Located in the country’s Costa del Sol region, Benalmadena is one of Spain’s idyllic Mediterranean towns.
The town sits just south of Malaga, a large urban hub. While many people choose to visit Benalmadena on a day trip to Malaga, it’s a destination of its own.
Spending your stay in Benalmadena offers a quieter getaway that is still conveniently close to local attractions and the best of Malaga. Consider the following Benalmadena recommendations and plan a perfect Сosta del Sol itinerary.
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Where is Benalmadena?
Benalmadena sits in a convenient location on Costa del Sol, only about 20-minute drive from the international airport in Malaga.
It’s located between two famous coastal resorts of Malaga and Marbella and has great connections to both cities via buses or trains.
Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress.
Best Benalmadena Tours: Click here to check out the top Benalmadena tours
Best Benalmadena Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Benalmadena
Best Benalmadena Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Benalmadena
How Can I Get There?
Benalmadena’s convenient location makes it easy to reach from Malaga Airport. If you’re flying into Malaga, plan to catch a train right at the airport. Scheduled multiple times an hour, trains to Benalmadena- Arroyo de la Miel Station are quick and reliable. Hop on the C1 train right after collecting your baggage- the train stops at the airport.
You can also catch a bus to Benalmadena from the airport, after a short walk to the neighboring Villarosa bus stop. Be sure to catch the M-110 bus heading towards Benalmadena Costa. After a 40-minute ride, get off at Puerto Marina station, which is the closest to the center of town. If you’re staying near Playa de la Carihuela or Torremolinos, you might want to get off a few stops earlier- plan accordingly.
If you’re catching a taxi ride from the airport, expect a quick, 20–25-minute ride.
Renting a car is also a good idea, especially if you want the freedom to drive up and down the coast. Car rentals are available at the Malaga Airport, but you may want to check rates and wait until you get to Benalmadena to pick up a vehicle.
10 Reasons to Visit Benalmadena, Spain
Once you make it to Benalmadena and settle in, it’s time to start planning your time in town.
The best things to do include beaches, waterfront restaurants, and the Tivoli Theme Park.
Don’t miss attractions in the surrounding area as well- and, of course, day trips to Malaga.
1. Tivoli Theme Park
Established in the 1970’s, Tivoli World theme park offers all-day thrills, especially if you’re traveling with children. The park has rides for all ages, including multiple Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and more interactive experiences like the spooky Mansion of Terror. Keep an eye on the Tivoli World schedule, as the park hosts performances, events, and games. Restaurants and gift shops are available inside the park.
Tivoli World is easily reachable by bus or even on foot, depending on where in Benalmadena you’re staying.
2. Teleferico Benalmadena
Also known as the Teleferico, Benalmadena’s mountain cable car is located just south of Tivoli World. The cable car ferries guests up to the peak of Mount Calamorro with a short ride accompanied by an audio guide. As you travel up, you’ll be able to take in expansive views of the city, the Mediterranean, and surrounding mountains.
Once you get to your destination, you’re free to explore at your own pace. The summit of Mount Calamorro has hiking trails, bicycle trails, and even bird-watching opportunities. In fact, the area is home to a bird-of-prey sanctuary that hosts falconry presentations when the cable car is running.
Several viewpoints around the peak are a hike away from the cable car station- if the weather is clear, views range to the coast of Africa. The path to the Southern Lookout is an easy walk for the whole family, while the walk to the Northern Lookout requires a more strenuous hike. The area known as the Central Lookout is right next to the cable car station, and also features La Cima Restaurant.
If you’re up for the challenge, opt for one of the mountain’s longer hikes. Keep an eye out for mountain goats, native plants, and amazing reptiles as you hike.
3. Arroyo de la Miel Beach
Playa Arroyo de la Miel is one of the most popular beaches in Benalmadena. Centrally located and busy, the beach is easily accessible. Boasting beautiful views of the coastline and open sea, the beach has restrooms and is close to waterfront bars and restaurants. Walk up Las Palmeras Avenue for even more drinking and dining options.
4. Carihuela Beach
Located east of c town center, Carihuela Beach is one of the area’s longest beaches. Known for its soft dark sand and tranquil shoreline, this is a great alternative to busier areas.
Carihuela Beach is located in a high-end neighborhood with several bars and restaurants to choose from. It is an easy 20-minute walk from the center of Benalmadena.
5. Benalmadena Butterfly Park
Located outside of town, the Benalmadena Butterfly Park makes a great day trip. The park is a 20-minute drive from town and is housed in a charming Thai temple. The serene setting is perfect for the park’s 1,500 tiny inhabitants.
Butterflies from all over the world add color and life to this tropical haven, and guests can learn about their incredible life cycles as they stroll the gardens. Set aside at least two hours to tour this hidden gem- the park is also reachable via a 30-minute bus ride.
6. Stupa of Enlightenment
While at the Butterfly Park, wander over to the Stupa of Enlightenment, which stands just steps away. The bright white structure is a Buddhist temple and is open to the public. Its interior includes a meditation area, a small reading section, and a gift shop selling traditional pottery. The temple makes a curious, worthwhile stop, especially if you’re already visiting the Butterfly Garden.
7. Boat tours
If you’re craving a new perspective, consider booking a boat tour in Benalmadena with one of the town’s tour companies. Options include catamaran tours, private tours that include water activities, and even dolphin-watching opportunities.
Most excursions leave from Benalmadena’s marina, and you can choose from different tour lengths depending on your schedule. For those visiting in the off-season, a boat tour is a great option for when it’s too cold to swim.
8. El Muro Gardens
Located a short drive or bus ride outside of town, Benalmadena’s Muro Gardens are known for offering some of the best views in the area. The gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy lunch from a nearby restaurant. The Colomares Monument Ocean Viewpoint offers unparalleled vistas of the Mediterranean coastline.
While in the area, take a short walk to Colomares Monument, a castle-inspired structure offering even more views. Visit at sunset to watch dusk settle over the region from this special vantage point.
9. Parque de la Paloma
Located right in the center of town, Benalmadena’s Parque de la Paloma is a casual destination with a pond, leafy spots, and plenty of spots to settle down with a good book.
Enjoy the cactus and succulent garden to the north of the park and be sure to stop by the Buddha Temple on its southern edge. If you’re staying near the park, it makes a perfect daily morning destination before a busy day.
If you’re up for an ultra-short day trip, consider taking a drive, cab ride, or bus trip to Torremolinos, located just up the coast from Benalmadena. This beach community has beaches and several noteworthy cultural sites.
The town’s Pablo Picasso Cultural Center is home to paintings and sculptures, and visitors can admire the artwork in the building’s gardens, as well. The Casa de los Navajas, a Moorish-inspired palace from 1925 should also be on your list- this ornate building hosts exhibitions.
Where to stay in Benalmadena, Spain
Quick Tip: Looking for somewhere to stay? I have just the best options for you!
Hotel Best Siroco
Hotel Benalma Costa del Sol
Boutique Hotel Pueblo
First Flatotel International
Hostal Sol y Miel
Arroyo de la Miel centro
Benalmadena Travel Guide Planning
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Lucia is a travel blogger living in Southern Spain, sharing her discoveries of beautiful locations, hidden gems, and stunning historic sights on her travel blog Viva La Vita.