It wasn't our intention to stay this far south, our original plan was to sail round to Aquadulce in the Granada province. But, from the moment we arrived at the marina and saw the naff office building shaped like a Disney princess wedding cake, the hustle and bustle of the marina promemade, the polite and friendly welcome of the marina staff and the welcoming bottle of wine, we fell in love with Estepona.
It's one of those towns that has something for everyone. It is a working town with a flourishing fishing port, thriving spanish community and a tourist hotspot.
The town of Estepona can be broken down into three parts: to the west of the marina there are a number of low rise apartments that are rented out for tourists. Behind the marina there are stunning views of the mountains and a newish town that is inhabited by locals, with lots of small locally owned shops and restaurants, and to the east of the marina is the old town which is inhabited by a mix of locals and tourists and is one of the most beautiful old towns I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot during my travels). On a clear day we can see Gibraltar and the Rif mountains of North Africa!
Estepona has numerous attractions and has a thriving cultural scene, with live music, plays and shows held across the town. In our first week here, we went to the local arts centre to watch The Godfather. It was a bit surreal watching a film about American Italians, in English, with Spanish subtitles
It also has great transport links to a number of towns and cities. This was one of the selling points for us as we want to visit cities such as Cadiz, Seville, Malaga and Granada.
The Sierra Bermeja is just behind the town of Estepona and is within easy walking reach, so I'm sure we'll be having days out there. We are also close to the Sierra de Las Nieves, which is set behind Marbella. This is a mountain range that I particularly want to visit as the village of Tolox, where my Dad came from is set at the foothills of the mountains. When I was young, he would tell me stories about spending time in the mountains with his grandfather, so it will be a very poignant visit.
I mentioned previously that Estepona is a beautiful town. One of the reasons for this is because of the obvious investment in amenities and public areas. The Mayor of the town had a vision to improve the aesthetics of the town and make it a town to be proud of.
The Mayor set about improving the old town, by having buildings restored and painted, having roads pedestrianised and streets decorated with flower pots of every colour you could think of.
Parks were replanted and children's play areas added, the roads were resurfaced and roundabouts redesigned with sculptures or water features and the promenade along the 2 kilometre beach was replaced and children's play areas added.
When we had been discussing what we would look for from our winter moorings, we set out a checklist of things that would be important to us, from being able to do maintenance to Offbeat through to being easily accessible for family and friends to visit. Estepona has ticked those boxes and more. It is a beautiful, friendly town that is well looked after and where everyone who lives here has on overwhelming sense of pride.