Multi-award winning Benalmadena Marina has enjoyed Blue Flag status since 1987. It’s home to 1,100 moorings, lots of bars, shops and restaurants and is one the of Costa del Sol’s busiest attractions. All kinds of visitors come to enjoy the beaches, boutiques and dining experiences, as well as attractions like Castillo de Colomares and Mississippi Willow, a restored paddle boat that’s now a bar and restaurant.
Places to go
There are plenty of beaches in the area. Playa Jose is nearest the town and has good facilities including sunbeds and parasols for hire. There are lots of bars and restaurants nearby too. About 15 minutes’ drive away is Playa Carvajal, which is a favourite family beach. It’s got water sports, beach bars and a huge stretch of golden sand; basically everything you need for the perfect family beach holiday with the kids.
Just outside the marina is Benalmadena Pueblo, a pretty village that dates back to the 8th century. You can wander down streets of whitewashed houses and spend time in Plaza Espana admiring the small fountain. Just outside the village is Benalmadena Stupa, the largest Buddhist temple in the western world.
When: Open 24hours. Most bars and restaurants close at around 12am
How to get here: Take bus 103, 121 or 126
Places to visit
This amusement park has fairground rides and attractions including a Ferris wheel and haunted house. It’s decked out in Instagrammable vintage stripes, and looks really pretty at night when fairy lights twinkle between the stalls.
When: 5pm until 12am daily
How to get here: Take bus 121 or 126
Built between 1987 and 1994 Castillo de Colomares is a monument to Christopher Columbus. It’s a fairy-tale blend of Moorish and European architect and is a beautiful place to see.
When: 10am until 2pm and 5pm?? until 9pm
How to get here: Bus 126, 103 or 112, or it’s 20 minutes by car
Cable car to Calamorro Mountain
The 15-minute trip gives you great views of the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of Morocco. Once you’ve reached the top, you can visit Jardin de las Aguilas, a bird sanctuary with various residents including a condor. There’s a nice snack bar too.
When: 11am until 7pm
How to get here: Take bus 126, 121, L1 or L2 to Explanada di Tivoli
Food and nightlife
Benalmadena Marina is lined with over 50 bars and restaurants, so it’s no surprise that one of the main attractions is food and nightlife. You can relax in a beach bar, enjoy tapas at the water’s edge, or splash out at one of the excellent fish restaurants. There are tavernas lining the seafront where you can enjoy a cocktail as the sun goes down, and some are open for dancing until the early hours.
For lively party clubs go to downtown Benalmadena to places like El Elefante, a cabaret club with late-night disco, or Kiu which plays salsa, chart and electronica. Head through to the Atlantic room for full on hard-core dance music.
Benalmadena marina itself is home to Discoteca Aqa, one of the best-known clubs on the Costa del Sol. It attracts a smart, young crowd and has a varied music policy, with international DJs to pull in the crowds.