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San Pedro de Alcantara, also called “San Pedro,” is a bustling town that is nestled in the west of the Costa del Sol, around 10 kilometers away from Marbella.
It also lies a couple of minutes away from Puerto Banus.
It is particularly known for its long golden, sandy beach which held the blue-flag recognition by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) since 1992.
With the current population estimated at 26,500, San Pedro seemed to have a split personality. At the beachfront, there are various hotels, cafes and shops that welcome the guests while the town center radiates a traditional Spanish vibe that is made much stronger by the tapas bars and siestas all lined up along the narrow backstreets.
Once known for its sugar cane farming community, San Pedro has grown rather more slowly and less dramatically compared to several nearby cities and towns. It is actually divided by the A340 road into the north’s older town and the south’s newer town (Nueva Alcantara). This road is also used by people who are heading into and out of Marbella which creates traffic and therefore causes the road to be quite busy at times.
San Pedro has been in constant development with the most notable one being the construction of an underground tunnel through the village. Apart from improving the traffic flow, the tunnel is also aimed at giving the town a whole new look for the sake of its residents and for attracting more tourists. After almost 5 years of construction, the tunnel, which runs from San Pedro to Marbella, was finally finished in January 2012.
What is the nearest airport to San Pedro de Alcantara?
The nearest airport to San Pedro de Alcantara is the Ronda Airport with the distance being only at 32.69 kilometers.
Other airports nearby are Malaga (61 kilometers or 30 minutes away) and Gibraltar (66 kilometers or 50 minutes away).
How to get there?
San Pedro is accessible through the N340 highway if you’re coming from either Cadiz or Malaga and through the C339 if you’re traveling from Ronda and Seville. You can also use the new toll motorway which also links Torremolinos and Estepona.
If you’re traveling by sea, the nearest connections are Gibraltar, Malaga and also the marinas in Puerto Banus and Marbella.
While there is no bus station at San Pedro, you can find a bus stop at the further end of the town center along the A-7 road. Here, a number of bus services are operated that include trips bound to Benahavis, Algeciras, Cordoba, Cadiz, Granada, Estepona, Malaga, La Linea, Seville, Marbella and Ronda.
One of the cheapest forms of public transportation that you can take is the Portillo buses which have trips in every half hour. However, taking a bus in the summer may be a little uncomfortable because of the huge number of passengers and the heat brought by a jam-packed bus ride.
If you’re coming from the Ronda Airport and you’re taking the bus to San Pedro, you will be at a more advantaged position if you’re heading towards the west side of the town.
If you’re coming from the Malaga Airport, you can opt to take the Malaga Airport Train which operates on the Malaga Cercanias Line or the Local line that travels from Fuengirola to as far inland to Alora.
GPS/Satellite navigation co-ordinates
Geographical coordinates are at 36˚ 29’ 0” North, 4˚ 59’ 0” West.
What are the major sights and interesting things to do?
San Pedro has its own share of historical monuments which never fail to earn gasps and gushes from wide-eyed visitors. These include the Parish Church, a colonial style building built in 1866; Las Bovedas, a 3rd century A.D. Roman baths site; the ruins of the Basilica; and the San Pedro Boulevard which has become the town’s popular feature since it went open to the public in December 2014.
The town’s wide promenade can turn any non-fans of walking into eager pedestrians who learned how using their feet can actually get them anywhere without spending a single cent. With the beach being only a 10-minute walk away, serious strollers can even challenge themselves further by taking pleasant strides all the way to Marbella.
Daytripping options abound from San Pedro where you can literally be in 3 or more places within a single hour. You can take a tour around the historical town of Ronda, experience the nostalgic charm of Gibraltar, or go to Mijas for an exhilarating adventure of souvenir shopping. If you’re curious to know what lies further ahead, Granada, Seville and Morocco are just within reach to further satiate your nomadic vibes.
All in all, San Pedro caters to both the “energetic vacationer” and the “visual loner” with the former taking advantage on all possible types of physical encounters while the latter simply enjoying the town’s interesting air of both the contemporary and the traditional.
Where to stay in San Pedro de Alcantara?
San Pedro has all sorts of accommodation options that will surely fit any traveler’s budget. You can choose to stay either in a hotel, bed and breakfast, inn or even a hostel. Whether you’re staying for a brief vacation or even your whole lifetime, San Pedro will always have something that will surely match even the most discerning tastes.
For a comfortable stay, the following accommodations are suggested: Globales Cortijo Blanco Hotel, Hostal La Colonia, Acemar Hostal and Hotel Doña Catalina.
What are the best bars?
All around San Pedro, you can find many bars both in the town proper and on the beach front. In the summer, particularly during weekends, most bars tend to stay open even until sunrise as crowds seem to be oblivious of time.
