Is Benalmádena Worth Visiting? Best Things to Do & See [2024]

Is Benalmádena Worth Visiting? Best Things to Do & See [2024]

Table of Contents

Thinking About Visiting Benalmádena?

If you want to know more about Benalmadena, you have come to the right place!

I have been living right next to Benalmádena since 2020, and visiting very often.

In this article, you will find the most accurate local insights and practical tips that will make planning your trip much easier!

The article will cover all the essentials to plan your stay in Benalmádena – hotels, activities, places of interest and even tips for day trips. Feel free to use the table of contents for the section that interests you the most.

Let’s dive in!


Introducting Benalmádena

If you’re looking for the perfect family destination on Costa del Sol, Benalmádena should be at the top of your list!

With well-serviced sandy beaches, many hotels and apartments, and plenty of activities for the whole family, Benalmádena is the perfect year-round sunny holiday destination.

On the coastline, you can enjoy a stroll on the Paseo Maritimo, grab a drink in a local chiringuito, enjoy a family picnic in Paloma Park or venture to the Benalmádena Pueblo, one of the prettiest white Andalusian towns in the area. There is also a Butterfly Park, Buddhist Temple, Castillo Colomares (Castle monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus) and Sea Life park in Benalmádena Marina. So much to discover in just one place!

Is Benalmádena Worth Visiting?

It certainly is!

For a relatively small town, Benalmadena has a lot to offer and ticks a lot of holiday boxes. Here are a few reasons why I think you would like to spend your holiday in Benalmádena, or at least visit for a day trip!

  • Benalmádena is very close to Malaga International Aiport, and you can get to the city in just 20 minutes with a taxi or rented car
  • If you don’t like the idea of renting a car, Benalmádena is perfect for you – it’s well connected with Malaga and other destinations with local buses and trains
  • The coastal area is pretty compact, so you can walk anywhere
  • In addition to the coastline, it also has a very pretty traditional village which is up in the hills
  • You can also walk across to the next-door town of Torremolinos without getting into a car or bus.
  • Many boat trips are available from Benalmádena, allowing you to explore beyond the coastline.
  • Plenty of activities for kids within short walking distance
  • There is enough to do and see to keep you busy for 5 days
Benalmadena Pueblo
Benalmadena Pueblo
Benalmadena paloma park
Paloma park in Benalmadena

Where is Benalmádena?

Benalmádena is a town on the shores of Costa del Sol, in southern Spain. It’s part of the autonomous region of Andalusia and belongs to the district of Malaga.

The town is comprised of the neighbourhoods of La Carihuela, Benalmádena Costa, Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmadena Pueblo.

Benalmádena Location on the map:

Parque de la Batteria, Benalmadena
Parque de la Batteria, Benalmádena

Best Things To Do in Benalmádena

Here are my picks for some of the best things to do and see in Benalmádena – please also check the bottom of this list for things NOT do to!

1. Castillo Colomares Castle Monument

Castillo de Colomares tells a story of the discovery of the new world, built between 197 and 1994 by Dr. D. Esteban Martín. As the author explains, the story’s hero, 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!

Castillo de Colomares took years to build and features a blend of different architectural styles. It reminded me of old-fashioned Italian castles, complete with immaculate gardens. Check out the pictures in my blog post below.

2. Mariposario Benalmadena – The Butterfly Park

Mariposario de Benalmádena 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 the 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. They also have a little nursery where you can watch baby butterflies hatch in real life!

Check out some photos in my blog post here:

3. Stupa – The Buddhist Temple

Right across the road from the park and just under the Buddhist temple is a platform with gorgeous coast views – I imagine the sunset views from here must be spectacular!

Benalmadena Stupa
Buddhist temple in Benalmadena

4. Benalmadena Pueblo – The White Village

The old village (pueblo) is high up in the hills, further away from the center of the town and the coastal areas. There isn’t a quick way to get there with local transport, so your best bet is taking a quick taxi drive.

The village is a maze of whitewashed streets decorated with flower pots, beautiful squares around fountains, cute tapas, bars and restaurants scattered around.

At the end of the village, you will find Parque de Murillo, a gorgeous little park with church and cascading gardens.

Some of the best restaurants in Benalmádena are in the pueblo, and they all have a bonus – stunning coastline views!

5. Benalmadena Costa – Beaches & Restaurants

The coastal area is centred around the Paseo Maritimo, a promenade lined with bars and restaurants. If you’re heading out for a beach day, the area has everything you need to plan the perfect day – lots of bars and restaurants, small shops where you can buy beach equipment, and seaside restaurants offering local fish & drinks.

