Sue and I like to be independent to do our own thing when travelling and it usually involves getting off the beaten track. As a result, we almost always hire a car if it makes any sense at all given the circumstances of where we are visiting. In this case, because Sue's sister was joining us from England for eight days of our trip, I had to go one size larger than normal to accommodate three suitcases. It turned out to be a diesel Ford Focus station wagon with a 5-speed manual transmission. There was enough space in the rear for the suitcases plus a few other odds and ends as well as a flap that covered-up everything from prying eyes.
We hired it from Red Ribbon Car Hire Spain but picked it up from the Goldcar desk four days earlier away up the Mediterranean coast at the Alicante airport - at a daily rate of 18.26 Euros. However, when all the extras like insurance and diesel surcharge were added in, the total for 18 days came to 617 Euros. The car did not give us any mechanical problems during the 3240-km (~2000 miles) we drove it and was just great in allowing us to reach the many smaller destinations on our trip.
Here, our Ford (right) sits under the car-park awning on the upper level of our Casa Sol y Luna B&B in Estepona, beside two vehicles belonging to the owners of this accommodations stop. Their long driveway curves away out of sight and leads to a large and very solid motorized steel gate that opens and closes at the push of one of the buttons on the B&B access key. Our bedroom, the living/dining room, kitchen and the swimming pool area were all one level down from this upper view.
You can arrive to Estepona from two differents roads: one is free and the other one is not. I usually choose the toll motorway when I'm coming from Cadiz (AP-7) because the free one as lots of roundabouts. On the other hand, when I come from Malaga I prefer the toll free one (A-7) because it's not bad at all and it even have street lamps all the way.
Puedes llegar a Estepona por dos carreteras diferentes: una es gratuita y la otra no. Generalmente escojo la de pago (AP-7) cuando vengo desde Cádiz, ya que la gratuita tiene muchas rotondas. Por otro lado, cuando llego desde Málaga prefiero la gratuita (A-7), porque no es nada mala e incluso tiene farolas en todo el camino.
We had thought about hiring a car whilst in Torremolinos, but decided to use the local public transport during the first week of our stay.
There is an excellent bus service along the coast, from Malaga to Marbella , with about 4 services to Esterpona. Unfortunately the local train service, again from Malaga, terminates at Fuengirola, some 44 Kms (about 26 miles ) short of Esterpona. The journey from our base at Torremolinos took 1 and a half hours, and cost (March 2003) 4.57 Euros single, therefore you need to purchase your return ticket from the terminus in Esterpona.
Make sure you get on the correct bus. It should have a sign on it: CADIZ-MALAGA. And, be warned, our bus, the last of the day, left before departure time!
Over the last few years, lots of places in southern Andalucia have really been cleaned up and are looking great now. Estepona city is just one of them. Many people just bypass it using the highway to get to further places such as Malaga airport, but if you've got the time, a drive though Estepona is both beautiful and tranquil. We only drove as far as the port that day, so I dont have any photos to show you, but just take my word for it. Flowers along the road, palm trees guiding the way, and lots of very small annoying roundabouts!!!! Thsi photo I took is the sign for Estepona as youre driving towards it. Take a right for the city, or straight on for the bypass.
We flew into Malaga airport and hired a car to get us from there to Estepona.
We hired a little car through Carjet.com as they were the cheapest, and they use Crown Car Hire in Spain. We used them last time and had no problems so decided to use them again.
The downside to being cheap is the Crown desk is always busy, so be prepared to queue for your car on arrival. It might be an idea if you are waiting for luggage to send your travel companion down to the car hire hall to join the queue so you aren't queuing to collect your luggage then queuing again to collect your car.
Alternatively use another car hire company. There were no queues at the Eurocar or Hertz desk
Taking the bus to get around town or even to get to other towns are very easy. Just find the bus teminus