Estepona is a traditional Spanish town just a few kilometres west of the popular apartment and villa complexes in Selwo, La Resina and on the New Golden Mile. It may not hit the headlines as often as Marbella or Puerto Banús but it’s well worth a visit and explore! In the beginning, Estepona was a small fishing village. Still today this way of life is very important to the locals who honour the Virgin Carmen (patron saint of fishermen) as one of their town’s guardians. Not only does she have a church dedicated to her but also a statue outside the fishermen’s cottages looking out to sea to ward off danger, and an annual procession around the town and beach. The town has expanded enormously over the years and now boasts a population of around 65,000 residents from all walks of life. It’s popular with holidaymakers and expatriate residents alike, mainly because of its authentic ‘old town’ and beautiful long sandy beach which runs right alongside. To the west of the town is Playa del Cristo, a shallow cove great for families with small children as the waves are more gentle and the sea not so deep. Two markets set up in Estepona each week; the Wednesday market takes place on the fairground in the north of the town whereas the Sunday market (more popular with tourists) lines the marina and port area. After lunch on Sunday, the promenade along the beach becomes the central meeting point for multi-generational Spanish families to gather and chat while walking along the seafront in their finery. The selection of bars and restaurants in Estepona is very diverse and there really is something for everyone, whatever your taste and budget. Fine dining establishments such as Robbie’s or La Pampa operate alongside small and friendly tapas bars (La Galeria, Los Gitanillos), basic fish cafés amongst the ice houses in the port, ice cream coffee shops, Chinese “all you can eat” salons and fast food joints. That said, nothing says Estepona like the smell of sardines on a skewer resting over the charcoals outside a chiringuito beach bar. For music and dancing to burn off those calories from dinner, there are a couple of nightclubs but most people head down to the port area where you will see salsa, merengue, live musicians and perhaps the odd impromptu flamenco show. If you’re keen to experience part of the real Spain, don’t be afraid to get lost amongst Estepona’s floral streets and alleyways. The whitewashed houses, hanging cables, church steeples, colourful mosaics, ornate fountains and Moorish arches are what make Estepona special.