Fuengirola, in Malaga, is probably most famous for its five miles of sandy beaches, with high-rise hotels and apartments offering magnificent views of the Mediterranean and the coastline. With a new wider promenade with plenty of palm trees interspersed with colourful flower beds and bench seating, Fuengirola sea front is a favourite place for tourists and local families alike. The beaches along Fuengirola – Los Boliches, Gaviotas and Torreblanca – hold a European blue flag. Over the years with these and other developments it has replaced Torremolinos and is now probably the most popular tourist resort on the Costa del Sol.
There are special areas designated for windsurfing, beach volleyball and other water sports. The marina is home to some impressive yachts and leisure craft; while not of the same scale as in Puerto Banus Marbella, it is a relaxing stroll were you can enjoy seeing the fishing boats going out to sea.
Fuengirola is particularly popular with tourists with a wide variety of entertainment and restaurants to choose from. Andalucian traditional tapas (snacks bars) to local fish restaurants to the British Fry-up’s all make Fuengirola a popular choice for going out to eat. There is no shortage of things to do for holidaymakers in Fuengirola, ranging from such family fun activities as the Aqua Park, a trip to the Fuengirola Zoo, a ride around town on “the little train” or on a horse-drawn carriage, right through to a host of water sports.
One of the more recent attractions of this city is the new Fuengirola Town Hall, sporting an innovative design and a large plaza ideal for taking a walk or a few minutes repose. For those scouting the area as a future residence, apartment rentals in Fuengirola area are fairly expensive, but prices decrease considerably the further you go from the urban center.
The origins of the city date back as far as the Phoenicians who colonised the area. The Romans called the city ‘Suel’ after a star which can clearly be seen from the castle. In 53 A.D. the town was granted the title of ‘Municipality’ in the Roman ‘Betica’ region, which latter became Andalusia. The Roman thermal baths at nearby Torreblanca and the ruins of the ancient Roman highway bear witness to the importance the town acquired during the period. In fact the marble in the monument in ‘Plaza de Castilla’ in Los Boliches was taken from the remains of the ancient Roman highway. During the Eighteenth Century the area was conquered by the Moors who renamed the town ‘Sojayl’ (the likely root of the modern name for the castle – ‘Sohail’). The city was finally reconquered by the Catholics.
Fuengirola castle (Sohail Castle) has become the town’s symbol; situated outside the town on a hill it commands an impressive view over Fuengirola and the sea. The castle is most likely of Roman origin although it was restored in the Tenth Century by Abderrajman III under the Moorish reign of Andalusia.
Tuesday is market day. Open in the morning, El Baratillo de Fuengirola is the largest outdoor market on the coast and attracts visitors from nearby resorts as well as the locals. It is well worth going down to browse at the wide range of wares for sale, from fake designer clothes and watches to more traditional Andalusian produce. There is also a Saturday flea market here with the usual selection of items on sale. For the locals everyday life continues in Fuengirola and the fisherman still go out to sea, reminding one of the small fishing village it once was.
Something you cannot do is leave Fuengirola without visiting Benalmadena,it is just 19 kilometers from Malaga Airport, always lively, but the busiest time of year is during the hot summer months, when holidaymakers swell the population by more than triple.
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