Benalmadena is a big time resort that’s struck a nice blend between old and new. It’s stashed up along a sizeable portion of Spain’s southern coast, right between Torremolinos and Fuengirola and with Malaga not far off. And when we say Benalmadena lays claim to a sizeable chunk of the coast, we mean it – there are 20 kilometres to call its own.
Benalmadena has been inhabited since way back in the Bronze Age, with big time players like the Romans and the Phoenicians ruling its land. Among its historic leftovers are an ancient Roman salting factory, two Almenara towers on the coast that were crucial in warding off pirates, and 18th-century paper factories that helped put this little town on the wider map. Urbanisation and a slew of new homes ultimately brought it up to snuff, and from there, the rest is history.
The climate in Benalmadena is what you’d expect from a Mediterranean coastal town – a lot of sun, and very little chill, even in the winter. The average temperature here hovers around the mid-twenties, which means the heat is relatively mild. Come winter, you won’t typically see the temperature dip below 10°C into the single digits, though there’s an average of five hours of sunshine in December and January.
One resort, three pieces
There are three unique portions of Benalmadena, each providing a different window into this Spanish resort’s mixed identity.
Benalmadena Costa – Starting from the coast, Benalmadena Costa is the portion of town that hugs the waterfront. It’s where you’ll find hotels, bars and a few of the resort’s biggest attractions, including the busy marina.
Arroyo de la Miel – Next up is Arroyo de la Miel, which in English, means ‘Stream of Honey’. It’s the middle ground between Benalmadena’s main areas, filled mostly with homes and apartment buildings, plus a few restaurants and Tivoli World – the resort’s main theme park.
Benalmadena Pueblo – Benalmadena Pueblo is where Benalmadena dials up the charm. This is the resort’s old town and the original village, home to the archaeological museum. It still has a few modern buildings, but much of what’s here is of the typical whitewashed Andalusian variety.
That 20 kilometres of coast has to go somewhere – here are some of the best beaches in Benalmadena.
Malapesquera Beach – Malapesquera is a central beach that’s heavy on the services and can therefore get pretty busy, especially in the summer. There are sunbeds, umbrellas and beach bars plus watersport rentals at the southern end of the beach.
Caravajal Beach – This popular set of shores straddles the line with Fuengirola, and is another holidaymaker-busy beach with restaurants and sun loungers available to rent. It’s also been awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, making it a top spot among families and couples.
Tajo de la Soga Beach – Tajo de la Soga is a nice in-between beach for those that like rugged beauty with a side of beach bar. The beach here is broken up into little coves and has that windswept landscape, but nearby are restaurants and sun loungers to rent, plus watersport facilities.
Bil Bil Beach – This central spot is a popular sunbed-laden beach that gets its name from nearby Moorish Bil Bil Castle, which sits right up along the coast. At night it goes alight, making for quite a spectacle.
Benalnatura Beach – Benalnatura is the resident naturist beach. It has a secluded, cove-like feel even though it’s pretty central. There’s a beach bar here too, the operators of which ensure everybody on the beach is over 18 and in the nude.
Top things to do
Tivoli World – Tivoli World is Benalmadena’s local mega park – every resort needs one – where you’ll find loads of fun fair rides, roller coasters, water rides and performance venues for regularly held live shows.
Colomares Castle – Colomares has the look of a sand castle, elaborate in design and stunning to see up close. It’s actually not a castle but a monument built in honour of Christopher Columbus, the largest one in the world. As an added bonus, it’s also home to the world’s smallest church.
Paloma Park – This massive green space is the Central Park of Benalmadena, located in the heart of the resort and acting as a leafy respite to the city’s hustle and bustle. There’s a peaceful lake inside, plus animals like chickens, rabbits and ducks wandering around.
Teleferico Benalmadena – The Teleferico is Benalmadena’s cable car, which stretches over the city and connects atop Mount Calamorro. The whole route is three kilometres – about 15 minutes – and once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with views of the whole of the city all the way out to sea.
Here are our best hotel deals in Benalmadena.
Holiday Village Costa Del Sol
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This 4* hotel is a theme park of its own – well, basically – anchored by its crazy big pool scene. We’re talking a full-blown pirate ship, tonnes of hoses and a set of huge, wiggly pools lined with sunbeds. There’s also a beach club, an American diner on top of a buffet and Italian spot, plus sea views out on the horizon.
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Designed just like it sounds, the Polynesia Hotel is a Pacific-island themed spot with its own aviary, a waterpark and a pyramid-shaped theatre for entertainment. The beach is only a 15-minute walk away, though there’s a free shuttle that’ll get you there even faster.
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On offer at this family-friendly hotel is a nice-sized pool scene and a mini golf course, plus a pub, evening entertainment, a shuttle down to the beach and onsite activities like basketball, volleyball and yoga. You have the opportunity to go Self Catering here if you want, though the buffet restaurant makes booking a cheap All Inclusive holiday that much more tantalising.
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