What to do in San Pedro de Alcantara
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San Pedro de Alcantara is one of the coastal towns in the province of Malaga and is about 69 to 72 km from the provincial capital. Basically, if you stick to the coastal road and travel westward from Malaga (also the name of the provincial captial), you’ll reach the streets of San Pedro de Alcantara in about hour.
Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, San Pedro de Alcantara is also bordered by an arc of hills and elevated areas. There’s the Sierra Blanca in the east; Sierra del Real and Sierra de las Nievas in the north; and Monte Mayor and Sierra Bermeja in the west.
In the past, this town relied heavily on farming and agriculture, with sugar cane as its primary crop. Today, the residents benefit from the many sources of income.
You’ll never be bored in this place, as there are so many things you can do here. Many ancient monuments and even practices have been well preserved, so if you can appreciate ancient history, then it would be nice to check those places and activities out.
Now, for beach bums and sun worshippers, you’ll be happy to know that the beaches of San Pedro de Alcantara are not only fantastic but are also not as densely populated as the other beaches in the region.
There are quite a number of hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs, shops and even shopping centers, so you’ll have a lot of choices when it comes to lodging, dining, drinking, shopping, or any other urban activity you can think of.
Want to sample local products like fresh fruits, meat, and vegetables? The market day is held every Thursday. This is the time of the week when you’ll be able to purchase such products at generously discounted prices.
If you want to come to San Pedro de Alcantara by sea, then the options are Malaga or Cadiz. There is also the nearby marina in Marbella. If you’ll be flying in, then the nearest airport would be the one in Malaga. There are also quite a number of buses, which will connect you to towns and major cities in the country, so basically transportation into our out of this place won’t be a hassle as well.
History of San Pedro de Alcantara
Some human remains found in nearby Sierra Blanca were dated back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic Period. That means, man wandered and hunted in this region way back in prehistoric times. This may be considered the earliest part of San Pedro de Alcantara history.
However, the earliest known formal settlement in this town may be attributed to the Romans. Remnants of this civilization, which include the Termas romanas de Las Bóvedas (Roman baths), Basílica paleocristiana de Vega del Mar, and a watchtower known as the Torre almenara de Bóvedas, provide substantial proof of their existence here in the past.
Although we are not aware of Moorish archaeological remains in San Pedro de Alcantara, the fact that Marbella, which is just a few kilometers away, was once a walled Moorish city is enough to give us a hint that the Arabs may have also reached this far.
Many years after the end of Moorish occupation in Marbella’s walled-city, Spain decided to repopulate this part of the province. The re-population, which began in the mid-19th century, was spearheaded by General Manuel Gutierrez de la Concha, the first Marques del Duero. He embarked on a grand project that turned this town into an agricultural colony.
It was at that point in time that the town was formally known as Colonia Agrícola de San Pedro Alcántara (Agricultural Colony of San Pedro de Alcantara). A lot of construction period followed immediately after.
Among the buildings from that period that still stand and are among the most visited historical sites are: the Model Farm School on Agricultural Training, the El Ingenio Azucarero sugar mill, and the La Iglesia parish church.
In the 1970’s, the residents of San Pedro de Alcantara slowly shifted their focus to tourism. Networks of water and drainage systems, communication, and paved streets were erected, paving the way for the construction of more commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants, and the golf courses.
All these improvements were also direct results of Costa del Sol’s transformation into a tourist region. Today, the streets of San Pedro de Alcantara have a steady flow of guests who come to visit the historical sites, go to the beach, or drop anchor at the posh Puerto Banus marina.
Monuments and Festivals in San Pedro de Alcantara
The local government has done a great job in preserving a good number of San Pedro de Alcantara monuments & museums. The conditions of historical monuments here are way much better compared to those in other coastal towns in Malaga, which have succumbed to the lure of rapid commercialization.
Many coastal towns in the province have been experiencing rapid economic growths as a result of the growing popularity of their beaches, which draw tides of visitors every year. Unfortunately, this has also deprived historical sites in these towns from much needed attention. But not here in San Pedro de Alcantara.
Despite the presence of luxurious districts nearby, like Marbella, Puerto Banus, and the Guadalmina Golf Course, many historical sites still stand. Here are some of them:
-Termas romanas de Las Bóvedas - These remnants of ancient Roman baths can be found near the Guadalmina River, some 500 meters from the Basílica de Vega del Mar and only about 50 meters from an ancient watchtower. The basilica, the watchtower and these baths are substantial proofs that Romans occupied this region in the past.
