top 14 best things to do in benalmadena spain

The Best Things To Do And See In Benalmadena, Spain

Located on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, Benalmadena comfortably hugs the Andalusian coastline where it enjoys over 300 days of annual sunshine and warm weather all year round.

No wonder it’s such a popular destination, with its close proximity to Malaga and the nearby airport. Plus there are plenty of other cities and towns close by to explore too, such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella.

In this post, I am going to give you the very best Benalmadena travel guide so you will know where to stay in Benalmadena, what to see, and the very best things to do in Benalmadena Spain.

 

WHERE IS BENALMADENA SPAIN?

Benalmadena is just a 30-minute drive south of Malaga with a great public transport system connecting it to enough different towns and cities to keep even the most avid and adventurous explorers going for months.

Whether you like to get out in search of the best beaches, get involved with some watersports, immerse yourself in a bit of culture and tradition, or take a step back in time and learn about the history from the many museums and historical spots, there is a little something for everyone in Benalmadena, Spain.

Benalmadena is actually made up of 3 main areas. And to help you decide which one might be best for your next holiday, I have broken them down below;

  • Benalmadena Costa – you will find most of the hotels, bars and nightclubs here as well as the Benalmadena Marina which is one of the largest in Europe and home to luxury yachts and some great seafood restaurants. The most popular destination with great blue flag beaches.
  • Benalmadena Pueblo – this is the old town centre located up in the mountainside in a quieter part of town away from the hustle and bustle of the seaside towns. It’s a beautiful, traditional Spanish white-washed village with plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants and bars.
  • Arroyo de la Miel – another bustling town located between Benalmadena Pueblo and Benalmadena Costa, a short drive from the coast. It’s known for its lively atmosphere and has some fantastic traditional tapas bars and restaurants, and great coffee shops.

Each place is fantastic for different reasons, but if you’re here to enjoy the sun, sea and hustle and bustle, then you’ll most likely want to stay in Benalmadena Costa. Couples looking for something a little more romantic and quiet could go for Benalmadena Pueblo

Benalmadena Pueblo is around 4 km up the mountain behind Benalmadena Costa. If you are staying in the Pueblo, then you will need to take either a car, taxi or bus to the beach at Benalmadena Costa. A taxi will cost around €7-8 and the bus will take around 20 minutes and cost around €2.

Best Hotels in Benalmadena

Budget

La Casa de la Palmeras – 3star – just a 12-minute walk to the beach, these lovely studio apartments have everything you need for a pleasant stay with a garden and pool to cool off in when things get too hot.

Mid-range

Hotel Best Siroco – 4 star – Located just 250 yards from the beach, this resort boasts a huge pool and gardens, spacious bedrooms and buffet-style meals if you opt for a catered choice.

Luxury

Vincci Seleccion Aleysa, Boutique Hotel & Spa – 5 star – Beachfront boutique hotel with pools and hot tub overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Spacious rooms with all the trimmings, including 42″ LED TV, bathrobes etc

THE RICH HISTORY OF BENALMADENA, SPAIN

Benalmadena has a very long and rich history, dating all the way back to the Phoenician era when it was first founded in 1000 BCE. The name Benalmadena actually comes from the Arabic phrase “Banu al-Madan”, which translates to “sons of the mines”. This is because there were many mines in the area during the Moorish occupation.

The Moors occupied Benalmadena from the year 1000 CE until 1485 when the Christians finally regained control over Spain. During this time, Benalmadena was actually two separate towns; Benalmadena Pueblo (the original town) and Benalmadena Costa (the newer, coastal town).

It wasn’t until 1987 that Benalmadena Pueblo and Benalmadena Costa finally merged to become the one, unified town that it is today.

Nowadays, Benalmadena is a thriving tourist destination with plenty to see and do. It’s also a great place to live, with a strong expat community. Thanks to its close proximity to the airport and the city of Malaga, Benalmadena is the perfect place to call home if you’re looking for a sunny, Spanish lifestyle.

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT BENALMADENA

The best time to visit Benalmadena is from May to October when the weather is at its best. The average temperature during these months is a lovely 26 degrees Celsius.

July and August are the busiest months, as well as the hottest, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds then you might want to come slightly earlier or later during the shoulder months of May-June and September-October.

Although it’s one of the warmest places in Europe in Winter, it still isn’t quite warm enough to be laying on a beach sunbathing. Although you still get the odd hot day, a winter visit would be better suited for exploration and adventure, visiting other towns and cities, hiking and generally being a little more active than in the height of summers here when it’s too hot.

