My year abroad ‘adventure’ began June 30th 2011, actually visiting Estepona for the first time, as a tourist. Estepona is a town at the very south of Spain; hot most of the year and with fewer British tourists than other coastal towns. It’s good to see that Britain has left some areas of the Costa del Sol free from breakfast bars and English pubs, when instead you can enjoy the ‘Churrerias’ and Tapas bars.
The majority of tourists are found around the port. Highlights of this area include a ‘faro’ – the lighthouse, its own ‘plaza de toros’ – a traditional Spanish bullring (apparently, Estepona is not leading in the bull fighting league. I myself had no idea there was a league for bull fighting!) and a popular market on Sundays. Of course, as expected on the coast, there are also beautiful Spanish beaches, with views of Gibraltar and North Africa on clear days.
However, what I would consider to be the main attraction of Estepona, from my first short visit, is the town centre or ‘old Estepona’. Tourists keep the port a lively place but, in my opinion, this does not compare to the atmosphere of ‘Calle Real’ and its surroundings. During siesta time you’ll find you’re the only person around – as I did occasionally. However, early mornings and late nights see these cobbled streets filled with people, particularly families of many generations with their well groomed dogs. Animated chatter, drinking and eating are the activities that surround you as you walk up this street. The atmosphere is incredibly friendly with the laughter of the young and old, and the standard Spanish greeting of kissing both cheeks (or what I call the ‘double-cheek kiss’).
Bars, cafes and restaurants are everywhere as expected but with a brilliant selection of traditional places. My favourites include El Aguilar, which has a brilliant pizza menu, mainly because the pizzas are named after the Spanish football team! Silva is delicious, next to try Fabregas!
Secondly, Italian El Rincon Toscano – amazing food, tailored to your taste and excellent service. Every meal beautifully ends with a shot of Limoncello in a chocolate case. Muy deliciosa! And, I can’t forget ice cream. El Gelateria del Centro has the BEST ice cream – a wide selection, generous scoops and in a lovely area. Perfect anytime (and undoubtedly where much of my year abroad will be spent!)
Estepona differs from other areas of the Costa del Sol with a lack of high rise hotels on the beach and an emphasis on Spanish tradition. Of course, this attracts a lot more Spanish tourists than English, which for me, a student trying to improve their Spanish, is excellent.
Estepona becomes my home for a year, and I hope it will embrace me as I am coming to embrace it.
Feedback would be appreciated for my very first post 🙂