Sohail Castle (historically called Suhayl) is a castle of Muslim origin located in the city of Fuengirola, in the province of Malaga. This incredible monument, which has already become one of the most iconic symbols of the city, stands at the mouth of the Fuengirola River, perched on a hill 38 meters above sea level, right next to the beach and adjacent to the River Park. In fact, it is one of the main attractions we recommend in our guide on what to see and do in Fuengirola.

The History of Sohail Castle in Fuengirola

The year was 956, and the Cordovan caliph Abderraman III ordered the construction on top of a hill, over the ruins of a Roman-era settlement, of a small citadel consisting of several houses and a watchtower. This small complex aimed to defend the coast and would be the foundation and beginnings of Sohail Castle.

It was in the 12th century, thanks to the Almoravids, that a stone defensive enclosure was built around this small citadel, along with the creation of ramps and accesses that began to give it the iconic castle shape we know today. Subsequently, in the year 1485, the castle was occupied by the Christian army as they expanded and fought against the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. During this time, it was almost completely destroyed in battle and later reconstructed.

Entrada Castillo Sohail
The entrance to the historic Sohail Castle in Fuengirola

Due to its strategically significant location, Sohail Castle attracted the attention of the infamous pirate Barbarossa, who attacked the castle multiple times in an attempt to conquer it. It was during this period that the King of Spain at the time, Charles I, ordered the construction of the moat surrounding the castle.

In 1810, during the War of Independence, Sohail Castle had more tales to tell as it was conquered by Napoleon and the French army. At this time, the English General XI Lord Blayney, along with the Spanish-British army, landed on the beaches of Fuengirola with the intention of capturing the castle, but the French emerged victorious in what became known as the ‘Battle of Fuengirola.’ Two years later, General Ballesteros captured Fuengirola in 1812 and, consequently, took control of Sohail Castle. This marked the Spanish recovery of the current monument.

Parque del Castillo Sohail
Sohail Castle is located on a hill right next to the sea.

At various points in the 19th and 20th centuries, Sohail Castle became private property through an auction and experienced periods where it hosted small armies of the Spanish Army’s Cavalry, the Civil Guard, and the Carabineros Corps.

Finally, from the early 20th century until the 1980s, the castle was in a state of complete abandonment, with a significant amount of vegetation surrounding it and ruined walls indicating its impending disappearance. In recent years, thanks to the Fuengirola Workshop School, the City Council invested in the restoration and recovery of Sohail Castle, transforming it into an icon of the city and a focal point for tourism in Fuengirola.

 

Sohail Castle in Fuengirola today

At present, Sohail Castle can be visited for free, allowing you to stroll through its surroundings and part of the gardens. Inside the castle, various artillery pieces found in 1914 are on display. The interior has also been adapted to host various cultural events, such as the beer festival, the medieval fair, or the incredible Marenostrum Festival of Fuengirola. The empty interior serves as an additional auditorium for this remarkable musical event held on the outer esplanade. Speaking of the exterior of the castle, a viewpoint has been set up from which you can see the entire city of Fuengirola, Mijas, and the magnificent sea.

Interior del Castillo Sohail
From the viewpoint of Sohail Castle, you can see the sea and part of Fuengirola.

Finally, if you visit Fuengirola, we strongly recommend visiting the Castle, mainly because it doesn’t take much time to see, and it’s also very close to other tourist points of interest in the city, such as the Promenade, the River Park, or the Miramar Shopping Centre.

Route to Visit Sohail Castle

Una opción que te recomendamos desde Ven a Fuengirola para visitar el castillo y empezar el día haciendo turismo por Fuengirola es el siguiente:

  1. Head to the Promenade from your accommodation.
  2. Walk along the Promenade towards Sohail Castle.
  3. Cross the Puente de la Armada, and you’ll be right next to it.
  4. Visit Sohail Castle (remember that admission is completely free).
  5. Exit the castle and enter the River Park using the stairs available.
  6. Take a leisurely stroll through the park.
  7. Finish your route at the Miramar Shopping Centre, which is right next to the River Park.
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