Remember my note at the beginning of the article: some of the local beaches will be closed until July 2023, so keep that in mind when you plan where to stay in the summer.

6. Paloma Park Benalmadena

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 chasing and running around in the grass – what’s not to love here?

Check out the full article with photos below.

7. Benalmadena Marina

If you fancy a day trip with a boat or renting your own boat, Benalmádena Marina is the place to be! This marina has really impressive architecture and lots of activities to choose from.

On the first floor of the building, you will find lots o restaurants with beautiful views of the Marina, and in the ground floor, there are small shops and bars. The Sea World park is also located in the marina.

Dolphin Watching Trip from Benalmadena Marina
Benalmadena marina
Benalmadena Marina

8. Sea Life

If you’re looking for child-friendly activity in the coastal area, Sea Life is a great option! It’s relatively compact, but there is a lot to see for big and small kids.

Check out the tickets and details below.

9. Beach Picnic

One of my favorite things to do is a beach picnic!

You can head out to the beach early in the morning to enjoy a breakfast picnic while watching the sunrise, or head there in the late afternoon when all the tourists return to the hotel, to enjoy your dinner with a view!

10. Stroll to Torremolinos

Benalmádena is next to Torremolinos, so you can walk to Torremolinos in under 20 minutes from Benalmádena Costa! An easy way to explore a new area without getting into a car!

11. Benalmadena Cable Car

Get to the top of Mount Calamorro to enjoy some of the most spectacular views of Costa del Sol! Check the tickets and availability below.

11. Day Trips from Benalmadena

Benalmádena is the perfect destination for day trips! Within just an hour’s drive, you can reach Malaga and many other exciting destinations with much to offer!

I added my recommendations in the section below.


What NOT to Do in Benalmadena

While it’s important to know the best sports to visit, it’s equally important to know the tourist traps to avoid!

Here are some of the places I would NOT recommend visiting:

  • Selwo Marina – if you don’t want to feel like a complete tourist watching dolphins in captivity, I recommend avoiding this place. Check the reasons why here.
  • Battery Park – this park was a huge disappointment, and while others may disagree and think it’s a great park, you’re better off visiting Paloma Park instead of this one. I have a report from my visit here.
  • Chiringuito Restaurants – the seaside restaurants facing the beach offer some of the worst dining experiences in terms of food quality and value for money. I would recommend avoiding them entirely unless you only want to venture for a drink with a view.
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Buddhist temple in Benalmadena
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Cactus garden in Paloma Park

Best Day Trips from Benalmádena

If you’re staying in Benalmadena and looking for an easy and convenient way to explore beyond the city, here are a few day trips options available:

  • Caminito del Rey Guided Tour – pick up from Benalmádena and a full guided tour of the famous walkway overlooking the gorge. Stunning views all around.
  • Granada and Alhambra Tour – experience the highlights of Granada on this day trip with pick up in Benalmádena. Full Alhambra and Generalife tour, free time for lunch and exploring in Granada.
  • Gibraltar Day Tour – take a bus to the Rock and enjoy free shopping or exploring on your own, or you can also book a tour of the nature reserve to see all the highlights.
  • Morocco Day Trip – cross the straight of Gibraltar by ferry and enjoy a day of discovering the African continent.

What is Benalmádena Like?

I think Benalmádena is one of the most interesting destinations on Costa del Sol, as by visiting this place you get to experience much more than just a typical seaside resort.

Benalmádena has also an old town up in the hills, so if you fancy exploring one of the prettiest Pueblos Blancos (white towns), Benalmádena Pueblo is one of the best examples (another one closeby worth a trip is Mijas Pueblo).

The coastline is pretty with nice sandy beaches, although it cannot compete with Fuengirola which has over 7km of sandy beaches with a full-length coastal promenade next to it.

The coastline of Benalmádena is not so densely populated and overtaken by tall apartment buildings, and the older part (Arroyo de la Miel) still feels like an old village, not a touristy resort.


Benalmádena Beach Guide

The beaches of Benalmádena stretch to each side from Puerto Marina. There are a mix of sandy beaches with rocky beaches and offer plenty of space to enjoy the sun and the sea.

