Sunset in Puerto Marina Benalmadena
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15 Incredible Things To Do In Benalmadena

Benalmadena is one of the most lively towns. Its beautiful top coastal views, diverse attractions and traditional chiringuitos (beach bars) where you can enjoy the local food, and its proximity to Malaga make it one of the most visited towns in Costa del Sol. 

There are plenty of things to do in Benalmadena as it’s a big town that is divided into three main areas: Arroyo de la Miel, Benalmadena Costa and Benalmadena Pueblo. Due to its size and variety of activities, I can definitely say that there’s something for everyone and for you, of course.

If you’re staying in a hotel in Benalmadena costa or pueblo, you’re also in great locations to explore other nearby beautiful towns such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola, and the well-known beaches and famous venues of Marbella

Being born and raised in Costa del Sol has helped me explore all the beautiful and touristy towns as well as hidden gems that only locals know. I’ve heard many people say that Costa del Sol is only for tourists, but I completely disagree. If you know it well, you can certainly have a more authentic and better experience. 

One of the biggest mistakes I see many tourists do is to spend most of their time on the beach or in the hotels’ swimming pools and forget all the incredible things they can do in Benalmadena and its surroundings. Benalmadena and Costa del Sol are much more than a beach destination.

So in this guide, I’m going to tell you all the incredible things to do in Benalmadena to make your experience unique.

things to do in benalmadena spain guide

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15 Things to do in Benalmadena Spain

Visit Puerto Marina Benalmadena

Sunset in Puerto Marina Benalmadena

Puerto Marina in Benalmadena’s port where you can find a shopping centre, all sorts of restaurants and bars, traditional shops and attractions like Sea Life Benalmadena.

The port is a busy and lively place where you find families with their kids, couples enjoying an Italian meal or friends going for a drink.

It’s definitely one of those places where you’ll be surrounded by tourists, see menus in different languages to target tourists, hear other languages as you walk, etc. so it isn’t the best place to have an authentic experience, but it’s still worth visiting once. Especially to see the incredible expensive yachts! 

One of my favourite things to do is to walk on the promenade from below Parque de la Paloma to Puerto Marina. It’s a nice walk, especially at sunset, as you see the beach and you can stop to eat in some bars just before arriving at Puerto Marina.

📌 Exact location: Puerto Deportivo de Benalmadena, Av. del Puerto Deportivo, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Have a picnic at Parque de la Paloma

9 Things to do in Benalmadena

This lovely park is located in the centre of Benalmadena and is just about 3 minutes from the beachside. It’s one of the most beautiful parks in Costa del Sol, and it’s a must-see if you love seeing animals running freely and being in green spaces.

It’s the perfect place for relaxing in the afternoon, having a picnic or doing some exercise if you want to keep fit during your trip.

In the park, you can see rabbits, chickens, ducks and parrots, and other animals. They’re quite used to humans, so you can normally feed them. 

Apart from the friendly animals, one of the best things to do is to sit on one of the hills to get a view of the stunning lake and enjoy a small picnic. 

Visiting Paloma Park is definitely one of the best free things to do in Benalmadena!

📌 Exact location: Av. Federico García Lorca, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Opening times: Every day from 9 am to 11 pm.

Go to Selwo Marina  

Dolphin in selwo marina, benalmadena

Selwo Marina is a small marine park located next to Parque de la Paloma. Inside the park, you can see animals like penguins, sea lions and dolphins. 

Not only do you see animals, but you can do activities like encountering dolphins or swimming with sea lions as well as attending talks about exotic birds. The only thing is that some of these activities aren’t included in the general ticket, so you’ll have to pay extra. 

Encountering the dolphins was a good experience because you get near them and feed them, but the activity didn’t last long enough for the price you pay. I must admit I found it expensive, especially if you need to pay for friends or family.

Opening times: Saturday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm (The opening times have been reduced at this time, so it’s better to check the exact times on their website).

Prices: €21,00 general entry

€15,50 reduced entry

However, booking your tickets online will save you a couple of euros, €16,90 (general entry) and €14,50 (reduced entry).

TIP: they sometimes offer discount codes with other partners. If you are planning to go on the cable car, you can buy a bundle that includes entry to Selwo Marina, Benalmádena Cable Car and Selwo Aventura (a small safari located in Estepona).

