Today, Benalmádena is one of the main tourist destinations on the Costa del Sol, notable for its leisure establishments, which include an amusement park, two aquariums, a casino, a cable car and one of the largest marinas in Andalusia.
The main economic activities in Benalmádena are construction, tourism and the activities derived from these two. With almost 13,000 hotel beds of different categories, from a five-star hotel to cheaper hostels and pensions, Benalmádena is one of the municipalities with the largest hotel offer on the Costa del Sol, an offer that is completed with a significant number of restaurants and shops.
Benalmádena Pueblo, the original village, which lies about three kilometres inland at an elevation of approximately 200 m above mean sea level. Its core consists of a typical white-fronted Andalusian village, although including numerous recent buildings in modern architectural styles. The town of Benalmádena also has an archaeological museum with locally derived artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age.
Benalmádena Costa, an urban agglomeration on the coast. Here there are discos, hotels, beaches, shopping centers and an extensively-equipped marina. Tourist attractions include SeaLife aquarium and Selwo Marina, a theme park with dolphins, penguins and seals among other species. The Parque Paloma is a more recent addition to the attractions, a landscaped park containing a large lake and animals running wild.
Arroyo de la Miel (Honey Stream), originally a separate village, is in the interior between the other two areas. It has become the main residential area, and is also the most commercially active. Buildings, many of them apartment blocks. are tightly packed. It has attractions such as the Tivoli World amusement park, and a teleferico (cable car) running to the summit of the 769-metre Calamorro mountain, which provides panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada, Gibraltar and, on clear days, the Moroccan coastline.The Friday market is a popular attraction.
Caves: the Cueva del Toro is the most important Prehistoric site in the municipality since it was discovered in 1969. It was occupied and used as a sanctuary about 18,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic. In it you can find cave paintings, highlighting the one that represents a headless bovid. It is located on Mount Calamorro.
Archaeological sites: there are several sites from the Ancient Age that can be found in Benalmádena. Among the most noteworthy is the indigenous site with Phoenician influences from Cerro de la Era; From the 2nd century BC. C., the Romans were present in the municipality highlighting of these several villas dedicated to the exploitation of marine resources (garum factories) such as the so-called Benalroma deposit, or Torremuelle; One of the most interesting deposits is that of Los Molinillos, a settlement dedicated to the production of oil during the High Roman Empire and salting from the third century AD.
Watchtowers: there are three watchtowers found within the municipality: Torremuelle, Torre Quebrada and Torre Bermeja. Some of them are part of the fortification system built on the coast of Eastern Andalusia as a defensive system for the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and then restored or built again during the Christian repopulation to protect the Spanish Mediterranean coast from the incursions of Berber pirates. Over the centuries they have suffered deterioration (and reconstruction) due to the passage of time and the action of earthquakes.
La Tribuna Building: The origin of the urban nucleus of Arroyo de la Miel dates back to the 18th century, when Félix Solesio built some mills and houses there to house the workers of the paper factories. From this period the configuration of the square itself and a stone arch that crowns its entrance is preserved. After a thorough renovation, it is possible to appreciate a building of the old factory known as La Tribuna as well as the sculpture in homage to Félix Solesio.
Isabella wreck: The history of this vessel, also called Los Santos Wreck, has been imprecise since its discovery in 1961. However, the investigations carried out since 2002 have been decisive in knowing the real history of the wreck, cataloged as Asset of Cultural Interest.
Castillo de El Bil Bil: this building built on Avenida Antonio Machado during the Second Spanish Republic, is one of the benchmarks of the municipality of Benalmádena.
La Niña de Benalmádena: is one of the icons of the city and is located in the center of a fountain in the Plaza de España in Benalmádena Pueblo. It is a bronze sculpture made by Jaime Pimentel.
Ventorrillo de la Perra: it is a shop built in the 18th century. It was rebuilt in 1972 and is currently a restaurant specializing in traditional Spanish cuisine, game meats and fish, which maintains the atmosphere of the time of Carlos III.
Castillo de Colomares: monument in homage to Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America built by Doctor Esteban Martín and Martín between 1987 and 1994. In it you can see various architectural styles and different materials, its interior stands out for its stained glass windows. Previously, it was the scene of the raptor show that today takes place on the summit of Mount Calamorro.
Benalmádena Stupa is a stupa overlooking Costa del Sol. It is 33 m high and is the tallest stupa in Europe. It was inaugurated on 5 October 2003, and was the final project of Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche.
Butterfly Park of Benalmadena (Mariposario de Benalmádena). In this spectacular Butterfly Park, next to the Benalmádena Stupa, you can walk amongst more than 1,500 exotic butterflies from around the world, flying freely in a tropical paradise between waterfalls and flowers.
Benalmádena has almost 20 kilometers of sand, gravel and palm groves that make up a total of 17 beaches: Arroyo Hondo, Carvajal, Bil-Bil, La Morera, Arroyo de la Miel, Benalnatura, Fuente de la Salud, La Perla, Las Viborillas, Las Yucas beach, Malapesquera / Malapesca / Torre Bermeja, Melilleros, Santa Ana, Tajo de la Soga, Torremuelle, Torrequebrada and Torrevigía.
All the beaches are accessible from a promenade that crosses the municipality from one end to the other, with beach bars, restaurants and other tourist establishments. The eastern beaches are wide and rocky, with public facilities and water activities; while the western ones are rocky, many of them quiet and isolated between small cliffs, ideal for practicing fishing and diving sports. There is also one of the first nudist beaches in Spain, called Benalnatura.
How to get to?
The nearest international airport is in Malaga, 26 min (21.2 km) via MA-20
From Seville 2 hr 21 min (220 km) via A-92
From Madrid 5 hr 21 min (545 km) via A-4
Area: 27 sq. km (municipality)
Coordinates: 36°35′49″N 4°33′13″W
Population: 69 144
Time: Central European UTC +1