From its origins as a small fishing village, Fuengirola is now one of the larger towns on the Costa del Sol and also one of the coasts main tourist destinations. Largely urban in nature, the town has a total of 76,000 residents (25% of which are mainly European foreigners) and is a hive of activity, with busy streets lined with up-market tapas bars, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.
Fuengirola is a vibrant metropolis with a fabulous 8km stretch of beaches, a quaint port and a recently re-designed main square, Plaza de la Constitución which bustles year-round with both locals and tourists alike, sampling local cuisine and browsing in the surrounding boutiques. The square is an enchanting meeting point for family and friends during festivities such as the annual Fuengirola summer Feria, Christmas and New Year when it is dressed up in elaborate lights and ornaments and the whole town takes part in the street celebrations and explodes into song and dance.
Another major attraction of Fuengirola, and a unique landmark of the Costa del Sol, is the Sohail Castle, a lavish medieval Moorish fort which is now used as a venue for concerts, markets and other events – mainly during the summer months.
The Plaza de la Constitución is lined with countless tapas bars, great restaurants and quirky shops. During the summer, Fuengirola's inhabitants, residents from other areas and tourists of all ages spill out onto the street to enjoy its vibrant nightlife and every corner of this friendly coastal town.
One of the most popular attractions of the town is Fuengirola Biopark, an animal-friendly Zoo, nestled in the center. The park has been created with the animals well-being in mind and prides itself in keeping their living environments as free as possible. Visitors are therefore invited to view and interact with the animals with only natural barriers such as rivers and bridges for protection. A great day out for kids and adults alike!
Another popular destination is the Fuengirola Water Park, the largest of its kind on the Costa del Sol. The park offers a number of attractions, including water slides and chutes, wave pools, adventure river and much more. For small children there is also a Mini Water Park and plenty of quaint cafes and meeting points for adults.
The Sohail Castle, originally built by the Moors in the 11th century, is not the only evidence of the diverse culture and history of Fuengirola. For the history enthusiasts, the Fuengirola History Museum exhibits many unique artefacts, including Roman remains, specific to the area.
The Fuengirola Feria and the Easter week are two major events in the local calendar that best embody Spanish culture and the vibrant character of the coastal region. During these special weeks, the town explodes with lights, colour and constant street celebrations including rides, concerts with flamenco singing and dancing, religious processions and food markets. The street fairs are unique experiences not to be missed.
Also nestled in the charming little side-street called 'Las Rampas', The Salon Varietes Theatre offers theatre and entertainment year-round and the large cinema and shopping complex, Miramar by the motorway offers a huge choice of high-street brands including Zara, Mango and C&A as well as films in English.
For those that enjoy a more active outdoor life there is lots to do: Golf Courses, the Mijas Horse Race Course, a Go Karting circuit, Parasailing and Fishing trips are only a few activities on offer in Fuengirola.
Fuengirola is only 25 km away from Malaga airport which connects the Costa del Sol with an abundance of countries around the world. Flights to all major Spanish, European and even international cities are now available several times a day.
Fuengirola offers lots of underground parking in town for drivers of private vehicles and is easily accessible from the N340 Coast Road. However, the bus and Renfe train links in the centre of Fuengirola ensure that you do not have to rely solely on private transport to get around the coast.
Tourists from Europe should obtain a European Health Insurance, which will give you access to health care during your stay. This can be organised by contacting your local health authorities. Once you have settled in Spain and have become an official Spanish Resident, you will be entitled to take advantage of the fantastic Spanish health care, which is free to anyone contributing to the Spanish Social Security system.
If you prefer, you can also choose to be insured by one of the many Private Health Insurance companies. Rates for Spanish private health insurance are very low compared to many other European countries.
Fuengirola offers a number of medical facilities, including the Centro Medico Xanit and Centro Salus Clinic.
Both public and private health facilities are excellent in Spain with many offering services in English and many other foreign languages.
You will find a large choice of nurseries, primary and secondary public schools in Fuengirola. Spanish schools accept their pupils according to their area of residency and applications have to be made at the Fuengirola Town Hall. Public schools usually offer free transport and extra-curricular activities, as well as additional Spanish tuition for expat children.
There are also a number of Private schools in Fuengirola, both Spanish and International.