30 Fantastic Things To Do in Benalmadena: Expert Tips [2024]

30 Fantastic Things To Do in Benalmadena: Expert Tips [2024]

Are you planning your trip to Costa del Sol and wonder what are the best things to do in Benalmadena?

You came to the right place!

In this article, you will find a curated collection of the best things to do, places to visit, tours to book and useful travel tips from a local expert.

Why should you listen to me and read this guide?

Unlike other travel bloggers, I actually live next to Benalmadena permanently and visit frequently.

That means that you get the best local information and tips that have been tested over time, and also useful tips on popular tourist traps to avoid.

Are you ready to dive in and get inspired?

27 Best Things To Do in Benalmadena

These are my hand-picked favourite spots, places to see, and things to do in Benalmadena.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions were left out on purpose – check the bottom of the post to see which ones and why. They are regularly listed in roundups on other travel blogs and forums, but I consider them tourist traps.

PS: This article includes affiliate links, allowing me to earn a small commission without any additional cost to you. Your support in this way helps me maintain and run this website, so thank you!

Map of Best Things To Do in Benalmadena

You can use this Google map to quickly navigate between the activities and places mentioned in this guide!

1. Explore the White Village of Benalmadena Pueblo

Benalmadena Pueblo feels like a completely different town compared to the coastal district.

It maintains much of the original charm of an old Andalusian village and if you visit outside of the main season, you will see mostly locals sipping their morning coffee.

Situated at 250m high hills, it offers spectacular views of the coastline, and it’s still very much secluded from the crowds gathering around Benalmadena Costa.

Start your walk at the main village square and head down south through the small cobbled streets until you find a favourite spot to stop for a coffee break.

A few restaurants and establishments are in and around Plaza de Espana, with most dining options available at Av. de Chorillo. If you want more dining options in Benalmadena, here are my favourite restaurants to try.

Beware of the traffic, as even in the smallest streets there are still cars passing by.

things to do in benalmadena, spain
Beautiful streets and views in Benalmadena Pueblo

2. Enjoy a Coffee at Plaza de Espana

One of the main village squares happens to be one of the quietest ones too.

There is a handful of restaurants with fruit tree-covered terraces, from where you can watch life go by.

The square is centered around the small roundabout and surrounded by old buildings, so there isn’t much of a view to enjoy here.

It’s a lovely place to hide from the sun in the summer and plan your next steps, its marked on my map shared above.

Things to do in Benalmadena
Views from the restaurant.

3. Take a Walk in Jardines del Muro

If you continue walking from Plaza de Espana, you will end up at the edge of Benalmadena Pueblo – at Muro Gardens.

The gardens have a small church at the beginning and a playground just behind it.

From behind the church, you get some of the best views in Benalmadena – you can see the pueblo stretching just beneath your feet, and from the opposite side are gorgeous views of the coastline.

Just between the trees, you can also spot Castillo Colomares.

There is a pathway on the side of the park that leads you through the cascading gardens and directly to Cupula Lounge (more on that below).

You can also access the main road from the bottom of the hill – the road leads directly to Castillo Colomares.

Things to do in Benalmadena
Saying hi to the locals.

4. Visit the Buddhist Temple (Stupa Budista)

The large Buddhist temple is located by the main road just outside of Benalmadena Pueblo.

It was built as a Buddhist monument to peace, prosperity, and harmony and as the ideal place for reflection and meditation. It’s open every day except Monday till 6 pm, with a siesta break between 2 pm and 4 pm.

There is a viewing platform right next to it with some of the best coastal views around (best to enjoy at sunset time).

Location: El Retamar, 29639 Benalmádena Pueblo

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 2pm, and 4pm to 6.30pm. Closed on Mondays

BONUS TIP: there is parking available right next to the temple, and a small kids playground nearby.

what to do in benalmadena spain
Access to the temple – there are parking spaces available right next to it.

5. Visit The Butterfly Park (Mariposario de Benalmádena)

If you’re already by the Buddhist temple, it would be a shame to miss a visit to Butterfly Park!

It’s located right next to it, so you just cross the road to enter.

