Benalmádena is one of those beautiful coastal towns that has grown according to the international tourism that chooses this hidden town as a destination to visit every year. From little crowded rocky beaches to a great nightlife, this town runs on the slope of a mountain with plenty of hills to explore.
It is located between two tourism references in the Costa del Sol, such as Fuengirola and Torremolinos, so it enjoys the advantages of being between two bustling cities, but the tranquility of being away from the center of these.
If you want to enjoy a vacation full of sun, sea and fun, don’t miss this article about what you need to know before visiting Benalmádena.
History of Benalmádena
The history of Benalmádena dates back to the Paleolithic period, known thanks to the archaeological remains found between this town and Torremolinos. Evidence shows settlements dedicated to hunting, fishing or shellfish harvesting, among other activities.
Prior to Roman colonization is the site of the Cerro de la Era, which is believed to have corresponded to the Tartessos. For centuries, it has been an important fishing and commercial port, as well as a place of residence for different cultures.
The Roman salting sites in the area attest to the importance that this town had in the maritime activities of the region. This idea is reinforced thanks to the discovery of amphoras, used to transport salted fish.
In the Middle Ages, during the Muslim colonization, Benalmádena was a mining center thanks to the iron reserves. In addition, agriculture, especially that of trees such as cork oaks, fig trees, vines or almond trees, was one of the main activities in the area due to the ideal climate and geography.
By the end of the 20th century, Benalmádena began its expansion as a potential tourist destination, in line with the growth of neighboring towns such as Mijas, Torremolinos or Fuengirola. In this way, it became the modern, yet peaceful, cosmopolitan town of the Costa del Sol.
What to see and do in Benalmádena
If you’re looking for an unforgettable getaway, Benalmádena is the perfect place for you. Spread over three urban areas, Benalmádena Pueblo, Benalmádena Costa and Arroyo de la Miel, it’s the perfect combination of relaxation and fun in equal parts.
Here you’ll find a wide variety of activities for all tastes, from visiting its most emblematic places to enjoying its beaches and lively nightlife.
What to see in Benalmádena
Built in honor of Christopher Columbus, the Castle of Colomares is a beautiful site, more artistic than defensive, that is worth visiting. Without a doubt, the most visited site in the town thanks to its exceptional views and the beauty of its construction.
- Location: Finca la Carraca, Ctra. Costa del Sol, s/n, 29639 Benalmádena, Málaga
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-20.00h (may be affected in the afternoon depending on the time of year)
- Price: Adults €3; Children €2.
- Phone: 678 03 40 11
We also recommend visiting the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, the Stupa of Illumination. Whether you are associated with this religion or not, this Buddhist center is a great tourist attraction thanks to its beauty and excellent location. It has rooms where guided meditation can be practiced.
- Location: Av. Retamar, s/n, 29631 Benalmádena, Málaga
- Opening hours: Closed on Mondays; Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-14.00h and 16.00-18.30h
- Price: Free for the temple. The exhibition room has a fee of 2 €.
- Phone: 662 90 70 04
On the coastline, you will find the Bil-Bil Castle, next to the beach of the same name. This reddish-colored structure was built in 1927, but with a characteristic Arab style, similar to the structures of the Nasrid period.
- Location: Av. Antonio Machado, 78, 29631 Benalmádena, Málaga
- Opening hours: All year round, 10.00-13.00h and 17.30-21.00h
- Phone: 952 44 43 20
For animal lovers, the Garden of Eagles, also known as the Valley of Eagles Foundation, is a place where you can see raptors such as eagles, hawks, and owls up close. It is an authentic experience to watch the shows organized for groups that are regularly prepared.
- Location: Explanada del tivoli s/n, 29631 Arroyo de La Miel, Málaga
- Opening hours: The hours vary depending on the month:
- May-August: 1pm-8pm
- September: 1pm-6pm
- October-April: 1pm-5pm
- Price: Adults €6; Children €5
- Phone: 670 55 31 14
Finally, you will find a wide variety of spas in Benalmádena where you can find a space of relaxation and comfort after an exhausting day of beach, visits and party. You can check our post for the best options in the area.
