Friday, April 26, 2013

Things to do in Fuengirola


For those looking for things to do in Fuengirola, the long established and popular Spanish resort will not disappoint. Fuengirola is gifted with 7km of great beaches, the Mediterranean for a playground, a large marina, a mountainous backdrop which is home to the popular whitewashed village of Mijas, and the beautiful traditional Spanish old town itself.

It’s a shame that many visitors simply want the old style Fuengirola package holiday experience – arrive, check into hotel, spend two weeks on the beach or by the hotel pool and eat out each evening in a seafront restaurant serving food and drink from back home! My idea of ‘holiday hell’, but each to their own. Fuengirola is happy to serve this market, but has so much more to offer for those wanting experience Spain.

I must admit my first impressions of Fuengirola was to write it off as a package tour resort. Having lived here for over 7 years I have fallen in love with the place and I am much wiser, Fuengirola has so much to offer. There are so many great things to do, out on the Mediterranean, in the surrounding mountains and many great cultural activities on offer within the town.

Out on the water numerous operators offer boat trips, water skiing, a ferry service to the large marina of Benalmadena, jetskiing and parasailing. My recommendations would be to take the regular ferry from Fuengirola to Benalmadena for a day out, and to get up above Fuengirola with a great parasailing flight with Smile High. These guys can fly up to 6 people at a time and their modern boat means you don’t even have to get wet. The views are stunning.

Inland there are so many great places to explore. And plenty of great places to go hiking, biking, horse riding and off roading. Take a jeep tour of the real Anadalucia, or a thrilling and fun Fuengirola buggy safari into the mountains and rivers.

Or simply take the bus up into the mountains to the pretty village of Mijas, where you can take a traditional donkey or horse and carriage tour, take in the stunning coastal views from the park, taste chocolates from all around the world or even make your own chocolates at Mayan Monkey Mijas, and maybe then take in some great Spanish wines at the Mijas Wine Museum. Mijas is also a great place for starting some stunning hiking and mountain biking. The mountain overlooking Mijas peaks at 1132m above sea level, higher than all of the mountains in England and Wales.

For families visiting Fuengirola there are a host of great attractions. Always fun on a hot day is Mijas Aquapark (the name is a little misleading as it’s actually in Fuengirola), Fuengirola Biopark which is a lovely zoo right in the heart of town, and a little further afield Tivoli World theme park, and the Amazonia Aventura treetop park at Elviria.

Culturally Fuengirola is a lovely Spanish town with a richness of great local cuisine, nightlife and events throughout the year. Step back a few rows from the seafront English Bars and discover a stunning authentic Spanish town.

The areas around the old Post Office near the main Plaza de la Constitucion, and the railway station offer loads of great tapas bars where outdoor drinking and dining for all the family is a real pleasure on the warm evenings. But be aware the Spanish don’t even think about eating until after 8:30pm!

In the summer months the impressive Sohail Castle, at the west end of the beach, is home to numerous great events like the Medieval Feria, music concerts and the Feria de Cerveza (beer festival). Spain is a very family friendly place so even at midnight in the beer festival kids are very welcome and you will have all ages from toddlers to 90 year olds dancing on the tables.
Sohail Castle was the setting for a very embarrassing British battle just over 200 years ago, when the British left their canons on the beach and returned to their ships, only for the enemy to pop down from the castle and fire their own cannons on their ships!

Other great Spanish cultural events to see in Fuengirola include:

the evening of San Juan - on the night of June 23rd (the longest day of the year) when great parties are held all along the beaches (especially in front of the castle)

the day of the Virgin del Carmen - held on the evening in mid July when, just west of the Marina the huge effigy of the Virgin is paraded through the streets, over the beach and into the sea to bless the fishermen

the legendary Fuengirola Feria – 6th to 13th October when the whole town parties hard for a week, with colourful traditional dress, horses with and without carriages parading through town and much fun and merriment.

It really is a great place, and more, so much more than a typical package resort. Come and see ‘que hacer en Fuengirola!’

Looking to buy a villa for sale in the Fuengirola / Mijas area - take a look at this superb Villa in Campo Mijas

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