Film, theatre, flamenco… The events, festivals and parties held in Estepona are deeply rooted in its Andalusian essence, which means Islamic influence and the special magic of local people – joyous, warm, always ready to dance, laugh, enjoy themselves. The calendar of festive activities is packed with events all year round (both in the tourist and the off season), for Estepona is one of the liveliest towns on the Costa del Sol.
Main events in Estepona
- February – Carnival: As in Andalusia at large, Carnival in Estepona is a time of merrymaking in the streets. The town gets filled with light, colour and joyful songs. The sounds of local bands and krewes go on until Ash Wednesday, when Carnival bids farewell and Lent sets in.
- March/April – Easter: Easter celebrations are deeply rooted in Estepona. Even though they are not as big as those in Málaga City, they are still lively and original, especially the Passion processions and their float bearers, known as costaleros.
- March – Estepona Fashion Show: Held in the beautiful and quiet pedestrian streets of the old town, the Estepona Fashion Show gathers famous Andalusian designers and young creators from all over the Costa del Sol.
- May – St Isidore’s Procession: A heartfelt religious event, the procession dedicated to St Isidore the Farmer is one of the most traditional events on the local calendar. It is held in the park in front of the Chapel of San Isidro, in Los Pedregales. There is an outdoor meal, a farming fair and religious celebrations. Devotion can be felt in the heart of town too, where there are several street processions.
- 23 June – St John’s Eve: St John’s is one of the most magical festivals held in Estepona. As in almost every other Spanish village, bonfires are lit on the beach, but here there is an extra element: the burning of Judas – rag dolls known as júas, standing for the year’s hottest political, social or cultural moments. It is a sort of purification rite: the burning helps you leave the past behind. St John’s Eve is an evening for real joy. There is flamenco music and dancing till the early hours.
- Early July – Estepona Fair: The city’s big festival begins a week before the feast of Our Lady of El Carmen, comprising a fair, street parties, concerts and all kinds of cultural activities in the town’s streets and squares and on the beach. Music and gastronomy, sports and children’s entertainment are some of the ingredients, along with local history, customs and traditions.
- 16 July – Feast of Our Lady of El Carmen: The Patroness of Estepona – and of all sailors –, Our Lady of El Carmen is honoured in the most important festival held every year. The main event is the procession on 16 July: a statue of Virgin Mary is taken down the streets to the harbour, where dozens of boats are waiting to take Her to sea for the annual blessing. Everybody carries flowers and white candles. The picture is really stunning.
- 15 August – Tourist Day: Since tourism is one of the driving forces of the local economy, no wonder Estepona dedicates a big summer day to honour tourists. There are cookouts and activities for all.
- August/September – International Fantastic and Horror Film Festival: Summer comes to a close in Estepona with this key event on the calendar of the Spanish film industry. This festival has been held since 1999, gathering the best science fiction, fantasy and horror films and filmmakers. It gives awards to Spanish and international productions.
- 31 December – New Year’s Festival: Estepona is a town with seafaring traditions, great weather and welcoming people. On 31 December there is a big festival, with the Clock Tower chiming off the old year and marking the beginning of the New Year’s party.