In 2018 we did a little bit of travelling and when the travel bug bites – you must go! We booked this holiday for the half term in April to catch a little bit of Mediterranean sun and salty sea air. It was cheap – flights at that time of the year are generally cheaper because it’s waaaay out of season (some shops and restaurants are still shut down for the winter) and we booked an apartment which was quite cheap again. We normally book apartments and houses these days as it’s just so much more comfortable as a family compared to a hotel room. More space, self-catering option (it had become very challenging to eat out with Bobcat these days, if he’s not in the right mood it’s just very difficult) and it’s generally cheaper too. Clickstay is a good place to look for apartments and villas if you’re thinking to do the same. And for car rental – which is a must, when you need to drive from the airport to your hotel, to discover Malaga and we also planned to drive to Gibraltar – Discover Cars is a good site to check. They are also conveniently located at the airport so easy to pick up and return.
Fuengirola town near Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain, in Andalusia. This is where we sated and it was lovely because our apartment had a sea view completed with a big terrace. The weather was spectacular even in April, we actually managed to spend nearly 2 days out of the 5 on the beach. When I say it was spectacular, I’m talking about 26-27 degrees during the day so it was lovely and warm.
This was our closest beach, all we had to do was to step outside the building and walk across the road. So we did this, straight after waking up on the first morning, right after grabbing some lovely coffee and freshly baked croissants at a cute little coffee right next to us. The beach is very long, sandy with shallow water, which is perfect for the children to play. It has numerous playgrounds and there’s lots of chiringuitos (beach restaurants with sun chairs and parasols to rent) along the promenade. So we picked one and spent the whole afternoon there, eating our tapas for late lunch on the sun chairs. In the morning we went for a long walk along the promenade and the beach waiting for the weather to warm up.
We did some exploring locally so we discovered a quite cute little harbour with lots of little restaurants and the Castle (Castillo de Sohail) which was unfortunately closed at that time (only open from June till September) but it was a lovely walk around the little canal and we stopped at a superb pirate playground too (with a cafe!) so everyone was happy getting what they wanted. Family holidays are all about compromises, aren’t they? We stopped in a little restaurant at the harbour which had the cutest nautical decor I’ve ever seen completed with a piano. The restaurant inside was empty, everyone sat outside in the sun, so the owner let the kids to have fun with the piano whilst were were scoffing tapas. That’s the Spanish approach to families and children and that’s just another reason to adore Spain.
It’s only about an hour and a half away and it’s well worth the visit if you’re around. It can get busy, but we were lucky and it was not too crowded when we visited. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and headland, and as such, a very amusing thing to discover. You can pay with both euros and sterling, there are hundreds of English pubs (or at east that’s what I thought) and there’s even supermarkets selling Waitrose products. The old town is very pretty and we strolled down all the way to the bottom of the Rock to take the cable car up to the top of the Rock. (It’s a long walk, we decided to take a bus on the way back.) Bobcat was promised to see the monkeys and he was super excited. He really wanted to chase them when we got there. Up on the top we enjoyed a breathtaking view. Meanwhile, the monkeys robbed us as we carelessly left the buggy unattended which had the changing bag with some snacks in there. Wrapped. How did they know? Don’t make this mistake. Anyway, we walked around for 15-20 minutes watching them but it’s not a big place so we headed to the restaurant to eat something. Bobcat was a little bit of a challenge but we managed. On the way back we stopped for a coffee at the Grand Casemates Square, popped into the Waitrose (seriously, so odd!) and took an open deck double decker bus back to the border.
It’s a zoo, and as such I have a little moral problem with it but the kids love zoos. So we try to only visit zoos like this, which are not *just* zoos. Bioparc Funegirola is a zoological park where animals live side-by-side, recreating their natural habitat and so fostering their development at all levels. Their motto is: “There is today no ethical sense in keeping wild animals in captivity unless this helps to preserve their species in the natural world.” It was a pretty amazing experience on many levels. The animals got really big spaces as their habitats and the park has recreated their natural environment too. So the park has lots of beautiful features and I absolutely adored all the architectural additions.It’s probably the prettiest zoo I have ever been to. It has a great playground and animal “shows” during the day in an open air amphitheatre: it’s not exactly a show, the animals are not performing just taught to walk up to the stage and off whilst the presenters talk about them. It was really good fun and both children found it very engaging. Entry fee is €20.50 and you can reach it by public transport too. There is a restaurant too as well as shop.
This post has collaborative elements.