 

BEST THINGS TO DO IN BENALMADENA SPAIN

As I already mentioned, there is a ton of fun things to do in Benalmadena, Spain, and plenty of interesting things to see and get involved in.

Benalmadena can be so much more than just a beach holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I love the odd day at the beach or around the pool too, but this place is just crying out to be explored and begging to be photographed.

So, if you are wondering what to do in Benalmadena, then this extensive list has got you covered. And if time permits, I would definitely suggest you get as many of these onto your itinerary for your next Benalmadena Spain holiday!

1. BENALMADENA MARINA

Best For:  Family Fun / Couples / Explorers

Time Required:  1 – 5 hours

benalmadena marina best things to do in benalmadena spain

Benalmadena Marina is one of the largest and most beautiful marinas in Europe. It’s home to over 1000 boats and yachts and is just oozing with style and luxury.

Enjoy a whole afternoon here – take a slow walk around, have some lunch in one of the many waterfront restaurants or cafes, do some shopping and grab some ice cream whilst you’re at it.

There is also Sea Life Benalmadena located here, which is a great activity for the kids (or adults who are young at heart like me), where they’ll be able to get up close and personal to many sea life critters and even get their hands wet and touch a starfish or hermit crab.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of boat trips available to take from Benalmadena Marina too. You could go on a glass-bottom boat tour, a dolphin watching tour or even hire your own private yacht for the day.

You’ll also find a dive centre out on the marina too if you fancy getting a discovery dive under your belt whilst you’re here. I have just broken my 100 logged dives and I can’t get enough of the underwater world here in Spain!

Benalmadena Marina is the perfect place to melt away a few hours, or even spend a full, action-packed day here. Definitely not one to be missed.

How To Get There:

Benalmadena Marina is to the west of Playa Malapesquera at the seafront, nestled between Benalmadena and La Carihuela

2. PARQUE DE LA PALOMA

Best For:  Nature / Tranquility / Animal Lovers 

Time Required:  1 – 4 hours

parque de la paloma best places to see in benalmadena spain

Benalmadena Marina is one of the largest and most beautiful marinas in Europe. It’s home to over 1000 boats and yachts and is just oozing with style and luxury.

Enjoy a whole afternoon here – take a slow walk around, have some lunch in one of the many waterfront restaurants or cafes, do some shopping and grab some ice cream whilst you’re at it.

There is also Sea Life Benalmadena located here, which is a great activity for the kids (or adults who are young at heart like me), where they’ll be able to get up close and personal to many sea life critters and even get their hands wet and touch a starfish or hermit crab.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of boat trips available to take from Benalmadena Marina too. You could go on a glass-bottom boat tour, a dolphin watching tour or even hire your own private yacht for the day.

You’ll also find a dive centre out on the marina too if you fancy getting a discovery dive under your belt whilst you’re here. I have just broken my 100 logged dives and I can’t get enough of the underwater world here in Spain!

Benalmadena Marina is the perfect place to melt away a few hours, or even spend a full, action-packed day here. Definitely not one to be missed.

How To Get There:

5 minute walk from the promenade in the centre of Benalmenda. Walk back from the Playa de Santa Ana and you will find this beautiful, big green space

3. SELWO MARINA

Best For:  Marine Life / Family Fun / Educational

Time Required:  3 – 4 hours

selwo marina place to visit in benalmadena spain

Selwo Marina is Benalmadena’s very own dolphinarium and penguinarium, located just behind the main beaches of Benalmadena inside Parque de la Paloma.

Here you’ll be able to watch dolphins perform acrobatic shows, learn all about these fascinating creatures in the educational talks and even get in the water and swim with them too!

You can also walk through the penguinarium and see these little guys waddling around, swimming in their pool and generally being very cute.

There are also a few other animals to see here too, such as sea lions, parrots, flamingos and more.

A visit to Selwo Marina is a great activity for the whole family and is one the kids will particularly love.

Pro-tip – Save money on your tickets for the main attractions by booking them together online from the official ticket website

Opening Times: High season 10:00 – 21:00 / Low season 10:00 – 18:00

Entry Cost: €24.90 general admission / €19.90 reduced admission (3-10 years/senior) – Sometimes you can save up to €6 by booking tickets online

How To Get There:

Located within the grounds of Parque de la Paloma in Benalmadena

4. BENALMADENA PUEBLO

Best For:  City Escape / Families & Couples / Traditional Spanish Culture

Time Required:  3 – 4 hours

selwo marina place to visit in benalmadena spain

Selwo Marina is Benalmadena’s very own dolphinarium and penguinarium, located just behind the main beaches of Benalmadena inside Parque de la Paloma.

