The equable climate of Fuengirola has attracted tourism in recent years, but this bustling town has an interesting — if at times obscure — history, much of which revolves around the recently restored Sohail Castle.
A Brief History of Fuengirola

There is evidence of a settlement and fortifications in the castle area of west Fuengirola dating back to Phoenician times. The earliest known name for this village was Suel. Under Roman occupation the village grew,  and according to writers of the time, Suel was used as a watering place on the road from Malaga to Cadiz. Several Roman artifacts have been found, some of which are displayed in Fuengirola History Museum. With the demise of the Roman Empire, Suel declined in importance until the arrival of the Moors in the 8th century.

The powerful Caliphate of Abderrahman the Third during the mid 10th century coincided with an increase in the importance of Suel. A Castle was built on the ruins of the Roman Fort and the area around the castle was re-named Suhayl. The name was Arabic for the second brightest star in the night sky south of latitude 38 North. As the area is only 36.5 North, the town must have come perilously close to having another name.  There was a time of relative peace from the 10th to 12th centuries with the small population of Suhayl mostly engaged in fishing and mixed farming, including the rearing of camels for the Moorish rulers. During the 13th century there was an increasing number of pirate raids along the Costa del Sol, and these continued into the 14th century. Around this time, the fortunes of Suhayl declined rapidly. Either through repeated raids, or because of the Black Death, which killed a large proportion of the European population in the mid 14th century, the town was set on fire and the remaining residents fled inland to Mijas.

In the late 15th century the Moorish Rulers were finally expelled from Spain and Christianity was imposed on the local population. It was at this time that the origin of ‘Fuengirola’ first appeared in literature. The aserbic writer and historian Alfonso de Palencia (1423-1492) briefly referred to Font-Jirola in his list of place names. The Font or Fuen(te) refers to the small spring emanating from the hillside beneath Sohail Castle, but the Jirola or Girola presents a more difficult problem. The ‘Girola’ is a cloistered walkway behind the altar mainly in Romanesque churches. The form of architecture containing ‘girolas; died out before the Moors left and the nearest Romanesque church is at Baeza in Jaen province, more than 400 kilometres away. There may have been a covered walking area within the ruins of the castle, but probably the most likely source of ‘Girola’ is the simplest. A ‘Girola’ can also be an ambulatory, or just a walk, and it may be that the locals strolled on the wooded slopes around the spring and it was literally ‘Springwalk’. Fuengirola was born.

There was no village at ‘Fuengirola’ as such,  and an attempt to repopulate the area in the early 16th century failed. Little happened until early in the 18th century, although the castle was strengthened as the Peninsular Wars developed. By this time there were a few dwellings and an inn, but it was the events of 1810 that put Fuengirola on the map. A Polish garrison of about 200 men, led by Captain Franciszek Mlokosiewicz, held of 1700 mainly British troops under the leadership of Lieutenant General Lord Blayney. Attempts to capture the castle failed and a humilating defeat occurred when Lord Blayney was taken prisoner and the British army retreated in disarray.

Fuengirola then returned to obscurity, but slowly growing as market gardening and other forms of agriculture flourished. In 1841 Mijas relinquished its administrative control of the town but it remained very sleepy until the early 1960s. The boom in tourism on the Costa del Sol brought an explosion in building as market gardens along the coast to the east of the castle  were replaced by hotels, apartment blocks and shopping malls. Fuengirola today still has a few fishermen making a precarious living from the old harbour, but little-used yachts and motor cruisers far outnumber the fishing boats, and seaside bars are more likely to hum to the sound of English, Dutch or Swedish than the lazy Spanish of an elderly Andalucian.   The population of more than 60,000 increases considerably during the summer months, and in this dynamic town of sandy beaches, countless bars, and yes, another sunny day, not many thoughts are set aside for the hapless Lord Blayney.

