Costa Del Sol - An Early Winter Vacation in Fuengirola
Day 1 – Friday 21st October 2016
Alarm goes off at 3am – yes 3am – and we both struggle out of bed tired but excited full of adrenaline ready for the drive down to Luton Airport. We arrived at the airport at 4:30am after parking at an off airport parking complex and being transferred by bus to the terminal. We marvelled at the chaos which Luton Airport had managed to create at the expense of its customers. After queuing for customs where Philip was beeped a few times because he had nuclear paper tissues in his pocket we made it to the shopping hall where we had coffee and a bite to eat. Our flight left on time and after an uneventful flight landed in Malaga.
We were met at the airport by the representative of All in Cars who took us to our car rental. We had ordered a Fiat 500 but they kindly upgraded us to a people mover, a sort of semi-van which proved to be very difficult to fit into parking bays but was great to drive.
At 12:45 we set off for Fuengirola along the coast road at a leisurely pace and arrived at our hotel The El Cid at around 3pm. The hotel had themed all its rooms and we had landed the Lorca Room which had a big picture of Lorca on the outside of the door as well as another inside the room. Along one wall was a huge mural of Manhattan with one of Lorca’s poems written over it.
After unpacking and refreshing ourselves we went out to explore Fuengirola. Near to our hotel was Constitution Square and when we arrived there we saw hundreds of men carrying all shapes and sizes of guitars and wearing knickerbockers with tunics in a whole variety of colours. We later learned that the colours represented Spanish universities with each university represented by a specific colour. A group of men from each university sometime during the evening got up onto a stage that had been erected in the square, to sing traditional Spanish songs.
We decided to eat in the square whilst listening to the singing and ate at the only restaurant on the square which was called La Plaza.
Day 2 – Saturday 22nd October 2016
After breakfast, we took the car and motored down the coast towards Estepona a small town on the coast which had a modern frontage but a picturesque old town. We spent the day there walking along the front and exploring the old part of the town. For lunch, we ate at a restaurant owned by an Englishman who had spent the last 27 years in Spain. His restaurant was called Baileys after the owner. In the afternoon, we drove back to Fuengirola along the motorway AP7 passing Marbella on the way. That evening, we went back to Constitution Square to listen to the knickerbocker men and had a déjà vu dinner at La Plaza once again.
Have you ever been to Fuengirola?
Day 3 – Sunday 23rd October 2016
The weather on Sunday wasn’t that nice by the coast so we decided to head up to some villages further inland. Firstly, we drove towards Yunquera which was some 35 kilometres from our hotel. The weather began to deteriorate the further inland and higher into the mountains we went. Although it was beautiful scenery all around we could not see much through the low cloud and mist. Yunquera was a traditional Spanish white village where we had lunch, looked around a little and then headed for Ronda. This town is built across a high gorge connected by a picturesque bridge. However, by the time we arrived there the visibility was such that we were unable to see anything so we headed back to Fuengirola via Tolox. Arriving at Tolox we soon realised that parking was going to be a nightmare as this village, another white village, was not built for cars so we drove around the one-way system and headed back down the mountain towards our hotel. We did stop at a roadside tavern/restaurant whose owner was motorcycle mad and had the walls of his premises covered in photographs and memorabilia of motorcycles and riders who had stopped at his tavern when participating in an annual mountain road race.
That evening we decided to eat near to the promenade where we found a nice Italian restaurant (Camarero), where the food was delicious and the service excellent.
Day 4 – Monday 24th October 2016
At 10:30 our estate agent picked us up for a day of house viewing. We had decided that we would get a better feel for an area if we were to view a range of properties from traditional Finca houses to apartments. Our agent took as to the outskirts of the village of Coin where we viewed a Finca style house which had six thousand square metres of land attached to it. Far too much land for us to cope with and maintain. The house itself seemed rather dark and didn’t do anything for us at all. Next stop was an apartment on a golf complex in Alhaurin el Grande. The golf course was a Seve Ballesteros designed course. Although the apartment itself was light and airy we did not like the idea of being in a golf complex amongst so many apartments and villas.
