Discover the festivity and the exciting celebration of our patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen. Immerse yourself in the history, traditions and religious and cultural events scheduled to honor our beloved patron saint this 2023.

When is the Virgen del Carmen in Estepona?

On May 15 we celebrated the feast of our patron saint San Isidro Labrador, and now another key date in the calendar of Estepona is approaching. On July 16 we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen. In this article we are going to put you in situation with a little history and all the religious and non-religious events that are scheduled to celebrate another year to our patron saint.

History of the Virgen del Carmen.

The veneration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel goes back a long way in time, specifically to a group of hermits who, inspired by the prophet Elijah, withdrew to live on Mount Carmel. These devotees, around 1200, formed the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Carmelites).

Mount Carmel is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jezreel Valley. And the Virgin of Mount Carmel is also called Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris) and is the patron saint of sailors. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin name Stella Maris, which is found to refer to Mary since the 9th century. The idea of Mary as a guiding star for seafarers has led to devotion to Mary, Star of the Sea, in many Catholic and coastal fishing communities.

Numerous churches, schools and colleges are dedicated to Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea or Mary, Star of the Sea.

The Virgen del Carmen of Estepona, in procession.

After putting us in situation with a little history, on July 16 is celebrated in Estepona the feast of Our Lady of Carmen, a milestone for our town. Since 1990, the Virgen del Carmen enjoys the privilege of being Patroness and Mayoress of the town of Estepona.

On July 16, a public holiday in our town, we celebrate the seafaring procession, by land and by sea, in honor of our Lady of Carmen, our patron saint. The procession, one of Estepona’s most deeply rooted traditions, leaves from the church of Nuestra Señora Del Carmen and continues along the Paseo Marítimo, where two crowds await: one of tourists and devout Esteponeros on the seashore, and another of boats of all sizes decked out for the occasion, who come to receive the Virgin, all in an atmosphere of joy and festivity.

The head of the procession goes into the water, until the bearers of the image feel their bodies and clothes covered by the sea, while singing “La Salve Marinera”. Then, they lift the Virgin and put her on a boat.

The Señora del Carmen continues her walk by sea, followed then by all the boats crowded with people and sailors, who among cheers and sirens, come to accompany their patron saint in her journey through the waters of Estepona.

The Virgin of Carmen, from the sea to the mainland.

Once back on land, it continues its journey along the Paseo Marítimo, until it returns to its hermitage, the former Iglesia del Carmen, where it can be visited for a week until it returns to its place, presiding over the church, as usual.

During this festive day, in the morning, many people come to the port’s fish market, where the sailors’ boats, decorated for the afternoon procession, show off their traditions. For many years the sailors have invited the people of Estepona to a cool beer while you could enjoy all the ins and outs of the art of fishing and learn how the fish market works and how the fish caught in our sea is auctioned.

Coronation of Ladies and Queens of the Virgen del Carmen.

As happens in any festival or fair organized in our city, for example in the “small fair” or the “big fair”, the Virgen del Carmen also has an election and coronation of ladies and queens, organized by the Brotherhood of fishermen and was held on June 29. The queens and ladies accompany the virgin during the procession.

A poster contest is also organized to announce the festivity of the patron saint, mayor and perpetual mayoress of our town, Our Lady of Carmen Coronada. The jury’s decision was announced on June 24 and the winner was the artists from the Juanchy García studio.

Below, we detail the liturgical events and services that have been scheduled on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Official program of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Estepona 2023

Events and worship. Official program of the Virgen del Carmen in Estepona 2023.


July 11


  • 20:00h. Celebration of the Holy Mass dedicated to children.

July 12


  • 20:00h. Celebration of the Holy Mass dedicated to the Men of the Throne and collection of the food in favor of Cáritas Parroquial.


July 13


  • 20:00h. Holy Mass. Blessing of scapulars and medals, and imposition to the new ones Ángel Antonio Chacón López, presided over by the Reverend Don Ángel Antonio Chacón López.


July 14


  • 20:00h. Holy Mass and Presentation of the Baptized Children at the Baptism CenterLast yearThe celebration was presided over by the Rev. Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón López.


July 15


  • 19:00h. Floral Offering of Our Lady of Carmen Coronada and food collection in favor of Cáceres de la Fronteraritas Parroquial.

  • 20:00h. Holy Mass, presided by Rev. Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón López and Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón López and Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón López and Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón Lópezntrega de Diplomas to the Brothers who complete 25 years of Brotherhood.


July 16


  • 10:00h. Solemn Eucharist Concelebrated inn Honor to Our Lady of Carmen Coronada, presided by the Mr. Ángel Antonio Chacón López, with the accompaniment musical accompaniment of the Magnum Mysterium choir.

  • 19:30. Procession of the Hermandad Nuestra Señora del Carmen Coronada of the parish of Nuestra Señora del Carmen.


July 18 to 21

Tuesday to Friday

  • 20:00h. Holy Mass at the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

July 22


  • 20:00h. Solemn Mass of Campaña, in the Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, presided over by the Rev. Mr. Luis Miguel Aguilar Castillo. Afterwards, the transfer of Our Sacred Titular to the parish will take place.

If you are visiting our city in these summer dates, I recommend that you do not miss the entrance of our Lady to the sea, whether you are a believer or non-believer, it will not leave you indifferent. It is a very nice tradition and I’m sure it makes your skin crawl to see the sailors singing to their Patron Saint.