Best Sights of Fuengirola

Fuengirola is a city with a population of about 63,000 and is located 32 km southwest of Malaga. It is one of the major cities in the Costa del Sol, with a very good climate. Also it is one of the prime tourist destinations in the area. It has 8 kilometers of beaches, some of the best beaches in the Costa del Sol, all of them having the Blue Flag, meaning the mark of quality in beaches.

The city has been occupied by the Phoenicians (around 800 B.C.), the Romans, and the Moors. The Romans called it Suel, while the Arabs called it Suhayl. King Abderraman III built the Sohail Castle in the middle of the 10th century. In the Middle Ages the town was destroyed by a fire and only the castle remained in ruins. The Christian Kings conquered the town in 1485. A small village was formed in the 17th century. There was a battle in Fuengirola during the French occupation in 1810. After that Fuengirola became just a fishing village. In the1960s Fuengirola became one of the leading tourist centers of the Costa del Sol.

Modern Fuengirola now has one fourth of its population as foreigners. Many are British and Scandinavians. There are many hotels, bars, and restaurants to satisfy the tourists. There are many water sports, such as scuba diving. There is a marina next to the fishing port and sailing is very popular. There is a large mall inland called Miramar and El Corte Ingles opened a branch in Las Lagunas.

a. Beaches

Fuengirola has one of the best paseo maritimos (seaside promenades) of Spain, with a length of 8 kilometers and a width of about 40 meters. There are a large number of parking places, restaurants and stores along this promenade. The beaches are the Carvajal, Fuengirola, Los Boliches-Las Gaviotas, San Francisco, Santa Amalia, Torreblanca, and Ejido-Castillo. These are all blue flag beaches, meaning they meet the highest quality ratings.

b. Plaza de la Constitucion

The Plaza de la Constitucion is the square at the center of the city. It has a large underground parking lot. Around it are the major stores of the city. It also contains the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. This church was heavily destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, but was reconstructed in 1946. Its most important feature now are the bronze doors designed by the North American artist Hamilton Reed Armstrong. Each door is divided into four sections, and each section is pictograms dedicated to an article of the creed. Bishop Balbino Santos Olivera donated the sculpture of Christ tied to the Column, which comes from Antequera and was made in the 18th century, since other sculptures were destroyed during the Civil War.

c. Fuengirola Zoo

This small zoo is a masterpiece of design and has won many awards. Once an old-fashioned collection of cramped cages, the zoo was modernized in 2001 to feature "tropical-forest" dwellings. The zoo specializes in captive breeding for endangered species, chimpanzee-group research and tropical-forest education. The Fuengirola Zoo calls itself another kind of zoo, and it is. First of all its location is completely unexpected because it is very close to downtown Fuengirola. The zoo is quite compact but beautifully laid out. It resembles an island because there is an abundant use of trees and plants, and one does not find the bars that separate humans from the animals on display. Instead there are thick glass separators, that allow one to see the animals in a more natural way. The architecture of this zoo is really a work of art.

There is a wonderful show if front of a small grandstand. Small animals and birds seem to appear by magic from nowhere. People of all ages will enjoy the show, which is very skillfully staged. After seeing this zoo, one has the desire to return again and again. Also the zoo is very good at helping animals threatened with extinction reproduce. The zoo is also very good at educating adults and children because at every display of animals there are lengthy explanations of their habitats and how the animals survive.

d. Fuengirola Castle of Sohail

The Castle of Sohail is at the mouth of the Fuengirola River and on top of a hill that is 38 meters above sea level. It commands a very good view of the sea and the surrounding countryside. It is also by the Autovia de la Costa del Sol. The early Punic settlers had some sort of construction first, followed by the Romans. In the middle of the 10th century, King Abdderraman III had the defensive castle built with an irregular ground plan, following the geography of the terrain.

The Christians conquered the castle in 1485 when they started attacking the Nazari Kingdom of Granada. The Christians started remodeling the fortress as time went on. During the War of Independence, in 1810, the castle was occupied by the French army but was abandoned two years later in the retreat. When the castle lost its military function, it was sold to civilians and started a period of decline. It was only in the 1989 when the castle was renovated for cultural use. The interior of the castle was completely renovated in 2000 and landscaping was completed in 2002. The Festival of Fuengirola is now celebrated at the castle during summer. The castle is now the symbol of the city.

e. Aqua Vista

Aqua Vista is a glass bottomed boat that allows one to see what is beneath the surface of the sea. The location is the Puerto Deportivo of Fuengirola.

f. Costasol Cruceros

Costasol Cruceros offers minicruises around the coast of the Costa del Sol. It can be taken at the Puerto Deportivo, Muelle de espera nº 1. In winter these take place only on Tuesdays and Sundays. The rest of the year there are sailings from Fuengirola at 11:30, 13:30, and 15:30 hrs. and sailings from Benalmádena at 10:30, 12:30, and 14:30 hrs.

g. Fishing Trips

There are fishing trips that leave from the Puerto Deportivo (Tel: 952-581-861). The boats are the Txirriña and Frana, with meals on board. Hours: 09:00 to 13:00 h., 13:15 to 17:15 h., and 17:30 to 21:30 h. For tuna fishing: 09:00 to 15:30 h., and 15:30 to 21:30 h. There are also half day and full day fishing gigs.

h. Fuengirola Diving Center

The Fuengirola Diving Center is located at the Puerto Deportivo (Tel: 952 588 312). There are classes and excursions available.

i. Smile High Parasailing

Smile High Parasailing is located at the Puerto Deportivo, Local 62 (Tel: 952-581-861). There is parasailing for individuals or in a group that has up to 5 persons.

j. Tren Turistico Fuengirola

The tourist train leaves from the entrance of the Puerto Deportivo and goes to the Rotonda de Torreblanca and the Plaza San Rafael of Los Boliches. It leaves every 30 minutes.

k. City History Museum

The City History Museum is located at Calle Maria Josefa Larrucea, and it was inaugurated in 2003. It shows the history of the city and explains every phase. It is in the center of the city near the Parque del Sol and the Biblioteca Municipal (Municipal Library). This museum now contains the Venus of Fuengirola, a Roman white marble statue that was found in the city.