It was supposedly founded by the Phoenicians and later as the remains found in the area was an Ibero-Punic settlement. In writings of 500b.C appears as a fortified town with the name of Syalis. In the IIIcentury bC after the defeat of the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War and with the rest of the south populations of the peninsula it became dominated by the Romans.
After they conquered the city was named Suel. Thanks to its proximity to the Via Augusta Romans made it an important location, becoming a federated town. Its economic development is reflected in the writings of Pliny and Ptolemy and the archaeological remains found in the area.
From V century, due to several factors, including the invasion of the Vandals, subsequently to the Byzantines, Visigoths and also a tsunami, caused the people moved inland in the mountains, leaving a period of almost 200 years without any city information.
After this time, Arabs from North Africa conquered the area, which is now called Suhayl, so call during the Arab domination of the Castle, the river and surrounding area. During the Muslim period, Suhayl had a fairly long term, fertile and well cultivated farms and abundant large fish in its coastal areas. Was cited as a neat and cultured town, for the most famous poet who was born in it, As-Sohali, who dedicated some verses to contemplate the destruction of the city by fire. Most of the population fled to Mijas, being reduced Suhayl to a small village. It was then renamed Font-jirola, because of the fountain that flowed near the Castle.
In August 1485 the Christian troops conquered the castle, which was just what was there. After the conquest they tried to repopulate the area, but the lack of land nearby and the threat of North African invasion was to fail restocking, being reduced to a defensive enclosure and coastal surveillance.
This depopulation made the land reserved for Fuengirola, pass to depend on Mijas . In the XVII century, to remove the threat of Turks and Berbers, started a new urban center but not the previous settlements, new ones across the river, around a "venta" close to the beach, which served as lodging for carriers and fishermen, suddenly forming a small village, XVIII century.
In May 1841 the Málaga Provincial Council authorized the emancipation of Fuengirola and Mijas Municipality and allowed the creation of their own town halls.
For over a century, the wealth of the new population was agriculture and fishing. At the end of the 30s began to build the first hotels on the coast, increasing considerably in the sixties, transforming completely Fuengirola into a first order tourist resort.