Today we’re chatting to the wonderful Ali Meehan, a resident of Los Boliches, a suburb of Fuengirola and a very active member of the expat community and business community in Fuengirola and beyond.
Ali is originally from Herne Bay in Kent in the UK, but is very much a world citizen, having lived and worked in the UK, Australia, Middle East and Asia. She moved to Spain for a short period in 2002 while working for a business development consultancy in the oil & gas space. She then relocated to the Middle East in 2004 where she spent five years followed by time in Asia, returning to Spain in 2010.
Ali brought her experiences of living overseas together and decided to build a space for women to provide a connection point to make new friends as well as acquire real life, essential tips and advice about life in sunny Spain. This vision led to the creation of Costa Women, a free community for women living in Spain, or women moving to Spain. This organisation has been running for ten years and is an important tool for anyone moving to the area and looking to build their network and settle into life here. Shaw Marketing Services’ Director Georgina Shaw has been a Costa Women member since it began and credits it with helping her grow the business, get inspiration and support and meet wonderful, supportive women which have enriched her professional and social life.
Ali explains what Costa Women is all about, “We offer both social connection as well as business networking events online and offline. Costa Women won Best of British Social Club by The Telegraph Newspaper as well as our @costawomen Twitter account being highlighted as a top Twitter account for expat advice by The Telegraph too. We host 20+ events a month all over Spain with a monthly coffee morning in Fuengirola as well as business networking. Costa Women can be found at costawomen.com and you can contact me at email@example.com or follow us on social media @costawomen”
Loving life in Fuengirola
Ali moved to Fuengirola as her husband was already living and working there, but she wasn’t sure it would be the right place for her. She felt that “Fuengirola had a reputation as an overpopulated location with a slightly tarnished kiss-me-quick Margate feel.”
We’d agree that Fuengirola doesn’t have the best reputation internationally, and it is easy to get the wrong impression of it. But we’d recommend that you dig a little deeper, explore the different parts of the town and see what a cosmopolitan and interesting place it is. It is a vibrant Spanish town, which is very popular with young Spanish families and professionals and is definitely more than meets the eye. This is certainly what Ali has found. She explains, “Since moving here, living here and getting under the skin of the place I’ve seen that Fuengirola has so much to offer. It is a traditional, Spanish, middle class working town which transforms in the summer to a second home for many of the Spanish nationals and in the winter to a home for the snowbirds from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Fuengirola actually has a bigger Finnish population than UK Nationals. Culture, history, ferias, a vegetarian food reputation – it has a lot more than you may expect.”
“I feel very safe and at home here and welcomed by our Spanish hosts. Living in Fuengirola initially and then moving to Los Boliches in 2003 gave me some insights into both places. Santa Fe de Los Boliches (its official name) is one of the suburbs and slightly quieter than Fuengirola Town (other suburbs include Torreblanca, Carvajal, El Boquetillo and Los Pacos). I’m very much a townie with a love of the sea so both Los Boliches and Fuengirola offer great places to live.”
Tips for visitors
We asked Ali to give us her top tips for visitors and residents looking to discover everything that Fuengirola has to offer. Over to you Ali…
- Property prices have risen exponentially since we first moved here. The town is made up of a larger amount of apartments than villas and there are many more projects being constructed as I type. As with any area, come and rent for a while before you buy so you can try out and research the different parts of town during different times of year
- The beaches of Los Boliches are golden sand and well worth digging your feet into! Take a visit to one of the many chiringuitos for some sardinas. My personal favourite and where you will find me in the summer is Los Naufragos where I am happily ’shipwrecked’ in the warmer months.
- It’s worth getting a season ticket to Fuengirola Zoo – during the winter we visit as part of our daily walk https://www.bioparcfuengirola.es/pase-anual-b/
- If you love shopping then Fuengirola ticks all the boxes! Whether it’s the town itself which has more unique one-off stores (apart from Zara and Primor) or the bigger lights of El Corte Ingles or Miramar Shopping Centre with its cinema.
Thanks Ali, these are great tips! See you at Los Naufragos next summer!
If you are a woman dreaming of a new life in the sunshine in Fuengirola and beyond we’d recommend joining the Costa Women community. It’s free to join and a great way to meet people, learn about Spain, ask questions and find out about their latest events. Being a member of Costa Women helps you to enjoy your life on the Costa del Sol to the full.