For a unique experience, you can head to the Hogan Stand Irish Pub which, incidentally, is the only non-Spanish bar available in the vicinity. Located in the center of town, guests come to this place to enjoy live music, good service, excellent food and drink and value for money.
Other bars that are also popular in the area include:
Flanker Bar (Calle Avila, Guadalcantara fase 4) offers a warm reception coupled with first class service and a widely varied menu. Nestled in a lovely, busy square from the town’s main boulevard, it’s definitely a great place for beer and company.
Brasserie El Marques (Calle Marques del Duero 50) is a Dutch-run street café bar that is known for its relaxed and easy going appeal. Other than the unusual menu of various influences that include Dutch and Thai cuisine, guests also marvel at the bar’s fine selection of cocktails and wines.
What are the best restaurants?
San Pedro has a number of restaurants which offer both covered and open-air seating. You can easily find the restaurants sprawled along the boulevard where you can sit and have something to drink or eat while waiting for the sun to set.
These are some of the popular restaurants in town.
La Bodega del Cantinero Restaurant (Calle Andalucia Num 10, Tel. +34 952 927 188) – Boasting a pleasantly modern interior matched by a friendly atmosphere, guests are raving about this restaurant for its outstanding menu items, excellent service, superb entertainment and unique dining experience. Some nights are “Flamenco Nights” with guests getting a taste of authentic Spanish culture while their minds are busy on planning when they can possibly be back.
Alfredo’s Restaurant (Calle Andalucia, Local 8, Tel. +34 952 786 165) – Serving traditional Spanish cuisine, this restaurant managed to keep a number of loyal patrons who couldn’t help but feel amazed on how it still keeps the original staff all these years. With an excellent choice of entries in the menu, the restaurant is also great for families who want to enjoy a nice cozy meal. Located on one of the town’s quiet streets, you can easily find it by heading westward using the Coastal Highway and then turning right just before you reach the hardware shop named Ferreteria El Store.
Are there any nightclubs?
San Pedro is not really a go-to place for true blue nightlife and partying. Typically, spending an evening would usually involve having a delicious meal paired with a couple of drinks at the town’s local bar. In other words, you can expect to find the atmosphere more relaxed compared to the neighboring towns along the coast. However, Puerto Banus is just one ride away which you can choose to go if you’re really looking for a place that’s great for partying.
San Pedro de Alcantara’s history started during that time when the Marquis del Duero built a residential area that was located right next to the church in the municipality. Initially inhabited by families, the area soon enjoyed rapid growth and saw a number of changes in just a short period of time.
In 1945, Pedro Becerra, who was then the mayor of Marbella, bought the Marquis del Duero’s house. The house eventually became part of Marbella. Since then, San Pedro de Alcantara’s brief history all fell under the history of Marbella.
Signs of early Roman settlers can be traced in the area around the Guadalmina river where the Roman hot springs are found. Some of its most ancient monuments include the 4th century Vega del Mar basilica and the 16th century Vigilant towers found next to the beach in Guadalmina.
The town’s first census is said to have started in the 9th century. From the recorded number of 36 residents in 1860, it then increased up to 530 just a year later. Gradually, the number changed brought by the arrival of people from Marbella, Istan and Estepona. The year 1861 is marked as the year when San Pedro de Alcantara was born. This was highlighted in 1873 when a church was built by an engineer known by the name Azucarero.
It was also during the mid-19th century when Gutierrez, an army general, managed to acquire almost 5,000 acres of agricultural land, the stretch of which included Marbella, Estepona and Benahavis.
The 1860s also saw the formation of the town’s farming colony by the good general as a result of the nation’s repopulation laws. The town’s name was taken from the patron saint of Extremadura as a way to symbolize the devotion of the general. It was also given in honor of Lady Petra de Alcantara, the general’s mother.
What type of climate does it have?
San Pedro de Alcantara has a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate with the summers being hot while the winters are mild. Somehow, the cooling breeze coming from the sea had allowed the heat during summer to become manageable with temperatures reaching an average of 32 degrees Celsius. August is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature reaching up to 24.6 degrees Celsius.
Likewise, the winter temperature has always managed to be higher than average with the lowest average temperature of 12.3 degrees Celsius being felt in January. Lastly, there is more rainfall seen during winter compared in the summer.
Are there any jobs for expats available in San Pedro de Alcantara?
With the tunnel completed, it is expected that traffic flow will be much faster and more tourists will be marching into the town. This could bring in more job opportunities in order to meet the growing demands.
The food and beverage industry would most likely be in the forefront of all the developments that are happening around town. If you’re one of those who intend to find work in San Pedro, you can try looking for available positions at a local restaurant, bars, pubs and cafes.
Other work options include teaching English, au pair, tour guide and even real estate agents.
