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 around) and plenty of beach options.
Fuengirola is boasting 7km of sandy beaches that stretch from Sohail Castle all the way to the end of Carvajal area.
The beaches are well equipped and taken care of – there are 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 9am you will still get a nice spot by the water.
The government has been enforcing COVID distancing on beaches and there are officials patrolling the beach to make sure that people don’t sit too close together or gather in big groups.
They are monitoring the beach density with drones and sometimes helicopters and 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.
New COVID restrictions have also been enforced on beaches – no ball games, inflatables or setting up big tents. Apart from all those weird things you notice at first, but forget very quickly, it’s business as usual on the beaches.
#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 dedicate resources to biodiversity conservation projects, like the preservation of fauna in Madagascar and programs for breeding of endangered species. The animals live in big lush enclosures and are really well taken care of.
The tickets cost 21 eur for an adult 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.
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.
Read more here:
#3 – Take a Boat Trip
Still on my to do list – Fuengirola’s little harbour offers plenty of options to take a boat trip around the area – few of the options I’ve seen advertised 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 (if you have a licence to drive it).
In the low season, its worth to google them and arrange your trip in advance, in the high season you should be fine just walking and checking the departure times and options on the spot.
The harbour area is lined with restaurants, so you can always grab a lunch there before your boat departs.
#4 – Sunset Picnic on the Beach
My favourite way to spend the evenings at weekends is picnics on the beach – especially in winter time when there is barely anyone around. In the summer, most tourists gather back to their hotels for dinner time 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 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 defense point overlooking the city and offering gorgeous views.
It’s 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 its a lot of fun for kids to visit and run around, climbing the old walls. Plus, its free to enter, so a bit of a walk and climbing around the defense walls is always fun.
Check the opening times below as its closed during siesta hours. I would not plan a dedicated trip just to see the castle, it’s a fun break from a promenade walk, but not worth
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.
#6 – Walk on the Beach Promenade
Sunset or early morning walk on the promenade is also one of my favorite ways to enjoy the city – especially when listening do audio book and enjoy 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 all the way to Carvajal with a few restaurant stops along your way. Chiringuitos are lining 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 a 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 (or just call yourself an Uber directly to your door).
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.
Read more here:
# 8 – See Castillo de Colomares near Benalmadena
Set out on an adventures 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 author of the monument says in the description of its making.
The monument tells a story of a discovery of 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 enjoying some breakfast and orange juice just by the gate to the market – with live music often accompanying the weekend activities.
The market location is marked on the map here.
#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 simply absorb the city life in its most simple form, Malaga certainly won’t leave you dissapointed.
That’s the end of my personal countdown of best things to do in Fuengirola. There were a few things which I left out on purpose, which include – museums, shopping malls, and extended trips that would last more than one day.
If there is anything else you would love to see or know about, let me know in comments below!