-Basílica paleocristiana de Vega del Mar - This archaeological find was discovered in the early twentieth century while workers were planting eucalyptus trees. It is one of the oldest basilicas belonging to the earliest Christians in the area. Also found in the vicinity was a necropolis made up of nearly 200 tombs.
-Torre almenara de Bóvedas - This is the name given to the watchtower mentioned earlier.
-El Trapiche de Guadaiza - Widely recognized as the first industrial project in the town of San Pedro de Alcantara, this facility used to be a sugar mill.
-El Ingenio Azucarero - This sugar mill, which was then known as El Ingenio, was a project of the Marqués del Duero to save on costs of having to transport sugar cane to the mills of Malaga. It opened in 1870 and later on included a winery known for producing top quality muscat wines.
-La Iglesia - This church was also one of the projects of the Marqués del Duero, and served as the parish church of the town then. It was constructed in 1866 and can be found in front of a sprawling town square.
Entertainment in San Pedro de Alcantara
There are lots of interesting forms of entertainment here in San Pedro de Alcantara. Now, unlike many of the modernized coastal towns in Malaga, which have been transformed into bustling beach havens, San Pedro de Alcantara has managed to preserve much of its ancient culture.
Therefore, you might want to grab the opportunity and spend a good part of your time here visiting old monuments and witnessing old practices.
Touring Ancient Monuments
If you’ve visited other coastal towns in Malaga, particularly those that have popular, densely populated beaches, you might have noticed that only a few monuments remain standing. Here, you’ll still be able to visit many of them.
Among the most frequented by tourists are the following: Termas Romanas de las Bovedas (ancient Roman baths known as The Vaults), Basílica paleocristiana de Vega del Mar (a basilican of early Christians), Torre almenara de Bóvedas (beacon tower of the Vaults), La Iglesia (the local parish church), La Villa de San Luis (Village of San Luis), El Trapiche de Guadaiza, and La Alcoholera (the alcohol factory).
Witnessing Bullfights of Ancient Iberia
Another interesting activity to watch here is a bullfight. The bullfights held in San Pedro de Alcantara have retained much of their ancient Iberian practices. These are typically held during the summer fair (feria), a celebration in October that lasts for four days.
During the bullfight, debutantes wear attractive pink blouses. In the event that a bullfighter defeats a bull quickly, these young women toss handkerchiefs into the ring and one of them is picked by the victorious bullfighter later on. After that main event, you might want to stick around town to witness the bonfire that will be held at the end of the day.
Like the Iberian bullfights of old, the ones held in San Pedro Alcantara culminate in a large bonfire wherein bulls that were killed during the fights held earlier in the day are cremated. This is quite different from most modern-day bullfights wherein the meat of the slain bulls are donated to charity.
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to keep yourself entertained in this part of Spain. Among the other activities worth trying are the wine tours, hiking in the Sierra Blanca, 4x4 safari in the mountain roads of the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park, and of course, basking under the hot Costa del Sol sun on the beaches of San Pedro de Alcantara.
Beaches in San Pedro de Alcantara
The coastal towns of Malaga are well known for their alluring beaches. In fact, many tourists come all the way to this southern part of Spain just to enjoy the hot Mediterranean sun right in front of the Mediterranean Sea itself. San Pedro de Alcantara and its surrounding areas are home to a good number of these fantastic beaches. Here are some of them.
-Playa San Pedro de Alcantara - This 1,400-meter long x 35-meter wide beach that borders the coastal part of town is one of the most frequently visited beaches in the region. It is mainly composed of a mixture of dark gravel and sand. You’ll find it easily accessible from the promenade and even has provisions for visitors with disabilities.
On the sea itself, you’ll see a number of jet skis zigzagging over the water. Some portions of the beach are lined with large exotic umbrellas topped with thatched tops. Further inland, you’ll find tall palm trees jutting skyward like sentinels on the scenic promenade.
-Playa Linda Vista - Located less than a kilometer from Playa San Pedro de Alcantara, this relatively short beach spans only 650 meters. There are fewer visitors here compared to the first one we mentioned. Like the previous one, Linda Vista (if you haven’t figured out yet, “playa” is the Spanish term for “beach”) is composed mainly of dark gravel and sand.
This beach isn’t accessible from a promenade and doesn’t have provisions for disabled visitors. However, there are lots of water sport activities like windsurfing, waterbiking, and jet skiing, to name a few.
