THE jewel in the Costa del Sol’s crown is not Marbella nor Malaga nor Nerja nor Mijas – it’s Estepona.
The beloved garden town of 70,000 at the end of Malaga’s coast has been crowned the second best city in all of Europe in the European City of the Year category.
The garland was handed out in London last night at The Academy of Urbanism’s Urbanism Awards 2023, which ‘recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments.’
Estepona was duking it out with Exeter in the UK and Amersfoort in the Netherlands to decide the order on the podium.
Despite only claiming silver, Estepona’s achievements were celebrated for its sustainable city model, which was hailed as an ‘example and inspiration’ for a ‘brilliant future’ by the judging panel.
Academy members lauded Estepona for its recent ambitious pedestrianisation project in the city centre and the initiative to connect the entire coastline through the coastal corridor.
The beautifully landscaped green spaces and colourful flowers, plus the city’s commitment to culture through initiatives like the El Carmen Viewpoint and projects such as the Art Murals Route and the Poetry Route were also highlighted.
And the innovative network of inclusive public parking costing only one euro per day got a special mention.
In addition to recognising the city’s achievements, The Academy of Urbanism commended Estepona for its ‘courage’ and ‘audacity’ in transforming into the ‘Estepona, Garden of the Costa del Sol’ project.
Estepona Mayor Jose Maria García Urbano who collected the award personally could not conceal his delight.
“This recognition projects our city model internationally, defining it as a European benchmark for sustainability, quality of life, and well-being,” he said.
But the best city in Europe? The Academy of Urbanism awarded it to Amersfoort in Holland.
The jury praised it for its high quality of life, progressive planning, and innovation while maintaining its unique heritage and character.