If you love sea animals, another place that you want to check is Sealife Benalmadena.

📌Exact location: Parque de la Paloma, s/n, 29630 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Admire Castillo de Colomares

9 Things to do in Benalmadena

Castillo de Colomares is one of those hidden gems I recently discovered and I’m very glad I did. This impressive castle is dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Colombus, known as Colón in Spanish. 

Dr Esteban, an American doctor, realised the lack of homage to Christopher Colombus and built this fairytale castle that represents Columbus’ trip to America. As you wander, you’ll be impressed by all the architectural details from the predominant cultures at the time (Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar).

It’s a place that will blow your mind. Not only because of its architecture and art but its views too!

If you want to know more about this place, you can visit the official website here (the website is only available in Spanish).

Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday.

Spring time: from 10:00 to 19:00.

Summer times: from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 21:00.

Autumn and winter times: from 10:00 to 18:00.

Prices:

Kids and pensioners: €2.00

Adults: €2.50

📌 Exact location: Finca la Carraca, Ctra. Costa del Sol, s/n, 29639 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Take a photo at the Buddist Temple

Budhist temple in Benalmadena, Costa del Sol

The Buddhist temple, known as Stupa Benalmadena, is a beautiful building located a couple of minutes walk from the butterfly centre. I found it very odd to find a temple like this one in Costa del Sol, however, I think it’s fascinating!

The temple was the idea of the great Buddhist Master from Bhutan, Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, and the local government of Benalmadena approved and supported the construction of this amazing building.

Not only is the stupa beautiful from the outside, but inside too. Once you’re inside, it’s recommended to walk around the Stupa in a clockwise direction, and many believe that wishes done near a Stupa may become true, so don’t forget to ask for your wish!

Outside the temple, there is a small souvenir shop where you can get traditional ceramic figures and interesting books to learn about Buddhism.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Although the opening times may change according to the season.

TIP: Go to the Budha temple for the sunset to enjoy the beautiful views of Benalmadena from its viewpoint.

📌 Exact location: Av. Retamar, s/n, 29631 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Visit Mariposario de Benalmádena 

This butterfly park is a great place to visit with kids or friends. There are over 1,500 exotic butterflies from different parts of the world, flying around in between artificial waterfalls and stunning flowers.

The centre takes care of these butterflies and they are bred in captivity instead of being taken to the wild, and you can see how these butterflies are born.

It isn’t a very big place, so it won’t take you more than an hour to see it all. This is why I suggest you plan to visit other nearby places like the Buddist temple or Castillo de Colomares.

Opening times: Every day from 10 am to 7:30 pm. 

Prices:

General ticket: €10.00

Children’s ticket: € 8.50

📌 Exact location: Autovía del Mediterráneo, A7, Calle Muerdago, s/n, salida 217, 29639 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Go on Benalmadena Cable Car

9 Things to do in Benalmadena

If you’re up for an exciting experience, going on Benalmadena’s cable car, known as Teleférico de Benalmádena, is a great option.

The cable car stop is located next to the amusement park Tivoli World in Arroyo de la Miel. 

I was a bit scared of going on the cable car, but I’m so glad I went. The cable car connects Benalmadena with Calamorro mountain, and as soon as you get in it, you’ll want to take pictures of the landscape (just be careful with putting your camera through the window!)

However, it gets even better once you reach the stop and go to the top of Calamorro, as you’ll enjoy beautiful views of Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Torremolinos and even a far view of Gibraltar and the coast of Africa. 

Calamorro has still more things to offer; falconry displays, restaurants, a stargazing area, hiking trails and horse rides. For falconry displays, you need to visit Jardin de Las Aguilas (Garden of Eagles) which you’ll see as soon as you walk your way up to Calamorro.

The garden is dedicated to raising and protecting birds of prey such as eagles, owls, kites, and vultures among other species. 

Opening times: It varies depending on the month and season, check their availability here.

Prices: €16,90 for adults 

€12,90 for kids

However, if you want to save money, book the tickets online to get them for €12,90 (adults) or €10,00 (kids).

TIP: If you don’t like cable cars, but you’d love to visit Calamorro, you can also arrive by road or by a number of footpaths.

