Fuengirola is a large town on the Costa del Sol, ideally located just 20 minutes from Málaga Airport.
Well known for having over 8 kilometers of beaches, Fuengirola offers more than just beach life for visitors and sparkles with traditional festivals, close proximity to archaeological sites and excellent public parks.
The iconic Castle of Sohail in Fuengirola is an uphill walk but you are rewarded with nice views from the surrounding pathways of the town and the mouth of the Fuengirola River. The best time to visit is during summer months when the interior courtyard of the castle hosts open air performances and a medieval market is held during August with traditional cuisine, jesters, archery and fortune tellers.
An outstanding attraction that shouldn’t be missed is Bioparc Fuengirola. This zoo park simulates global habitats including Southeast Asian rainforests and Equatorial African lowlands with animal species such as hippopotamus, lemurs, leopards, crocodiles, gorillas and reptiles. There is a children’s play area, a restaurant and in July and August the zoo stays open late to allow visitors to encounter nocturnal animals.
Finca del Secretario was uncovered in the 1970’s during the construction of a railway line between Fuengirola and Málaga. This is an archaeological site with remnants of a Roman factory for salting fish, pottery kilns and thermal baths. It was later used as a necropolis and one of the most important artefacts discovered here is the Venus of Fuengirola, a marble statue that is now housed in the Museum of History.
One of the main attractions of Fuengirola is the expansive coastline with beaches and coves. The port area is popular for terrace restaurants and bars, and the marina is busy with companies offering boat charters and fishing trips. As well as sailing, you’ll find companies who can teach you to scuba dive, take you parasailing or give you a waterskiing lesson.
Fuengirola has many parks, playgrounds and leisure activities suitable for all the family. Head to Parque Fluvial on the banks of the Fuengirola River for bike hire and picnics, or Parque de Poniente complete with pirate ship playground and situated a short walk to the beach.
Catch a local performing arts performance at the Palacio de la Paz, a municipal theatre at the fairground. If you visit Fuengirola from 6-12 October you will enjoy the Feria de Fuengirola which is an annual festival celebrating the patron saint and perpetual Mayoress of Fuengirola, Our Lady of the Rosary. It is staged at the fairground and there are artistic performances held during the week at Palacio de la Paz.
Marbella is half an hour from Fuengirola and home to one of the region’s most important churches, the 16th century Iglesia de la Encarnacíon. Admire the spectacular organ in the choir loft and the soaring golden altar with the patron saint of Marbella, Saint Barnabas, at the top. Then walk along the pedestrianized Avenida del Mar that is dotted with ten statues from Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí and sculptures from local artist Eduardo Soriano.
Drive almost 100 kilometers west to the city of Ronda set above a ravine in lush river valleys. Take photographs from the Balcón del Coño viewpoint of the famous Puente Nuevo bridge and the El Tajo gorge, and check out many ancient ruins including the Arab baths and Acinipo. After sightseeing, cool off in the natural pool at Cueva del Gato (Cat’s Cave) a short drive from Ronda.
The town of Estepona is found 45 minutes’ drive from Fuengirola and has mostly escaped the tourism bustle of the Costa del Sol resorts. Wander through the old town with pretty cobble stoned streets and houses fronted by hanging flower baskets, then stop for for an ice-cold fino (sherry) and tapas at a traditional bar on Calle Caridad.