While you may be drawn to the character and charm of Estepona’s narrow streets, historic buildings, and quaint old town, your teens will only be interested in one thing: the beach. Luckily, they won’t be disappointed — the town and surrounding area of Spain’s Andalucían Costa del Sol boast no fewer than 18 of them, all offering something a little bit different.
Whether you want to stick close to your hotel (from Estepona to Marbella, the local hotels stretch along the coastline) or prefer to find something a little more secluded, you’ll discover what you’re looking for along these stretches of golden sand.
The Liveliest of Estepona’s Beaches
If you’re travelling with teens, you’ll probably be looking for beaches with plenty of action: water sports, waiter service, bars serving refreshments, and restaurants. Here’s a selection of the ones that I’ve visited, all of which kept teens happy and entertained.
Playa La Rada
Definitely the most popular of the town’s beaches is La Rada. Set right in the centre of the town’s coastline, La Rada is a stretch of 2.6 kilometres of golden sand, with a modern promenade that spans across the entire beach. Looking out over the sand, you’ll find a wide array of places selling cold drinks, and a lovely selection of restaurants. The restaurants here serve everything from paella and fresh-caught sardines to pizza, and will satisfy even the fussiest of teens.
On the sand, there are sun loungers (some even offer waiter service), showers and toilets, so you and your teens can happily spend an entire day at the beach. If your young adults get restless, they can always play beach volleyball or explore the nearby cafés and refreshment stands.
Playa El Padron
If your young companions are desperate to be ‘cool’ and are into people watching, then the El Padron is a good place to go. This stretch of sand has been awarded a Blue Flag, so expect great standards and clean facilities. With its ultra-chic family-friendly Puro Beach Club, this area is also incredibly hip. The kids will love Puro’s expansive swimming pool, while you can relax on the classic white sun loungers, enjoy waiter service, and listen to music played by a live DJ.
When you get restless, there are some fantastic restaurants on El Padron, which serve everything from traditional Spanish tapas to excellent Italian food.
Playa Arroyo de los Cañas
If your kids are anything like mine, they’d rather hang out with the surfer ‘dudes’ than the jet set crowd. If that’s the case, they’ll love the laidback vibe of Arroyo de los Cañas, a beach that is close to the famous Hacienda Beach Resort. The family-friendly ‘beach bar’, otherwise known as a chiringuito, has its own chill-out zone, live DJ and some of the best smoothies I’ve ever tasted in Spain.
Although not hugely busy, Guadalmansa is the place to come if you and your family enjoy water sports. Be sure to check out Chiringuito Heaven, which offers kite surfing and a range of other water sports to keep you active. For those who haven’t tried these activities before, don’t worry: there are great instructors on hand.
Playa El Cristo
This is a great, family-friendly beach, which not only gets more hours of sunshine than any other Estepona resort, but also has two lively refreshment bars. My kids loved enjoying a cold soda or ice cream at the cool Havana Beach Bar, which attracts a friendly teenage crowd and plays very vibrant music.
Get Away From the Crowds
Serious sun worshippers (teens or otherwise) may be tempted to visit some of the more remote beaches Estepona has to offer. Here are some of my favourites.
If you want to get away from the hustle of the more lively coastal areas, then head to Playa Galera, a two-kilometre stretch of sand which runs from Torre de la Sal to Bahia Dorada. Look out for the distinctive Piedra Paloma rock, situated in the water just beyond the shore. Used mainly by the area’s Spanish residents on the weekends, you might be lucky enough to get an area all to yourself during the week.
Playa Arroyo Vaquero
East of Bahia Dorada you’ll find the pretty Playa Arroyo Vaquero, which is where the Arroyo Vaquero river runs into the sea. The one-kilometre beach has its own chiringuito, which serves delightfully invigorating refreshments. This area tends to be nice and quiet, and is a good place to work on your tan in peace.
Insider Tip: Don’t stray too far along the Arroyo Vaquero, unless you want to find yourself on the Playa Costa Natura, the town’s official nudist beach.
How to Get to Estepona
The great news is that getting your family to Estepona is a piece of cake. The closest airport is Málaga, which offers regular flights from across the UK. Once you touch down, the most comfortable and least stressful way of getting from the airport to your hotel is by pre-booking a Shuttle Direct transfer online. That way, a driver will be waiting for you when you land, ready to whisk you and your family off to your holiday accommodation as quickly, economically, and safely as possible.
Where to Stay
Galindo Beach El Saladillo – The villas and chalets at Galindo Beach El Saladillo are no ordinary self-catering options: they are luxury homes away from home. Each villa has a pool, a garden, and a luxurious interior, and all accommodations are located right on El Saladillo Beach. Convenience and elegance? Check.
Hotel Ciudad Estepona – Soak up the charm and beauty of Estepona by staying at the Hotel Ciudad Estepona, which is only a few metres away from the old town and from the area’s most popular stretch of sand. A mere three-minute walk away from Estepona Beach, this three-star hotel allows you to savour your holiday in Spanish style.
Elba Estepona Gran Hotel &Thalasso Spa – Indulge in a little five-star luxury at the Elba Estepona Gran Hotel &Thalasso Spa. This all-inclusive resort is set right on the sand, and has its own gardens and outdoor pools. While the kids can enjoy this accommodation’s convenient access to the sea, you won’t want to miss out on the state-of-the-art spa.
About Shuttle Direct
Booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct means that you and your family will arrive at your holiday destination calm and relaxed, having been met at the airport by an English-speaking driver who knows exactly where you want to go. Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of private and group transfers in Europe and North Africa. Use the simple online booking system to organise your transfers to and from the airport, and you’ll be able to go into holiday mode as soon as you land.