Nature and hiking
Benalmádena is a town with a wide range of hiking routes and natural spaces. Thanks to its proximity to the Sierra de Mijas, you can take various routes and walks that will allow you to get to know the flora and fauna of the area.
If you fancy a steep path at the beginning, to later delve into wooded areas and, above all, enjoy spectacular views of the coast all along the way, the route of the Trinidad Mine is the best option.
The route is not particularly well-kept or signposted, so you should pay attention to the possible detours you take within the route.
Starting its route next to the Stupa, it has steep ascents at the beginning. It is a short route, however, if you wish, it can be extended to the Puerto de los Hoyos and the Pico de Castillejos, delving deeper into the Sierra de Mijas.
Beach and sun
Benalmádena has 10 kilometers of beaches, from small and quiet rocky coves, to large and crowded sandy beaches. The most popular beaches in Benalmádena are Playa de Malapesquera, Playa del Bil Bil and Playa de Santa Ana.
However, when the sun goes down, its lively beaches remain crowded thanks to Benalmádena’s exclusive beach clubs. They are a great attraction for residents and visitors who continue their day at the beach with music and drinks on the Costa del Sol.
Popular festivals and gastronomy
The festivities in honor of San Juan are among the most outstanding. During the night of June 23, the tradition of going to the beaches, where “moragas” are organized, is fulfilled. And throughout this month, multiple events related to San Juan are celebrated, such as the pilgrimage and the Fair, which usually takes place from the 24th onwards.
Other notable celebrations are:
- Carnival with “drag queens” – February
- Corpus Christi – June
- Arab Souk – September
- Tapas Route – October/November
The typical cuisine of Benalmádena is very similar to that of the entire Malaga coast. In Benalmádena, you can find restaurants that offer paella, fried fish, or orange salad. It is a real pleasure to taste them in front of the sea. In addition, during the fairs, you can try the traditional buñuelos, accompanied by sweet syrups and sauces.
How to get to Benalmádena
How to get there by public transportation
The access by public transport from Malaga is quite good and frequent. There are several options to get to Benalmádena by bus, being the two following the best options:
- Line M-110. Connects Malaga with Benalmádena and Torremolinos, with a stop at the bus station in Malaga.
- Line M-103. Connects Malaga with Fuengirola, with a stop in Benalmádena. It has departures from the bus station in Malaga.
Both lines are operated by the public transportation company of Andalusia. Prices range from 1.65 to 3.50 euros per trip, depending on the line and the distance traveled. The frequency of each route is between 15 and 30 minutes every day.
Another alternative is the train, specifically, the C1 line of Cercanias Renfe. From any of the train stations in Malaga, including the airport, you can take this route in the direction of Fuengirola, as it stops at Benalmádena-Arroyo de la Miel. The departure frequency is approximately 30 minutes.
How to get there by car
To get to Benalmádena by car from Malaga airport, you can take the A-7 motorway towards Algeciras/Marbella and take exit 222 towards Benalmádena. From there, follow the signs to the center of the town or to the different tourist spots that you want to visit.
In case you do not have your own car, there is the option of hiring a cheap car at the Malaga airport, which is very convenient to be able to move around the area with greater comfort and autonomy. This way, you can reach beaches further away from the urban area, to find a place to eat in Benalmádena.
Map of Benalmádena
Below is a map with the main tourist spots in Benalmádena marked to facilitate orientation and the visit to each of them. Enjoy your stay in this wonderful town on the Costa del Sol!
Best time of year to visit: Summer
Can’t miss: the Colomares Castle and, above all, the lively nightlife in the coastal areas of the town.
Nearby places to eat: You can check our post about the best restaurants in Benalmádena here.
For more information about the city, you can check the Benalmádena Town Hall website: https://www.benalmadena.es/