The beaches are lined with the coastal promenade, where you will find small shops and restaurants, so you never have to venture out too far if you need to get some drinks or find a place for lunch. There are also small shops where you can buy kids beach toys, towels, beach clothing, sun lotion and even snacks.

fuengirola spain 15
Beaches of Benalmadena

Golf Near Benalmádena

The closest golf course to Benalmádena is Golf Torrequebrada, which is 18 hole golf course a short drive away from the city.

The green fee for 18 holes start around 90 euros. You can book your slot and check other services on their website here.


Where To Stay in Benalmádena

As I live right next to Benalmádena, I have never stayed in a hotel there so I won’t recommend any place in particular – the aim of this section is to show you which are the best locations to pick for your stay and what to consider before choosing your hotel or apartment.

Hotels in Benalmádena

Most of the bigger hotels are very close to the coastline, around Paloma Park, where you have easy access to the beach and everything you need. I think this location is pretty perfect as you’re further away from the noisy and busy promenade, but you can still access the beach without getting into a car.

I wouldn’t personally consider hotels near Arroyo de la Miel, which is the center of the town. There is a steep uphill you would have to face each time going back from the beach and the walk is not exactly pleasant.

You will find more hotels also on the borders with Torremolinos. I think Torremolinos is more about value all-inclusive hotels, so if you’re on a tight budget, you will have more options in this part of the city.

If you’re looking for luxury accommodation, the best option is the Vincci Selección Aleysa – I have stayed in one Malaga hotel that belongs to this chain and it has been delightful!

Appartments in Benalmádena

Apartments are scattered around the coastline and the central area, and here are my tips for where to stay:

Benalmadena Costa

Overall, the best location for access to the beach, restaurants and bars, and even shops. If you’re travelling in the season, it will come with a price tag, especially if the place has a sea view!

If you’re travelling as a family, these apartments can be quite noisy due to the commotion on the streets, but also your neighbours – lots of young people prefer this location and due to the thin walls, they can easily disrupt night sleep.

Arroyo de la Miel

If you’re looking for some budget options, you will find them in this part of the city. As I mentioned before, if you venture to the beach from there, there is a steep hill you need to face each time, so it’s not exactly a convenient location.

The apartments also rarely have an allocated parking spot, so you need to consider that if you were planning to rent a car. I personally think that it’s not the prettiest part of the city, but for budget travel, it will tick a lot of the boxes.

Benalmadena Pueblo

If you want peace, access to the pool and stunning views, you will get all of that in Benalmádena Pueblo. It’s a bit further away from the coastline, so you will need a car to navigate the steep, curvy roads, but the views are well worth it!

There are some fantastic properties available in this area, and it doesn’t feel as touristy as the coastline.

benalmadena spain 4 2
Benalmadena Pueblo
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Benalmadena Marina

Weather in Benalmadena: Month by Month

Month Temperature Range Weather Notes
January 8°C – 17°C Some rainy days, more clouds
February 8°C – 18°C Rainy with clouds around
March 15°C – 19°C Less rain, more sunny days, nights still very cold
April Low 20s°C Unpredictable, occasional cold spells
May 15°C – 25°C Lots of sunny days, rare rain
June 18°C – 28°C First peak into 30s°C
July 20°C – 33°C One of the hottest months
August 25°C – 35°C The hottest month
September 25°C – 30°C Beginning to cool off
October 20°C – 25°C Pleasant temperatures
November 18°C – 25°C Still relatively warm
December 15°C – 20°C Cooling off

Best Restaurants in Benalmadena

I have tested quite a few restaurants in Benalmádena, and unfortunately, most of them fall into the tourist trap category, especially around Benalmádena Costa.

In the article below, I have written a detailed overview of the really good ones I found in the city. Check it out here:

The restaurants I had the worst experience in?

Most of those by the coast with bleached-out pictures of the food. Chiringuitos in my experience are overpriced with very bad quality food. You pay the premium for the location, but the service and quality of ingredients leave a lot to be desired.

Another place you will probably hear a lot about is Trocadero in Benalmádena, with glowing tripadvisor reviews.

I have visited the place once, and even though the views and the interior design are truly beautiful, I found it very pretentious, and overpriced and generally didn’t feel comfortable there. It seems like the place where people want to be seen. The food was ok, but nothing exceptional for the excessive price tag.

If you’re willing to explore further, here is another city guides for foodies you can explore:

butterfly park benalmadena 63
Pil Pil
butterfly park benalmadena 59
Trio of sandwiches

Transport Guide to Benalmádena

Thanks to a great network of trains and buses, it’s easy to explore the rest of Costa del Sol if your holiday base is in Benalmádena. Thanks to the frequent connections and affordable ticket prices, it’s easy to explore Southern Spain without renting a car.