-Playa Nueva Andulacia / El Duque - This 1-km long beach (it actually stretches up to 1050 km) is already situated in the highly commercialized area of Marabella. Unlike the two other places with mentioned earlier, this one is mainly composed of dark arena. Like the Playa de San Pedro de Alcantara, this place has a high visitor population.
Other beaches near the town of San Pedro de Alcantara are Casasola Beach in Estepona, Rio Verde Playa in Marbella, and Estepona Playa El Saladillo. You might also want to check out Funny Beach, a popular theme park in Marbella that’s great for family bonding.
Restaurants and Bars in San Pedro de Alcantara
Restaurants in San Pedro de Alcantara
Because of the sheer number of visitors in this coastal town, it’s understandable to find lots of San Pedro de Alcantara restaurants. Here are some of those either offering good food, excellent service, or something uniquely appealing.
-Pesquera de San Pedro - Along the beaches of San Pedro de Alcantara, you’ll find a number of chiringuitos. These are beach side restaurants offering delicious fried fish and other mouth watering seafood. Pesquera de San Pedro is located along the Avenida Mediterraneo and can be contacted at telephone number 952799526.
-Casa Fernando - Located along Av Mediterraneo, this establishment features exquisite dining via a selection of great food and a wide collection of international and local wines. There’s a terrace for al fresco dining as well as two rooms inside, one each for smokers and non-smokers. (phone: 952 853 344)
-Nuevo Reino - You’ll find this place at Urbanización Castiglione Playa. It has a terrace with a great view of the sea. Here you’ll be able to savor great tasting fish and shells. Don’t fail to order their specialty - the pescaito con huevo, which has been honed to perfection throughout the years. (phone: 952 786 666)
-Los Abanicos - Located along Calle Fuente Nueva, Los Abanicos specializes in Spanish cuisine and serves lunch and dinner. (phone: 951275037)
-Alabardero - This one’s another chiringuito and is found in Playa de Castiglione. They specialize in a variety of International cuisine, so if you’ve had enough of the local cooking, this place will give you a breather. They also serve lunch and dinner (phone: 952785138)
-Albert Y Simon - Looking for some French cuisine? You’ll find it in this restaurant at Urb. Nueva Alcantara. (phone: 952783714)
-Allegro - Pizza lovers will adore this pizerria along Calle Avila Guadalcantara. However, be sure you don’t drop by on Mondays because you’ll find it closed. Furthermore, they only serve dinner. (phone: 952799004)
-Bora Bora - This restobar is actually part of one of the most popular beach clubs in the coast. You’ll find it along Calle Gitanilla in Linda Vista. (phone: 952789100)
Spain is known for its delicious wines. We recommend you order a bottle to go with your meal.
Pubs and Bars in San Pedro de Alcantara
Warm Mediterranean nights are perfect for sipping or taking a swig of your favorite alcoholic beverage. Here are some San Pedro de Alcantara pubs and bars where we’re sure you’ll have a great time.
-Restaurante Santiago - Part of a well-established restaurant in Marbella, this bar serves some great tasting tapas and has a nice ambiance. The place is adorned with plaques, certificates, and trophies, showcasing the many awards it won in the past. You’ll find Restaurante Santiago along the Paseo Marítimo de Benabola. (phone: 952770078)
-La Biznaga - The bar here is actually part of a restaurant adorned with a unique blend of modern and classical Spanish design. However, the bar itself has a more modern-type atmosphere. The tapas comes highly recommended. This establishment is located at Urbanización de Gamonal y las Medranas. (phone: 951275750)
Wondering what tapas are exactly? These are bite-sized dishes that are usually served as appetizers or snacks. In some bars in Spain, they’re served as an accompanying freebie for the drinks. However, if you’re in a highly commercialised location, then you’ll usually have to pay for them.
-Bodega Bar de Arte "La Galeria” - How about a unique blend of art, music, and drinks? This place along Calle Zamora offers exactly that. You can find the bar downstairs and the art gallery upstairs. (phone: 658256921)
-Flanker Tapas and Copas - As the name suggests, this establishment specializes in tapas and drinks. It’s located along Urb. Guadalcantara fase. There are tables and chairs outside, along an alley lined with small trees and a couple of benches. (phone: 952782896)
-Mas Cafe - Here’s another bar that also serves those mouth-watering tapas. Situated along Calle Jerez, this place has some tables outside positioned alongside well-trimmed shrubs.
