All along the way, this part of the route follows the coast between these two towns. It goes along beaches, promenades or marinas, enliven with gentle Mediterranean breeze.
Stage 30 is almost entirely flat, being at sea level and only having a few gentle inclines. It heads east or slightly north-east between the towns of Estepona and Marbella. The municipal areas of these two towns meet at the Guadalmina River, after 13.7 kilometres.
The route sets off from the eastern part of Estepona’s seafront boulevard, but soon runs close to the coast. The first 7 and a half kilometres is through the best-kept area and runs as far as the Guadalmansa Tower. Except for a few sections of pavements, there are kilometres of pedestrianised pathways, 6 bridges as well as some elevated boardwalk.
From there, up to kilometre 17, you continue along the beaches and dunes of the western Costa del Sol, with brief detours along the pavements of some residential developments. With some exceptions, this second part runs mostly over sand. There are a few larger watercourses to cross, which can have a reasonable volume of water, even in summer.
The remaining 10 kilometres run along the seafront boulevards of San Pedro and Marbella, at times paved, sometimes on wooden boardwalks, and at others over Albero sand or compacted earth. At least one side of the pathway always has landscaped gardens here. There are far fewer rivers in this second part and they tend to have much smaller volumes of water. Therefore, these can easily go unnoticed among the coastal urbanisation.
The route provides the chance to get to know the intricacies of Malaga’s Mediterranean coastline’s urban development. It is undoubtedly and intrinsically linked to tourism in almost every aspect. On many occasions, the public dominance over the maritime area reaches ludicrous proportions, on others the beach can be considered merely urban. Nevertheless, there are some landscapes of outstanding beauty amongst this, including remnants of nature as it used to be. A perfect example of this are the areas around the river mouths of Sierra Bermeja and the sand dunes of Saladillo and Matas Verdes. History is also present here; with numerous watchtowers dating back to medieval times, the early Christian church, and the thermal baths and village of R o Verde from the Roman period.
This Stage is an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the urban development of the western part of the Costa del Sol, linked intrinsically to tourism and its many different facets. Frequently the public seaside acquires quite negligible dimensions or is completely urban in other parts. However, at times the walker will be rewarded by places of singular beauty and surviving reminders of what nature used to be like here in the past.
Thus, the coast has had varied luck due to the moment in history when it was being built up, generally leaving the original wilderness relegated to just a few metres in result.
At certain points of the coast of Estepona, you can still see the surviving strings of dunes, especially at the beaches of Saladillo and Matas Verdes. It is even possible to try to go back in time watching the traditional coastal trades such as the few still working orchards, a few metres from the sea shore, or fishing boats and gear resting on slopes high above the beach.
However, undoubtedly, what livens up the long route along the coast of Málaga is the network of watch towers and medieval beacons, which are sometimes very different from one another; also there are the numerous mouths of the Bermeja rivers. This is the coast which is world famous and yet remains a great unknown from the point of view of its patrimony and natural environment.