ESPAÑA, COSTA DEL SOL
Welcome to Fuengirola
A thriving hub of expats and tourists, Fuengirola ranks as one of the most popular resorts on the Costa del Sol. Its long sandy beaches, lively nightlife, family-friendly activities and warm climate all year make it a top place both for holidays and relocation. Unsurprisingly, many choose to buy in Fuengirola.
It’s also an excellent example of the Costa del Sol cultural melting pot. Fuengirola has well-established populations of Scandinavians, British and Irish as well as the locals, all of whom embrace the town as their own. Perhaps nowhere else in southern Spain showcases the mixture of cultures, languages and customs as well and you’ll see this harmonious blend everywhere you go in the area.
Fuengirola is one of the most compact towns on the Costa del Sol, sitting tucked between Benalmadena in the east, Mijas Costa in the west and Mijas to the north. The city runs for just 7km along the Mediterranean and most development is centred along the seafront promenade backing the grey sand beaches. This makes it one of the easiest places to get around on the Costa del Sol and this together with easy communications make Fuengirola a great base to live or go on holiday.
Although the urban landscape might seem dense and built-up, Fuengirola is home to a surprising number of green areas – parks dot the town and after recent upgrades, most streets are tree-lined. You’ll find a number of giant murals painted in the 1980s by top Spanish artists throughout the town centre alongside striking modern sculptures, added more recently.
Like the rest of Andalusia, Fuengirola knows how to party and the resort combines the best of the traditional and modern. True to its roots, the town celebrates Holy Week with solemn processions, Midsummer with bonfires in honour of San Juan on the beaches and the fishermen’s festivities based around the Virgen del Carmen, their patron. Los Boliches has the largest celebrations with a parade and activities lasting several days around 16 July.
Fuengirola celebrates its main fair between 6 and 12 October in honour of the resort’s patron, the Virgin of the Rosary. The week-long festivities include fireworks, concerts, funfair attractions and dancing. A more modern event is the Feria de los Pueblos when Fuengirola celebrates its multi-cultural population. Taking place in late April/early May, the two-day event includes parades featuring all the town’s nationalities with participants dressed in national costume and showcasing typical dances and music.
The Festival de Fuengirola held in late spring and summer attracts some of the biggest names in international music. Artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Rod Stewart and Ricky Martin have performed recently on the stage set up within the castle. The fortress also provides the backdrop for other music events including the Rock the Coast Festival and the annual Medieval Fair.
The local fuengiroleños share the Andalusia’s love of life and extend a warm welcome to visitors and those who choose to stay.
This intense joie de vivre is best experienced during the resort’s annual fairs and you’ll find it catching. Foreign residents report that they feel very at home in Fuengirola and appreciate the warm atmosphere that embraces everyone.
Locals are also traditional. The annual Holy Week and Virgen del Carmen processions show how deep these traditions lie in the town, proud of its Andalusian roots and with a strong sense of identity. Yet Fuengirola welcomes new traditions and lifestyles too.
Locals are just as happy to join in St Patrick’s Day with the Irish community and Finnish National Day, making the resort a harmonious mixture of cultures. Nowhere else is this better seen than at the annual Feria de los Pueblos where you’ll discover the delights of Europe, South America, Asia… all in one space and celebrated by all who live in Fuengirola.
Architecture & Market
Like most Costa del Sol resorts, Fuengirola offers an eclectic mix of building styles that go back as far as Roman times. The thermal baths at Torreblanca are one of the best examples in Fuengirola, although little else of the Romans’ stay in the town remains.
Sohail Castle ranks as the most important historic monument in Fuengirola. Created as defensive fortress, the Castle has been dominating the western skyline since the 10th century.
Fuengirola centre has conserved its original 17th century layout around the Plaza de la Constitución, although few buildings remain from the time. Move forward a couple of centuries and you’ll find some fine examples of townhouses in the centre such as the old Town Hall, now a boutique hotel.
But architecture in Fuengirola is mostly about residential developments built since the late 1950s. High-rise apartment blocks flank much of the central seafront, dotted with more emblematic buildings.
This include the Hotel Las Palmeras Hotel and the Hotel Occidental with its pyramidal roofs, built in typical 1970s style, echoed in the indoor market. More modern are the Hotel Yaramar and new Town Hall.
The ideal relaxed destination for families
What You Will Love
Fuengirola is all about something for everyone, whatever your age, nationality or tastes. The town’s warm welcome extends to all and it’s impossible not to feel at home and relaxed. In this no-frills resort, families will find the ideal destination with children-friendly activities everywhere.
Younger visitors will love the bustling nightlife, open all year round and catering for all tastes in music and genre. Music lovers will appreciate the great events, particularly during the summer. And retirees will welcome the many opportunities to enjoy life al fresco whether it’s January or July.
You’ll also love Fuengirola for its climate – what’s not to love about an average temperature of 20 degrees? Its great communications with easy access to Malaga Airport also make Fuengirola a firm favourite. Little wonder then that so many people choose to stay and buy in Fuengirola!
