.
If you want to go to the beach or if you like surfing, the beaches of Tarifa are your perfect destination. If there is an easterly wind, it is better not to go to the beaches in this area because the sand rises and it is impossible to be there. Tarifa is relaxation and good vibes, sit down in “El Tumbao”. to watch a sunset and forget about the rest of the universe. The Natural Park of the Strait with its dunes is a unique place on earth.
In Tarifa you can enjoy the beach, the food and the town. To visit the village, we recommend you to look for a parking lot by the Alameda, is the main street and where the Tourist Office is located. In the lower part, the statue of Guzmán el Bueno. It is said that this military man defended Tarifa from the Muslims in 1294 without yielding to the blackmail of the Muslims who were holding his son prisoner. Legend has it that Guzmán threw the dagger at them from the wall with which they murdered his son. When you pass by the Alameda, observe the young atmosphere of the town and soak up the energy.
Bounded by the Alameda, the Avenida de Andalucía, part of the city walls and the sea, is located the ancient medieval city. Lose yourself in its streets and corners, enjoying a beer in one of its small bars or shopping in its unique craft stores.
The Puerta de Jerez stands out at first sight, it commemorates the reconquest of the city in 1292 and is the entrance to the old town when you arrive in Tarifa.
The church of San Mateo is built on the remains of a mosque. Six columns with Corinthian capitals on the exterior façade and the curved lines of the cornice stand out. The interior of the church is unremarkable, but while you’re there you can visit and see the organ and a colorful saint.
In the Guzmán El Bueno street, you will find in a very good state of preservation the Castle of the medieval period, year 960, built by the caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III. But nowadays it bears the name of Guzmán El Bueno. You can visit about 500 meters from the castle walls of Tarifa, has a cost of 4 euros per visit. On this walk you can enjoy the best views of the city and see the coast of Africa which is only 15km away from Tarifa. Click here to learn more about the castle.
To continue the visit to the town of Tarifa, we recommend you to rest in the shade of the orange trees of the Plaza de Santa Maria . In this square you will find the library and the municipal historical archive in the Mozarabic style building.
Do not leave town without eating local tuna, we have not tasted any like it.
Other views of the African coast can be seen from the Mirador de El Estrecho, 6km from the center of town, where there is one of the so-called Columns of Hercules of 851 meters high that formerly delimited the end of the world.
Finally, we invite you to go to Pigeon Island, the southernmost part of continental Europe. Nowadays it is no longer an island because it is connected to Tarifa by an artificial sand tongue. It is a military zone. There you will see the lighthouse that separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, and there are iron signs for you to immortalize this special place.
If you are a beach person, you have to go the beaches of Bolonia and that of Valdevaqueros, undoubtedly the best in the area. If you go to the dune of Bolonia, visit the archaeological complex of Baelo Claudia. These 1st century Roman ruins will take you back in time.
If you visit between April and October, whales and dolphins can be seen along these coasts. There are whale and dolphin watching companies, whose main purpose is to protect these animals and are non-profit, such as FIRMM (Foundation for Marine Mammal Research and Information).
This is the end of our recommendations of towns near Estepona. We hope you enjoy these excursions and let us know what you thought of them. Anyway, if you feel like staying in Estepona, here are 15 other plans to enjoy the Costa del Sol Garden with children.