What is Fuengirola Like? Answer from a Local

What is Fuengirola Like? Answer from a Local

Are you thinking about visiting Fuengirola and wondering what it’s like to spend your holiday there?

I have been living in Fuengirola since 2020, and as a local, I can offer first-hand insights and tips that will help you understand everything you need to know about Fuengirola.

In short, Fuengirola is a wonderful holiday destination thanks to great weather, accessible sandy beaches and plenty to do and see. It does get very busy and hot in the summer, as expected for Costa del Sol, but it ticks all the boxes when you’re looking for a sunny holiday destination.

Fuengirola is a densely populated working town, with a 7km long coastal promenade with well-established infrastructure connecting the city to Malaga airport, Malaga city, Marbella, and other destinations in Southern Spain.

If you don’t want to rent a car, Fuengirola is a great base as you can explore using buses and trains.

In this article I will break down what’s Fuengirola like in different scenarios, so let’s look at them!

seaside of Fuengirola, Spain
Sandy beaches of Fuengirola on Costa del Sol.

What is Fuengirola Like for a Holiday?

Fuengirola is a great holiday destination nearly all year round.

Located only about 30 minutes drive from Malaga Airport, with over 7 km of sandy blue flag beaches, plenty of sunny days even in the middle of the winter, and excellent facilities, it has everything you need for the perfect summer or winter break.

Fuengirola offers a range of different accommodation options, with a huge availability of holiday apartments which are especially popular. Almost all the apartments are a short walk to the beach, and offer communal pools.

There are a number of hotels scattered around the coastline, ranging from budget hostels and 2 star options, up to 4 star resorts. There aren’t many luxurious five star resorts in the city, the closest one being the Higueron Hotel up in the hills overlooking the city.

During the day, the life of the city moves to the beaches, and in the evenings, the streets of the old town come to life with families venturing out for an evening meal.

Even the nightlife in Fuengirola has something for everyone, whether you’re coming with teenagers or want to plan a hen party.

So are there any downsides? Of course!

Fuengirola is a popular holiday destination, so that translates into high prices in the summer months, and a lot of people in the city and the beaches. It can get pretty crowded in the summer, and if you’re thinking about driving to the beach in the morning, good luck finding a parking spot.

Seaside restaurant in Fuengirola
Seaside chiringuito in Fuengirola
Fuengirola old town
Fuengirola old town

What is Fuengirola Like for a Weekend Break?

If you want to visit Fuengirola for a weekend, it’s certainly a great choice although I don’t think you will have a jam-packed schedule filled with activities.

A weekend break in Fuengirola is great if you only want to spend some time at the beach and see a place or two – there isn’t much else going on in the city.

See my tips on what to see in the section below.

What is Fuengirola Like for a Day Trip?

Fuengirola is the perfect candidate for a day trip – it’s not very big and doesn’t have a long list of attractions, so you can easily cover everything it has to offer in just one day.

Here are a few things I can recommend to explore and see on a day trip to Fuengirola:

If you want to do a day trip to Fuengirola without renting a car, that’s super easy – just use the local buses or trains.

I have detailed transport guides on how to get to Fuengirola from Malaga, from Marbella, or even the closer cities of Torremolinos and Benalmadena.

Fuengirola weekend market
Saturday market in Fuengirola

What is Fuengirola Like in the Summer?

There are two words to describe Fuengirola in summer – hot and busy.

Fuengirola is one of the most popular summer destinations on Costa del Sol, and with so many hotels and private apartment rentals, it’s no surprise it’s incredibly busy in the summer.

It’s not just the holidaymakers from abroad, but also Spanish locals from inland flock to the coastline, and Fuengirola in particular, to enjoy their summer holidays and to escape the heat.

While in places like Granada the temperatures regularly reach 40C, Fuengirola offers a milder weather and access to the sea.

If you’re planning to stay in Fuengirola in the summer months, you should book your hotel or accommodation as soon as possible to get the best options and best price.

What is Fuengirola Like in the Winter?

Fuengirola offers a very mild winter, with some rain mostly scattered at the beginning of the year.

If you’re planning a winter sun escape, Fuengirola is a great choice.

It’s much quieter, although there is a large presence of expats from Finland and Sweden. You will find the city relatively peaceful and empty, and it enjoys a pretty warm winter.