Mariposario de Benalmadena is the largest space in Europe dedicated solely to butterflies and it is truly impressive. The sheer number of butterflies you will see as soon as you enter is breathtaking.

They buzz around looking like they just hit rush hour on the highway and you are not sure where to look first – admire the plants, try to see one of them land on a flower, or follow the sound of the waterfalls coming from the back of the greenhouse.

There are over 1500 butterflies (of 150 different species) in the park and you get a sense of the sheer number of them as soon as you walk in.

They have a butterfly nursery where you can see them hatch, a small enclosure for additional inhabitants of the greenhouse, and a nice gift shop and cafeteria. All my friends, big and small, love this place!

Location: C. Muerdago, s/n, 29639 Benalmádena

Tickets: buy online from 10.50 euros per person

Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6.30pm

Mariposario de Benalmadena (Butterly Park)
Feeding time!

6. Enjoy a Drink with a View at Cupula Lounge

If you look down the hill from Muro Gardens you will see a white and blue cupola sticking out between the trees. It’s the home of La Cupula Lounge, a quirky lounge, and bistro offering cocktails, food and live music.

It’s set in a spectacular location overlooking the coastline, hidden in the shade of trees with gardens stretching on each end.

It’s very popular among locals so if you want to visit at the weekend, it’s best to book a table.

Location: C. Maestro Santos Mareca, 29639 Benalmádena,

Opening Times: I didn’t find online, but they close for winter (November – March)

Contact: 686266632 or use their Facebook page

cupula lounge benalmadena

7. Visit Castillo Colomares

Towering over the surrounding nature and blending perfectly with the buildings nearby, it’s nearly impossible to spot the Castillo Colomares until you get closer.

Once you do, you realize it’s not a castle, but a monument dedicated to no other than Christopher Columbus.

The monument tells a story of the discovery of the new world and was built between 197 and 1994 by Dr. D. Esteban Martín.

As the author explains, the hero of the story, sailor Colon was part of the expedition of Columbus funded heavily by the Catholic Monarchs in Spain.

It features three ships that were part of the exhibition, and you will also find here the smallest chapel in the world. Now that’s something!

It’s a spectacular location for photos, views and even kids will enjoy running about and checking out the water features. They have a small cafeteria and toilets on site.

Location: Finca la Carraca, Ctra. Costa del Sol, s/n, 29639 Benalmádena

Opening hours: check online here, they have dedicated summer and winter hours.

Tickets: 3 euros for adults, 2 euros for kids. Buy tickets at the booth by the entrance.

castillo colomares benalmadena andalusia spain

8. Admire the Cactus Gardens at Paloma Park

Dubbed the ‘Most Beautiful Park on Costa del Sol’, Paloma Park will certainly make you feel like you’re visiting an exotic destination in Thailand, and not strolling through the middle of a town in Spain.

200 square meters of gorgeous lush surroundings with sea views, exotic tree varieties, and bunnies running around – what’s not to love here?

The absolute highlight for me was the cactus garden, in fact, Europe’s richest collections of cacti and succulents.

Just the sheer size of them is breathtaking and you will feel like Alice in Wonderland as you walk through here. Want to see more? I have a whole article about Paloma Park here!

Location: Av. Federico García Lorca, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena

Opening hours: open daily from 9am to 11pm.

Tickets: free to enter

Things to do in Benalmadena

9. Explore Benalmadena Marina

With its striking architectural style, shopping options, and restaurants, the Marina in Benalmadena certainly has plenty to offer.

This award-winning marina is unlike any other one you will see on Costa del Sol, and even if you don’t want to book a boat trip, it’s well worth exploring on foot!

Wander through the shops, enjoy a meal in a restaurant with a view, or grab a drink to enjoy some people-watching.

Location: Edificio Capitania, Av. Juan Sebastian Elcano, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena

BONUS tip: if you stroll through the marina to the end, in the direction of Torremolinos, you actually cross the borders of the city in a 5 minute walk. In my books, that counts as the shortest day trip in the history!

Things to do in Benalmadena

10. Visit the Bil Bil Castle (Castillo de El Bil Bil)

Bil Bil Castle is a striking building on the coastline, owned by the local council.

Inside you will find 5 rooms built around a central patio. The castle is used for various exhibitions and events.

