When the days are short and the temperatures plummet it’s not hard for thoughts to stray to the idea of chasing some winter sun in Fuengirola, on the Costa del Sol. But while the resort is justifiably famous for its fabulous beaches, wonderful weather and laidback ambience, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d have to sacrifice substance for sun if you’re considering a longer break. But… no es verdad! It’s simply not true – because if you know where to find it, Fuengirola’s depth of culture, history and gastronomy is surprisingly good.
There’s no better way to get to know the authentic spirit of a place than by simply wandering around on foot. The beauty of Fuengirola is its accessibility, and taking a leisurely stroll along the lovely seafront promenade and around the fishing port won’t even have you breaking sweat.
- Its official name is Paseo Maritimo Rey de España, but you can just call it the promenade, because that’s what it is. While it runs for 8km along the seafront, you can pick and choose the sections you want to explore depending on your energy. You can walk all the way up to El Castillo Sohail (the Moorish castle), or stop at the Peseta Monument (an homage to the old Spanish currency), about half way.
- Also mid-way along the promenade is the old fishing port, which is a wonderful place to stop for a coffee and watch the local fishermen bringing in their catch of the day.
- Another excellent place to while away a couple of hours is the Fuengirola River Park, a huge green space encompassing 120,000 sq. metres. Stroll around the gardens to admire the fountains and flowers, or stop for a breather on one of the many benches or gazebos.
- The aforementioned El Castillo Sohail is the first of the must-see historical attractions of the town and serves as its most iconic landmark. The castle has seen many incarnations throughout its Moorish, Christian and French control, but its most recent restoration, in 1989, has seen it become not just an important cultural site, but also a contemporary concert and theatre venue.
- The Finca del Secretario (Secretary’s Estate) is most famous for being the site the renowned statue of the Venus of Fuengirola was discovered. At times it’s also been a fish salting factory and an ancient health spa.
- The thermal Roman springs at Torreblanca make for an interesting excursion to get a handle on the historical importance of this area. Here, a Visigoth (the nomadic Germanic tribes) graveyard was discovered, along with the remains of another fourth-century fish salting factory.
- For an excellent overview of this storied region, a visit to the History Museum in the centre of town is a must. Along with a host of Phoenician, Arab and Roman artefacts collected from sites around the castle and Secretary’s Estate, there’s also an excellent exhibition documenting the town’s evolution to a modern tourist destination.
One thing Fuengirola is not short on is restaurants – and if you know where to look you can bypass the usual tourist fare and discover some wonderfully authentic gems.
- For a real treat, the Michelin-starred Sollo is a standout. Under the gastronomic genius of “revolutionary” Andalucian chef, Diego Gallegos, you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine with his own inimitable twist. Give yourself over to a sublime 12-course seafood degustation experience…
- Bodega Charolais offers an authentic Spanish fine-dining experience (choose a seat out on the terrace) accompanied by an extensive wine list. Along with some mouthwatering regional dishes, you can enjoy the freshest of fresh seafood and local produce. Tip: the Iberian Pork is famously melt-in-your-mouth.
- The Old Swiss House serves up a taste of the Alps on the Costa del Sol! But far from being out of place, the delicious food and traditional décor make for a fantastic dining experience. As well as the Swiss fare, there are international favourites like Crêpes Suzette, Steak Tartar and Chateaubriand.
- At the sophisticated La Alacena, you’ll be able to choose from dishes created by renowned innovative chef, Miguel Diaz. Situated in the ritzy Hotel IPV Palace & Spa, the food is more than a match for the opulent surrounds. Tip: Don’t go past the carpaccio with truffle oil and shaved parmesan.
Catch Some Winter Sun in Fuengirola
Get to know Fuengirola a little better and you’ll find there are plenty of things to occupy your mind on a winter sojourn. The fact that you’ll be able to do it without risking frostbite is just one more bonus!
Tip: If you plan on coming back in summer and want to know a little more about the range of beaches have a look at this blog post as well.
How to Get to Fuengirola
Getting to a winter sun break on the Costa del Sol couldn’t be easier. From the UK you have a choice of flying into Malaga, which is the most popular option, or Gibraltar. A number of carriers fly regular scheduled routes to both Malaga and Gibraltar, including British Airways, Monarch and Ryanair.
The flight time from the UK is around three hours and, once you land at the airport, the most convenient way of getting the rest of the way is with a prebooked airport transfer from Shuttle Direct. A local driver will meet you at the airport and, from Malaga, in less than 30 minutes you’ll be at the door of your accommodation. If you fly into Gibraltar the transfer time from the airport is around an hour and a half.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Casa Consistorial: Located in the historic centre of town, the Hotel Casa Consistorial is housed in an elegant nineteenth-century building. Within easy walking distance of many of the historical attractions and just five minutes from the beach, there’s also a gourmet restaurant and massage service on site for those “do nothing” rest days.
Hotel El Puerto by Pierre Vacances: Just a minute from the beach and with a magnificent rooftop terrace for the evening sundowners, the Hotel El Puerto by Pierre Vacances offers a sophisticated home-from-home with everything at your fingertips. With an onsite restaurant, balcony and wonderful ocean views, you can walk to many of the cultural attractions from this superb location.
Boutique Hotel Las Islas: With discreet, attentive service and a thoroughly relaxing ambience, the Boutique Hotel Las Islas makes you feel right at home, only better. Set amidst stunning gardens, the luxurious tropical accommodation offers a private, tranquil place to enjoy the cultural attractions of Fuengirola.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is one of the most established names in airport transfers, providing a huge range of services throughout Europe and North Africa. For a fast, friendly and stress-free option for your onward travel plans, make an easy online booking and all your arrangements will be confirmed before you leave home.
Allow Shuttle Direct’s efficient and experienced team to take the hassle out of your travel arrangements to and from any train station, airport or cruise port.