In the heart of the Costa del Sol between Fuengirola and Torremolinos lies the town of Benalmadena, with all the ‘standard’ attractions of the region including a glorious climate and superb beaches, plus a few extras of its own.
Benalmadena is about a 20-minute drive from the international airport in Malaga, and in the past couple of decades it has become one of the major tourist destinations on the Spanish coast. The town really consists of three distinct districts that include the old town, the beach area and the commercial zone.
The old town, known as Benalmadena Pueblo, still retains much of its traditional Andalucian heritage and flavour. Slightly inland and about 200m higher in elevation than the coastal area, the old town still has a village atmosphere, though the inroads of tourism and commercialization are only too apparent. However, you can still see the remnants and influence of former inhabitants, some of them dating back to the Bronze Age in prehistoric times, with Phoenician, Roman and Moorish eras during the intervening centuries. Here you can visit museums and archaeological sites and find some excellent local tapas for lunch.
The commercial zone, called Arroyo de la Miel, is where you’ll find one of the biggest attractions of the area, Tivoli World. This is a terrific amusement park, perhaps not on the Disney World scale, but perhaps more inviting for that reason. There are plenty of thrilling rides and a recent addition called Tivoliandia featuring rides for the young ones.
This area is also where you can catch the cable car to the top of Calamorro Mountain, about 770 metres above sea level. From the cable car and the summit the views are fabulous; on a clear day you can see the mountains of North Africa.
Benalmadena boasts miles of lovely beaches, but you won’t find secluded coves on this stretch of coastline, (though there is a legally nude beach to visit if you are so inclined.) What you will find is every water sport known to man, luxury beachfront hotels and resorts, gourmet food of many nationalities, and all the nightlife you can handle. There are two world-class marinas packed with yachts and party people, and many of the clubs stay open until dawn.
The largest Stupa or Buddhist monument in the Western world, the Enlightenment Stupa, resides in Benalmadena, and the town is home to the only real ice skating rink on the Costa del Sol.
Posted : Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 12:52
Karen Bryan is the founding editor of the UK based, multi author Europe a la Carte Blog which features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit in Europe.