Let me take you for a walk in a fairy tale, are you in?
This one takes place just outside of Benalmadena, in the district of Malaga. A small sleepy village stretching by the coastline, with a charming old town up in the hills. Just outside the old town is a castle, that’s not really a castle. Let me show you around Benalmádena Castillo.
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 realise it’s not a castle, but a monument dedicated to no other than Christopher Columbus.
What’s his connection to this part of Spain and this place?
‘It was Spain and Andalusia in particular who starred in that discovery that undoubtedly changed the world, for the better according to some and for the worse according to others.’ as the author of the monument says in brief history of its making.
Benalmádena Castillo 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!
Benalmádena Castillo took years to build and features a blend of different architectural styles. To me, it reminded me of the old-fashioned Italian castles, complete with immaculate gardens.
Judge for yourself…
We arrived early in the afternoon opening hours (after the compulsory siesta time) to find it near empty.
It was shortly after the lock-down in Spain was released so Andalusia wasn’t exactly overflowing with tourists, which was a great chance to experience these popular spots in peace.
At the gate, you are welcomed by a friendly lady who will hand you a small map. Each section of Benalmádena Castillo has numbers so you can follow up on detailed history lessons based on your map.
I was more interested in discovering the small details and admiring the views, so I will spare you the history lecture.
Even though it looks like a large castle, it’s actually relatively compact and you won’t have to work out any sweat while visiting.
It’s the perfect playground for kids as there are so many hidden chambers, stairs and places to climb.
Below is probably the most photographed location of the monument, you will see it appear very frequently on Instagram, which is exactly where my eagle eyes also found it.
It is overlooking the most iconic part of the building featuring the front of the ship and gives an impression of looking out from some grand balcony.
The garden is very spacious and on a few levels, with stunning views towards the coastline (scroll lower of a photo).
By the entrance, on your left side, there is a small cafe (which was closed) that would serve some light snacks and a vending machine. It had lovely looking seating area overlooking the monument from a shaded spot, perfect for a bit of rest from the heat (check the last photo in this article).
The biggest hit of all – it had some water features, much to the delight of our young explorer.
So there you have it, a little piece of paradise, or a walk-in a fairy tale for one afternoon, whichever you prefer to call it!
If you’re planning a visit, here are a few things to know before you head over there.
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 2pm – siesta – 4pm to 8pm. In autumn and winter, they close earlier, at 6pm.
Price: 2.50 eur for adults, 2 eur for kids.
Location: marked on the map here – just outside Benalmadena Pueblo (old town in the hills, not the coastline)
Parking: There is an area next to the monument where you can park, just a stretch of land with an improvised parking option. You will have to walk a few meters by the road down to the monument from there.
Bonus tips: To avoid crowds, arrive first thing in the morning or right after the siesta. If you’re coming later in the day, there is a fabulous restaurant just up the hill from the monument called La Cupula Lounge that has the most amazing views and cool atmosphere with live music.
Enjoy your trip and let me know how did you like it!
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