things to do in fuengirola

Fuengirola (or Fuengi, as referred to by many English speaking expats who live there) is about 50 minutes by local train from Malaga. It is on the famed Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). Back during the boom days, many British and Northern European retirees decided to move and live in Fuengi (think of it like Americans from the North moving to Florida during the Winter). After the recent global recession hit, many of the expats left and Spanish folks moved in to take over some of the vacated condominiums. 

Although the coastal streets mostly have plenty of expats milling about, one will see many local Spanish people by just walking a couple of blocks inland.

Fuengirola is a nice, quiet town, and a perfect place to spend a few days relaxing and eating well.  I hope you get the chance to visit this lovely town. If you do, these are my recommendations.

Finca del Secretario - In the Fuengirola neighborhood of Los Boliches is a small Roman ruin. Half appears to have been a fish salting facility, while the other half may have been a bath house. There are lots of explanatory signs so you will know what you are looking at. It is free to visit. One other cool thing I like about this sight is that above the hill overlooking the ruins is an Osborne Bull, which is one of those ubiquitous bulls people see all over Spain.  

Castillo Sohail - This castle (more of a fortress, really) on the edge of town is a remnant of the Moorish occupation in Fuengi. Apparently, it was built to shore up defenses of the coast. Many people walk up and down the hill to exercise. It is free to go up and check out the grounds. The town now uses the castle for events, which is when people can go inside the castle. But, you can see what the inside looks like through windows and cracks in the very thick walls. 

Paseo, Suspension Bridge and Canal Activities - The bridge connects Fuengi to Castillo Sohail. Before the town built the bridge, people either had to wade through the canal or go on a long detour to get to the Castle. Now, the pedestrian suspension bridge is part of a paseo (or walkway) that goes along the coast all the way to the other end of town. The bridge and the paseo are popular with joggers, cyclists and walkers. Weather permitting, a water activities business has set up shop at the canal so people could rent boats, kayaks or swan boats and paddle around. I think that same business also set up a zip line that crosses the canal.

Outdoor Exercise - the town has set up exercise equipment that anyone can use for free. Every time I went past them (I don't really exercise unless you consider the movement of my arm from plate to mouth as exercise), the seniors of the community were using them. I've seen these outdoor gyms along the canal towards the mall, and on a street perpendicular to the canal. Of course, if you use the equipment, be courteous and don't hog the machines. 

Beach - As a coastal town, the clean, sandy public beaches are a must visit. (The paseo has a view of all of Fuengi's beaches on one side, and beachfront business on the other side.)

Plaza Mayor - the main square, located a few short blocks inland, is anchored by a church. There are also many stores and cafes on the square. This is a fun place to watch the world go by.   

Eating and Drinking
Like Malaga, seafood reigns supreme in Fuengirola. Although, to be fair, they have fantastic meat dishes as well. There are plenty of tapa joints and restaurants around town. Those facing the beaches are very toursity. They are okay but fairly pricey. Instead, walk inland and you'll find that prices drop dramatically. But, more importantly, the quality of the food also goes up. Just walk through the small streets and you'll find many places to eat. One of the places I like to hang out when in town is at Plaza de los Chinorros, and the surrounding area. This plaza is actually very close to Plaza Mayor and the post office. In this small square and the streets that lead up to it, there are plenty of restaurants and tapa joints. It is a great place to eat well, and people watch day or night. 

A restaurant that I also like to visit when in town is Charolais. It is a smart dining place, but they also own a tapa bar next door. The more formal restaurant offers fantastic secreto iberico (a cut of the Iberian pig near the shoulder) with caramelized onions and cordero de lechal (leg of lamb). They also also offer a tortelitas de bacalao con miel (salted cod fritters with molasses) dish that is creamy and salty on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and slightly sweet all over. The food there is just delicious. 

In a suburb of Fuengi, there is a tavern that I also love to go to for gambas (shrimp) pil pil called, Taberna Dona Maria. All the food they serve are delicious but I absolutely adore the gambas pil pil there more than any other place in town. The shrimp is not overcooked and has a nice snap when you bite into it, the olive oil comes bubbling, and the peppers and garlic are well balanced. It is a trek to get from the center of town to get to this taverna (I'd say about 50 minute walk or a 10 Euro taxi ride as of this writing), but it is well worth it. 

If you are in town in February, there is also an excellent event called La Cazuela de la Abuela (Grandmother's Casserole), where participating tapa joints offer a small casserole dish and a drink (water, cola, wine, beer) of your choice for 2 Euros! It is a fantastic way to experience Spanish style casserole all over town cheaply. I think it was worth it just for the booze. And, if you get your "passport" of participating restaurants stamped by a certain amount of establishments, you can get a free gift. 




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