Estepona vs Marbella: Which is Better for Your Mediterranean Escape?

Estepona vs Marbella: Which is Better for Your Mediterranean Escape?

Among the gems scattered along the coveted coastline of the Costa del Sol, Estepona and Marbella have become iconic destinations catering to various tastes. Estepona is now considered by some as the new Marbella. In fact, the town has improved itself so much in recent years that it has been nominated for the coveted “European City of the Year” award in the 2023 School of Urbanism awards. (The result Will be announced in November 2023, and we can’t wait!)

As Estepona emerges as a rising star, the debate about the merits of the two towns gains momentum. Let’s dive into Estepona and Marbella’s essence to unravel which of these delightful destinations holds the key to your perfect Mediterranean getaway.

Estepona aerial photo
Kallerna, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Exploring Marbella’s Glamour and Estepona’s Charm

Marbella’s name resonates with glitz and glamour, an elite playground attracting high society and celebrities for decades. From its dazzling Puerto Banus, adorned with luxury yachts and designer boutiques, to the storied elegance of the original Golden Mile, Marbella is synonymous with opulence.

On the other hand, Estepona exudes a different kind of charm. Having a more humble reputation in general than Marbella, despite a recent facelift, the town retains its “little beach town” charm, with quaint tapas, cafes and pretty cobbled streets. The beach is simple, with small and friendly beach bars, and the main strip retains an authentic Spanish feel.

Estepona vs Marbella: Which is Better for Your Mediterranean Escape?
Turista Inglesa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But our sweet little Estepona is growing up! New developments to the East of the town mean the área is now called “the new Golden Mile.” The town now has a new pedestrianised centre and quirky talking points like a giant outdoor chess board. What’s more, with the promise of a modern marina by the Pacha group set to grace its shores by 2024, Estepona is carving its own path in the world of luxury.

Goodbye Stereotypes – Why Estepona and Marbella are Not What You Think

In the realm of travel, it’s important to remember that stereotypes don’t always hold true. Estepona and Marbella are prime examples of this. While Marbella’s glamour is undeniable, Estepona is making significant strides towards its own version of luxury and sophistication. Its evolution into the “new Golden Mile” speaks volumes about its commitment to growth and modernity.

**So, How is Estepona Changing?**

Estepona is shedding its old skin and embracing a new identity. The town’s dedication to revitalisation is evident in the transformation of its centre and the commitment by the mayor to make Estepona as good as it can be. Met with some politics, the regeneration of the city has led to a  rise in property prices, which is seen by some to be a bad thing, as locals find it too expensive to buy there. Some, however, are capitalising on this boom with relish.

Estepona feels fresh and pretty, but in a clean and organised way You’ll see it as you enter the town’s outskirts and are treated to shiny waterfalls and water features, pretty flower displays and an overwhelming sense of pride. Once in the centre, you’ll find pedestrianised streets adorned with enchanting flower pots and pretty Andalusian touches.

calle florida estepona garden of the costa del sol
Turista Inglesa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beach clubs, in general, seem to fit more in Marbella than in Estepona, but not any more. There are now a few notable and stylish beach clubs which have put the town on the map for the “beautiful people” in the area, One new one for 2023 is Beso Beach, which is part of the Ibiza chain and sits exactly to the left of where the new Pacha development will be, creating a new emerging scene of chic for the East of Estepona.

Marbella’s Enduring Glamour: The Original Golden Mile

Marbella’s reputation as a haven of luxury and glamour is deeply ingrained. The original Golden Mile, stretching between Marbella and Puerto Banus, showcases opulent villas and exclusive estates that have captivated the world’s elite. This glamorous stretch of real estate highlights Marbella’s established allure and enduring appeal. There is only one true Golden Mile, and some of the luxury properties on this select strip speak for themselves.

Golden mile, Marbella
Golden mile, Marbella

Comparing Estepona and Marbella: Finding the Right Fit

When considering Estepona versus Marbella, it’s all about personal preference. Estepona’s revitalisation efforts and upcoming marina promise a modern touch of luxury, while Marbella’s long-standing reputation for opulence and exclusivity will always be there. Nightlife is still more developed in Marbella than in Estepona. Glamorous hotels on the Golden Mile of Marbella, such as The Marbella Club and the Puente Romano, do offer unparalleled choices into the early hours of the morning.

Estepona’s charm is undeniable for those seeking the tranquil ambience of a long sandy beach and tapas bars. On the other hand, Marbella’s blend of upscale amenities, historic allure, and proximity to the Malaga airport may be more appealing to those craving a refined yet accessible escape.

Which is Better, Estepona or Marbella?

The choice between Estepona and Marbella ultimately depends on personal preferences and the desired holiday experience. Estepona’s evolving charm and promise of modern luxury with authenticity offer an exciting alternative, while Marbella’s timeless glamour and established allure command an enduring pull. Whether you’re drawn to Estepona’s little streets or Marbella’s classic elegance, the Costa del Sol offers an enchanting tapestry of experiences, promising sun-soaked memories and Mediterranean magic.

Ultimately, Estepona and Marbella have unique appeal and attractions, making the choice between them a matter of individual taste.

And as for Swish, we have to say that for all of Estepona’s new features, we still prefer Marbella. After all, it’s our home and where our hearts lie. With towns like Estepona just a twenty-minute drive away, we can still have the best of both with day trips from Marbella whenever we want.

With love,

The Swish team xx



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