This section will answer all the transport connections you might have about traveling to and from Benalmádena.

Distances From Benalmádena

  • Benalmadena to Malaga – 18.5 km
  • Benalmadena to Marbella – 44 km
  • Benalmadena to Seville – 220 km
  • Benalmadena to Granada – 140 km
  • Benalmadena to Fuengirola – 17.2 km
  • Benalmadena to Torremolinos – 6.5 km
  • Benalmadena to Gibraltar – 119 km
  • Benalmadena to Ronda – 108 km

Transport Malaga to Benalmádena

If you need to travel from Malaga to Benalmadena, you have four options: taxi, train, car or a bus.

1. Malaga to Benalmadena by Taxi

Taxi journey from Malaga to Benalmádena will take approximately 15 minutes, and it will cost around 30 euros, depending on where you’re leaving from and where you are being dropped off. The taxi from Malaga airport to Benalmádena is a little cheaper, around 20 euros. You can also prebook your airport transfer with a company like Solhop from the airport to Benalmádena.

Taxi ranks in Malaga are available at the train stations, by hotels (close to the cathedral for example), or at the taxi rank at the airport.

If you’re planning to use a taxi, I highly recommend installing Uber app on your phone as they tend to be cheaper than standard taxi.

2. Malaga to Benalmadena by Train

There is a regular local train connection to Benalmádena, which is the route Malaga – Fuengirola. In Benalmádena, the train stops at Aroyo de la Miel, which is close to the old town. From there it’s about 15-20 minutes walk to the coast.

The trains run approximately every 20 minutes from Maria Zambrano or Centro station, and you can buy the tickets at the booth in the station building. One-way ticket costs around 5 euros and the journey will take approximately 20-25 minutes.

The trains are very spacious and comfortable to use, you won’t struggle to board even if you have a lot of luggage with you.

4. Malaga to Benalmadena by Car

From Malaga, take the MA-21 road towards Fuengirola, and you should arrive in Benalmádena in about 25 minutes.

5. Malaga to Benalmadena by Bus

There is a regular Avanza service to Benalmádena, which stops at the marina area, and leaves from the main station in Malaga. The journey is approximately 35 minutes, so it’s much faster the take the train connection.

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Benalmadena Pueblo
Benalmadena Bil Bil Castle
Bil Bil Castle

Benalmádena Transport Guides

I have written detailed transport guides for some of the most popular destinations from Benalmádena, you can access them here.

In case you’re planning a day trip, I have detailed guides available here (more are added soon!):


Benalmádena Car Rental

One issue that needs your consideration before you book any rental car is parking!

If you’re staying in an apartment, it’s super important to check whether the place has a dedicated parking lot in the building. Most places have parking within the building, but it’s not allocated per apartment, making it tricky to find a parking place for your car. This is especially an issue in the summer when the building has increased occupation capacity.

If you’re staying in a hotel, check how much they charge for car parking, as it can be quite a lot in some places. If you still want to stay in the place, check what public parking is available nearby (I shared a map below), which can save you a lot of money for minimum inconvenience.

I recommend using Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison site that will get you the best deals from dozens of local and international car rental companies so that you can find the best deals on car rentals in seconds.

The company is super transparent and has some of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the industry (4.4/5 on Tripadvisor), so you can be confident in booking through them. Here are some other advantages of using them:

  • Get the best price on car rental in seconds
  • Trusted reviews for each car rental company are available on the platform
  • Completely transparent with no hidden fees
  • Much better deals than trying to source a car rental locally
  • No language barrier
  • 24/7 multi-language customer support helping you with the booking or any issues
  • Free cancellation
  • Lowest prices thanks to deals with lots of local companies

Benalmadena or Fuengirola? Which is Better?

Generally, I would say Fuengirola is better for those who are looking for a beach holiday as it has 7km of well-serviced sandy beaches.

If you’re the type that wants a lot to do on holiday, Benalmádena might be better as there are a lot more attractions and places to visit. I think it’s also a better choice for holiday with kids, although all the kids attractions are also easily accessible from Fuengirola.

Fuengirola would have a much bigger selection of holiday apartments and places to rent, in Benalmádena, you will find bigger accommodation options like houses.

Fuengirola is fairly dense, so you can walk from one side of town to the other in under an hour. Benalmádena is spread out towards the hills, so you will encounter some steep climbs if you’re walking around.