General Climate and Weather in Fuengirola

The Sierra de Mijas.rise to over 1100 metres to the north of Fuengirola, and the Sierra Blanca exceed 1200 metres in height to the west. These high hills act as both a barrier to the cold northerly winds that occasionally affect much of the rest of Iberia during the winter months, and provide shelter from rain-bearing fronts that make rare excursions into southern Spain from the Atlantic. Rainfall is largely absent during the summer months, and with a regular afternoon sea breeze, the intense heat of inland Spain is seldom experienced. This makes Fuengirola one of the best resorts for all-the-year-round good weather in Europe.

Weather in Fuengirola in January

 Average Maximum 17C/63F Average Minimum 8C/46F Days with rain falling  7 

There is usually  plenty of sunshine during January and the rain, when it arrives, normally lasts, on and off, for 2 or 3 days before the sun returns for a week or more. Temperatures, although not especially high, do feel pleasant enough in the afternoon sunshine, On 2 or 3 days in the month, the temperature approaches, or exceeds 20 Celsius (68F), but on the cloudy and wet days maxima may be no higher than 11 Celsius (52F). The evenings will feel rather chilly, and on very rare occasions, the larger gardens on the outskirts of the town may have a frost on the grass for an hour or two around dawn.

Weather in Fuengirola in February

 Average Maximum 17C/63F Average Minimum 8C/46F Days with rain falling  6

This month can be described as early Spring,  with flowers blooming and, by the middle of  February, the famous Andalucian almond  blossom begins to appear. Temperature levels are not dissimilar to those in January, and the evenings and nights remain cool. However, as the heat from the sun increases, the afternoon stroll down the seafront becomes more comfortably warm. Rain, as in January, usually comes in a spell that lasts for 2 or 3 days at a time before clear blue skies follow. It may turn breezy for a while after a wet spell, but strong winds are rare and seldom last for more than 24 hours.

Weather in Fuengirola in March

 Average Maximum 19C/66F Average Minimum 10C/50F Days with rain falling  5

Some delightful days occur in March but the early risers usually enjoy the best of the weather. A typical March day will start cool and sunny with a gentle wind blowing down from the hills. Temperatures will rise rapidly and by midday values will be around 19 Celsius. A few puffs of cloud may form, then quite suddenly the wind will shift right round and blow in from the sea. The sea is as cold as at any time of year in March, so once the sea breeze has become established during the afternoon the promenade is best avoided. As for rain falling,  perhaps a short-lived inconvenience once or twice a week.

Weather in Fuengirola in April

 Average Maximum 21C/70F Average Minimum 13C/55F Days with rain falling  5 

Only the foolhardy or truly seasoned bather would venture into the sea off Fuengirola during April, although after a prolonged spell of sunshine the shallow sea east of the harbour may become quite warm. Sometimes, a morning of unbroken sunshine and temperatures nudging 21 Celsius tempt many people to the beach, but around midday the sea breeze arrives and it cools. In most Aprils there are 2 or 3 days when the land breeze blows all day and the  temperature can rise to 25 Celsius, or more. Once or twice a short unsettled spell will probably occur, and heavy, thundery rain may spoil the occasional day.

Weather in Fuengirola in May

 Average Maximum 23C/73F Average Minimum 14C/57F Days with rain falling  3 

This is arguably one of the best months to visit Fuengirola if bathing in the hotel swimming pool is preferred to a dip in the sea. The mornings are usually sunny and warm. Around midday, just as it begins to become uncomfortably warm, the sea breeze sets in and the afternoons are normally sunny and pleasantly warm. Of course, it is very easy to get sunburnt during May, especially as it doesn’t appear to be too hot to avoid the sunshine. On 2 or 3 occasions during the month, the temperature can exceed 30 Celsius (86F), and in most  Mays there are 1 or 2 short-lived unsettled spells.

Weather in Fuengirola in June

 Average Maximum 27C/81F Average Minimum 17C/63F Days with rain falling  1 

The sun beats down relentlessly from a clear blue sky. Not  completely true, but  certainly a close approximation to the weather in June.  The sun appears hazier as the air trapped under the sea-breeze  inversion becomes more polluted, but clouds are rare. Occasionally, say once or twice a month,  a band of cloud may spoil the sunshine and this could produce an hour or two of rain. High-level thunderstorms, moving north from Morocco, may produce a few spots of dust-laden rain,  otherwise sunshine, and just the odd unpleasant day when the temperature exceeds 38 Celsius (100F).