The beautiful colour and architectural style are a result of Islamic influence that inspired the architect when it was built in 1930. It has changed owners a few times since then until it was acquired by the municipality and saved from complete demolition.

It’s a lovely stop on a promenade stroll and a beautiful photography location.

Location: Av. Antonio Machado, 78, 29631 Benalmádena

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, and weekends from 9am to 3pm.

Benalmadena Bil Bil Castle

11. Visit Sea Life Benalmadena

Sea Life Benalmadena is located at the edge of the Marina, and it is one of the most popular child-friendly activities in the town.

If you’re looking for something to do with kids, the park is a great option because it offers an opportunity to educate kids about the animals and it’s done in an interactive and fun way.

There is another alternative you will probably explore – Selwo Marina. I recommend staying away from it as in my books it firmly belongs to the tourist traps category.

The aquarium is relatively compact in size and certainly not as impressive as some of the bigger aquariums I’ve seen before, but it’s a fun afternoon for the whole family and a very welcome break from the scorching heat in the summer.

I found it a little overpriced – but that’s probably because we bought the tickets on the spot instead of buying online.

On-the-spot adult tickets are nearly 19 euros per person, while online you pay only 15.75 euros.

Location: Av. del Puerto Deportivo, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena

Tickets: from 15.75 euros for adults, if you buy online.

Opening hours: 11 am to 7pm daily

Things to do in Benalmadena

12. Take a Stroll on the Promenade

The promenade stroll is one of my favourite things to do whether in Benalmadena.

The promenade is lined with small shops and restaurants, so you can take a break to enjoy the sea views.

In the summer, you might get annoyed by the number of street sellers spreading their fake goods on the pavements, but that’s just one of the realities of a popular holiday destination.

The majority of the restaurants on the promenade are Chiringuitos, and the food quality is pretty bad and most of them are also quite overpriced.

Things to do in Benalmadena

13. Dine by the Sea

No, I don’t mean to have lunch at Chiringuito.

You should head over to Yucca’s, the place to be for amazing food and even better views!

Locals and tourists love the place and it’s not hard to see why – amazing food, combined with spectacular views and excellent service.

Location: C. Torrequebrada, Planta -1, 29630 Benalmádena

Menu: check online here

Opening Times: 1pm to 11.30pm daily

Reservations: online here (booking a table is recommended)

Yucas Mare Restaurant in Benalmadena, Spain

14. Take a Day Trip to Bioparc in Fuengirola

Bioparc in Fuengirola is not your traditional ZOO.

The park was developed in the middle of the city to provide a safe haven for animals, but also to contribute to the education and preservation of endangered species. It looks and feels like you’re entering a botanical garden or a rainforest, not a ZOO with animals.

If you’re visiting with kids or without, it is well worth making the short train journey to see this jungle in the middle of the city.

Fuengirola is only 10-minute drive from Benalmadena, or you can take the cheap and fast local train (C-1 train).

Location: C. Camilo José Cela, 6, y 8, 29640 Fuengirola

Opening hours: 10am to 8pm all year

Park Map: check here

Tickets: 24.50 euros for adults, 18 euros for kids, under 3 years old are free. It’s not the cheapest place, I know.

Fuengirola bioparc, Fuengirola Spain

15. Take a Day Trip to Malaga

If you’re visiting Costa del Sol, it would be a shame to miss a trip to its main city – Malaga.

It may not have the cultural heritage gems of Seville or Granada, but in a short day trip you can see a lot, all within walking distance.

If you’re into art, you can trace the roots of Picasso’s birthplace in a museum situated in his birth house, or see some of his work in the Picasso museum.

For those who prefer outdoor adventures, visiting the Alcazaba and nearby Castillo Gibralfaro is highly recommended. If you want to venture out of the city, you can catch one of the boat or catamaran trips out of Muelle Uno.

I have a whole bunch of articles on what to do in Malaga, and tips for local tours too!

malaga old town 27
Calle Larios in Malaga, the main shopping street

16. Book a Day Trip to Gibraltar

Fancy seeing those famous Gibraltar monkeys or enjoying views from ‘the Rock’?

You can take a day trip to this British territory without having to rent a car – all you need to do is book this day trip with a local tour company.

