In the heart of the Mediterranean coast, Fuengirola has been and is today one of the favourite destinations for visitors from all over the world on the Costa del Sol. Perfectly manicured beaches, tourist facilities and an enviable climate are the main arguments for this welcoming town.
It is located halfway between Marbella and the capital, and in recent years has been one of the municipalities that has taken the best care of its streets and buildings. Due to its tourist background, visitors themselves have come to live here, which has generated a large expatriate community among the population.
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History of Fuengirola
The origin of this coastal town is believed to date back to the Phoenicians, with a settlement in the area called Syalis. It was later inhabited by the Carthaginians, until it passed into the hands of the Romans. They called it Suel and in their wake they left the Termas de Torreblanca.
After a turbulent period of Vandal, Byzantine and Visigoth invasions, as well as piracy, the area was abandoned until the occupation of the Arabs. This civilisation brought new activity to the area, building the beautiful Sohail Castle, which dominates the whole region. It was retaken during the Christian Reconquest in 1485 by Rodrigo Ponce de León, a distant relative of the mythical explorer.
Centuries later, during the Spanish War of Independence, the French took the town’s Arab stronghold. The castle was the target of a siege, known as the Battle of Fuengirola, between a Polish division of Bonaparte’s army and the combined force of the English and Spanish.
From 1960 onwards, Fuengirola started to become an eminently touristic town thanks to the massive construction of hotels and other tourist facilities in the Mediterranean coastal areas. This caused a real invasion of tourists, which put this town and others such as Torremolinos or Mijas on the international map.
What to see and do in Fuengirola
What to see
Sohail Castle: of Arab origin, this defensive structure that crowns a hill next to the river Fuengirola is an important attraction of the town. Find out more about its history, opening times and prices in our post dedicated to this imposing castle.
Finca del Secretario: located in the popular neighbourhood of Los Pacos, near Benalmádena, this is an archaeological site of Roman origin with a salting factory and Roman baths. This archaeological park can be visited and is in perfect condition.
Bioparc Fuengirola: this is a park that faithfully recreates the habitats of the animals that live in this space. You can find multi-species enclosures, where the animals interact with each other in the same way as they would in their own habitat.
- Opening hours: 10.00-18.00h (the Baobab opens at 11.00h).
- General: 24,50 euros
- Reduced (+65 years old and 3-9 years old): 18 euros
- Disabled: 13 euros
- Other: if you buy your ticket 24 hours in advance you get a discount of 1 euro. It is forbidden to bring food into the park. Throughout the year special events are organised which you can consult on the website: https://www.bioparcfuengirola.es/
Things to do
Fuengirola seafront promenade: perfectly adapted with all possible services and the international recognition of the blue flags, the promenade is one of the main attractions of the city. After spending a day on the beaches of Fuengirola, it is refreshing to take a stroll at sunset before looking for a place to eat in Fuengirola.
Sould Park: This small amusement park, located in the heart of the port of Fuengirola, has several attractions that you can enjoy with a card system.
Centro Comercial Miramar: the main shopping centre of the town, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants to suit all tastes.
AquaMijas: ideal for a nice day out with family or friends. This water park is a real attraction for all the residents of the province, and a pleasure for tourists who discover it. Don’t leave without trying the donut attraction.
Parque Fluvial de Fuengirola: located around the riverbed and mouth of the river Fuengirola, this atypical park is a meeting point for a multitude of families and sportsmen and women looking to do sport or take a quiet stroll in a fresh and pleasant space.
Popular festivities and gastronomy
The town stands out especially for the number and variety of festivals that you can enjoy throughout the year. Here are some of the most important ones, but if you want to know more information about them, you can visit our post about festivals in Fuengirola, where we explain dates, location and other aspects of each of them.
Feria internacional de los pueblos: held in May, this festival is especially attractive, as it brings together many countries in the fairgrounds. Each stand is set up in a country, showing its cultural and gastronomic traditions.
Feria de Fuengirola: known as the Feria del Rosario, as it is organised in honour of this virgin, events and activities related to flamenco, equestrian art and typical gastronomy are organised. Perhaps the most important event for the residents of the municipality.
Day of the Virgen del Carmen: the patron saint of sailors in Fuengirola, a town with a great fishing tradition, is honoured. On this day the Virgin is paraded through the streets and taken to the sea in a beautiful ritual worth seeing.
Marenostrum Festivals: next to the castle there is a large green space called Marenostrum, where a multitude of concerts are organised throughout the year by great and varied artists of international renown such as Bizarrap, Scorpions, Rosalía, Morat, Nicky Jam or Europe, among others.
This makes it one of the most important music festivals in Malaga to take into account, without forgetting the exceptional surroundings or the concerts inside the castle itself illuminated at night. A unique experience if you have the opportunity to enjoy it on your visit.
San Juan: as on any beach on the Costa del Sol, on the night of 23rd June large groups of friends and families head to the beach to celebrate the official start of summer with bonfires, food and drink.
Erotic Tapas Route: this activity for adults guarantees a gastronomic offer at a good price and with guaranteed laughs. It combines the experience of tapas in Fuengirola with an unusual and fun atmosphere.
In all these events and festivals you will surely be able to taste the most typical gastronomy of Fuengirola: fried fish and “espetos”. The former, known as “pescaito”, consists of a variety of local fish fried without any kind of batter, at a high temperature so that it becomes crispy; the latter, very traditional in the whole province, consists of roasting the fish on a fire, skewered on a rod.
How to get to Fuengirola
How to get there by public transport
Due to its economic and population growth, Fuengirola is a town with good connections to Malaga. The cheapest option is the bus, which you can take either from Malaga Bus Station or along different points of the city.
However, there is a frequent train line which also operates, albeit for a slightly higher price. The price of the train is divided into zones, according to distance, and Fuengirola is in zone 4.
2,70 (Zone 4)
Both means of transport depart from the centre of Malaga, as well as passing through the respective bus and train stations.
How to get there by car
If you prefer to have a car to get around Malaga and the Costa del Sol, you can rent a convertible car to drive through the streets of Fuengirola and enjoy the sunshine of the region.
From the airport you can get there in just 15 minutes, taking the MA-21 towards Torremolinos, until you find the turn-off to the AP-7. Just follow this road until you reach the exit 1010, direction Fuengirola. Be careful at this point, as if you don’t take the turn-off you will enter the toll motorway that goes all the way to Estepona.
Map of Fuengirola
Do you have a clear idea of what to see if you visit Fuengirola? In case it’s not quite clear, in this map prepared by CarGest we provide you with the most relevant places so that you can organise your own route to your liking.
Best time of year to visit: depending on whether you prefer sun and beach tourism (summer) or other alternatives where the heat can be an impediment (spring).
Not to miss: A stroll through the town centre and promenade, the International Fair of the Villages and a visit to the Sohail Castle.
Places to eat nearby: in this post we tell you some of the best places to eat in Fuengirola.
For more information check the Fuengirola Town Hall website: https://www.fuengirola.es/