If you want to book your winter break, I recommend avoiding January and February which tend to be the wettest of the year. For full guide on the weather conditions and best time to visit Fuengirola check here.

The beaches are open in winter, but there are no sunbeds available, and the public beach showers are turned off for the winter, too.

In winter, you will find better deals on accommodations, and it’s also the best time to explore some of the most popular monuments, as they are not as crowded as in the main season. This is a great option for day trips, especially if you’re staying a bit longer.

Here are a few ideas for the best day trips:

sunset on a beach in Fuengirola in winter time, Costa del Sol
Winter sunset in Fuengirola

What is Fuengirola Like to Live?

I have been living in Fuengirola since 2020, and I do like it here.

Having said that, it’s very difficult to find long-term apartment rentals. Summer holiday lets are so lucrative that all the good properties are only available for short-term lets.

In my opinion, Fuengirola’s real estate is also extremely overpriced due to the location and the presence of expats from Nordic countries, which drive the properties higher up.

Fuengirola is really densely populated, and I live in Los Boliches, from where I can walk anywhere. In the few years I’ve been living here, I didn’t even need a car as I can walk anywhere or use uber.

To explore the cities around, I used trains and buses, which are super convenient and very affordable.

There is a good availability of schools in Fuengirola, my son goes to the Finnish school in Fuengirola, and there is also a Swedish school and some British schools.

There are all the shops you could ever need, a big shopping mall—Miramar—and very good travel connections to Malaga, Marbella, and beyond.

Fuengirola is a working town, so outside of the main season is relatively peaceful, but you’re very likely to hear a lot of Finnish instead of Spanish. (my husband is Finnish so I have well-trained ears)

Introducing Fuengirola: The Old Fishing Village

Like other places on Costa del Sol, Fuengirola used to be a small fishing village that was completely transformed during the development boom in the 1970s and 1980s.

Many of the hotels and apartments. buildings in the city date back to this period.

I have visited all the other places on Costa del Sol and can, without bias, say that Fuengirola is the best maintained, cleanest, and with the best facilities.

All this is thanks to the city’s mayor – she skillfully manages the resources of the city to continue upgrading the infrastructure and facilities, while building relationships and connections that help to make the city a better place to live.

Fuengirola has come a long way since its humble beginnings and has a lot to offer whether you’re looking for a winter break or a place to live with your family.

beach in torreblanca in fuengirola
Torreblanca, Fuengirola

What is Fuengirola is Known For

1. A Beach Lover’s Paradise

At the heart of Fuengirola’s appeal are its seven kilometers of pristine beaches, stretching from Sohail Castle to Carvajal.

Each beach, with its own unique vibe, is meticulously maintained and boasts Blue Flag status for cleanliness and safety. Whether you’re looking to relax on sunloungers under parasols, indulge in water sports, or enjoy the lively beach bars (chiringuitos), Fuengirola’s coastline is a slice of Mediterranean heaven.

2. Paseo Maritimo: Coastal Promenade

Fuengirola’s promenade, one of the longest and most picturesque in Spain, is a focal point of life here.

Lined with a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and shops, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a bike ride, or just to sit and watch the world go by.

Paseo Maritimo Fuengirola
Paseo Maritimo in Fuengirola

3. A Warm Welcome

Perhaps Fuengirola’s most enduring quality is its warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Locals and expats alike contribute to the town’s friendly vibe, making visitors feel at home. With its blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and modern amenities, Fuengirola epitomizes the allure of the Costa del Sol.

4. Expats from Northern Europe

As I mentioned earlier, Fuengirola is home to a huge population of expats from Nordic countries; largest one of these is the Finnish community.

Retired people come here to spend the whole winter, while families move to Fuengirola whether for a gap year or to stay and live in the city. There are lots of local Finnish businesses and local services, and Finnish is widely spoken and heard in the city. Even restaurants in the city translate their menus to Finnish!

5. Gorgeous Weather

Living in Fuengirola means you’re spoiled with nearly 300 sunny days per year, which means that the summer season extends way beyond the two hot months in the summer.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article gave you a good idea about what to expect in Fuengirola and what’s the city all about.

If you have any other questions that were not answered here, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to help.

Thank you for reading!

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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

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