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The grounds of Sohail Castle in FuengirolaFuengirola’s councillor in charge of Culture recently announced that access and visits to the city’s impressive Sohail Castle will now be free for all visitors – it used to cost 3€ for adults and 2€ for children!

Opening times are between 10:00am and 2:00pm daily from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays), plenty of time for visitors to walk around this iconic building with centuries of history behind it (see below).

And the reason for making the entrance free? According to the councillor, Fuengirola wants to push the Castle’s potential as a cultural attraction as well as a venue for musical and cultural events and the best way to do this is by getting more people to visit; who doesn’t like free? 🙂

Towering over the entrance to Fuengirola’s river, Sohail Castle sits on the hilltop at the entrance to the western side of the city, 38 metres above sea level. It has a fascinating history which we’re summarized below.

The History of Sohail Castle that makes it a fascinating cultural attraction to visit

Due to its geographic and strategic location, the area has been populated by Phoenicians, Romans and Moors; Proof of this are the Roman Ruins on display at the base of the Castle’s grassy hill.

In Roman times Fuengirola’s river was navigable for smaller boats which would sail up the river and anchor in the area now known as Entreríos. The castle’s key strategic position at the entrance of the river allowed for control of river traffic as well as land communications between Malaga and Marbella.

Sohail Castle at Sunset

One of the Castles towers which visitors can climb up

The structure we can see today is the adaptation from fortress to castle which dates back to the Moorish invasion of Spain. On the 7th August 1485, the Christian armies reconquered the Castle from the Nazari Kingdom of Granada (The Moors) and during the fierce battle, the Castle was practically destroyed.

Due to its proximity to the sea, Fuengirola and its Castle suffered many attacks from legendary pirate, Red Beard and even the growth of smuggling which took place when the British occupied the Rock of Gibraltar caused problems. These attacks led the Count of Montemar , Commander in Chief of the Coast to undergo a series of extensive reforms and improvements to the Castle’s structure to protect it from unwanted visitors.

In the winter of 1810 Napoleon’s troops took control of Sohail Castle. After just 8 months of occupation, 2500 British and Spanish troops under the command of Lord Blayney landed on the beaches of Fuengirola in an attempt to take back the castle but Lord Blayney was captured and the French troops retained control until the Spring of 1812. It was at this time that General Ballesteros and his Spanish troops took back Fuengirola and Sohail Castle. During their retreat, the French soldiers had time to blow up the south-east tower and parts of the surrounding walls which were never rebuilt.

After the war, Sohail Castle’s strategic location became less of an advantage. Without a military use, it was sold at public auction and went into private hands during the 19th and 20th centuries. With no investment, the Castle lay abandoned and in decay for years until the Spanish Municipal Heritage decided to invest in a restoration program in 1989, hoping to convert it into a major tourist attraction for the city.

Sohail Castle Events

One of the many events held at Sohail Castle…

Today, Sohail Castle is a true symbol Fuengirola. Featured on posters and leaflets promoting the city as a top tourist destination, the Castle has also become a popular venue for concerts and cultural events during the summer months, including: The Medieval Fair and the International Beer Festival which each year attract thousands of visitors to this stunning cultural landmark.

If you’ve yet to visit Fuengirola’s Sohail Castle, you’ve got no excuse now… it’s Free! 🙂

How to get to Sohail Castle in Fuengirola

From Benalmadena, just hop on the nº M120 bus which runs every 30 minutes and stops near Sunset Beach Club (in front of medical centre). This will take you to the centre of Fuengirola where you’ll have to take one of the red urban buses which stop at the Miramar Shopping Centre. From there it’s a 5-minute walk along the river bank. 🙂

And don’t forget that if you need somewhere to stay during your Costa del Sol Holiday, at Sunset Beach Club we’ve got fantastic apartment-style accommodation and 4-star facilities for an enjoyable holiday. Visit our website at www.sunsetbeachclub.com for more information.

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