Like most of the Costa del Sol, Fuengirola has Roman roots – Sohail Castle, strategically placed on a hill at the far west of the resort, was once a Roman fortress that the Moors later converted to a castle. After the 16th century, the town (hardly more than a village) developed slowly with little activity.
Like Estepona, Marbella and Nerja, Fuengirola was all about agriculture (sugar cane and vines) and fishing. Although the fishing sector continues to be important – Fuengirola has one of the largest fleets in the area – tourism now features as the top industry in the town. Since the first hotels were built in the late 1950s followed by residential developments along the seafront in the 1960s, Fuengirola has become of the most popular places to holiday in southern Spain.
Based around Fuengirola River with its striking suspension bridge and Sohail Castle, this area of the town is mainly low-rise developments including townhouse complexes. In its most attractive part, this district includes early 20th century villas on tree-lined avenues that lead to the sea. The promenade links directly to the Senda Litoral coastal path that runs the entire length of the Costa del Sol. On the other side of the river is the popular Miramar Centre with some of the best shopping on the Costa del Sol.
The central part of the resort is the busiest and you’ll find plenty of action at any time of year. Based around the Plaza de la Constitución, the oldest part of the town, are shops, bars and restaurants as well as the bus and train stations. By the sea is Fuengirola Marina with 229 berths and an impressive array yachts and power boats plus the fishing port, still home to a sizeable fleet.
High-rise hotels and apartment blocks flank the seafront promenade in its entirely, although the wide boulevard with little traffic, bike lanes and plenty of pedestrian spaces make it a pleasant area to stroll along and one of the most popular places to buy in Fuengirola. The wide sandy beaches are popular practically all year round and at night, the seafront promenade comes alive with bustling activity at the bars and nightclubs, some of which are the oldest on the Costa del Sol.
The best family attractions in Fuengirola are found here. They include the award-winning Biopark, a zoo with natural habitats for the animals – for example, the Lemur Island – and whose main aim is conservation. Just a short distance away is Mijas Aquapark, one of the best water parks on the Costa del Sol and a must-visit for anyone who likes to make a splash. Families will also find plenty of parks and green spaces with excellent play parks for children.
This traditional fishing district to the east is a far cry from the hustle and bustle in the centre. Los Boliches has a relaxed atmosphere and is perhaps the most authentically Spanish part of Fuengirola. The labyrinth of narrow streets, many of which conserve their one or two-storey whitewashed fishermen’s houses, is home to small shops, cafés and restaurants, frequented by locals and a sizeable population of foreigners, particularly Scandinavians.
Los Boliches has excellent sandy beaches and a more tranquil seafront promenade than the centre. On the mainline train service to Malaga, Los Boliches enjoys good public transport communications.
In the far west of the town are three residential areas. Los Pacos, situated inland from the beach, consists mostly of low-rise apartment blocks and townhouses built in the 2000s. An almost self-contained community, this district is very popular with Finnish residents – the Finnish School is located here – and Los Pacos has good amenities.
Back on the coast is Torreblanca, one of the oldest residential developments, popular with foreigners who buy in Fuengirola. The terrain in this part of the town is hilly and villa properties reach almost as far as the A7 motorway that circles Fuengirola to the north. The higher aspect means many properties enjoy panoramic views of the beach and Mediterranean. You’ll also find several small hotels in Torreblanca, some of which were the first to be built in this part of the Costa del Sol.
Further along the beach lies Carvajal, home to one of the best beaches in Fuengirola and the only blue-flag holder in 2019. Development is mostly apartment blocks with the occasional villa. Both Torreblanca and Carvajal have stations on the train line into Malaga and Malaga Airport.
Given the international atmosphere, it’s no surprise to discover that Fuengirola offers a wide range of cuisines. From traditional Swiss bistro and British fish and chips to Indian curries and Japanese sushi, Fuengirola has a dish for everyone.
You’ll also find plenty of Spanish restaurants, some traditional such as those in the town centre or the beachfront chiringuito beach restaurants as well as more modern venues serving fusion cuisine such as that found at La Galería, a recently opened gastromarket in the centre.
Located in the heart of Fuengirola centre, Restaurante Palangreros has been serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes since 1988. The interior takes a typically rustic style with wooden beams and a cosy atmosphere.
On the menu are seasonal dishes including Spanish staples such as artichokes with ham, gazpacho and croquettes as well as good selection of meat, fish and rice dishes. Their daily menus are one of the best deals in Fuengirola. The wine list runs long and the service is excellent.
A well-established beachfront venue, Restaurante Los Marinos Jose sits at the far east side of the town in Carvajal and makes the most of one of the main attractions in Fuengirola, the beach. The terrace sits almost on the sands and the inside dining area has sea views.
The owner’s boat is moored not far away and his daily catch forms part of the menu, focused on fresh fish and seafood and perfectly paired with 1 of the 250 wines on the list. Prices are higher than other restaurants in Fuengirola but the superior dining experience more than compensates.