The Changing Face of Estepona and its New Golden Mile
Estepona has grown considerably over the years, from a small fishing village into one of the Costa del Sol’s best-loved holiday resorts. Thirty kilometres west of Marbella, it is home to a 21-kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline, protected by the impressive Reales mountain range.
Despite its steady growth, Estepona town has successfully managed to retain the charm which first attracted visitors to its cobbled streets in the 1960s. The Old Town is packed with small, intimate tapas bars, boutiques selling fashion and footwear, jewellers, tailors and craft shops. Further out, the larger supermarkets, banks, offices and high street shops ensure that Estepona is a modern and up to date municipality, as well as an attractive tourist destination.
However, the past few years have brought about yet more changes, helping Estepona to stand out from the crowd of Costa del Sol tourist towns. The mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano has worked hard to breathe new life into the centre, offering residents the opportunity to assist in the rejuvenation of this lovely, family focused town.
As you walk through its streets, you can’t help but notice the colour-coordinated flowerpots trailing gorgeous, scented geraniums throughout many of the small residential areas in the Old Town. Each street has been assigned a colour or pattern; the uniformity is quite striking. Many of the streets have been resurfaced, façades repainted and the visual facelift has been quite remarkable. It’s not unusual to see small groups of friends or families simply walking around, taking in the splendour of the new-look Estepona streets.
Murals have played an important role in Estepona’s rejuvenation, cheering up the façades of some of the town’s high-rise apartment buildings. Follow the Mural Walk (La Ruta de Murales Artísticos) to admire The House of the Good People, Fishing Day, Watering the Garden and many, many more created by local artists and professional mural painters.
In addition, two more important cultural additions to the town were inaugurated in 2015. The Orquidario, or Orchid Park, and Botanical Garden has been housed in an impressive, custom built construction of three glass domes, adding quite a new dimension to Estepona’s skyline, while 8,000 different species of plant are displayed inside, around a breathtaking 17-metre high waterfall. Over 35,000 people visited the Orquidario in its first week, and the first wedding to be celebrated there took place just two weeks later.
The management of the new theatre, Teatro Felipe VI, chose the Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra to demonstrate the incredible acoustics to those lucky enough to attend its inauguration in March. The theatre will host all kinds of events, including live musical performances, theatrical productions and exhibitions in its 600-seater auditorium, focusing on promotion of the town’s local arts scene.
Some of the other new projects earmarked for Estepona are still in the planning and construction phases. The local townhall hopes new shopping centres will entice more business and tourist investment into the area and work is continuing to link twelve different sections of the coast together by a coastal pathway, with the eventual goal of walkers being able to access this whole stretch of the Costa del Sol easily and safely. Both of these projects are concentrated in the area known as the New Golden Mile leading out of the centre of Estepona towards San Pedro Alcántara and Marbella beyond.
A large percentage of Estepona’s developments of luxury homes are located along the New Golden Mile. Designed to emulate Marbella’s iconic Golden Mile, and indeed perhaps one day be seen as the westward extension of the original, New Golden Mile properties have been built in attractive complexes of predominantly holiday apartments and townhouses designed to appeal to visitors of all nationalities spending time on the Costa del Sol. Heavy on facilities, local amenities and curb appeal, the developments range from the affordable to the opulent but nearly all are walking distance to the beach and enjoy stunning sea views.
Bahía del Velerin is a prime example: an eye-catching, gated frontline beach complex with 24-hour security/concierge service, mature tropical gardens, pool bar and children’s pool. The architecture is a wonderful compromise between traditional Spanish style with cream exterior walls complemented by stylish wood and ironwork, contrasted with interiors finished with all the modern conveniences you would expect in a luxury apartment.
In 2015, Estepona seems unstoppable. Excitement is continuing to build with every new opening and the town is going from strength to strength. Its positivity is infectious; more and more investors are looking to increase their stake in the new jewel of the western Costa del Sol and escalating tourism numbers are boosting the local economy further, providing yet more opportunity for growth. Watch this space!