10+ Exciting Things to Do in Benalmadena

Are you spending your holiday in Benalmadena?

Or perhaps you just want to do a day trip and make the most out of it?

Here are my top recommendations on what to do and see in Benalmadena!

Where is Benalmadena?

Benalmadena is a beautiful coastal town about 12km south of Malaga (map location here).

Unlike the rest of its coastal neighbours, Benalmadena is not only offering a long stretch of sandy beaches but also a historic old part of the town stretching high up in the hills.

If you want to experience the best of both worlds, Benalmadena is the place to be.

Benalmadena Pueblo

How to get to Benalmadena?

Benalmadena is well connected to the main cities and towns by bus and train.

How to get to Benalmadena from Malaga?

The fastest travel connection is a train going in the direction of Fuengirola – these run every approx 20 mins and leave from Maria Zambrano Train station. Get your tickets at the machine at the station. By car the journey takes approximately 20 mins (16km).

How to get to Benalmadena from Marbella?

Marbella is not connected to the coastal cities by train, so the only option is to take a bus or car. The bus leaves from the main station in Marbella and stops in the Marina in Benalmadena, the journey takes approx 45 mins. With a car the journey takes approx 35 mins (44km).

How to get to Benalmadena from Fuengirola?

There is a direct frequent train connection between Benalmadena and Fuengirola (train towards Malaga). The train stops at the Northside of the town, just between Pueblo and the coastal town. From the train station, it takes about 15 mins to walk down to the coastline. By car the trip takes approx 19 mins (17km).

Bil Bil Castle in Benalmadena coast

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.

1. Walk in 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 in my opinion far better option to enjoy the views than taking the Cable Car.

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.

Most of the restaurants and establishments are in and around Plaza de Espana (map location here), with most dining options available at Av. de Chorillo.

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

Beautiful streets and views in Benalmadena Pueblo
One of the small squares with coffee shops and restaurants in Benalmadena Pueblo
Beautiful houses in Benalmadena Pueblo
Exploring the old town.
Views towards the town from the park.
Beautiful flower-covered square in old town

2. Enjoy a Coffee at Plaza Espana

One of the main village squares happens to be one of the more quiet 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. (location on map here)

Views from the restaurant.
The trees offer a welcome escape from the heat in summer.
Lush & green terraces on the square.

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.

(location on map here)

Enjoying the views from the park.
Entrance to the park, this one leads to the lower gardens connected to La Coupola Lounge.
Pretty village views.
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 on the map here)

Viewing platform in front of the temple.
Access to the temple – there are parking spaces available right next to it.
Views from the viewing platform – perfect for dream house window shopping.

5. Visit The Butterfly Park (Mariposario de Benalmadena)

If you’re already by the Buddhist temple, it would be a shame to miss a visit to the 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 the 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 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 really get a sense of the sheer number of them as soon as you walk in.

As with any beauty – it fades with time – these butterflies have a lifespan of 2-3 weeks but are constantly being replaced by newborns.

Read more in my other article here.

(location on the map here)

Feeding time!
The lush vegetation in the park was another wonder in itself.
Jungle vibes.
Butterfly nursery. I’ve never seen anything like it before!
These ones were my favourite.

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 weekend, it’s best to book a table.

(location on map here)

The entrance to the Lounge

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 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!

Read more in my original article here.

(location on the map here)

8. Visit 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 chasing running around in the grass – 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.

Read more in my original blog post here.

(location on map here)

9. Book a Boat Trip from the Marina

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

There are a number of companies offering boat trips all summer round, or you can rent a private boat to explore the coastline on your own.

(location on the map here)

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 build around a central patio. The castle is used for various exhibitions and events.

The beautiful colour and architecture style is 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.

Its a lovely stop on a promenade stroll and a beautiful photography location.

11. Visit the Sea Life Benalmadena

The Sea Life park is located at the edge of the Marina.

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 its done in an interactive and fun way.

It’s relatively compact in size and certainly not as impressive as some of the bigger aquariums I’ve seen before (Dubai comes to mind), but its a fun afternoon for the whole family and a very welcome break from the scotching heat in the summer.

I personally 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 17 eur per person, while online you pay only 12 eur.

It has one large tank with tunnel walkway and other themed fish tanks spread throughout the premises.

13. Take a Stroll on the Promenade

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

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. If you’re looking for a better dining experience, you will have to head away from the coastline (my personal favourites are Lime & Lemon Restaurant close to Bil Bil Castle, Yucas Mare Restaurant just outside Benalmadena and El Scorpio in Benalmadena Pueblo).

14. Dine by the Sea

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

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

Check out the full article here.

Activities that I left out on purpose:

Cable Car

For me, the cable car is a bit of a tourist trap as it’s advertised as one of the best views of Benalmadena when you can get spectacular coastal views from pretty much anywhere in Benalmadena Pueblo.

It takes you to the top of a mountain where they have a small display of birds, but that’s about it.

It’s a pass for me, but you might enjoy it.

If you want to see the mountain you can also take one of the few hiking routes that will take you there – that way you get in a bit of exercise too.

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).

Aqualand

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

I hope you enjoyed these recommendations – I will keep updating the list with new discoveries and tips as I continue exploring Benalmadena.

If you have a tip of your own, feel free to leave a comment below!

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Lucia

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