📌 Exact location: Explanada del Tivoli, s/n. 29630 Benalmádena (Málaga)

See Castillo de Bil Bil 

Castillo de Bil Bil (Bil Bil castle), which was built to look like a castle or a defensive fortress, is located on Benalmadena’s promenade.

The castle has a Moorish architecture style and it’s beautifully painted in a sandy pink colour. The building is truly beautiful, but if you’re wondering what’s inside, it’s the Town Hall that owns the castle and the one that organises events.

It’s worth visiting because they normally have different things to do and see. Some of the activities include art exhibitions, concerts, conferences and much more. 

During the summer, you can enjoy a walk on the promenade and see the local market, where you can buy handmade bags, crafts and many other things, next to the castle.

Opening times: Monday from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.

Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm. 

📌 Exact location: Av. Antonio Machado, 78, 29631 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain

Wander around Benalmadena Pueblo

9 Things to do in Benalmadena

If you’re after a more authentic experience rather than tourist attractions, you need to visit Benalmadena old town where all the locals hang out.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants where you can have traditional dishes from Costa del Sol like pescaito frito (fried fish), espeto de sardinas (sardines), and gazpacho (cold tomato soup). But the most fascinating thing is to enjoy the beautiful white houses with colourful flowers on the balconies or windows.

In Benalmadena pueblo, you can find Plaza de España, a small and pretty square with orange trees, restaurants and a fountain in the middle featuring Benalmadena’s symbol “La Niña” (the girl).

Also, this area is home to Benalmadena’s archaeological museum which includes important American and Colombian artisan collections.

Spend the day at Playa de Bil Bil

Bil Bil Beach is Benalmadena’s main beach so it’s always lively and there are many things you can do at this beach – from sunbathing in one of the rental hammocks to doing water sports activities.

This fine dark sand is ideal for everyone because it’s accessible and has good facilities too. You can find public toilets, showers, lifeguards and plenty of food options nearby.

A fun thing to do in Playa de Bil Bil is jumping on CostaWater Park, an aquatic park afloat on the sea. It’s an activity for all ages!

Visiting the promenade in the evening is a great experience too. In the summer months, you’ll sometimes see a street market where locals sell unique gifts, clothes and other goods, live performances and cultural events.

Enjoy a spa day

If you’re visiting Benalmadena in winter, going to the spa can be an excellent option.

Benalmadena is home to many highly rated spas that offer a wide selection of wellness treatments – from traditional massages and hydrotherapy to special treatments and facials.

One of the best spas is Katharó Spa, located in Benalmadena Pueblo. It offers incredible spa facilities, massage treatments and aromatherapy.

This is also a great activity to do in Benalmadena on a rainy day.

Go on a day trip

There are many things to do in Benalmadena, but if you’re staying in the town for longer than a weekend, you may want to check out other beautiful Costa del Sol towns or nearby destinations like Gibraltar.

Best day trips from Benalmadena

Malaga
View from Gibralfaro castle in Malaga

You can’t leave Benalmadena without visiting Malaga! Malaga is approximately 20 minutes drive from Benalmadena, but if you don’t drive, you can get the train (RENFE) from Benalmádena-Arroyo de la Miel station, which runs frequently.

There are plenty of things to do in Malaga in a day, but if you want to see Malaga’s main attractions, you must visit:

  • Alcazaba de Málaga to learn about Malaga’s history and influences.
  • Teatro Romano to contemplate the oldest monument in the city.
  • Gibralfaro to get a stunning view of the city and amazing sunsets. 
  • Calle Larios to experience the atmosphere of the city and do some shopping.
  • Muelle Uno to visit the port and have a relaxing walk.
  • El Pimpi to enjoy delicious traditional tapas and flamenco shows.
Mijas Pueblo
Girl in Mijas viewpoint

Located only 26 minutes drive from Benalmadena, Mijas Pueblo is one of the most beautiful white towns in Costa del Sol.

It’s the perfect day trip from Benalmadena as it isn’t far and there are a couple of things to do in Mijas. Just picture yourself walking in a hilly white town with incredible views and beautiful handmade pottery on the balconies. 

The town does not only have panoramic views of the coast but great bars and restaurants to enjoy a traditional meal or some tapas.

Ronda
A view of the main bridge in ronda spain

A fantastic day trip from Benalmadena is Ronda, a beautiful whitewashed town nestled in the mountainside of Malaga.