Next stop was another Finca just outside Alhaurin el Grande. A much smaller build than the first one and with much less land. The views were great but the house was too small and no room to extend or do any other structural changes. After viewing this house the agent took as back to our hotel in Fuengirola.
That afternoon back in we decided to explore the sea front and walked towards the harbour where the fishing boats and small yachts were moored. The walk took us passed a row of small eating places and onto the harbour front where we sat outside a coffee house in the late afternoon sun and enjoyed a coffee whilst watching the world go by. In the evening, we decided on tapas for dinner and found a lovely little restaurant called La Casona de Paqui which was situated in the back streets around Constitution Square. The waiter handed us a card on which was a list of all the different tapas dishes they did and we just ticked off what we wanted. Each dish was 1 Euro. We ate royally there and in fact ordered too much and were both stuffed.
Day 5 – Tuesday 25th October 2016
Our agent picked us up in the morning and took us along the coast to a town called Sitio de Calahonda where we viewed a ground floor apartment which this time had a small garden attached. This was the best property we had seen so far. The style of the building reminded us of Gaudi and the apartment itself had a nice layout with a small garden area which was quite roomy and wasn’t overlooked. Afterwards we walked down from the apartment to the coast which was only five minutes away. Here we enjoyed a coffee by the sea with the estate agent and spent some time walking along the wooden walkway which when completed will be over 250 kilometres long and which runs from Nerja all the way to Gibraltar. What a lovely way to walk the coast.
That afternoon we decided to walk to Fuengirola castle which was at the edge of town towards Marbella. It was a lovely sunny walk along the promenade in front of beaches lined with sunbeds and sun umbrellas. We were surprised by the number of barbecue areas that were set out along the beach. Each barbecue area was a full-size rowing boat set up on a plinth and filled with sand. A lovely idea for families to barbecue their lunches or dinners whilst enjoying the sun and sea.
Fuengirola castle is set up on a hill and overlooks the sea on one side and a river on the other. Unfortunately, it was closed so we couldn’t go inside, however it was a pleasant walk around the outside of the castle walls.
That evening we decided on another Italian meal and walked to an area we called restaurant alley which was a pedestrian road with wall to wall restaurants along it as well as sports bars for the sports minded Brits. We chose a restaurant called Ristorante Ciao where we both had our favourite Italian dishes which were huge and we could not clean our plates up.
Day 6 – Wednesday 26th October 2016
We decided to explore the coast towards Malaga and beyond. So we got in our car and headed for a resort area called Toro del Mar. This area was some 90 kilometres east of Fuengirola towards Nerja. We spent several hours walking around the town and enjoying the beautiful seafront and promenade. We lunched in a lovely family restaurant where we both had an omelette and a beer. For only 4 euros can you believe. We liked this area and decided to take our time and drive back to Fuengirola along the coast road instead of the motorway. The drive was lovely and enabled us to see the numerous villages along the route. We stopped for a coffee in Torremolinos along the way back.
That evening we ate at the tapas restaurant once again but this time tried not to overeat and order too much food.
Day 7 – Thursday 27th October 2016
As this was our last day of the holiday and we didn’t need to hand the car back until late afternoon we decided to stay in Fuengirola and explore it some more. There was a small train tour around the town which took an hour or so to circumvent the town and provided English commentary on places of interest. Though rather bumpy and uncomfortable as it had wooden seats it was an interesting tour. After this we walked around town for a while before finding a Greek restaurant called Med15 where we ate a late lunch and chatted to the owners for a while.
At around 5:30 we headed for the car rental place by Malaga airport, deposited the car and were driven to the terminal. Our flight left on time and after a smooth ride we landed at Luton at 2:30 in the morning, finally making it to bed after a 45-minute run back to Northampton.