Are there any international and state schools in San Pedro de Alcantara?
In San Pedro, you can find the Laude San Pedro International College where the students are taught with A-level courses and English GCSE. It is also used as an exam center where the students can sit their exam at the school’s “home” site.
Another school worth mentioning is Calpe School which is an English-language primary school that had been established for more than 40 years.
Other schools you can find include Aloha College, San Jose, Kings College and Mayfair Academy.
Real Estate Agents
If you’re looking for a property in San Pedro de Alcantara which you’d like to either buy or rent, it would be best to take advantage of the services from real estate agents that have established their local office in the area.
You may consider asking the services of Crystal Shore Properties (www.crystalshore-properties.com, Tel. +34-952-904-187) and KMS Property Solutions (www.kmsproperty.com, Tel. +34-952-782-686).
Vicki Chapman of KMS Property Solutions gives us a must-read interview further down the page where she gives a fantastic overview of life in San Pedro.
What are the nearest golf courses?
When it comes to sports activities, San Pedro is no doubt one of the best areas on pursuing your passion in sports. At the town center located at Calle Fuente Nueva, you can find the municipal sport center where you can enjoy playing football, volleyball, tennis as well as go swimming, do aerobics and more!
You can also find a number of quality golf courses in town. These include Los Arqueros, Los Flamingos, El Paraiso, Marbella Club Golf Resort, La Quinta, Las Brisas, Monte Mayor, Atalaya Golf, El Higueral, Los Naranjos, Aloha and the Guadalmina Golf Club. The latter is said to have not only a beautiful golf course but also a large pool, tennis court and a world class restaurant.
What are the nearest beaches?
San Pedro has 2 beaches, Playa Cortijo Blanco and Playa San Pedro which constitute a total of 5 kilometer stretch of sand. You can choose to marvel at the views from the beaches by either walking on the sand or on the beautifully tiled promenade that stretches as long as 2 kilometers. Either way, you can find a number of chiringuitos and beach bars along the way for a quick stop-over or to simply pass time.
The San Pedro Beach is a 1 kilometer long and 35 meter wide beach that is adorned with medium dark sand. You can also see a number of lifeguard towers and take advantage of the ample shade coming from the eucalyptus trees.
Just like any other beaches on the coast, you can also enjoy other amenities such as jet ski rentals, water sports, or you can simply go for a leisurely dip in the Mediterranean shore.
What are the best days to go to the market?
Every day, except Sundays, you can find markets that are sprawled along the Costa del Sol which usually operate from around 9 or 10 a.m. until around 2 p.m. Many of the stall owners seemed to be the same people who tend to do the same routine every day in various cities: set up a stall in the morning, pack everything away in the afternoon, then set everything up all over again the next morning.
Market day in San Pedro is every Thursday at the San Pedro Fair Ground in Calle Jorge Guillen. There are more than 230 stalls where you can find fresh local produce such as fruit and vegetables as well as other interesting finds that include clothes, jewelry, handmade crafts and more.
It is best to go to the street market early particularly in the summer as the place can become jam packed and the heat can seem unbearable. Always be wary of crowded places which are also known to be frequented by pickpockets.
If you cannot go on a Thursday, you can wait until Sunday when the market in Guadalmina residential area would usually open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. You can find it at the shopping complex right behind the Supersol Supermarket.
Where is the nearest hospital, medical center or pharmacy?
Going on a holiday can bring you lots of surprises along the way which means that you need to at least know where you can go in case of an emergency. For your medical needs, it’s nice to know that San Pedro has a place called The Medical Centre (also known as the Triay Medical Centre) which is one of the most established medical centers around Costa del Sol. Located at Los Almendros II, Av. Familia Vargas, 29670 San Pedro de Alcantara, the centre is right across the street from Laude San Pedro International College and may be reached at +34 952 780 540 and +34 952 780 846. They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays); 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Saturdays) and closed on Sundays.
The nearest pharmacy is Pharmacy Norte and you can find it at Calle Pablo Ruiz Picasso, 64-66, 29670 San Pedro de Alcantara. It is right next to Burger King. The telephone number is +34 952 782 782.
What are the local fiestas?
The most famous festival is celebrated on June 29 which is the day of San Pedro. On this day, the famous “Wine Battle” occurs in the Riscos de Bilibio.
The second notable event is the feria in October which is also the last summer fair in Andalucia as it is held in the second week of the month. People from nearby towns would come over to join the celebrations with the locals. Making a short trip is really worthwhile as visitors will be greeted by a street party that lasts for 5 days while the locals in their flamenco costumes fill the streets that are lined up with the local bars and restaurants. If the street party is too much to handle, you can simply participate in the procession on horses or wagons. However, you may also opt to join the so-called “Feria de Noche” which is a classical parish fair and comes right after the “Feria del Dia” closes if you’re in a great partying mood.