Here you’ll be able to watch dolphins perform acrobatic shows, learn all about these fascinating creatures in the educational talks and even get in the water and swim with them too!

You can also walk through the penguinarium and see these little guys waddling around, swimming in their pool and generally being very cute.

There are also a few other animals to see here too, such as sea lions, parrots, flamingos and more.

A visit to Selwo Marina is a great activity for the whole family and is one the kids will particularly love.

Pro-tip – Save money on your tickets for the main attractions by booking them together online from the official ticket website

Opening Times: High season 10:00 – 21:00 / Low season 10:00 – 18:00

Entry Cost: €24.90 general admission / €19.90 reduced admission (3-10 years/senior) – Sometimes you can save up to €6 by booking tickets online

How To Get There:

Located within the grounds of Parque de la Paloma in Benalmadena

5. CASTILLO DE COLOMARES

Best For:  Castles & Culture / Break From The Beach

Time Required:  1 – 2 hours

castillo de colomares best place to see in benalmadena spain

Castillo de Colomares is a beautiful castle located in Benalmadena. It was built in 1987 and is dedicated to Christopher Columbus.

The castle is made up of over 30 different buildings, each with its own unique design and architecture. It’s really quite a sight to behold.

There are also plenty of gardens and courtyards to explore, as well as a museum dedicated to the life and work of Christopher Columbus.

If you’re visiting Benalmadena with kids, then they’ll love exploring this castle! There are plenty of photo opportunities too so make sure you bring your camera.

The Castillo de Colomares is a fantastic piece of architecture that looks like it’s been dropped here straight out of a fairytale, and it is most deserving of its spot in our best things to do in Benalmadena Spain guide!

Opening Hours: Summer 10:00 – 14:00, 17:00 – 21:00 / Spring 10:00 – 20:00 / Autumn & Winter 10:00 – 18:00

Entry Cost: General €2.50 / Reduced (pensioners and children) €2

How To Get There:

You can reach here by a 10-minute taxi ride from the centre of Benalmadena, or you can take the M-103 bus and a 10-minute walk from the stop

6. BENALMANDENA CABLE CAR

Best For:  Adventure / Views Over The Costa Del Sol / Short Hike

Time Required:  2 – 4 hours

benalmadena cable car best tings to do in benalmadena spain

Benalmadena Cable Car is one of the best ways to see Benalmadena and the Costa del Sol. The cable car takes you from the centre of Benalmadena beside the train station, high up over the hills and mountains, over Benalmadena Pueblo all the way up to Calamorro Mountain.

The Benalmadena Cable Car is a great activity for families, couples or groups of friends. And if you’re feeling active, then once you reach the top of Calamorro Mountain there are a few hiking trails you can do too.

If you have the time, they put on bird of prey shows from a small enclosure at the top of the mountain, where they do twice daily talks about the birds at 12:30 and 14:30 which the kids always love.

The cable car journey takes 15 minutes where you can get some of the best views across the Costa Del Sol, and are absolutely stunning on a clear day where you can see all the way out to Gibraltar and even Morroco. It’s a fun thing to do in Benalmadena and it is definitely worth the ticket price for the views alone!

Pro-tip: If you’re not a fan of heights and don’t like the sound of the cable car, you can still visit the top by road or by one of the many hiking trails to the top. Just don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water with you!

Opening hours: May – September 10:00 – 19:00 / October – April 10:00 – 17:00

Entry Cost: General tickets €19.90 / Reduced (children and pensioners ) tickets €15.90. Purchase your tickets on the official website or at the bottom of the cable car where there is a ticket office.

How To Get There:

The ticket office is at the bottom of the cable car and it is a 5 minute walk from the train station in Benalmadena

7. CASTILLA DE BIL BIL

Best For:  Culture / History / Break From The Beach

Time Required:  1 – 2 hours

castillo bil bil fun places to see in benalmadena spain

Castilla de BilBil is a beautiful Moorish castle located in Benalmadena right along the promenade. It was built in 1927 and is a fantastic Arab-style building that’s decorated orange and red.

The castle was actually built for a wealthy family but the Town Council bought it and added it to its list of many cultural assets along the Costa Del Sol.

Although not quite as striking as the Castillo de Colomares, it’s still a great little stop and adds an interesting break in your day when you feel like you need to get off the beach for a while.

You will still find events and exhibitions and concerts taking place inside and around the gardens and fountains, and if you’re lucky, they’ll have a show on there during your stay.

You can find the castle in between Playa de Santa Ana and Playa De Bil Bil in Benalmadena, Spain.

