Sohail Castle is one of the most iconic monuments in the town of Fuengirola, forming part of its skyline and being extremely popular among its inhabitants, as well as a tourist point of interest among visitors. Situated at the mouth of the Fuengirola river, on a small hill at 38 metres above sea level, this defensive building has borne witness to the different civilisations that have passed through here throughout the centuries of its existence.
From ancient times until today, this monument has undergone many changes, both structurally and in the way it has been used. Nowadays, it isn’t just a site to enjoy a tourist visit, it is also the setting for some of the town’s most popular events. Travellers wanting to visit Sohail Castle will be able to rent a car at Malaga airport and get there in just a few minutes, finding parking nearby where you can leave your vehicle easily.
History of Sohail Castle
The first details of Sohail Castle date back to the Romans, who inhabited the hill on which this fortification is located, next to the riverbank. The mouth of the river was easily accessible for fishing and for fresh water for consumption. These civilisations baptised the town with the name Suel.
However, the first stone of its construction dates back to the Muslim era, between the 10th and 11th centuries, although it wasn’t until the arrival of the Almoravids that this defensive enclosure started to be built. Afterwards, it would be occupied during the Al Andalus reconquest (“Reconquista de Al-Ándalus) by the Christians and finally turned into a military building thanks to its strategic position for the town’s defence against the arrival of enemy ships.
It was the Arabs that renamed the town of Suel as Suhayl as a phonetic adaptation to the original name, and it is from this last name that the current name of this fortified castle comes from. It has survived to this day in perfect condition, despite having undergone a period of abandonment since the War of Independence until the 1980s.
Sohail Castle today
Since the Vocational School (Escuela Taller) of Fuengirola took control of this facility, removing the abundant vegetation and looking after the facilities, Sohail Castle is experiencing a new golden age, standing on the top of the hill as a reminder of Fuengirola’s past and a key element of its people’s culture.
Nowadays, this is the location of various cultural events that take place in the town, and one of the most prominent being the ‘Festival Cuidad de Fuengirola’ one of the most popular music events of the Costa del Sol, currently known as Marenostrum Fuengirola. However, this monument is also available for visits to the site itself.
Visiting Sohail Castle
A visit to Sohail Castle is a must for visitors to the town, with Fuengirola’s best-known car parks nearby so you can park your car with peace of mind and enjoy a visit to this site. Access by car is simple from the motorway, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday in the mornings, with visits in the afternoons on weekends.
The opening hours for this monument vary according to the season. While the morning opening hours are the same all year round, opening its doors from 10:00 until 14:00, the afternoon hours change. So in winter (from mid-September to mid-June), the afternoon opening times for weekends starts at 15:30 and finish at 18:00, while in summer, to avoid the heat, afternoon visits start at 18:30 and last entry is at 21:30.
The castle will be closed on December 25th, January 1st and 6th and days on which cultural events are held.
Additionally, in the surroundings of this military construction, visitors will be able to find some beach bars (chiringuitos) where they can enjoy tapas from Fuengirola, but there is also a riverside park where families can enjoy its sports pitches and children’s facilities or the famous Marenostrum shopping centre, a very popular leisure space in the area.
Concerts and events
As we mentioned above, Sohail Castle is the setting for some of the most popular cultural events in Fuengirola, and is currently home to the Marenostrum festival, an event renowned throughout Europe for its privileged location at the foot of Sohail Castle and facing the Mediterranean sea.
This event was first held in 2016 and has welcomed great national and international artists, including Jennifer López, Bob Dylan, Sting, Ricky Martin, David Bisbal or Manuel Carrasco, with dozens of events taking place from May until September, taking advantage of the town’s excellent climate.
Another major event that takes place at Sohail Castle is its Medieval Market (mercado medieval), with stalls of handcrafted products, typical food from the era and an atmosphere that will make visitors feel like they have travelled back in time.
This monumental fortification is also the setting for other events and celebrations, such as the German Oktoberfest beer festival and all types of activities to be able to take advantage of the privileged facilities offered by the castle, one of the monuments that the town of Fuengirola is most proud of.
How to get to Sohail Castle (Castillo Sohail)
Reaching Sohail Castle by car is simple, with easy access from the motorway and the parking area nearby. In addition, visitors wanting to discover this monument will be able to get there on foot or by bike along the seafront promenade (paseo marítimo) You can see some of the routes available to visit Sohail on this map.