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Estepona or Nerja for vacation within vacation

We visited Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, and the basque country a few years ago and are planning a return to Sevilla and surrounding area for a more extended visit this October. We have a month booked in Sevilla which will include day trips to Cadiz, Jerez, Cordoba, and a Pueblo Blancos/beach road trip. From Ronda, we are thinking a 2 day beach visit would be nice before heading back to Sevilla - a vacation within our vacation to unwind as RS recommends. I know RS includes Nerja in his books, but is fairly silent on Estepona even though it appears Estepona appears more 'Spanish' and Nerja more expat-focused from what I've read. We know Nerja will involve more driving than Estepona but isn't enough to affect our decision. Our focus would be relaxing, walking on the beach and in town, dining on fresh seafood, and possibly swimming depending on temperature. We aren't interested in high-rise, heavily trafficked beach towns and don't care about night life. Does anyone have experience with both beach towns and have any recommendations and pros or cons? Thanks!

Posted by
58 posts

We just spent a week at Estepona, or rather just outside Estepona itself at McDonald’s Villacana Resort (my sister has timeshares). It is a venerable small scale resort popular with British travelers, some of whom had been visiting annually for 35 years. It is located on/near a broad beach where it seemed you could walk for miles. When we were there in early May it was quite unpopulated. I’m sure that changes later in the season. The downside is that you really need a car. I loved Estepona itself. Lovely square Plaza de Las Flores, and a wonderful small restaurant just off the Plaza — La Esquina del Arte — for both tapas and a price fixe three course meal.

We had previously spent a day in Nerja which was also beautiful, but as it was only a day trip, I can’t speak as to what it would be like for several days.

Posted by
4727 posts

Estepona. It's a lovely beach front town and very Spanish. The narrow streets filled to the brim with flowerpots amongst the white walls is very evocative and a picture perfect example of Andalusia. Plaza de las Flores is a great place to relax, eat, drink and while away a few hours. I can highly recommend Casa Doña Jerónima, possibly my most visited restaurant.

Could you swim in the sea in October? Possibly, it depends on your tolerance and what you consider swimmable temperatures. Someone used to swimming in the North Sea is going to have a different perception to someone used to swimming the Florida coast.