Opening Hours: 10:00 – 13:00 and 16:30 – 20:00

Entry Cost: Free

How To Get There:

Castillo de Bil Bil is located right on the promenade in Benalmadena just to the west of Playa de Bil Bil (fitting – I know!)

8. MARIPOSARIO DE BENALMÁDENA

Best For:  Fun For The Family / Educational / Animal Lovers

Time Required:  3 – 4 hours

butterfly park fun things to do in benalmadena spain

The Mariposario de Benalmádena is a butterfly park located in Torremolinoa. It’s a great place to visit when you’re in Benalmadena and looking for something different to do, and it’s perfect for families with young children.

The park has over 4000 square meters of space and is home to over 1500 butterflies from over 40 different species. You can also find a pond with koi carp, and a tropical garden with over 100 different types of plants.

The park is open all year round, but the best time to visit is between March and October when the weather is warmer and the butterflies are more active.

There’s a small museum inside as well which explains all about the butterfly species and the many exotic plants that are also on show inside the park.

The butterfly park is actually just outside of Benalmadena and takes around 10-15 minutes to reach there by car. You can also take the M-103 bus from Benalmadena Costa which drops you off right outside. You can’t miss the building, the Mariposario de Benalmadena is housed inside a Thai-looking temple – I still don’t know why to this day so if you find out then I would love to know!

Entry Cost: General tickets €8.50 / Reduced (children and pensioners) ticket €7.50

Opening hours: 10:00 – 19:30

How To Get There:

You can reach the butterfly park in under 15 minutes by taxi from the centre of Benalmadena. You can also take the M-103 bus which drops you off right outside.

9. ENLIGHTENMENT STUPA - BUDDIST TEMPLE

Best For:  Cultural / Meditation / Break from The Beach

Time Required:  1 – 2 hours

stupa best things to see in benalmadena spain

The Enlightenment Stupa is a Buddist temple located in Benalmadena, very close to the butterfly park (which right explains the temple-looking design? Who knows…)

The stupa stands quite prominent at 33m high and serves as a large meditation hall which still runs today on Sundays from 17:30 (starts at 18:00). I never actually got around to joining a meditation there, and I still wish I had to this day. I’ll have to get there again next time, and it’s already added to my list of things to do and places to see in Benalmadena, Spain for my next trip there (most likely next year – I need to keep practising my Spanish!)

The temple was inspired by the great Buddhist Master from Bhutan called Lopan Tsechu Rinpoche and was built in 2003 making it a relatively new point of cultural interest in Benalmadena.

Today, people come here to visit the Stupa and have a walk through the temple. You will find a cafe and a small stupa shop inside as well in case you want to pick up a souvenir or grab a drink whilst you’re there.

It’s a great place to see when in Benalmadena and it ties in perfectly with a visit to the Butterfly Park if you’re visiting. It’s not so common to find a temple like this in the Costa Del Sol, and for this reason, it attracts a fair few people every day

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 14:00 and 16:30 – 19:30 / Closed Mondays

How To Get There:

The Stupa is located right beside the Butterfly Park. You can take a 15-minute taxi or the M-103 bus directly to the park and stupa.

10. Aqualand Waterpark

Best For:  Fun For The Whole Family / Excitement & Adrenline

Time Required:  Full Day

aqualand fun things to do in benalmadena spain

Aqualand is located in neighbouring Torremolinos and is one of the biggest water parks in Andalucia.

The park has over 20 different slides and attractions, as well as a wave pool, lazy river and kids’ play area. It’s definitely a fun day out, for kids and grownups alike.

If you’re visiting with young children then I would recommend the ‘Mini Land’ area which has smaller versions of some of the bigger slides and is more suitable for smaller kids.

You can take a short 15-minute bus from Benalmadena or a 10-minute taxi to reach Aqualand from Benalmadena.

Opening Hours: July and August 11:00 – 19:00 September 11:00 – 18:00

Entrance Cost: You’ll pay more at the ticket office on the day so it’s best to book your tickets online. Online prices – €29 per adult / €22 per child

How To Get There:

Aqualand is in Torremolinos and is less than 15 minutes away by car or taxi. You can also take the M-110 or M-120 bus there.

11. CROCODILLOS PARK

Best For:  Fun For The Whole Family / Animal Lovers

Time Required:  3 – 5 hours

aqualand fun things to do in benalmadena spain

Crocodillos Park is located in Torremolinos again and is home to over 60 crocodiles!