The town is very popular for being the birthplace of bullfighting, but whether you like bullfighting or not, it is worth visiting Ronda because it’s home to museums, beautiful historical buildings, and one of the most impressive landscapes in Spain, El Tajo de Ronda.

El Tajo de Ronda is a bridge that connects the newer part of Ronda with the old town of Ronda. It is very picturesque and unique.

Although there are plenty of things to do in Ronda in a day, you can also check out Setenil de las Bodegas, another pretty town that has become more popular because of the fact that some parts of the town are built under a cliff.

Gibraltar
top of gibraltar, one of the best things to do in gibraltar

If you are after a different experience and you don’t mind travelling a bit longer (approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes drive), Gibraltar is the place to go to!

However, if you’re concerned about how to get there since you don’t drive, you can always book a group day trip.

Gibraltar is unique in many ways – it belongs to the UK despite being located in the Spanish Peninsula, most locals are bilinguals (speak English and Spanish), it has influences from many cultures due to its position and this is reflected in the food and architecture.

Gibraltar has many things to offer – from exploring Top of The Rock and Gibraltar Nature Reserve to dolphin watching and relaxing on sandy beaches. 

Are you planning to visit Gibraltar during your time in Benalmadena? Read these best things to do in Gibraltar in a day.

Where to stay in Benalmadena

Hotel Best Tritón

Hotel Best Tritón is a 4-star hotel situated in front of the Benalmadena promenade and a less than 10 minute walk from Puerto Marina Shopping.

The hotel rooms have comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning, TV, safe, and lovely terraces (some of them with beautiful frontal sea view).

It’s a great accommodation in Benalmadena for families because of its facilities – there are swimming pools for kids and adults and live entertainment, and rooms that can be adapted for families.

Palladium Hotel Costa del Sol

Palladium Hotel Costa del Sol is located right on the beach which makes it a fantastic option for travellers who want a beach holiday.

The hotel offers modern rooms with comfortable beds, a TV, a mini bar, and a terrace (some of them overlook the beautiful sea).

The hotel facilities include a big outdoor swimming pool, 3 rooftop hot tubs, a kids club and a spa. However, you’ll also love their activity offer! You can do activities like horse-riding, golf and tennis.

Tips for visiting Benalmadena from a local 

Girl watching the sunset on Benalmadena beach
  • If you are wondering “Is Benalmadena worth visiting?” It is indeed, but it’s better if you visit Benalmadena in early or late summer to avoid crowds. August is the busiest and most expensive month. At the same time, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Benalmadena during winter as many tourist attractions and beach bars aren’t open.
  • Experience Benalmadena nightlife! If you love parties, there are lots of clubs in Benalmadena and nearby towns. However, it’s good to know that most clubs open late (from 11 pm onwards).
  • Rent a car. Travelling by car is so much easier! There are many places that you can’t access by bus or train or times to travel are very limited. This is when having a car becomes so useful. Also, the roads are generally good, so you don’t need to worry if you aren’t very confident about driving.
  • Going to Tivoli World isn’t worth it. It was a great place to visit as a kid 10 years ago, but now you can tell the amusement park is a bit old-fashioned. Instead, I would visit the water park Aqualand in Torremolinos. There are plenty of water attractions that are fun and have been recently added!
  • Can you walk from Benalmadena to Torremolinos? Of course! Walk to the Punta Gatuna viewpoint which is located between Torremolinos and Benalmadena and it’s perfect for watching the sunset. You’ll enjoy incredible beach and town views. Also, there are plenty of bars where you can stop and have tapas or a cheeky drink! Alternatively, why don’t you check all the things to do in Torremolinos? It’s another great town to explore.
  • Beaches in Benalmadena are very good so you don’t need to travel far or to another town. One of the best beaches is Playa Arroyo de La Miel because of its location and atmosphere. Another well-known beach is Playa de Benalnatura, but be aware that this is a nude beach!

As you can see there’s much more than the beach and sun in Benalmadena. Also, if you would like to find out more about day trips to other near towns, this seven-day itinerary to Costa del Sol will help you plan and discover new places.