-Al Verde Limon - The bar itself has a large LCD screen featuring soccer and football games of popular leagues. Had enough of those tapas? Don’t worry, Al Verde Limon serves sandwiches as well. Located along Plaza de La Libertad, they can be contacted at 650811189.
Some of these pubs and bars are actually located in the highly urbanized city of Marbella, which is just some 12 km away from the center of San Pedro Alcantara.
Hotels in San Pedro de Alcantara
Being situated near places with very high visitor populations, namely Puerto Banus and Marbella, the vicinity around San Pedro de Alcantara is understandably filled with hotels, apartments, holiday villas, and B&Bs. Here are some of those we can highly recommend.
-Benabola Hotel and Apartments - Located within the posh Puerto Banus marina, this luxurious establishment features rooms with terraces offering fantastic views of the whitewashed buildings in the nearby coastal town, the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, super expensive cars, and the impressive array of luxury yachts docked just a few meters away. (phone: 952815000)
-Hotel Guadalmina - This spa and golf resort is conveniently located at Urbanización Guadalmina Baja, right along the beach. The complex houses three restaurants - Cocoa, Taray, and Acqua - which all offer mouth watering Mediterranean dishes plus fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea itself. Health buffs will adore their facilities like the Thermal Circuit, Wellness Center, the Gym, and others. (phone: 952882291)
-Barcelo Marbella - Bored seeing beach fronts all day and want to relax a little further inland? Or perhaps you prefer the natural scenery and amenities of a golf course? Then this swanky establishment might just suit your taste. Located right beside the exclusive Guadalmina Golf Course and featuring large function rooms and first class amenities, Barcelo is one of the San Pedro de Alcantara hotels frequented by top executives. (phone: 952889099)
-Doña Catalina Hotel - If Barcelo Marbella’s rates exceed your current holiday budget, here’s a new hotel located in the heart of town that just might be right for you. Found along Avenida Oriental, this establishment features very affordable rooms (certainly more affordable than the previous three) plus all the essential amenities and services you’ll need. (phone: 952853120)
-NH San Pedro - Less than a kilometer away from Doña Catalina, this hotel along Calle Jerez is another option if you’re looking for an affordable place to stay. It’s got spacious bedrooms, a dining room, function room, and a terrace with sofas, outdoor umbrellas, and low tables. (phone: 952853040)
Other San Pedro de Alcantara hotels worth mentioning are the Plaza Suites, Rincon Andaluz, El Cortijo Blanco, Lorcrimar, PYR Marbella, and Hostal El Monino.
Shopping in San Pedro de Alcantara
You’ll have lots of options when it comes to San Pedro de Alcantara shopping. Shops, can be found in the town itself or in nearby Puerto Banus or Marbella. Here’s a short list for you to start with.
-Supermercado Cayetano - Along Calle Lagasca, you’ll find this red building topped with colourful flags. This is where you can find personal products, grocery items, and practically everything you’ll need while you’re here in town. (phone: 952 783 586)
-Mercadona - In Polígono Industrial San Pedro, you’ll find one of the outlets belonging to the Mercadona supermarket chain. Mercadona outlets are found all around Spain and certainly in most towns in Malaga.
-Bookworld España - Just a block away from Cayetano, along Paseo de las Palmeras, near the the A-7, you’ll find one of the outlets of Bookworld, which is a great resource for cards, games, and of course, books. (phone: 952786366)
-Todo Bordado - There’s another store near the A-7 that you might want to check out. This shop along Calle Lope de Mena sells shirts, jackets, polos, embroidered items, patches, caps, coats, uniforms, and other clothing products. (phone: 952782709)
-Farmacia Internacional - For your vitamins and medicines, visit this pharmacy along Calle Marqués del Duero. They’re open 24 hours and offer a variety of medicinal products including those classified under optics, homeopathy, herbal, dietetics, and orthopedics. (phone: 952780708)
-Cines La Cañada - If you want to indulge in some serious shopping, head out east to the Carretera de Ojen. Between 15 to 20 km - depending on the route you take - you’ll find this large shopping center. It’s got a variety of shops, fast foods, a sprawling supermarket, and movie theatres and is easily accessible even by bus. (phone: 902333231)
-Mercado de Abastos de Estepona - This food market in Estepona is a good place to shop for fresh fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables, While you’re there, you might want to drop by the Castillo de San Luis, an ancient edifice that played a significant role in Estepona’s history. Estepona is only about 20 km west of San Pedro de Alcantara.