Parents will always want their children to look back fondly on their family vacations. When you look back on the trips that you made as a child, there is a very good chance that these will be memories of fun attractions and frolicking in the ocean in a climate much more pleasant than back home!
For parents looking to give their kids an unforgettable trip without breaking the bank, I highly recommend the sunny coastal town of Fuengirola, on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. In addition to the inviting sandy beaches, Fuengirola also boasts dozens of great attractions for young families.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Zoos are always a safe bet when it comes to keeping your brood happy, and the Biopark Zoo is a special place located in the heart of the town. This is actually a breeding centre for endangered species, meaning that there are plenty of adorable rare baby animals roaming around!
It is designed to be as natural for the animals as possible – this means that you do not get animals confined to small cages, which can always be upsetting. In the recreated tropical rainforest, you can expect to see cute baby pygmy hippos, lemurs, crocodiles, gorillas and many more majestic creatures that will leave your little ones in awe.
The park is open from 10:00 till 23:00 with tickets costing €19.50 for adults and less for kids.
I always like to recommend a tour of the city as it is such a fun way to see the sights and also get your bearings. Fuengirola has a fantastic mini train city tour which children love, plus it allows you to hop on and hop off – making it a handy way of getting around town without little legs getting too tired. The train protects you from the sun with a roof, but it also provides a lovely breeze through the open carriages, which means that it is comfortable in summer as well. You will also be happy to hear that it is very cheap!
Costa Water Park
You really cannot go without waterparks when on a summer holiday in Spain as they provide some much-needed relief from the baking sun! Costa Water Park is quite unlike any other as it is, essentially, a floating playground built up of inflatable paths, slides, swings and more, just a few metres from the shore (that’s a rhyme!). It is suitable even for younger children as they are fitted with life jackets and supervised at all times – this allows mum and dad to chill out on the beach while keeping a relaxed eye on the offspring.
You will immediately see what all the fuss is about here once you catch a glimpse of the alluring beaches. Not only do they boast azure waters and floury sand, but many are fully equipped for a fun day, whether you are looking to flop and catch some rays or play some games.
In addition to this, Fuengirola is home to not one, not two, but three Blue Flag beaches – this means that the cleanliness, standard of hygiene and amenities are top quality so you can happily let your children run around and splash about in the sea. Another great thing about beach days? They can be completely free of charge!
Insider Tip: Playa de Fuengirola is the main beach with many great facilities, plus it also features a number of beach bars serving up delicious tapas for an evening meal.
Everybody loves a good castle and Sohail Castle is an impressive structure towering over the coast on the outskirts of the town. Dating back to the 10th Century and having undergone numerous restorations over the years, the gun positions at the very top provide views over the town and out to sea that are not to be missed.
Tip: Sohail Castle is also used as a grand auditorium for concerts during the summer, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for shows for an unforgettable family experience!
If you are seeking even more fun and adventure after all of the above, then a trip to Benalmádena is worth the short taxi journey (or 20 minutes on the C1 train). Here you will find a picturesque old village, an amusement park (with a section for small children), and dozens of restaurants that are perfect for a special family meal.
The real highlight of Benalmádena is the cable car opposite the amusement park, which will take you to Mount Calamorro for, arguably, the best views in the entire Costa del Sol. In Benalmádena, you can also find a bird sanctuary, numerous walking trails for if the kids need to let off some steam, and a restaurant. The ascend takes around 15 minutes during which you will rise over 700 metres – prepare to have your breath taken away!
If your brood can’t get enough of the beach, read our guide on the best sandy spots in Fuengirola!
How to Get to Fuengirola
Another benefit of this destination is that it doesn’t take forever to reach, which is a huge plus for parents with youngsters that do not travel well. You will want to fly into Malaga airport (AGP), which is a 2 hour and 30-minute flight from London. Many budget carriers make this flight throughout the week, so it should not be too tricky to find an affordable flight at a suitable time.
Malaga airport is just 25km from Fuengirola, so hop in your pre-booked Shuttle Direct transfer and you will be at your hotel in around 20 minutes. Speaking of hotels…
Where to Stay:
Hotel Galicia – With the beach, city centre, Fluvial Park and marina all just a short walk away, you are perfectly situated to get out and explore each day at Hotel Galicia. The apartments are ideal for those on a budget as they have their own kitchenette, as well as living area, balcony and dining area. Previous guests have enjoyed the convenient location, plus many have also commented that it is excellent value for money.
Hostal Cuevas – Just a short (150-metre) walk to the beach and plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, this is another well-situated property. It is a family run business, so you can be sure that kids are well looked after (as well as parents!). The clean and comfortable rooms each have their own TV, private bathrooms and some have a balcony. Excursions are available at an extra cost.
Fuengirola Beach Apartementos Turísticos – Kids will love this property thanks to the huge outdoor swimming pool and playground, whilst adults will enjoy the bar and regular shows, plus the views of Sohail Castle from the furnished balconies. The rooms feature a kitchenette, lounge area, television and air-conditioning. You are also just a 5-minute walk from the beach and right near a large shopping complex. The value for money and friendly staff are two aspects that previous guests have frequently commented on.
About Shuttle Direct:
Concerned about getting the entire family and your baggage to the hotel from the airport? Shuttle Direct offers fast and efficient airport transfers throughout Europe at affordable and fixed prices.
Book now and one of our drivers will be waiting at Arrivals to whisk you all away and get your trip off to a smooth start.