Benalmádena offers a wide range of possibilities, whether you are thinking of a holiday home or relocating. With a large amount of leisure and cultural activities for all ages it is easy to see why this vibrant town is so popular with many.
Geographically situated in the centre of Costa del Sol Benalmádena is roughly 12km from Malaga airport and is well linked by road and train, not only to the airport but to other major towns along the coast.
You will note that Benalmádena is split into three distinct areas, Benalmádena Pueblo, Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmádena Costa. As this covers a large area you will certainly not run out of things to do and options to eat and drink. The Pueblo and coast are very popular and are filled with shops, bars, restaurants and cafes to suit all requirements.
Benalmádena is certainly a place to find some interesting history and culture. There are many buildings of interest such as watch towers, Buddhist and Hindu temples, churches and museums.
Benalmádena Pueblo is the town's historic centre, it is definitely worth a visit even if just to enjoy the spectacular view of the coast. Castillo de Colomares is an amazing sight found on the edge of "the Pueblo". Combining Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles, it has the feel of a fairy-tale castle and was built to honour the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. The monument contains a church, listed in 'The Guinness Book of Records,' as the smallest church in the world. Alongside it is an empty mausoleum which, it is hoped, will one day house the remains of the great explorer.
Close to the port you will find the Bil-Bil Castle. This Arabic style red plaster building on the promenade was designed in 1927 as a private residence. Decorated with tiles, its privileged location made it an iconic landmark of the town. Although there was an application to convert the building into a hotel-club in the 60's and later an apartment block in the 70's, both suggestions were met with horror by local residents and the building lay abandoned until it was eventually bought by the Benalmádena Town Hall and refurbished as a cultural centre.
As you drive past Benalmádena , whether on the motorway or coast road, you will spot the largest Stupa in the West, the "Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmádena". According to Buddhist tradition your wishes will come true if you walk clockwise around the Stupa.
Like many regions throughout Spain, Benalmádena celebrates different festivals throughout the year:
Carnival – This is celebrated in February over 10 days with parades, masquerades and competitions.
Holy Week – "Semana Santa" is celebrated all over Spain and processions take place through the areas of Benalmádena Pueblo and Arroyo de la Miel during this week. In particular, the staging of the Passion of Christ "El Paso" in the hills of Benalmádena, where residents of the municipality become actors for the day.
Corpus Christi – Held in Benalmádena Pueblo, this festival does not have a set date. It is held on the Thursday after the ninth Sunday after the first full moon of spring (in the northern hemisphere that is!). For those of us who tend to use a standard calendar, rather than the phases of the moon to plan our schedules, this usually lands somewhere between the end of May and the middle of June! Neighbours decorate their balconies and adorn the main streets of town with carpets of fresh flowers and herbs.
Summer Festival – Held from July to September this festival is a time where you can enjoy an extensive program of theatre, music and summer cinema for all audiences at the Paloma Park Auditorium.
Arabian Souk - This annual market is enjoyed every September in Benalmádena Pueblo. The celebration includes a large Arab market with tents, Arabic music, crafts, workshops, storytelling, dance, theatre and games for all ages.
Benalmadena Costa has almost 10 km of beach to choose from including quiet little coves, busy sunbed lined stretches and even a nudist beach at Benalnatura for those wishing to ditch the trunks and bikinis for the birthday suits!
If you are looking for activities to do as a family the award winning Benalmádena Port is a great place to start. Prison Island is the latest attraction to hit Benalmádena and located in the middle of Puerto Marina, Prison Island is a unique adventure where you form a team and solve the challenging mental, physical or strategic tasks in the prison cells together. It’s great fun for families or larger groups.
If animal interaction is of particular interest to you, you can also relish in the experience of the Sea Life Aquarium to see exciting marine displays, talks & feeding demonstrations. Let’s not forgot the numerous boat trips available on the port and why not treat yourself to a spot of retail therapy in the abundance of stores available.
Another fantastic experience for all of you animal lovers is the Butterfly Park. In this spectacular Thai temple you can walk amongst more than 1,500 exotic butterflies and learn many things about these wonderful insects.
Let’s also not forget the famous Paloma Park, or Parque de la Paloma, which is situated right in the heart of Benalmádena Costa. Over the years, the park has become something of an impromptu animal sanctuary, with rabbits, peacocks, goats, emus, donkeys and various other animals. Some of them wander around freely and are always a big hit with the younger members of the family.
Or how about the Benalmádena Cable Cars? They offer a spectacular 15 minute trip in 4-seater cabins from Benalmádena Costa to the peak of Mount Calamorro. You can enjoy the stunning views and spectacular birds of prey exhibitions in the peak’s arena.
The Selwo Marina Definarium is another fantastic place to visit. It is the only park of its kind in Andalucía and is a complement to Selwo Adventure Wildlife Park in Estepona. The main attraction here is the Dolphins but the Penguin experience is also a big hit with visitors at the park. You can enjoy demonstrations each day and you can also opt for the full experience where you can get in the pool with the Dolphins, accompanied by one of the expert instructors and/or enjoy the unique experience of exploring the frozen land of Ice Island, the Penguinarium.
Last, but by no means least, Tivoli World is an amusement park for all age’s location 5 minutes form Arroyo de la Miel train station. This theme park is the largest centre for family entertainment on the Costa del Sol, sporting more than 300 rides and attractions and is open to the public all year round.There are varied entertainment shows that take place throughout the park and you will never go hungry here with the many dining options to satisfy your appetite.
As we all know your childrens’ education is a very important matter if thinking of relocating. There are many state schools available and Benalmádena is well known for is its education of not only Spanish, but international students.
The British College of Benalmádena is fully recognised by both the British and Spanish Ministries of Education and is a member of NABSS (the National Association of British Schools in Spain). Pupils are able to gain qualifications from both British and Spanish examination systems, as well as the Cambridge International Certification of Education, which means that all the pupils can opt to go to a university in Britain, Spain, and United States or in any other part of the world.
There is also the Benalmádena International College where student numbers are made up of over 25 different nationalities. Many of these children can speak several languages before they reach the senior school. The school is purpose built with separate buildings for infants, primary and secondary. There is also a Cafeteria and Games Room and the Boarding House which is in the process of opening will accommodate up to 40 students.
There are two clinics and a hospital in Benalmádena where you can receive medical care using the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. You also have the option of private healthcare through Xanit which is next to the public hospital. It is also useful to note the location of Benalmádena local police station which is a 4 minute drive from Arroyo de la Miel train station.
If you are looking for a bite to eat before hitting a big night out, Benalmadena Port is definitely the place that has it all. You will find everything from small tapas bars, to vegetarian restaurants, to luxury restaurants serving up the very best of authentic Spanish food, all of which will be sure to tantalise your taste buds.Benalmádena Port also offers a variety of bars and clubs. It’s a must go to location for a great night filled with dancing. The best buys for those on a budget would be delicious cocktails which are on offer in most places.
Also available on the Port is the popular Ice Bar. The ticket price has two options: € 10 including 2 drinks and a shot, or € 5 for a non-alcoholic beverage. A definite must see if you are planning a night out on the Marina.
For late nights with lots of dancing, but not too much walking, Plaza Sol y Mar or as it’s commonly known “24 hour square” may be just the place for you. Most of the larger clubs and pubs are situated here including the famous Molly Malone’s and Jesters. If you are on a tight budget, many of the reps here offer 2 for 1 drinks and free shots, just be careful not to drink them all at once!!
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