The one I recommend comes with excellent reviews from travelers, a well-planned itinerary, and best of all, it’s super affordable.

You can book your spot here without payment in advance, and cancel up to 24 hours before the trip.

Alternatively, if you want to drive or use public transport, you can check my transport guide for day trip from Benalmadena to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar skywalk
Gibraltar skywalk

17. Book a Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

I have booked two catamaran cruises in Malaga and saw dolphins while sipping on my glass of cava.

Unfortunately, no travel company can guarantee this experience, so it’s best to keep that in mind when you book your boat trip.

Dolphin-watching cruises are a fun experience, whether you see dolphins or not.

You can book these online without too much risk involved, as you can pay later and cancel up to 24 hours in advance, for example, if the weather turns bad.

Check out this company and its popular dolphin-watching cruise leaving from Benalmadena Marina.

Benalmadena marina

18. Take a Ferry to Fuengirola

There is a direct ferry connection between Fuengirola and Benalmadena, a very popular trip option to see the city.

If you want to venture out of the city and explore what Fuengirola has to offer, the ferry is one of the most exciting ways to commute.

You can book your tickets in advance here, the ferry leaves from the dock in Benalmadena Marina and arrives in Fuengirola Marina.

From there it’s a short stroll away to the coastal promenade (Paseo Maritimo) and other attractions Fuengirola has to offer.

things to do benalmadena
Fuengirola is known for its beautiful beaches. As a local resident, I can only confirm that’s indeed true!

19. Hike Caminito del Rey (Day Trip)

Why not explore the most spectacular natural attraction in the Malaga district?

If you’re staying in Benalmadena, you don’t need to drive anywhere.

A local tour company will pick you up from the center of the city, take you to the pretty village of Ardales for breakfast, and then a local guide will be your company for hiking the famous Caminito del Rey (King’s Pathway) just north of Malaga.

This pathway alongside the gorge El Chorro is a spectacular experience you shouldn’t miss.

Book online here, with free cancellation and tickets to the attraction included (plus English speaking guide).

things to do benalmadena caminito del rey
Beautiful views from the path – don’t worry, it’s not physically demanding at all.

20. Take a Cable Car to Mount Calamoro

Fancy taking in some spectacular views without breaking a sweat?

The cable car (Teleferico) of Benalmadena will take you to the top of Mount Calamoro, from where you can enjoy stunning coastal views, and check out the bird show at the falconry located on top of the mountain.

Tickets: from 12 euros if you buy online, 18 euros on the spot.

Entrance: Explanada del Tivoli, s/n. 29630

Opening hours: 11am to 5pm

21. Book a Parasailing Adventure

If you fancy some water sports, check out the local parasailing options in Benalmadena Marina.

Booking online often gets you the best price, just like this option here.

22. Rent a Private Boat

While we’re on the topic of water sports, you can also rent a small private boat in Benalmadena Marina without a license.

The prices are very competitive and having your boat allows you to explore off the beaten path. Check this local company offering an option to book your boat in advance.

boats parked in Benalmadena marina

23. Enjoy a Beach Picnic

Visit the beach around sunset time, and you will have it nearly all to yourself!

Beach picnics are my absolute favorite way to spend time on the beach, without the crowds. Most people retire to their hotels around 7pm to catch their dinner, leaving the beach way less crowded.

What a perfect excuse to pack some food and watch the sea while you enjoy your dinner.

Best of all, it’s free and there is no waiting involved!

24. Try the Local Tapas

While we’re on the topic of food, you shouldn’t miss tasting some local gems.

Bigger cities offer dedicated tasting tours, like those in Malaga, but if you’re staying in Benalmadena you can design your own tour!

Here are some popular Andalusian dishes you can taste:

  • Spanish breakfast (tostada with tomato sauce and olive oil)
  • Churros & chocolate
  • Bocadillo with local Jamon (sandwich)
  • Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes)
  • Gambas Pil Pil (fried prawns)
  • Gazpacho (cold soup)
  • Espetos (sardine skewers)
  • Rabo de Toro (oxtail stew)
  • Salmorejo (cold soup)
kroon cafe restaurant fuengirola 16
Gambas Pil Pil

25. Visit Botanical Garden

Did you know that there is a pretty botanical garden just outside of Benalmadena?