In terms of greenery spaces, Benalmádena is better thanks to the large Paloma park.

In terms of nightlife, that’s hard for me to comment on, but I’ve heard that Fuengirola is supposed to be better.


Benalmadena or Torremolinos? Which is Better?

I personally don’t like Torremolinos and prefer Benalmádena, but a lot of people disagree and say that Torremolinos feels like old fashioned Spanish town.

Benalmádena in contrast is more developed for the tourist population. Torremolinos has a lot of run-down areas that look like they haven’t been touched with paint since they were built in the 80s.

Torremolinos happened to be my first holiday in Spain many years ago, and I remember that apart from sunning myself at the beach, there wasn’t much to do.

Torremolinos also has a lot more holiday resorts, especially in the cheaper category ranges and all-inclusive resorts, which are all distributed along the coastline. Torremolinos is also known as the gay capital of Costa del Sol and the city is marketing itself, especially to this audience base.

Common Misspellings for Benalmadena

I must admit it took me a few tries to get the name right! It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!

Over time, I’ve encountered some very common misspellings of the town name, so I’m adding them all here for reference!

  • Belamadena
  • Belamadina
  • Benalmedina
  • Belamedina
  • Benamadena
  • Benimadina
  • Benalmadina
  • Benalmedena
  • Bellamadina
  • Benelmadena
  • Balmedina
  • Medalmadena

Benalmadena, Spain: Frequent Questions

Which Airport for Benalmádena?

The closest airport to Benalmádena is Malaga international airport.

Is Benalmádena Touristy?

Some people say yes, and prefer the town of Torremolinos next door, which had retained much more of its Spanish character.

Personally, I found Torremolinos more touristy and neglected, very much stuck in the era of mass development.

Benalmádena is one of the most popular resorts on Costa del Sol, so you will see crowds of tourists, especially in the summer months, that’s pretty unavoidable.

What Region is Benalmádena in?

Benalmádena is located in the autonomous region of Andalusia, in Southern Spain.

How Far is Benalmádena from Malaga?

Benalmádena is about 20 kilometers from Malaga.

Where is Benalmádena Costa?

Benalmádena Costa is the coastal area of the town of Benalmadena.

Where is Benalmádena Puebo?

Benalmádena Pueblo is the oldest part of the town and stretches higher up on the hill above Benalmadena Costa. The location is marked on the map below.

How far is Benalmádena Pueblo from Benalmadena Costa?

The distance from Benalmadena Pueblo to Benalmadena Costa is about 4 km. While that doesn’t seem like a lot and you think you could walk there, there are quite a few hills and it’s not easy to get there on foot.

How Can I Get to Benalmádena Pueblo?

If you’re in Benalmádena town, Costa or other parts of the town, local buses can take you to the old town.

The M103, M112, M121, M124, and M126 buses all stop in Benalmádena Pueblo. The train stop is also in the old town. See above for directions on how to get to Benalmádena from Malaga.

How Hot is Benalmádena?

Benalmádena has pretty standard temperatures like the other towns on Costa del Sol, with the summer stretching much longer than in the rest of Europe, and very mild weather in the winter months.

If you’re interested in the temperature breakdown for each month, here are the estimates.

Is Benalmádena Safe?

Yes, Benalmadena is generally considered a safe place. It is very family-friendly. If you’re going for a night out as a group of ladies, I would be very cautious and not accept drinks from strangers, as spiking your drink happens more often than you would like to think.

Is Benalmádena Good for Families?

Yes, Benalmadena is good for families. It is a very family-friendly resort town.

Can you Walk from Benalmádena to Fuengirola?

Yes, you can walk from Benalmadena to Fuengirola! A pathway next to the main road will lead straight to Fuengirola. Depending on how fast you walk and where you want to get to, walking would take around 1 hour or 1.5 hours.

I have done this a few times and it’s certainly manageable, but beware of the heat in the summer and do not attempt to do this long walk during that time.

Can You Walk from Benalmádena to Torremolinos?

Yes, you can walk from Benalmadena to Torremolinos! You can walk to Torremolinos easily as it’s just next to Benalmádena, so the walk is not massive (depending on your starting point).

Is Benalmadena Tacky?

I think that’s a matter of personal taste, but I would not call Benalmádena tacky. I think the next door resort of Torremolinos would be what I would call tacky, mostly old buildings, cheap tourist shops and pretty low quality restaurants all around.

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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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