Weather in Fuengirola in July

 Average Maximum 29C/84F Average Minimum 21C/70F Days with rain falling  <1 

Rain is so rare in July it is not worth a mention. Bands of high cloud occasionally prevent a day of full sunshine but the normal July pattern of weather is this. After a warm and fairly humid night,  there is a dip in temperature to 20 or 21 Celsius around dawn. The morning then warms up rapidly, reaching around 29 Celsius between midday and 1 pm. The light wind on the beach then quite quickly becomes a steady breeze off the sea. With sea temperatures generally around 23 Celsius in July, the afternoon breeze is very refreshing. Occasionally the sea breeze fails and it becomes very hot.

Weather in Fuengirola in August

 Average Maximum 29C/84F Average Minimum 22C/72F Days with rain falling  <1 

During this month it becomes increasingly unpleasant for those without air-conditioning. Although temperature levels are similar to those of July,  the humidity is higher, the pollution levels are greater and the sea breeze is usually lighter and less refreshing. Nevertheless, the sea is pleasantly warm, and the weather is normally reliably sunny. On rare occasions, most likely late in the month,  a thunderstorm may occur, and on 1 or 2 days the failure of the sea breeze may result in temperatures over 38 Celsius (100F) by day, and not falling below 30 Celsius (86F) by late evening.

Weather in Fuengirola in September

 Average Maximum 28C/82F Average Minimum 20C/68F Days with rain falling  2 

September in Fuengirola is a summer month. The first week or two can be very hot and humid, and nights with temperatures remaining above 23 Celsius (73F) is not uncommon. Pollution levels often appear high,  and the chance of relief from refreshing rain is almost nil. Occasionally, an upwelling of cold water can occur with cold sea fog lapping the beaches. This can happen at any time during the summer months but thankfully it is rare and only lasts a day at most. The phenomenon is poorly understood at present, and unlike the slightly more common Spring sea mist, is unpredictable.

Weather in Fuengirola in October

 Average Maximum 23C/73F Average Minimum 16C/61F Days with rain falling  4 

October weather in Fuengirola is something of a lottery. The statistics say that it is the wettest month of the year with over 100 mm (4 inches) of rain,  but they don’t say that the rain falls in crashing thunderstorms with walls of water that often last for less than 2 hours. The sea remains very warm, partly the reason for the severe storms, but the adjacent land also stays pleasantly warm and without the intense heat from the sun.  On balance, this month is probably the 2nd best, behind May, to visit this part of Spain, and by the end of the month  nights are becoming comfortably cool again.

Weather in Fuengirola in November

 Average Maximum 19C/66F Average Minimum 12C/54F Days with rain falling  6 

The nights are long in Fuengirola at this time of year, but not as long as they are in northern Europe. Of all the months, November probably offers the best contrast between the grey and cold of northern latitudes and the sun, and relative warmth, of the Costa del Sol. Early in the month, temperatures regularly reach 20 Celsius, or more, and to have 2 consecutive cloudy days is rare. The weather is thundery at times, and rain can sometimes be very heavy, but pollution levels are low and, early in the month, and in some years  late in the month, the sea is warm enough to bathe in .

Weather in Fuengirola in December

 Average Maximum 17C/63F Average Minimum 9C/48F Days with rain falling  6 

There can be some dire days in December anywhere in Europe, and even Fuengirola has 3 or 4 days of windy, wet and relatively cold weather with temperatures struggling to reach 12 Celsius. However, this is the exception and, although not warm, there is sufficient sunshine to cheer a visitor from the north. The evenings and nights are normally quite cool, and in  sunnier Decembers a frost may occur on the grass in larger gardens well away from the coast. Occasionally the temperature may reach 20 Celsius (68F), but  higher temperatures are often accompanied by a brisk wind from the hills.