Kate Bissett, author of this week's guest blog, looks after a collection of One Off Places in Andalucia, Spain. Ranging from little mountain cottages and garden apartments, to stylish villas and village houses, she can offer something for everyone. Kate is also very knowledgeable about the area, and knows 'all things Estepona', hence this blog post, which is sure to inspire you to visit this lovely part of Spain.
Estepona, of all the Costa de Sol towns , is the one that has most successfully managed to link the historical old world charms of its white –washed squares and meandering lanes dazzling with crimson geraniums and all the upscale delights of a modern seaside resort. There’s a lovely languid relaxed vibe to enjoy in the Plaza de las Flores at the heart of the old town-sipping a cafe con leche in the sunshine or later in the day enjoying tapas or fresh fish with a glass of rioja. The streets are vibrant both day and night , and the shops offer everything from succulent fruits and cheeses, cute souvenirs to arty designer clothing. It’s a really great place for a stroll and a meal.
The town is also known for its miles of palm-fringed beaches with golden sands – two of which, have Blue Flags of excellence - so fabulous for swimming and all watersports. Both young and old can chill-out here-chiringuitos (beach restaurants) offer bar service and sunbeds – soak up the sun and that piña colada .For kids there are bouncy castles and pedalos galore, if they bore of making sandcastles and splashing in the sea. A stroll along the flower-festooned Paseo Maritimo is fun at any time of day, but is to be particularly enjoyed as the sun sets in a blaze of pink.
After dark sophisticated nightlife is on offer at Estepona Port - fine wining and dining , disco and lounge bars rub shoulders with quieter cafes, with something for all tastes. In the day time you can charter a yacht here or go on a fishing trip to really experience the azure Mediterranean coast.
One of the fun quirky things to do in Estepona is to see the Mural Route. This is street art on a grand scale adorning many buildings with designs ranging from trompe l’oeil to Mickey Mouse. Pick up a route map at the Tourist Office and be ready to wander, wonder and be delighted. A good starting point is the beautiful Orchid Museum, also well worth a visit.
Estepona is backed by the spectacular Los Reales mountain- part of the Sierra Bermeja range. You can actually drive to the top and stop there for a hike or a stroll in nature with the most sea amazing views all over the coast. Or veer off to left on the way up onto the Pasaje de los Pinsapos. This path is lined with ancient pinsapo trees a species reputed to have survived the last Ice Age that only grows in two other places in Europe. It’s wonderful to pause here under these green bowers and appreciate the whispering beauty of these verdant trees.
Casa Carlos- a lovely OOP villa with a huge pool is located just outside of town on the way up to the Sierra Bermeja. Casa Charo – a rustic OOP country retreat with a private pool is only 5 minutes by car from the town’s bright lights and beaches.
Andalucian donkeys were once a regular sight in Estepona hauling sacks of grain on their backs or even their colourful owners. Alas, those days have gone. However, two donkeys - Myrtle and Nushy have a home at other OOP rentals just 20 minutes from Estepona near Casares - Casa Bermeja and Casa Luc - stylish casitas just for two with a private pool ideal for a romantic getaway in a natural paradise.
The many facets of Estepona - such diverse pleasures to offer will enchant you, so do come and enjoy.
See below for the Spanish properties that Kate has in her portfolio.......
This week's guest blog post is from Lucy Crane, owner of the glorious El Olivar, a stylish four bedroom villa in Andalucia, Spain.
Think of inland Andalucía and images of geranium-filled, white-washed villages baking in the summer heat spring to mind. But once the summer heat has faded and the autumn fiestas are over, the Serranía de Ronda offers the smart traveller a tranquil world of wild beauty, incredible culture and unforgettable gastronomy.
Vanessa Hawes is the owner of two fabulous One Off Places in Campania, Italy. Read her story about her discovery of Italy's Cilento region. If it doesn't make you want to jump on a plane right now, then nothing will!
Eleven years ago we hitched up the caravan, bundled in the german pointer and set off to warmer climes from Le Marche. We headed south to the beautiful region of the Cilento. Sitting in a little bar in Santa Maria di Castellabate watching the sea crash over the rocks one late September evening we decided it can't get better than this.
Croatia is a country with many faces so a holiday here can take almost any form. Want a week of sunshine by the sea? Done. More interested in a cultural city break? No problem. Or maybe you’re not sure what sort of trip you’re after and you’re open to everything from island hopping to visiting ancient ruins – you can do all of that here too. Oh and did we mention how great the weather is? No wonder Croatia is an increasingly popular destination!
Take a week off in early summer and you can find yourself some exceptional deals - One Off Places has from 20% - 50% off a number of fabulous properties during May and June, from a luxury farmhouse in Andalucia with its own gym, to an exquisite conversion in Montenegro overlooking Kotor Bay.