Is there a tourist office?
You can find the tourist office of San Pedro de Alcantara at Conjunto San Luis, bloque 3-bajo (just next to the “Tenencia de Alcaldia”), Avenida del Marques del Duero. The telephone number is +34 952 785 252.
Are you an expat in San Pedro de Alcantara? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
Moving to San Pedro de Alcantara
If you are thinking of moving to San Pedro de Alcantara, then you must read our expat interview with Vicki Chapman of KMS Property Solutions below:
Vicki, what would you say would be the advantages to living in San Pedro de Alcantara compared to other Costa del Sol towns?
San Pedro Alcantara has managed to retain its Spanish Roots, and unlike so many other towns has not become commercialised. The town is full of one off designer boutiques and cafes, bars and restaurants all very good quality, all mainly family run and all reasonable prices.
Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides?
Not that we are biased, but since the by-passing of the town which up until then was a nightmare with traffic, and the opening of the boulevard and the extension of the paseo all the way into Puerto Banus, I honestly can’t think of a single negative point about the town.
What proportion of the local population are Spanish?
I do not know the exact percentage, but I would take a guess at 60%+ The beachside urbanisation’s historically attract a huge amount of people from Madrid and from the North of Spain. The Spanish population swells during the steamy months of July and August. Believe it or not but the Madrileños come to the coast to cool down!
What are your favourite things to do in the area?
Oh so many things to choose from. Walking along the boulevard is a good way to people watch. Having a look around the shops is always a good pass time but beware they stick to the Siesta between 1400-1700! There are plenty of marked cycle routes so it’s easy to navigate safely around town and the beachside on a bike. Of course going to the beach and taking a walk along the paseo is also a good way to spend weekends.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?
Oh too many to list. On the boulevard a personal favorite is Noa. In town Alfredos and on the beachfront Alabardero Beach Club.
Are there many facilities such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
I can’t think of anything that San Pedro Alcantara cannot offer.
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
Benahavis is a Gastro Village some 15 minute drive up the mountain road from San Pedro Alcantara. It is a white washed village with a huge variety of bars and restaurants all Spanish in style and all serving fantastic food at reasonable prices. 2 restaurants to look out for are Abanicos and Rufinos.
What are the nearest internationals schools and how good are they?
Can’t comment as none of us in the office have children.
Is crime an issue for expats?
Never once has it been a safety issue for a woman walking the streets late at night in San Pedro Alcantara. We have not come across any reports of crime from any of our clients either so in general I think that it is a good safe place to live.
Coming onto buying property – what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, down or staying the same?
The prices are sensible now and have stabilised. The new urbanisations have been virtually selling out off plan as there is so little construction taking place on the beachside of the coast. If anything prices are going up not down but at a steady rate. Since the opening of the boulevard in December 2015, San Pedro Alcantara has become extremely sought after and there is very little for sale in comparison to other parts of the coast. With this in mind, vendors are not taking silly offers and we are achieving close to asking price if not full asking price on most of our properties for sale in the area due to supply and demand.
Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
When is not a good time to buy in this beautiful part of Spain? Bank funding has returned which helps, however the hype about Bank Repossessions is over now as there are very little properties available via the banks apart from the odd one here and there but nowhere near the level of availability that was found back in 2015.
What urbanisations are there and can you describe each one and how they might differ from each other?
There are so many urbanisations here on the coast. Some of the more luxurious ones have 24 hour security, indoor pools, gym, padel, sauna, Jacuzzi etc but of course with those luxuries goes large community fees. Most urbanisations are gated, and most have communal gardens and a communal swimming pool. Everything here is very well looked after and always very presentable.
How much are typical property prices in San Pedro de Alcantara for apartments, villas etc?
This is a hard question to answer as the prices vary so much between the prime prices for beachfront properties for example in Casablanca Beach which achieve 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 for an apartment, to apartments in older blocks the heart of the old town which achieve 100,000. It is very hard to find a villa for under 500,000 now a days in San Pedro. There is something in San Pedro for every budget.
Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in San Pedro de Alcantara or surrounding area?
Of course, come to KMS Property Solutions! We are located in CC La Colonia above Passion Café and opposite Mc Donalds at the end of the boulevard.
Vicki, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact Vicki, you can find the contact details below.
KMS Property Solutions
Centro Comercial La Colonia
Avenida Virgen del Rocio
29670 San Pedro de Alcantara
Tel. +34 952 782 686 or +34 952 782 811
Mobile +34 600 036 058
Contact us to be featured – we want more expat interviews for our newsletter and website. You don’t need to be an estate agent, we want to hear from anyone who lives in Spain whether you are working or retired.
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