In the next door town of Torremolinos, you will find Molino de Incathe botanical garden along with its museum in a renovated mill is a wonderful way to explore a bit of this history of the city in beautiful surroundings.

Tickets: 3 euros for adults, kids under 6 years old are free. Local residents pay 1 euro.

Location: Cam. de los Pinares, 29620 Torremolinos

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Molino de Inca Botanical Garden in Torremolinos

26. Take a Day Trip to Granada

Another popular day trip option from Benalmadena is a trip to Granada, to see the famous Alhambra palace.

If you don’t fancy a drive, you can get there also by train, or simply book a local affordable tour that comes with a local guide and tickets to Alhambra included.

You can book one here with free cancellation and an option to pay later.

things to do benalmadena alhambra
The famous Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain

27. Book a Round of Golf

Fancy a round of golf?

There is a really good golf course near Benalmadena, below are all the details you need to book them:

Golf Torrequebrada – 18 hole golf course with a luxurious club house, book online here.

28. Retail Therapy at Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor is a massive shopping mall near the Airport, only a few stops away from Benalmadena on the main train line.

If you need to get some gifts or planning to do bigger shopping, you will find all the major brands here. IKEA store is also located a short drive from Plaza Mayor.

29. Walk to Torremolinos

If you don’t want to drive or book any tours, you can simply walk to Torremolinos from Benalmadena!

Depending on where you’re staying, the day trip can take you as little as a 10 minute walk, for example from the marina.

Torremolinos has a beautiful coastline, more spacious beaches and a low key vibe you will like. There is also an old town up in the hill with restaurants and bars at every corner.

The clock tower in Torremolinos

30. Day Trip to Ronda

My last tip for venturing out of the town is a day trip to the beautiful village of Ronda, where you will find the famous Puente Nuevo (pictured below), one of the oldest bullrings in Spain and stunning scenery all around.

You can book this trip with a local tour company and avoid the hassle of driving or navigating the local transport. Book your spot here with free cancellation and an option to pay later.

Puento Nuevo in Ronda

3 Tourist Traps to Avoid

1. Tivoli Amusement Park

I’m not a big fan of amusement parks and this one certainly comes with a bad reputation (being overpriced, in bad condition etc).

2. Aqualand

Even with a small child, I’ve never visited a water park because the idea of spending a holiday among dozens of screaming water-splashing kids sounds more like a punishment to me.

I think the coastline offers plenty of options for kids to enjoy the water in more natural surroundings, but that’s just a personal preference. If your kids love slides and all the extra activities, they will certainly enjoy a day in Aqualand (located outside of Benalmadena, in Torremolinos).

3. Selwo Marina Benalmadena

I have visited this place and had very mixed feelings about it.

In terms of value for money, it’s certainly quite expensive, especially if you don’t buy your tickets in advance online. If you would like to see some animals, I would highly recommend visiting the Bioparc in Fuengirola instead of this marina park. I have added more details about what I didn’t like about the place here.

Selwo Marina in Benalmadena

FAQ: Best Things To Do in Benalmadena

What are the top attractions to visit in Benalmadena?

The top attractions include the Buddhist temple, the Butterfly Park and old town Benalmadena.

What are the most popular things to do in Benalmadena with children?

Kids would love a visit to the Butterfly Park just outside of the old town, or taking a boat trip from Benalmadena Marina. The Sea Life in the marina and Paloma Park is also worth visiting with kids.

What are the best inexpensive things to do in Benalmadena?

If you’re looking for free things to do in Benalmadena, these may include: exploring the old town of Benalmadena, visiting Benalmadena Marina, Paloma Park and taking a stroll on the beach promenade.

My Local Guides For Benalmadena

10 Fantastic Excursions from Benalmadena

Best Benalmadena Boat Trips: Expert Travel Tips

Fuengirola or Benalmadena: Which is Better to Visit?

Benalmadena or Torremolinos? Which is Better to Visit?

Where is Benalmadena? All Your Questions Answered

Is Benalmádena Worth Visiting? Local Expert Tips

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Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

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