Fuengirola is a coastal town in Andalusia, one of the most popular destinations on Costa del Sol.
If you’re planning to experience a bit more than the temperature of the hotel pool and dipping in the sea, here are a few options to check out!
1. Plan a Beach Day
If you’re coming to Fuengirola, its probably because of the sunny weather (nearly all year round) and plenty of beach options.
Fuengirola boasts 7km of sandy beaches that stretch from Sohail Castle to the end of Carvajal area.
The beaches are well equipped and taken care of – public toilets, showers, and Chiringuitos offering lunches (and you can use their toilets too). Right across the road from the beach is a promenade lined with restaurants, cafes and bars, so you never have to walk too far if you want to grab something to eat.
There are sunchairs and umbrellas available for rent, one set would normally cost between 5-6 eur, but you can bring your own too.
If you want to get the best spot, its best to come in the morning – no need to show up super early, but around 9 am you will still get a nice spot by the water. The beach is usually very busy even after 6am, with locals and visitors enjoying the last rays of sunshine.
If you want to avoid the most crowded spots, you can check out this website which shows you which areas get really busy and should be avoided.
2. Visit Bioparc Fuengirola
Bioparc is probably the most known attraction in Fuengirola. I’m not a huge fan of ZOO activities, but this place is unlike any other ZOO you’ve been too.
Set in lush surroundings in the middle of the city, the red brick wall of the building hides an urban jungle build from scratch and designed to create a natural habitat for the animals. If not for the animals, its well worth a visit just to experience the jungle and hide from the sun in the summer.
Bioparc has a nature and environment conservation foundation and dedicates resources to biodiversity conservation projects, like the preservation of fauna in Madagascar and programs for the breeding of endangered species. The animals live in big lush enclosures and are well taken care of.
The tickets cost 21 eur for adults and 16 eur for kids (under 3 go free). You can get your tickets online with a discount and skip the queue at the entrance.
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There is a lovely restaurant with big playground right next to it and a gift shop too.
I love the place just for the surroundings and if you’re planning to visit more than once, it’s a great idea to get the annual pass in which case they will also refund you the cost of your first ticket.
3. Take a Boat Trip
Fuengirola’s little harbour offers plenty of options to take a boat trip around the area – a few of the options include dolphin spotting cruises, sunset cruises, catamaran charters and even luxury mini cruises.
The prices are really reasonable, especially if you’re coming with a group of people, and of course, you can rent out your own boat to take for a spin.
I have added some of the most popular options here:
4. Sunset Picnic on the Beach
My favourite way to spend the evenings at weekends is picnics on the beach – especially in wintertime when there is barely anyone around. In the summer, most tourists return to their hotels for dinner before 8pm while some locals still hang out at the beach till late.
In any case, its almost guaranteed you will find plenty of space to set up your picnic spread. You can get a quick takeaway bite from one of the restaurants on the promenade and there are also kiosks open late where you get water and drinks.
You won’t be able to see a proper sunset in Fuengirola as the sun sets on the other side of the city, but you will get a chance to experience a part of the magic as the sky turns pink at sunset.
5. Walk up to Sohail Castle
At the edge of the city you will find Sohail Castle – an old defence point overlooking the city and offering gorgeous views.
It isn’t particularly impressive (at least for me), but you could get an audio guide and listen to its history to make the trip worthwhile. If nothing else you can enjoy gorgeous views of the coastline and it’s a lot of fun for kids to visit and run around, climbing the old walls. Plus, its free to enter, so walking and climbing around the defence walls is always fun.
WINTER OPENING HOURS: From Tuesday to Friday: 10 am – 2 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10 am – 2 pm // 3:30 pm – 6 pm. SUMMER OPENING HOURS: From Tuesday to Friday: 10 am – 2 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10 am – 2 pm // 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm.
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6. Walk on the Beach Promenade
Sunset or early morning walk on the promenade is also one of my favourite ways to enjoy the city – especially when listening to audiobooks and enjoying the fresh breeze from the sea.
The promenade gets a little crowded in the evening hours and super crowded on Sundays, but its a nice way to see more of the city, watch people and cover a huge distance without feeling like you’ve been walking too long.
You can easily walk the whole distance from Fuengirola to Carvajal with a few restaurant stops along your way. Chiringuitos line the whole promenade and offer the perfect way to refresh yourself on the walk while enjoy gorgeous sea views (although I would not recommend eating out in these places).
7. Take a Day Trip to Mijas Pueblo
Stretching up in the hills overlooking Fuengirola is the picturesque Andalusian village of Mijas Pueblo. The village is only a short drive away or you can take one of the local buses from main bus station in Fuengirola.
Mijas Pueblo gives you a taste of what Pueblo Blancos are all about – white washed houses, cobbled street, local artisan shops, locals drinking their cafe and eating churros in the village square and much more. Mijas Pueblo also has its very own Bull Ring and a gorgeous park that stretches at the edge of the village offering spectacular views of the coastline.
There are cute restaurants, cafes and shops all around the village and you will never be disappointed with the views – they are spectacular in almost any spot in Mijas.
Plan a full day for exploring Mijas, even though its not huge, you should take your time and enjoy the slow pace, some tapas and wash it all down with some local Rioja.
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8. See Castillo de Colomares near Benalmadena
Set out on an adventure just outside of Fuengirola – Castillo de Colomares is a stunning monument dedicated to the travels of Christopher Columbus.
‘It was Spain and Andalusia in particular who starred in that discovery that undoubtedly changed the world, for the better according to some and for the worse according to others.’ as the monument’s author says in the description of its making.
The monument tells a story of the discovery of the new world and was built between 197 and 1994 by Dr. D. Esteban Martín. As the author explains, the hero of the story, sailor Colon was part of the expedition of Columbus funded heavily by the Catholic Monarchs in Spain.
It features three ships that were part of the exhibition, and you will also find the smallest chapel in the world here. Now that’s something!
9. Visit a Local Market
Every Tuesday and Saturday you have a chance to experience an authentic Spanish market in Fuengirola. It’s not exactly such a stylish affair as you would find in small French villages, but you can certainly find some gems in here.
If you get easily annoyed by crowds, this place is best to avoid. If you enjoy spotting some local treasures and looking for antiques – it’s the place for you!
Worth a short walk and enjoy some breakfast and orange juice just by the gate to the market – with live music often accompanying the weekend activities.
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10. Take a Day Trip to Malaga
It would be a shame to stay in Fuengirola and miss the chance to visit Malaga – there is so much to see that you could easily spend a few days exploring the city!
Whether you decide to track the heritage of Pablo Picasso, explore the gorgeous parks and Botanical Gardens, admire the views from the Alcazar or absorb the city life in its most simple form, Malaga certainly won’t leave you disappointed.
That’s the end of my countdown of best things to do in Fuengirola.
If you’re looking to explore more and venture a bit out of the city, here are some of the most popular tours and experiences available:
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