Monday, 30 September 2013

FUENGIROLA - a modern and vivid town.

Fuengirola Seal and Flag

Fuengirola in the ancient times was known as Suel and Suhayl. It has approximately 72.000 inhabitants and 25% of them come from other countries mainly from Scandinavia, England and other European countries. Since 1960 the town has developed into a major tourist resort. It has a zoo, a number of historical sites like the arabic Sohail Castle dating back to the 10th century and Roman ruins. The Sohail Castle is an open air venue for different cultural programs. Once a year in October the town comes alive when the annual town fiesta is organized and the bullring also offer traditional programme.

If you left your mobile at home...

RENFE train service Malaga-Fuengirola

View from Sohail Castle, the western part of the town

We came to learn that Fuengirola is one of the tidiest towns on the coast and it has this marvelous strand promenade (7 km). You can walk from Torreblanca via Los Boliches to Fuengirola town centre easily. Or take the RENFE train which takes about 5 minutes and is inexpensive to use. This train moves between Malaga and Fuengirola. It is very modern and runs three times an hour so if you miss one train take the next one. From Fuengirola the train reaches Malaga airport in about 25 minutes and Malaga city center in about 35-40 minutes. When you arrive at the air terminal, walk out of it, cross the road to the RENFE terminal and buy your ticket at the vending machine. Assistance is available if needed. If you travel by car use  the A7 or AP7 (toll road) along the coast. The A340 runs through all the towns, is slower but can be recommended if you want to get a glimps of the different places. In Spain telephone boots can still be found. The main shopping centre is at Miramar along the A7. Fuengirola centre has many shops. Los Boliches has smaller boutiques and shops and here it is also possible to find Finnish or Scandinavian products but they can be quite expensive. Buying local is the key to keeping your budget tight.

Bizet's CARMEN at Sohail Castle

Los Boliches and its restaurants

The Church in Los Boliches

Fiesta in honour of Sra La Virgen del Carmen in July
(appologize for poor picture taken in the crowd)

A fishermans statue in Los Boliches

The Moorish Sohail Castle

Short history: The town has its origin in Phoenician, Roman and Arab civilisations. At the time (1485) when the Kingdom of Granada fell into the hands of Christian Monarchs an attempt to repopulate Fuengirola failed and in 1511 the site was registered as uninhabited. In the 18th center an Inn and some huts formed a small village that was mainly engaged in fishing and agriculture. The modern Fuengirola started to take its shape from 1960's and onwards. In 2000 the renovation of Sohail Castle was completed. The old port in town is still used by Spanish fishermen (Wikipedia).

Saturday, 28 September 2013


On board M/S Finnlady

Catching speed

A Fully Loaded KIA For Spain

For about two years my wife and I where considering taking the BIG STEP into the unknown and move abroad. I was not given a choice - it needed to be Costa del Sol in Andalucia, Spain. This blog is about our stay in this beautiful part of the world with all the sunshine you might want. I will not bother you with what you know, beaches and all that, but rather try to give a glimpse of a natural beauty unlike the nordic countries, our origin. The mountains, the natural parks, the rich history and culture as well as the mountain villages inspired us.

There was also no discussion as to who is going to perform the magic trick in order to load our small car with everything we needed to take with us. My wife had a funny look on her face and pointed at me seeming to say "mission impossible, you do it". The magic was done with some space left for water bottles and alike and we then set off for M/S Finnlady waiting for us in Helsinki.  The ship left for Travemunde in Germany where we arrived late following night. In the picture above taken from an upper deck the ship seem to move at high speed making the water foam. Extra "speed" is given by a small aperture on the camera. Must give all the credit for a nice ship with excellent service for motorists. Early June the ship was not too full and it arrived on time in Travemunde.


A Good Drive Through The Night

The first leg was preset from Travemunde to a hotel in HAMM near Dortmund. The KIA was in perfect shape and overtaking cars on the motorways it arrived safely and on time. The following morning we set off for MOSELTHAL, Trittenheim where we spent the following night. Absolutely great scenery in this wine district that we really appreciated. These early days in the summer created no crowds so finding parking space and tables at restaurants was not an issue.


From Moselthal To Schwarzwald

We had reserved altogether 10 days for our journey from Finland to southern Spain. On the first days we wanted to put as much milage behind us as was reasonable. On the third day we reached Schwarzwald / Freiburg where we spent two days driving around and visiting Titisee among other places. The area was unknown to us so Titisee as a major tourist resort was a surprise. And the scenery was stunning as you can see from the above pictures.

Auberge De Tavel, near Avignon

Next Stop In France

The traffic in Germany had occasionally been heavy but we had no difficulties at any stage. The same driving through Switzerland (no time for Mont Blanc this time) but once hitting the French road system we faced a more chaotic traffic and also somewhat worse road conditions. We nevertheless reached the small village of Tavel near Avignon without any hazzle. Our B&B Auberge De Tavel was found more or less by accident. This is a nice B&B that we can happily recommend. They also served an excellent dinner with local wine that they recommended.

The Mediterranean, French Coast

This is it! The Mediterranean! Our small KIA has proven itself strong and carried us all this way without "casualties". All we now have to do is follow the coastline that is really beautiful. We see the Pyrenées on our right hand side when crossing the Franco-Spanish border and we stop for a rest at Torrevieja where we meet up with a Finnish real estate broker to get some information about the market on the Spanish coast.  Many places are interesting; Alicante, Nerja.....Thank you Kirsi and Harri for receiving us. It was nice to meet you. We follow the coast to Nerja.....

Nerja beach

Los Arcos pool at midnight.

Nerja, a Major Holiday Resort on the Spanish Coast

We arrived at Nerja late afternoon and checked-in at a nice small hotel called Los Arcos, took a stroll downhill to the beach, up again just to go down again to see the town centre and the gorgeous European Balcony. You guessed right, the town is situated on a steep slope and rather demanding moving up and down, even for us. But the town is really beautiful. Our room had a backdoor that led directly to the pool. We could not resist a midnight swim on this moonlit night.

Torreblanca area

Passeo Maritime, Fuengirola.

FUENGIROLA, home at last

From Nerja the A7 or A340 passes Malaga and from there we only have some 20 minutes to Fuengirola. Our appartment was in Torreblanca which is part of Fuengirola, picture above. Passeo Maritime is a beautiful promenade to walk along any time of the day. Tourists mingle with locals in the evenings. Enjoy a drink here, tapas there and sit on the benches relaxing. If you want a good fish dish go to a place near the Sohail Castle. This restaurant has blue and white striped marquises.


We where told that the road network is on very good condition is this is right so. Traffic is heavy mainly close to larger cities. Highways with a toll are almost empty and fast. The countryside is absolutely beautiful and the environment is kept very CLEAN. And the country is inexpensive. And YET, we have seen very little of the fantastic ANDALUCIA.

Thank you for following us all the way from Helsinki to Costa del Sol in Andalucia, Spain (map