Costa del Sol Travel Guide 2018: Where to go, shop, and eat

After a full five years, I finally went back to Fuengirola – and took S with me! This is the 3rd time that I’ve went around February-March, and naturally brought horrible rains with me. So much for the Sol in Costa del Sol… But honestly: when travelling in Europe, always remember that winters are going to be colder and there might be plenty of rain and strong winds. Yes – even in those tourist locations.

Despite the challenging weather, we had a fun week. S went horseback riding in the Mijas area, I got to dip my toes into the ocean (freezing cold!), and we drank plenty of wine. Not to mention shopping! Going to Fuengirola during the winter months is fun because there just aren’t that many tourists. However, after having my Vans absolutely flooded, I do understand why most people wait until Summer to visit.

Now that the travel season is upon us, I want to share with you my recommendations! Here are my favourite places to go, shop, and eat in Fuengirola – each with an inclusive list of pros and cons.

 

COSTA DEL SOL TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

 

Where to go?

Cueva de Nerja / More information

Cueva de Nerja: Hall of The Cataclysm

The Nerja caves are located near Marro, a small town along the coast. It is a historical location – the caves were discovered in late 1950s.

Positives Negatives
  • A great, unique experience
  • Plenty of information available
  • The location is interesting: much of the caves has yet to be investigated or discovered
  • Long lines, especially during holidays
  • Not suitable for children, pets, or anyone with trouble walking
  • Uncomfortable if you’re scared of heights or being underground
  • Located far away from more popular cities



Marbella: Puerto Banus, Old Marbella

Now, I know. These locations are fairly far apart. However, if you visit Marbella – or stay there! – I would recommend visiting both. Puerto Banus is an almost hilariously upscale port, with yachts and designer stores. Old Marbella is a picturesque old part of town, with beautiful buildings and small streets.

Positives Negatives
  • Marbella is super easy to get to
  • The locations are diverse: you can both shop Michael Kors and admire the old church
  • Beautiful views
  • Plenty of shops and restaurants
  • Visiting requires great weather
  • Getting around without a car takes some planning
  • Unless you truly are filthy rich, the shop selection of Puerto Banus is fairly boring
  • Not great for impatient children (or adults!)

Mijas Pueblo

Views from the village in Mijas

Mijas is a large area, but Pueblo stands out – it is located up a mountain. The white village is gorgeous, and has great spots for appreciating the view. There is also a small church, if you are willing to climb up a rocky path.

Positives

Negatives

  • Beautiful buildings and views
  • Easily accessible by bus
  • Restaurants and cafés
  • Street vendors selling candied almonds!
  • Small, not much to do
  • Visiting requires good weather
  • So. Many. Tourists.
Costa del Sol is known for its over 160 kilometers of beach.

Where to shop?

Centro Comercial Miramar / More information

The Miramar shopping center is located approximately a 30-minute walk from downtown Fuengirola. Alternatively, you can take the bus or taxi. Inside, you’ll find plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as go-karts and a movie theatre.

Positives Negatives
  • Close to downtown
  • Long opening hours
  • A huge convenience store (Carrefour)
  • Large selection of different clothing stores, also high end
  • Play area for children
  • The beauty store selection is quite narrow, e.g. no The Body Shop
  • Eating options are limited: the food court is very loud and crowded
Me, in my natural habitat

Avenida de Los Boliches / ‘The Bus Street’

The Finns in Fuengirola have given the street its nickname. Besides the bus station, this street is full of different stores: candy, clothing, shoes, whatever your heart desires. Typical to Los Boliches, the street is also filled with different restaurants and cafés.

Positives Negatives
  • A very cute part of town
  • Close to the ocean
  • Plenty of shops and restaurants
  • Central location
  • Includes tons of walking
  • The stores and brands might be unfamiliar
  • Crowded street
  • Don’t expect customer service in English!

 

Where to eat and drink?

Casual afternoon rosé and churros

Grand Café De Kroon (Paseo Marítimo Rey de España 54) / More information

My favourite place in Fuengirola! Located right by the ocean, somewhere between downtown Fuengirola and Los Boliches, this place is the trendiest ever. Think miniature fire pits on the tables outside, rustic wooden tables, and food served on stone slabs. The place is Dutch-owned, and the staff is young, fun, and speak great English.

Positives Negatives
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • English-speaking staff
  • Great food options (including 20+ different pancakes!)
  • Generous portions of tapas
  • Beautiful decor
  • Vague opening hours
  • Fairly expensive: a bottle of wine will cost you 12-15€
  • Bit of a walk from both downtown and Los Boliches



Dominique’s (Paseo Marítimo Rey de España 83) / More information

Located on the beach, fairly close to the Los Boliches train station. Impressive menu, mostly Italian inspired, with great vegetarian options. Staff was super friendly and spoke fluent English.

Positives Negatives
  • Great menu
  • English-speaking, friendly staff
  • Very cozy
  • Only a short walk from Los Boliches
  • Has its own website
  • Has one of those ugly patio tents
  • Décor feels slightly tacky
  • The music did not match the overall feel of the restaurant

 

Hope you enjoyed reading this!

 

Planning a trip?

 

Packing guide: http://urbanloving.com/2018/02/07/pack-like-pro-2-ways-travel-smarter/

Vacation checklist: http://urbanloving.com/2018/02/22/pre-vacation-checklist-printable/

 

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