The park has a range of different activities and shows that you can watch, as well as a chance to hold a baby crocodile. It’s a fantastic place to visit in Benalmadena and you will want to plan at least 4 hours to get around the whole park and have some fun.

During high season they put on hourly talks around the crocodile pits which is a great way to learn about how these fascinating mammals live.

Kids always love a visit to this park, and if you buy a combined ticket with Aqualand, you’ll even save a few quid. Buy a combined ticket here.

How To Get There:

The crocodile park is located right next to Aqualand in Torremolinos. You can either take a 13 minute taxi or the M-110 / M-120 bus directly there from Benalmadena.

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM BENALMADENA

As I’m sure you can imagine, there are some fantastic day trips to be had within close proximity to Benalmadena. So what are the best day trips from Benalmadena, and which ones are worth your time?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra time on your hands during your visit here, then I would definitely recommend some of the below.

12. DAY TRIP TO MALAGA FROM BENALMADENA

malaga day trip from benalmadena

Just a 30-minute train journey away from Benalmadena is the wonderful city of Malaga.

This historic city is definitely worth a day trip, and there’s plenty to see and do from cultural walks through the city’s finest architecture to chilling on a city beach and feasting in some of the many incredibly eateries the city has to offer.

From exploring the Alcazaba fortress to strolling around the beautiful Picasso museum or simply wandering around the old town – you’ll be spoilt for choice and find that a day trip here might not even be quite enough!

You can also check out my post on the best things to do in Malaga, Spain, so you can make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff whilst you’re visiting this magnificent city.

How To Get There:

Malaga is just a 30 minute drive from Benalmadena. You can either drive or take a taxi. You can also take the train (25 minutes) or the M-110 bus (50 minutes)

13. DAY TRIP TO MARBELLA FROM BENALMADENA

marbella day trip from benalmadena

If you’re looking for a day of luxury and relaxation then a day trip to Marbella is definitely in order.

This upmarket town is located just an hour away from Benalmadena and is home to some of the most incredible beaches on the Costa Del Sol.

You can spend your day sunbathing on one of the many beaches, exploring the old town or simply indulging in some retail therapy in one of the many designer stores.

You can check out Nikki Beach for a bit of glitz and glam, or pass a day in the tourist hotspot of family-friendly Puerto Banus.

The thing I most enjoy doing during any visit to Marbella is people watching! It’s my number one spot across the whole of the Costa Del Sol for this one activity alone, and it never disappoints.

How To Get There:

You’re best hiring a car and driving the 48km down the coast to Marbella. It takes around 40 minutes to get there.

14. DAY TRIP TO NERJA FROM BENALMADENA

nerja day trip from benalmadena spain

Nerja is a beautiful town located just an hour north of Benalmadena.

This quaint little seaside town is nestled in between the mountains and the sea and is home to some of the most stunning scenery on the Costa Del Sol.

During your day trip here you can explore the Nerja Caves, relax on Burriana Beach, stroll around the old town or take a walk along with the famous Balcon de Europa.

Nerja is definitely one of my favourite places on the Costa Del Sol, and I think it would be an amazing place to visit during your time in Benalmadena.

And in terms of beaches, this place has some of the best natural and wild beaches I’ve stumbled across whilst passing through this wonderful part of the world. Playa de Maro is my all-time favourite so if you like your beaches a little more untouched, then this is the place for you.

You can read my other post on all of the best things to do in Nerja, Spain for more inspiration during your visit here.

How To Get There:

Hire a car and drive yourself to Nerja. It will take you just under and hour and its a lovely coastal road the whole way.

FAQ

 

IS BENALMADENA WORTH VISITING?

Yes, Benalmadena is definitely worth visiting! There’s something for everyone in Benalmadena, from watersports, boat trips, and beach action, to fantastic restaurants, nightlife and even little cultural attractions to drop in at during your visit here.

 

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO VISIT BENALMADENA, SPAIN?

Ideally, I recommend spending at least a few days in Benalmadena so that you can explore all that the city has to offer. However, if you’re short on time, you can squeeze a lot of the best bits in on a single day trip, but I would really recommend at least an overnight stay so you can slow down and enjoy the best bits of the city and beaches that are waiting for you.

 

WHAT IS BENALMADENA LIKE?

Benalmadena is quite a large and popular resort town located on the Costa Del Sol in southern Spain. The town is made up of three main areas – Benalmadena Pueblo (the old village), Benalmadena Costa (the beach area) and Arroyo de la Miel (a buzzing commercial centre). Benalmadena is a great place to visit for its fantastic weather, excellent beaches, a world-class marina and many other attractions and things to do right on your doorstep.

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