I hope you have a great time in Benalmadena, and if you have any questions send them to me at cristina[at]mylittleworldoftravelling.com or reach me on Instagram. I am always happy to help and give advice on how to make the most of your time in my hometown.

Enjoy your time in Benalmadena!

Cristina xx

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Things to do before visiting Benalmadena

Frequently asked questions about Benalmadena Spain

Is Benalmadena good for families?

Absolutely! There are many family-friendly activities to do in Benalmadena and its surroundings. From visiting Selwo Marina and Sealife and Paloma Park to relaxing at the beautiful beaches or going to the waterpark.

On top of this, most hotels in Benalmadena offer family rooms and summer activities and entertainment for children.

What are the best things to do in Benalmadena for couples?

It really depends on the type of traveller you are, however, these are some of my suggestions:

  • Visit the beautiful Colomares Castle.
  • Have a romantic meal in Puerto Marina.
  • Enjoy a spa day or go to Benalmadena Arab Baths.
  • Go on Benalmadena’s Cable Car and go for a hike.

What do you do in Benalmadena on a rainy day?

If you’re visiting Benalmadena during winter, or any other season apart from summer, you may experience rainy days. In this case, you can go to Sealife Benalmadena, the Arab Baths, Benalmadena Butterfly Park or go on a short trip to Plaza Mayor shopping centre which has plenty of shops and a cinema.

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25 Comments

  1. I so love this post – although I’ve been to Spain numerous times, I’ve yet to visit Benalmadena. Will have to in the future!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m happy to hear you love this post 🙂 Also, I hope you visit Benalmadena someday!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I hope you visit Benalmadena one day 🙂

  2. I’ve traveled a lot in Spain but I’ve never heard of Benalmadena before. The town looks beautiful, especially the view from the cable car is amazing. I’d love to visit someday!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Benalmadena is quite popular for British holidaymakers, and some people underrating it saying it’s just a resort place. However, locals know it has great things to do 🙂 I hope you visit it one day, and I love the cable car views too!

  3. I never heard of Benalmadena before, but now I have to go. It looks so beautiful! I really miss traveling around Europe. 🙂

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      It’s great to hear you’re adding Benalmadena to your list 🙂 I miss travelling around Europe too. I hope things start improving sometime soon.

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m glad you liked it and would love to go back 🙂

  4. What a nice city! I haven’t heard about it before reading your article and I would love to visit it!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m happy to hear that!! 🙂

  5. Looks like a great destination. Good to know there’s more than just th beaches to see.

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Yes, there’s so much to do in Benalmadena and Costa del Sol 🙂

  6. The castillo is so fun to walk around! I loved the architecture. Great list of things to do in Benalmadena!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Thank you, Krista 🙂 Castillo de Colomares is one of my favourite things to do in Benalmadena. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Great post! I used to live down that way so know it well. Now I’m further up the coast in Mojacar. I spent two nights in Benalmadena Pueblo in March.

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Thank you 🙂 It’s great to hear you’ve lived in Benalmadena. I miss it so much now!

  8. Absolutely beautiful pictures (especially of the Buddhist temple)! Spain is high on my list, but I hadn’t even considered Benalmadena – until now. Excellent post, thank you!

  9. your photos are so mesmerizing, i can’t peel my eyes away!!!

  10. Julia Bocchese says:

    I’ve never heard of Benalmadena before, but I would love to visit! I love all the beautiful architecture, it looks like a great place to take lots of photos

  11. I definitely would love exploring there. It’s amazing that Castillo de Colomares was built by an American. It’s absolutely stunning.

  12. I had never heard of this city before (I’ve never been able to visit Spain), but this looks so amazing. There is such a huge variety of places to see and explore there, and I am especially excited about the stuppa. We have something similar here, and it is such an amazing place. I hope I can visit someday!

  13. This place is gorgeous! I love the design of Castillo de Colomares, and all the plants on the balconies at Benalmadena Pueblo. I’d also be into doing the cable car. I appreciate the Tips From a Local, like your honest take about Tivoli World not being worth it – those are the kinds of things people wonder when deciding where to spend their time, but that most writers/brochures don’t have the guts to say haha. Thank you!

  14. These are great tips! I just booked a trip here at the beginning of July, so I’ll be using this post to help plan what to do! I’m really excited for the butterfly world! Also a walk to Torremolinos sounds great!

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